I work in a small hair salon with three other stylists. It’s a real casual place, which is part of why I wanted to work here. Unlike a lot of salons, we don’t have to punch a clock nor do we have a dress code. The owner, our boss, trusts us to be professional. Now that we’re in the dog days of summer, one of my co-workers has been showing up in short shorts, or what I call hot pants. I think it’s so inappropriate and unprofessional, but I figured it wasn’t my place to say anything until several of my clients complained about it to me. Instead of going to the owner, I thought I should go to my co-worker and let her know how my clients felt. Man, that backfired big time! She not only told me what she wears is none of my business, but she also said I was jealous of her body and the only people she has to answer to are her clients and our boss. I tried to tell her I was only trying to do the right thing and that I would want her to come to me if the roles were reversed. I don’t think her clients will tell her if her shorts are bothering them. I realize our boss calls the shots, but I don’t think she’s being smart about this. My clients are my number one priority. Without them, I’m out of work. Now, my co-worker barely acknowledges my presence and wears those short shorts more than ever before. I can’t win. What do you think about this?
Hot pants too hot for salon
Dear Hot pants too hot for salon:
It is a shame your co-worker did not take what you relayed to her in the manner in which you meant it. You did the right thing by going directly to her, but, not surprisingly, as she indicated, if her clients and the boss, the salon owner, have said nothing to her, your words have little to no weight. If your clients continue to take issue with this stylist’s wardrobe, let them know you addressed the matter with her, and that you could go to the salon owner on their behalf but it will have a much bigger impact if the owner hears their complaints directly from them.
About two months ago, I not only turned down a promotion but took a lesser job in a different department so my commute would be 50 miles less. In my old job not only was I in management, but I had a boss who respected my opinions and gave me the freedom to do what I thought was right. Now, I’m reporting to someone I rarely agree with. She refuses to listen to my point of view and rushes everything versus being more methodical, which is the way I operate. It seems like we disagree everyday on what and how things should be done. I don’t want her job; but I sometimes feel like I’m in competition with her. She doesn’t just tell me her opinion; she talks down to me as though she needs to teach me. I have a PhD just like her; I’m not an entry level employee and she knows that. I’ve never said this about anyone, but this woman pushes my buttons like my ex-wife did and still does, so much so I find it impossible to articulate my opinions and positions effectively. I’m having a real hard time with this. Any suggestions?
Struggling with new boss
Dear Struggling with new boss:
Wow! To compare your inability to work with your boss to the problems you had/have with your ex-wife is illustrative to say the least. Based on what you have shared with me, a couple of things may be at play here. The obvious thing is that the two of you have very different work styles, but the other issue may be pertaining to the insecurities each of you have. She may feel threatened by you, realizing you could do her job; and you may feel like you need to remind her you are in a lesser position because you volunteered for it, not because you were demoted.
I am a firm believer in the old saying, “You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.” You are the new guy in her department. I suggest you lay low and follow her directions to the letter; and as you gain her respect and trust, interject your thoughts and opinions without dismissing hers. Hopefully, she will respect you and recognize what a great asset you can be when she realizes you have so much to contribute and do not want her job.
Best of luck!
© 2013 Rozanne R. Worrell