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My Job? My Sister? My Sanity?


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Old 26th September 2011, 6:11 PM   #1
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My Job? My Sister? My Sanity?

I'll try to keep this short. I work for a large medical company and recently my sister took the position of the person who work in the same department and also plays my back up. We are each others vacation relief - though the position she now holds was actually created just to give mine a back up person. Long story short - we're a very independent crew. We share an office and overlap two days a week. I work four and she works three.

Today she brought her (young) teenage son in to work with her. He's home schooled and her husband just got a temp job which she's hoping turns permanent. This is the fourth time that I know of that she's brought one of her kids to work. Isn't that unethical? Once, a year and a half ago, my younger son was really sick and I needed to stay home with him. I had no back up person at the time...my sisters position was still very new and the gal who was doing it in the beginning was scheduled off that day...well I called my boss and I told her I could only go in for a couple of hours and that I'd have to take my son with me. I told her that I understood this was unorthodox, but that I was just going to do the bear minimum and then leave. She said that was fine and that's what I did - I was at work for less than two hours total - just put out some fires and took him home. I would never have thought to just take him in if I had someone there to back me up...nor would I have done it without calling my boss first to let her know the situation - to have the option to tell me NO. The other times she brought her younger son in over the summer because her husband scheduled interviews on days she worked rather than her days off or he took a day job here or there and - even though she had advance notice - she didn't shuffle her days around or find a sitter.

Am I crazy that this bothers me?? I have a great deal of freedom in this position - I don't have anybody watching over me, hovering, constantly checking up on me. I come in, I get my work done, I'm told I do it rather well...and I am rewarded with the freedom of being my own on site supervisor. I feel she's abusing this privilege and could destroy it for us both.

She also goes home for lunch and takes extended up to two or more hours on her lunch...for which I am nearly certain she doesn't put that down on her time card.

It feels like she doesn't take her position very seriously...I see her put about half an hour or an hour of honest work in while she's here. I try not to pay attention, but it makes me afraid it'll eventually catch up from the other people in the area observing her obvious behavior. If they report it and it happens enough times....

Is this something I should be reporting to my supervisor? If so, how do I do that without ruining our relationship? Should I just butt the heck out and let the chips fall where they may? It's not my business what she does in her position - only what she does in mine - right? I loved this position...the girl who did it before her was in a different office and we only communicated when we had to through a shared drive - I didn't know or care what she did with her time. I liked the solitude...and I know working with family is always a shaky situation - but she had seniority over everyone else who applied and therefore it was hers for the taking. Then our boss needed the space she was in and combined our areas for simplicity.

Am I just being a big baby here or should I be reporting this crap?? I'm torn between familial loyalty and work ethic here...I don't feel anybody should abuse their privileges like this!
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Old 26th September 2011, 7:57 PM   #2
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Well its up to you to decide, Do You treat her like a co-worker strictly and hold her to the same standards or do you up the standards and hold her more accountable because you are related. My first clue that you weren't the closest of siblings is referring your nephew as her son. Odd isn't it that someone would say such when referencing a relative.
Anyways, Take a ten minute breather with your sibling and keep it brief. Ask her if she can make an effort to get a babysitter or maybe a church run drop off center for her son when she is in a pinch. Most business's are tolerant to an extent when a parent has a child that needs supervision during work hours. Her "Long" lunches are not acceptable. That needs to simply be addressed and nipped in the bud. Curious if this child is disruptive during the business time or does he seem to be independent and able to keep himself occupied. My business place allows, pets, kids and gosh knows whatelse to be around the staff....Its just that type of environment....No one complains as we each have had those Parental jams. It becomes a hinderance only if the kids or pets start disrupting meetings or are in some odd way deterring the work being done for that day.
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Old 27th September 2011, 12:33 PM   #3
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She is taking advantage of you. This is why you dont mix family and business. If you want to keep your nose clean so you can keep your job, you have to be prepared to lay the hammer down on her. if she is more important than the job, then you can let the chips fall where they may, and find another job if the boss finds out.
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Old 27th September 2011, 3:10 PM   #4
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Thanks Tayla and Eddie.

My sister and I go back and forth between close and not so close. Our personalities are VERY different. We've worked together in the past, though, and always done very very well together. This is a first. It's awful - my particular position is very laid back. So is hers. I left a high high stress environment for this position to get some seclusion and peace - I attained it here. So when they created the secondary position (what she's in now), I had a hand in that creation and made it equally tolerable. My boss doesn't care what we do in our down time so long as all of our work gets done - but having a child is not ok in this company. Not without express permission from your supervisor. There are all sorts of confidentiality laws in place that can be broken if a child were to overhear or see something and then repeat it later. I do love my nephew, but I was trying to be objective in my post - I am appalled that she seems to be taking advantage of me and of this situation. If she had any other co-worker I doubt she'd pull any of these stunts as she'd fear being reported.

Yesterday, when her son (my nephew) was working on his school work she was helping him with it the entire time. Now, I prefer not to know when someone is milking the clock, but isn't that what that is? You come to work, clock in, and then help your kid with school work rather than do your actual work?

I have considered just getting another job and letting her deal with whoever comes in and takes my place. Transferring within the company is fairly simple. I just don't know if it's morally or ethically wrong to just walk away without saying anything to my boss, or if I am just making mountains out of molehills.
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Old 27th September 2011, 3:43 PM   #5
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Youre trying to deal with this by not dealing with it to avoid making any bad blood with people. But picture trying to explain to the next job interview why you transferred. Plus if the new boss wants to call the old boss, the truth will come out. You might need that referral, and the old boss wont give you that if you left a mess on his/her hands. You really have to deal with your sister and either put her in her place, or get rid of her. She might be having problems, but if youre not close enough for her to tell you what it is-- matter of fact, if she cant handle her issues without the job suffering, or making you look bad, then she has to go.
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Old 27th September 2011, 4:52 PM   #6
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It would not be difficult to transfer at all, actually. It happens all the time in this company...they love taking internals for some reason. And my boss LOVES me...I created the position that I am in and the one my sister is currently in - my boss believes me to be a great deal more intelligent than I think I deserve credit for.

Also, with no direct supervision, it will take a long time for my sisters actions to be caught - unless someone reports it. If one of the girls from a different dept wrote my boss an e-mail after seeing one of the kids here - that would start things off, but I also won't go to someone else and involve them. If I want her reported, I have to have the stones to do that myself.

She absolutely is taking advantage of our relationship to get away with things. I don't know what's going on with her to make her think all of this is ok...but when I truly think about it - I shouldn't be all that shocked. She has always felt entitled....she doesn't have a problem with being somewhat dishonest to benefit herself....she feels no one helps her - even when people are bending over backwards to help her....she complains all the time about everything...she blame shifts....things are rarely her fault...

She is my sister, I don't like to rag about her like this - I believe we're all responsible for ourselves. In previous positions where we worked together there was always direct supervision. She seemed to do really well under those circumstances...but apparently in a job where she can make her own schedule and have a great deal of flexibility - she's just abusing every privilege given to her!

One more thing - we're union. Getting rid of people is nearly impossible. You have to have them get caught red handed 5 times before they can be fired or transferred to another position. If I start this storm - it will grow and grow...and if she knows it's me - she will make my life miserable. I know her well enough to know that. She's my vacation relief - already over the summer when she was upset with me she refused to cover me on a day in the middle of a short vacation I had planned. I had to tell my boss there would simply be no coverage that day because it had been previously approved and I was already going to be out of town...when my boss went to her and asked why she was backing out of it she retracted and said she thought something had come up but she had it under control and could do it now. My once peaceful refuge position is now littered with stress over the control someone else holds over my ability to take my time off. OH - and because she's my sister she asks me what I am taking the time off for. If I refuse to answer, she refuses to cover for me. When I do answer she "thinks" about it. I believe she determines whether she feels it's a good enough reason to take the time off...
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Old 27th September 2011, 7:03 PM   #7
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But you make it sounds like she holds all the cards and can inconvenience you at any time. Isnt there anything you can hold over her head? Vacation time, reporting? I know how hard it is to get rid of union people, and the guys I used to work with had her same attitude, and they HAD direct supervision....
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Old 27th September 2011, 8:14 PM   #8
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IN some ways it sounds like she reports to you and was hired to be your backup when situations warrant it. YOu have given valid concerns to address to her directly if you carry the authority to do so. If she ultimately reports to another employee (supervisor) then addres these matters professionally. Speak forthright and with as little malice as possible. The business will want the facts minus the "personal" additive. It is an option to find another job but I caution you that it would merely be "allowing" her to basically run the roost. How often are you going to "sacrifice" your career or well being so that your sibling can rule the relation? At some point as a lady and elder you must stand up and be accountable. So do promptly and with stern regard for what the future holds, we reap what we sow...so plant your concerns on solid ground.

Last edited by Tayla; 27th September 2011 at 8:18 PM..
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Old 25th October 2011, 8:23 PM   #9
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So weird....I decided to give it some time and see how things ride out. We're considered equals in our position, so I can't really tell her what to do. I'm just the one with more experience in this department - so I trained her and such.

So I did mention to her that I didn't think it was a good idea to bring kids to work... Here's the thing - I almost wonder if she figured out my SN and found this thread - she suddenly is not letting me see things quite the way she was before. I know she still runs shorter hours and longer lunches, but not on the days I am here. So I sort of pretend it isn't happening - figure I am being misinformed and the like. I really don't care so long as the work doesn't get sloughed off. If she spoke with our boss and got the OK to bring any of the kids in I honestly wouldn't care then either.

Basically she's behaving much better now. Though she still doesn't like to cover me when I am going to be out - but we're hiring a person to be on call for us for vacations and ill time, so that problem will be solved.

I think at this point my biggest issue would be the complaining. Which I will now turn around and do myself She was going on and on about how her job sucks and I told her to just try to concentrate on the good things. Her reply was that there are NO good things about her job. So I tried to point out a few - maybe the work itself is boring or whatever, but you're closer to home, more flexible schedule....she came back with she has less hours than she did before and took a paycut for the job...I remind her she knew both of those things would happen and had 60 days to change her mind but kept the job anyway. I feel like I am chasing my tail here. I don't believe it does any good to concentrate on the negative in a situation. How do I get her to stop doing that?

My H read an article that said complaining is contagious - then he told me I have been complaining more since she's been working with me. lol. Coincidence? I doubt it. Any ideas on a fix for this? Any methods for getting a chronic complainer to stop? Cause I really don't want to become one myself...every time I start to complain I try to think of something positive to stop myself. That's actually why I didn't reply to this for so long...wanted to gain some distance from the negativity.
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