Say “Goodbye” To Employee Productivity From Here On

by admin on July 6, 2009

I worked for a small company in an intimate office setting.

On the day I gave my boss my 2 weeks notice, he announced to our team of 4 that he wanted to take us all out for a farewell lunch on him in my honor to the restaurant of my choice. I chose the place and it worked out best for all of us to go together the day before I was to leave.

When I arrived at the restaurant I was told by my coworkers that they had just been told by our boss that he was not going to be able to make it to lunch. I was really surprised since we had planned this far enough in advance that we could all make it, but more so because it was my good-bye lunch. I wondered how then the lunch was going to be paid for, but I felt it would be tacky to ask and since I had brought money, I let it go. After our meals, the waitress asks how the checks should be divided and before I could say anything, one of my co-workers stated that she was covering my meal. I was grateful, but very embarrassed that this had to fall to her unexpectedly and so I made an attempt to say that I could pay, but it was clear she wanted to do this for me so I let her. I was really upset at my boss for putting us all in this position.

At lunch, my co-workers also presented me with a modest going away gift for which I was very grateful and expressed my thanks to my team both for the gift and for coming to lunch.

When we returned to the office one of my co-workers confided in me that my boss didn’t send money for lunch nor did he offer to reimburse anyone or make mention of lunch at all which I thought was awful considering it had been his idea and he had made the offer to pay initially which then fell to my co-workers. Not only had he stiffed them on lunch, but they had notified everyone on my team, including our boss, that whoever wanted could chip in for the gift. All of my co-workers generously chipped in, but my boss never responded to their email and never gave toward my gift. I certainly didn’t expect anyone to do anything for me and was grateful for everything my team was willing to do.  Personally, I’ve always participated and contributed to team events and gifts because I feel that’s just what you do when you’re part of a team even if what you can give is not much.

I felt I had to and did apologize to my co-workers for them paying for my lunch, but they were very understanding and willing to do this for me. I just felt embarrassed and very hurt that after working for my boss for over 3 years he was unwilling to come to the lunch he arranged for me and put the burden of the cost of lunch and a parting gift on my team.

Later that afternoon, he came to my desk and I stupidly assumed he was going to apologize for not making it to lunch. No, he just wanted to ask what time I was planning to leave the next day (my last day). Huh? Not one word about my lunch at all. I was just floored.  07-31-08

In three years of employment, there was no hint that the boss would act like this?  Well, the damage is done because your fellow co-workers now have no illusions as to how their investment of time, talent and energy is going to be honored at their leaving.  It’s tempting to ask the question of why one would bother to do a job well if the boss will eventually diminish the efforts.  The answer really is that we should work hard if for no other reason than our own self respect for giving an honest day’s labor for an honest day’s wage. 

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Stepmother August 25, 2009 at 7:11 pm

I’ve had my share of horrific bosses – 1) T, who checked up on my documented-excellent work by peering at me over the top of the cube wall, and calling the office disguising his voice. Many other stories there – when I finally resigned after confronting his awful bossiness, he cowardly took a day off on my last day. 2) J, who only stayed in her position because she was the only woman in a male-oriented job and they were afraid of her (they admitted it). My 1st day on job, she whispers in my ear about the CEO, using me as her psychiatrist. Later lies to and about me to our boss and demands I make a note of EVERY phone call our office rec’d each day (over 200/day) as a log. I saw her throw them in the trash when I turned them in (so why was the log needed other than to make my workday a hell?) 3) P, who told us all in mtg. to not even think of discussing office problems with board members – but used us to bring in food, etc. for board mtgs (on our own time). Didn’t ask us to volunteer for events, but signed us up (these were wkend events). Told us “if you’re exempt, hell, I don’t have to worry about ya.” If we’re in mtgs, she walks in and loudly interrupts with stories of her personal life without even a token “excuse me”. It was all about her. I was doing work of 2 people – she said “I guess we just all have to be ‘big girls’ and get tough, huh!” when I asked for a raise. I made myself a promise I’d NEVER work for someone again in my life who had no hard-won experience in how to LEAD (not MANAGE) people. Anyone can be a manager. It takes a rare person to LEAD and MOTIVATE.

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Kiki August 10, 2010 at 9:10 am

It’s not such a big deal that the coworkers had to pay for lunch. If you show up to the restaurant and you know the boss isn’t there, then you assume you will be paying for this on your own, then it doesn’t have to be such an extravagant meal that it puts you all in a financial spot.

So the boss reneged on his offer for lunch. I would assume as grown-ups you all would be able to handle it. I don’t doubt that your discomfort at paying for your own lunch, and gripes about the situation, may have caused the coworker to feel compelled to pay for you.

This wasn’t a dire life loss. It was lunch. It is unfortunate that your boss did not hold his promise to you for lunch, but this isn’t something severe enough to hold so much hostility.

P.S. There’s no such thing as a free meal.

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gramma dishes August 10, 2010 at 10:12 am

Kiki ~~ Since this is a forum about etiquette, I respectfully disagree with almost everything you said.

It IS a big deal. The boss had arranged the luncheon; he had said to the entire team of four that he was paying. Given that, the other people at the luncheon would not have expected to pay for even their own lunch and may not have had enough money with them to cover even a very minimal bill. His failure to follow through (without even an apology no less) is rude beyond belief!

There is no evidence in the OP’s post that would indicate that she ‘griped’ about the situation to the other employees. They were smart enough to realize what had happened and they stepped up admirably to rectify the situation. After the fact she did express that she was uncomfortable and embarrassed about the situation — who wouldn’t be? — and thanked them profusely for the luncheon (and gift).

I understand her feelings and agree with her that her boss’s conduct was totally egregious!

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