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Personal matters and work


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Old 4th March 2018, 10:08 AM   #1
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Personal matters and work

So, there's this woman at my job, we used to be co-workers but since last month, I'm actually her superior.

She is a mom to one child who is about two I believe and this is something she always brings up. She's always really frazzled, distracted, she's sometimes late or has to leave early and her excuse for everything is her child.

When we were just co-workers I know my boss would mention it, but I really didn't really mind. The only thing I would mind is that she would often ask me about how I handle stuff with my daughter, or how I manage things, which would be annoying because I HATE talking about personal life at work, but I let it go because I assumed she just has no one to talk to about these things and we're the only two mothers there.

Well, now I am her superior and I'm really getting annoyed with her behavior. As I said, she's late, she constantly has special requests about leaving early, she can be distracted and she often doesn't get stuff done.

Last week, I needed a report on something, she was supposed to do it. She OFFERED to do it. She didn't do it. She told me that she didn't have time, that she was up all night with her son and that she fell asleep with him in the end, something like that. And that's another thing, she will often randomly talk about her son in the office and personal matters relating to being a mother and I just don't think that's the place for it.

In a way, I get it. I'm a single mom, work and motherhood can be hard to juggle, but not everyone needs to know your personal life. I can count on one hand how many times I brought up my daughter at work in the few years I've been here.

For the report, she could've just apologized, said she got caught up in other work and that she'll have it ready as soon as possible. But I just hate the excuses and bringing up personal matters.

Am I being unfair towards a fellow working mom?
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Old 4th March 2018, 10:41 AM   #2
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I'm interested to hear others' replies. All workplace cultures are different. I work from home alone now, but in my last job I would have hated if we all never talked about our personal life. My coworkers because some of my best friends because of how we bonded over parenting and other life issues. It was a small office with nearly all women, though, and most of us were mothers or grandmothers. Industry probably also matters. I worked for a non-profit, not a bank.

For me, the bigger issue would be her lack of productivity and blaming it on her home responsibilities.
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Old 4th March 2018, 10:43 AM   #3
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Unfair, no but not particularly compassionate.

As a co-worker she asked you for tips to bet a better single mom & get everything done. You didn't share your techniques with her because you don't like discussing personal stuff at work. But now as her supervisor you see her struggling. Be a good manager & counsel her. Ask her about her difficulties & offer suggestions for her to get her act together. Then document every infraction. Communicate each of those with her in a way that her receipt can be verified. When you fire her for failing to do her job, she is going to sue you for discrimination.
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Old 4th March 2018, 5:56 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CautiouslyOptimistic View Post
I'm interested to hear others' replies. All workplace cultures are different. I work from home alone now, but in my last job I would have hated if we all never talked about our personal life. My coworkers because some of my best friends because of how we bonded over parenting and other life issues. It was a small office with nearly all women, though, and most of us were mothers or grandmothers. Industry probably also matters. I worked for a non-profit, not a bank.

For me, the bigger issue would be her lack of productivity and blaming it on her home responsibilities.
I mean, I get that some environements are different, but we're in corporate finance. It's not a warm and fuzzy place to be and as a woman it's hard enough without brining motherhood and kids into it.

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Unfair, no but not particularly compassionate.

As a co-worker she asked you for tips to bet a better single mom & get everything done. You didn't share your techniques with her because you don't like discussing personal stuff at work. But now as her supervisor you see her struggling. Be a good manager & counsel her. Ask her about her difficulties & offer suggestions for her to get her act together. Then document every infraction. Communicate each of those with her in a way that her receipt can be verified. When you fire her for failing to do her job, she is going to sue you for discrimination.
Oh I document every infraction and have status reports on all the people I manage.

I actually did always respond when she would ask me how I manage stuff despite being uncomfortable. But our situations are different, we're different people, our kids are different, it's obvious that she's handling stuff differently than I do.

It's not that I don't have compassion, but I'm not a guidance counselor, I can't tell her how to conduct her personal life. All I need is for her to focus on work and do what she needs to do.
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Old 4th March 2018, 5:59 PM   #5
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If you gave her some pointers & time management tips, there isn't much more you can do. Bring it up at her next review & possibly put her on a PIP. If the possibility for an outside course on time management or work / life balance is in the budget, suggest it as part of the PIP.
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Old 5th March 2018, 5:56 PM   #6
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She's going to take advantage of you now because she assumes you are on board with her because you're the other mother there. If I were you, I'd tell her, "I don't let my personal life interfere with my work except in the most dire of emergencies. Employees are expected to keep up no matter what personal life they chose."

No way would a male boss be expected to nurture and coddle her into doing her job!
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Old 6th March 2018, 4:54 PM   #7
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She's going to take advantage of you now because she assumes you are on board with her because you're the other mother there. If I were you, I'd tell her, "I don't let my personal life interfere with my work except in the most dire of emergencies. Employees are expected to keep up no matter what personal life they chose."

No way would a male boss be expected to nurture and coddle her into doing her job!
That's exactly what I'm worried about. That if I were to have a conversation with her that it's either going to turn out like I'm not being understanding of her working mom problems or that I'm acting better than her because I handle things better.

I guess she expects me to majorly relate to her plight and turn a blind eye to everything, but I really don't.
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Old 7th March 2018, 3:57 PM   #8
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I think what I'd do is make some written rules and guidelines for everyone under you. You might have to get permission or guidance from above first. Generally, instead of singling someone out, be sure everyone understands the rules, and then whoever disregards them, you can say, I know you read the rules, so why are you pushing it? It needs to stop. I mean, most places have limits on how much personal time everyone can take, and that should have ZERO to do with who has kids and who doesn't. Also, you can make sure she knows you're keeping track. If she wants to leave at 1 to go pick her kid up because he's sick, then when she comes to you, you say, "So be sure and write down that you're taking a half-day off." She's going to say something like, Well, I didn't think I'd have to do that, and you say, "You've read the manual (rules), right?" You have X amount of personal and sick and vacation days. I'm lenient so you can use any of those to take care of your kids or whatever, but when they're gone, they're gone."

Also, if she squawks about taking say 2 hours off and doesn't think that should count against her days she's allotted, do what most employers would do, which is, "That's fine, but you'll need to make up those hours before the end of this pay period." In other words, don't give her time off unless she makes up those hours.

I take off work from my small office job per an agreement I made with my boss years ago but I offer to make the hours up and come in a day I'm not working, or like last time, he sent me something at home on what would have been a day off from there.
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