I’m a state government employee, and it’s become common knowledge in our office that the #1 boss is going to be retiring soon, but is actively looking for a job in the private sector so he can maintain his high-end lifestyle. I don’t have a problem with him trying to get another job for when he leaves here, but it’s what he recently did with all of us employees that’s so irritating. Up until now, he rarely gave us worker-bees the time of day. But now, knowing we have relationships with a lot of local businesses, he called a meeting with our department and told us he is available and would be happy to give us his time and join us for some of our meetings with these businesses. Are you kidding us??!! We sat there and politely listened to his spiel, but when he left the room, we all laughed and talked about his gall. Does he really think we’re that stupid and can’t see through his self-serving offer?
We’re not stupid
Dear We’re not stupid:
Unfortunately, this is not so unusual. I can look at your boss’s actions from two different perspectives. In one way, you are lucky he is giving you an option. It is not uncommon for management to tell employees they will accompany them to their meetings. Similarly, management can easily justify contacting your sources on their own. From another perspective, under the most ideal circumstances in an organization, an engaged boss would have wanted and encouraged meeting his employees’ contacts long before now, and you would have requested and supported this interaction in order to enrich your working relationships with these individuals.
I don’t get it. I wasn’t invited to the retirement party for a guy I worked with over 20 years ago. Even though it’s been a long time since we’ve actually worked together, we’re both in the same line of work and our paths crossed over those 20 years from time to time. Since the party, a couple of people told me this guy has always been jealous of me because I left the area and increased my experience by going with a larger organization. When I returned to the area with my employer, I made a big effort to reconnect with him and even offered his organization my assistance and resources. Sometimes he was accepting and other times he was indifferent or aloof. I was just trying to help him and some of the other guys I had worked with, as well as the place where I got my start. I can’t deny that I’m hurt and dreading the next time we run into each other. My question to you is what should I say when we do.
Hurt by lack of invite
Hurt by lack of invite:
It sounds like this person’s jealousy and/or insecurity over your success has gotten in the way of him doing the right thing. I suggest you be like you have always been. Maintain your professionalism, congratulate him on his retirement and leave it at that. Any attempt to discuss your concerns is not worth the risk of making matters worse. Take comfort in knowing your actions have always been done with the best intentions.
© 2012 Rozanne R. Worrell