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my employee wasn’t respectful enough after the company messed up her paycheck

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This post, my employee wasn’t respectful enough after the company messed up her paycheck , was originally published by Alison Green on Ask a Manager.

A reader writes:

I’m not comfortable with one of my new staff members and how overconfident she is. Her work is great and she needed very little training but she’s got very big britches.

“Jane” has only been with us for two months. Just today she asked for a meeting with me and our payroll manager. It turns out payroll made an error entering her direct deposit information that resulted in Jane not getting paid, not once but two times.

Our company requires potential candidates to complete sample assignments during the interview process and we pay them an hourly contractor rate. It turns out she didn’t get paid for her assignment period, or for the next full pay cycle. The payroll employee apologized directly to Jane in an email, because it was their error in entering her information and not following up/fixing it that resulted in Jane not getting paid. Jane was able to show emails back and forth where she checked in with the payroll employee and asked if it was fixed, which they confirmed it was. Today was payday and Jane didn’t get paid. She checked with the employee again and they acknowledged that they “thought” it was fixed. It’s upsetting for Jane, I understand, but I think she was out of line about the whole thing. People make mistakes.

Neither payroll nor I knew anything about it until today. We both apologized and assured her the issue would be handled. After that, she looked at me and the payroll manager and said, “I appreciate your apology, but I need you both to understand that this can’t happen again. This has put me under financial strain and I can’t continue to work for COMPANY if this isn’t corrected today.”

The payroll manager was heavily in agreement, but I was speechless that she’d speak to management like that.

Payroll handled the whole thing and cut her a check with the okay from HR. Jane had referenced that not being paid put her in financial hardship and unable to pay bills, so HR allowed the use of the employee hardship fund and gave her $500 in gift cards so she can get groceries and gas and catch up on bills. I’m just kind of floored that she’s getting gift cards after speaking to her superiors like that. I’m also uncomfortable because why is our company responsible for her fiscal irresponsibility? Her personal finances or debts are not the company’s responsibility. I just don’t think it’s the company’s responsibility to give her more than what she’s earned (the extra $500 from the employee emergency relief fund) to fix things for her if she overspent or didn’t prioritize her bills or save smartly. We also don’t know if she is actually experiencing a financial hardship or just claiming she was.

HR allowed her paid time to go to the bank today and deposit her check. I told our HR person that while it’s not okay Jane didn’t get paid, the way she approached it was uncalled for. HR told me, “She’s right, it can’t happen again and it shouldn’t have happened at all.”

I’m getting tired of the respect gap I’m seeing with younger staff. I think Jane would be better suited in a different department. I’m not comfortable having her on my team since it’s obvious she doesn’t understand she’s entry-level and not in charge. Should I wait a while before suggesting she transfer to a different department?

I’m going to say this bluntly: you are very, very wrong about this situation, both as a manager and as a human.

Your company didn’t pay Jane money they owed her in the timeframe in which they were legally obligated to pay it. They did this twice.

Your company messed up, and their mistake impacted someone’s income. That’s a very big deal.

The payroll department handled this exactly as they should: they apologized, cut her a check immediately, and helped repair the damage their mistake had caused. Jane shouldn’t have to suffer for their error, and their remedies were appropriate and warranted.

Your objection to this because the company shouldn’t be responsible for Jane’s finances is nonsensical. Your company is responsible for paying the wages they’ve agreed to pay in the timeline they’ve agreed to pay them in. They didn’t meet that obligation, and so they fixed it. That’s not about them being responsible for Jane’s debts; it’s about them being responsible for adhering to a legal wage agreement and treating an employee well after failing at a basic responsibility and causing that person hardship.

Suggesting that someone who needs the paycheck they earned to be delivered to them on time “didn’t prioritize her bills or save smartly” is wildly out of touch with the reality of many people’s finances in this country and how many people live paycheck to paycheck (particularly someone entry-level who just started a job two months ago and may have been unemployed before that). But frankly, even if Jane didn’t save smartly, it’s irrelevant; your company’s mistake is what caused the problem, and it’s what’s at issue here.

Your speculation that Jane might be lying about her financial situation is bizarre and reflects poorly on you. It’s irrelevant and you don’t seem to have any reason for wondering that other than an apparent desire to cast Jane in a bad light.

You’re absolutely right that there’s a respect gap in this situation — but it’s from you toward your employees, not from Jane toward her employer.

There’s nothing disrespectful about Jane advocating for herself and explaining that she’d be unable to stay in the job if the payroll mistakes weren’t corrected. She gets to make that choice for herself, it’s not an unreasonable one, and it’s not disrespectful for her to spell it out. In fact, I’d argue it’s actively respectful since respect requires clear, polite, direct communication and she gave you that.

When you say Jane doesn’t seem to understand she’s entry-level and not in charge … Jane is very much in charge of where she’s willing to work and what she will and won’t tolerate. Every employee is, regardless of how junior or senior they might be.

Corporate power structures require deference in things like decision-making on a project, but not the sort of obeisance in all things that you seem to be looking for.

Somewhere along the way, you picked up a very warped idea of what employees owe their employers, but you don’t seem to have thought much about what employers owe their employees. You urgently need to do some rethinking and recalibration if you’re going to continue managing people.

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pfctdayelise
1 day ago
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Jane sounds like a boss...in the good way, not the OP way.
Melbourne, Australia
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deezil
1 day ago
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Just go read the comments for the absolute dragging this boss got for the letter.
Louisville, Kentucky
angelchrys
1 day ago
Oh, I can't wait

The story behind Mariah Carey’s secret ’90s alt-rock album

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the label killed the idea of releasing anything that could compromise her pop star image #
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pfctdayelise
1 day ago
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kinda awesome
Melbourne, Australia
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angiethewitch: disparatepeace: no-faced-criminal: itsaglitchthing: maythebae...

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angiethewitch:

disparatepeace:

no-faced-criminal:

itsaglitchthing:

maythebaebewithyou:

realitymonster:

masturbation-heals-my-soul:

This is a genre of content that I love. There’s one where a woman throws trash back into a guy’s car and keeps walking, and when he starts to get out of the car, a guy walking with a girl in the opposite direction slams the driver’s door shut and does the same finger wagging thing. I could watch these all day.

Found it

There’s one of a little boy doing the same, and his dad just, donkey kicks the door closed when the dude tries to get out of the car. WHILE PUSHING A BABY STROLLER!

image

Additionally:

Don’t litter, kids.

I didn’t know this was a whole damn series.

oh my god that last girl im in love

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pfctdayelise
10 days ago
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Melbourne, Australia
rocketo
10 days ago
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seattle, wa
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fxer
10 days ago
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Even if any are staged, I don’t care
Bend, Oregon
DMack
9 days ago
Normally, I'd say something about the audacity of somebody littering when there are other people around, but I'm in my hometown for thanksgiving this weekend and I definitely saw somebody throw trash out of their car TODAY, in full view of multiple people
fxer
9 days ago
Did you chew them out, on substack?
MotherHydra
7 days ago
It amazes me that there still exists a subset of people that have no compunction about littering in public.

Is 40 the New 60?

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Here's a funny story: I've been using and teaching Python for over 20 years, and designed its built-in set module, but nobody would hire me as a Python programmer when I was laid off by RStudio in February. I was "too senior" for every developer role I applied for, even when the first paragraph of my cover letter said I recognized that blah blah blah. Several of my friends have run into the same thing: while the experience that comes with age is valued in fields like music, it counts against you in tech.

…which made Baltes2020 a particularly interesting read. Its subtitle is, "How popular media portrays the employability of older software developers," and the first blow is what the tech press considers old:

An "old" software developer is… Number of articles
30+ 4
35+ 3
35-40+ 2
40+ 7
45+ 2
50+ 1
Not stated explicitly 5

The employability strategies recommended by the articles surveyed included specializing in a legacy technology, networking (which I think translates to "asking your friends if they can hire you"), moving into management, and mastering some of those durned new technologies what keeps cropping up. The articles also discussed such strategies as modifying your resume to make it harder for HR and its algorithms to guess your age, getting plastic surgery, and working overtime or weekends just like young'uns do. If my generation hadn't made tech such a toxic work environment by ensuring that people had little or no recourse when treated unfairly by employers, I'd be tempted to feel sorry for us. Instead, all I can say is, "Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap."

Baltes2020 Sebastian Baltes, George Park, and Alexander Serebrenik: "Is 40 the New 60? How Popular Media Portrays the Employability of Older Software Developers". IEEE Software, 37(6), 2020, 10.1109/ms.2020.3014178.

We studied the public discourse around age and software development, focusing on the United States. This work was designed to build awareness among decision makers in software projects to help them anticipate and mitigate challenges that their older employees may face.
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pfctdayelise
12 days ago
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Ouch
Melbourne, Australia
denubis
17 days ago
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a coworker prayed for my fiancé’s death so we didn’t invite her to our wedding … and now there is drama

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This post, a coworker prayed for my fiancé’s death so we didn’t invite her to our wedding … and now there is drama , was originally published by Alison Green on Ask a Manager.

A reader writes:

My fiancé, “Ted,” has worked for 10 years on a small, very close-knit team, all of whom seem to get along exceptionally well. All the team members and spouses/partners socialize outside of work together as well, and we consider them all to be close friends. We thought they felt the same.

A few months ago, on the way to a work event, Ted and his coworker/best friend “Bob” were involved in a serious car accident and were rushed to the ER. Everyone waited anxiously for hours as they both underwent surgery. Thankfully, they both recovered.

When Ted returned to work, a team member, “Sally,” told him she had a confession to make. She said that while they had been in surgery, she prayed that if God had to let one of them die, she hoped it would be him. (WTF?!?)

Ted was shocked and asked why. He said she gushed on and on about what a “saint” Bob is. (Her examples were that Bob gives her great advice on her struggling marriage and has loaned her money when she was in a tight spot.) She finished by saying, “No disrespect to you, but Bob is in a class by himself. You have to admit you can’t measure up to that” and walked away.

Ted was truly devastated to learn that she felt this way, but he tried to attribute it to the stress of the situation and did his best to put it behind him. He never told anyone else on the team what she said and tried to continue on at work as if nothing had happened, but his relationship with Sally hasn’t recovered. He is still deeply wounded by her comments.

Although Ted appears to be a confident person, underneath he is fairly insecure. He truly thought Sally was a good friend. So in addition to causing him a lot of pain, this has also rattled his confidence. Now he’s wondering if all his team members secretly feel the way she does. Ted and Sally have always seemed to have a warm, cordial relationship and he can’t understand why she would say such a hurtful thing. Ted is now constantly measuring himself against Bob and questioning why he isn’t as “good.”

I suggested that perhaps Sally has a crush on Bob or feels closer to him for reasons that have nothing to do with Ted. But he is convinced that thinks she sees him as a “second tier” man and worries that others do too.

Our wedding is coming up soon and the venue strictly limits the number of guests. When it was time to send out invitations, Ted invited the rest of the team and their spouses but did not invite Sally and her husband. I expressed my concern that this would cause more problems, but he replied that since we could only have a limited numbers of guests, he’d prefer to spend our special day with another pair of close friends who “genuinely love and appreciate” us rather than a woman with whom his relationship is now severely strained.

Two weeks ago, I got a call from another team member, “Alice,” asking me if I had forgotten to send an invitation to Sally. I explained that because the venue is small, we simply couldn’t invite everyone.

Alice then told Ted that if we didn’t invite Sally, she and the other women on the team wouldn’t attend either. Ted told her that since the invitations have already gone out, there is no way to add Sally and her husband now unless we “uninvited” two other guests, which we can not do.

Now all the women on the team, including Sally, are freezing Ted out. They refuse to speak to him except when forced to, which is really starting to adversely impact the collaborative work the team does and hampering Ted’s ability to do his job. The men on the team have sided with Ted, saying they feel we have the right to invite (or not invite) whomever we want to our own wedding. This has caused an even further rift in the team.

Everyone is questioning Ted about why we didn’t invite Sally, but he doesn’t feel it’s his place to explain why he doesn’t want her to attend and just keeps repeating that the decision was due to the venue size limitations.

The manager of the team works at another site, and because the team has previously worked so well together, has historically been fairly hands-off, and is oblivious to what is happening now. But if the work continues to suffer, she’s going to notice and ask what’s going on.

What, if anything, should Ted do? Should he preemptively go to the manger to give her a heads/up, or will that make it even worse to be seen as “tattling”? Is there anything he can do to “fix” this on the team, before it erodes their work product even more?

I did weaken and called the venue, who grudgingly said they would be willing to accommodate one more couple. Should we break down and invite Sally to the wedding for the sake of harmony at work?

What a mess.

I completely understand why you wouldn’t want Sally at your wedding! She prayed your fiancé would die. Maybe not exactly … but pretty close to it. And then for some reason, she felt the need to tell him. Why?! She should have kept it to herself; there was no need to inform Ted and if she hadn’t, presumably life at work would have just gone on as before. So Sally sounds like a bit of a nut.

However.

I’m not a fan of pressuring people into wedding invitations, but you also can’t exclude one person from a tight-knit group and expect that not to send a message and cause drama. You’ve got to either invite the whole group, or invite fewer of them so you’re not leaving out just one person, or leave out the one person and accept that it’s going to be A Thing. You and Ted chose the latter option but are hoping it won’t cause drama, and that’s not realistic.

It’s especially not going to happen when no one knows why Ted is upset with Sally. From what they can see, they had a close, tight-knit group of work friends and now Ted has randomly and hurtfully decided to exclude one person for no reason.

I get that he’s trying to blame it on the venue size, but that doesn’t really work when you’ve excluded one person from a “tier” of wedding guests. It wouldn’t work if he had excluded one uncle or one niece, and it doesn’t work when you exclude one of a very close team of colleagues. People are going to read something into it and be hurt.

The drama that it’s causing is pretty excessive — coworkers freezing him out and refusing to speak to him except when forced, to the point that it’s affecting their work, is a weirdly intense reaction (as well as inappropriate and unprofessional). That’s likely a sign that the boundaries on this team were messed up before any of this happened, and that’s why the wedding invitations are functioning as a bomb rather than more like an exploding soda can.

And again, in theory you should be able to invite whoever you want to your wedding and exclude anyone you don’t want there. And you can! You just can’t do it without consequence, and that’s what you’re seeing now.

As for what to do, if Ted wants to stick to his decision, he’s probably better off just being matter-of-fact about why: “Normally we would have loved to have the whole group, but when Bob and I were in the hospital Sally told me she prayed for me to die if one of us had to. So we’re not asking her to celebrate our wedding with us.” Then at least people would have context. It will probably cause a different kind of drama, but if Ted can stay matter-of-fact about it (“it is what it is and we can still work together fine, but it didn’t make sense to ask her to be at the wedding”) it’s probably a better option than the drama of No One Knows Why Ted Did Such an Unkind Thing.

Frankly, it might also be an opportunity to clear the air with Sally. It sounds like she might have no idea why Ted didn’t invite her. He could sit down with her and say, “I’m sorry this has gotten so out-of-hand. I should have spoken to you earlier. I was really hurt by what you said to me after Bob’s and my accident. I’d thought we were close friends, and I haven’t been able to get past you telling me that you prayed I’d die if one of us had to. It’s why we didn’t ask you to be at our wedding, but I’m realizing that I should have talked with you about it earlier.”

It’s possible that conversation could move things to a much better place. Maybe Sally didn’t realize how her remark came across and maybe she’ll be mortified in hindsight. Maybe it’ll turn out she was addled by painkillers when they talked and this is the latest in her long and embarrassing list of discoveries of things she said that day. Maybe they’ll have the sort of conversation that will make Ted happy to extend a wedding invitation to her. Who knows. But looking at where things stand now, not talking to her about it seems like the worse option. And just giving in and inviting her without having that conversation first doesn’t seem likely to fix things at this point.

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pfctdayelise
20 days ago
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Melbourne, Australia
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HandEFood
20 days ago
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And read the comments where they write a Dr Seuss book about this incident. 😂
Melbourne, Australia
iaravps
21 days ago
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"in theory you should be able to invite whoever you want to your wedding and exclude anyone you don’t want there. And you can! You just can’t do it without consequence"
Rio de Janeiro, Brasil
iaravps
21 days ago
just to add, what on earth was Sally's reasoning for telling Ted all that? I could understand it if she felt guilty and wanted his forgiveness, but telling him all the ways Bob deserved life is just not OK...

Anne Helen Petersen on revenge bedtime procrastination

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how a desperate need for control over our lives transforms into self-sabotage #
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rocketo
22 days ago
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eek
seattle, wa
denubis
21 days ago
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pfctdayelise
21 days ago
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Melbourne, Australia
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