Author Topic: Need Some Advice: Bothered and Bewildered  (Read 9704 times)

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Little Girl Blue

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Need Some Advice: Bothered and Bewildered
« on: August 26, 2013, 07:11:53 PM »
Hi Everyone,


I need you help to get a little perspective on a problem I'm having at the office.  A small incident has gone nuclear, and I didn't mean for this to blow up into a total disaster, but I was crying and my hands were shaking my entire 45 minute drive home, so I thought you guys might be able to help me sort it out and give me so solid etiquette advice to gird my proverbial loins with for tomorrow.

I've mentioned before that I work at a small nonprofit.  It's just my boss and I in the office so we work pretty closely together and need to be able to get along to get stuff done.

Today was a busy day.  We had a medium-sized event that started first thing in the morning, so I was up and at the site at 6:45 to get everything in order.  I actually came in a little earlier than I needed to because there was something I needed to get from the office that I knew my boss wouldn't remember to pick up and take with her. 

Things started to get a little hairy when my boss mixed up the cash from one part of the event with cash from another part and then got flustered and irritated when we were trying to sort it out and tried to take control over it again by micromanaging me when I was trying to count out and sort one set of receipts from another (it didn't help that on the cash she'd taken she hadn't written down what she'd taken it for).  At one point I got really frustrated but managed to keep it cool and not show how irritated I was.  My boss is a super nice woman and works very hard, but she's forgetful and easily distracted.

So, after a long day we finally managed to get back to the office and start to count up the event receipts and get things straightened out when one of our major donor/volunteers, Betty, calls.  This is a woman who does a lot for our organization, but she also (I think) takes advantage of the fact that we rely a lot on her for one of our events and uses it to get us to do personal favors for her.  It's always little stuff, nothing that usually takes more than 15 - 30 minutes, but it bothers me.  So, today she needed a map of the area showing a particular hotel and a couple other places because her daughter is having a wedding in 2 weeks and their 200 guests need to know how to get to all the places they have to go to over the course of the weekend.

My boss explains what is needed and asks me to stop what I'm doing and start putting the map together.  The project involved scanning a map, editing it in a photo editing program and adding some text - think Smith - Jones Wedding : Pre-Wedding Shindig Date and Time.  Once again, it didn't take very long, but it irritated me that we were being asked to do it during work hours.  I half-jokingly asked my boss if Betty didn't have someone on staff or friends to help her with this sort of thing.  My boss reminded me of all the great things that Betty and her family do for our organization, and I resigned myself to doing this thing because my boss had asked me to do even though I thought it was kind of inappropriate that Betty had asked us to do it in the first place.

This was working well for me, I got the project done in about 15 - 20 minutes.  I hand it off to my boss and start getting back to work.  My boss has some fixes, I make the changes.   I give her another copy to look at with as little comment as possible because I know how she feels about us needing to do this for Betty, and even though I see where she's coming from, I'm bothered enough by it that I know I will have trouble keeping my expression neutral if we get into a conversation about it. 

After I handed off the last revision, my boss asked me what I think about the project (something that I really don't know how to answer in the best of situations) and, feeling pretty gloomy by that point, I shrugged and said I didn't really think much about it at all.  It was what I had been asked to produce.

This got my boss very upset.  She asked me if I thought she should have told Betty that we wouldn't help her.

I said (paraphrased "No.  I just don't understand why she came to us to do it in the first place."

This got my boss even more upset, and by this point I was very upset too because I really, really was trying to avoid this and I hate confrontation.  She repeated what she'd just said and I tried to explain that it bothered me when Betty called us during business hours and asked us to do her a personal favor. 

My boss kept pressing me until I was holding back tears because I was so uncomfortable with the situation, and finally I told her, in the calmest most rational voice I could manage, that if I were in Betty's shoes I would never, ever, call a friend at her place of business during work hours and ask my friend to ask her employee to do me a personal favor on company time - no matter how much I had done for that friend and her business - and that if Betty had called and asked if I could help her out after our work for the day was done I would have felt much better about it and been more than happy to help her out given all that she has done for our organization, but asking a friend for personal favors using company time, personal and equipment was something I was uncomfortable with.  Despite this, I was willing to do what my boss wanted.  It just bothered me and I was sorry, but that was how I felt.

At this point I was in tears, and my boss was very angry with me. 

She said her feelings were hurt and that she's never been talked to that way; that I was questioning her and she was very upset with me.  Then she started listing all little allowances she gave to me (the company cellphone that she insisted we had to have so that I could post pictures to social media sites - something she hasn't let me do because neither of us have enough time at events for her to approve my posts - the five - ten minute grace period she allows for me getting into work at the start of the day when the weather is bad or something unexpected happens - something she has always insisted is perfectly okay; please take my time - the occasions I've had to leave work early or come in late for doctors appointments - see above - and the extra days off she has insisted that I take because we work so hard -which I have protested every time because we've got stuff to do and not enough time to do it in - and so on and so forth. 

At this point I don't know what to do.  By the end of the day I managed to cool things down a little bit by way of profuse and teary apologies, but now my boss is sort of blackmailing me with all the little gimmes she's foisted off on me over the last year and a half (largely against my will, although I admit I enjoy them).  I feel like she's been giving me these things so that she can use them against me, implying that these were things that I asked for and have taken advantage of even though I have always been careful to let her know that I can schedule my appointments for outside of work hours / use my own cell phone for work calls / don't need the extra time-off, or that I'm happy to make up for time I've lost being late by staying late after work when it happens. 

She's making veiled threats about taking away my work cellphone (after encouraging me to use it as my personal cell and dump my other cell even though I very much wanted to keep my work and private calls separate).  I've pulled all my non-work pictures and stuff off the phone and am happy to let it go.

I tried to explain that I wasn't questioning her - she could tell me to do whatever she wanted.  She is my boss after all, but that she had pressed me to tell her what my problem was with Betty's request, even though I had tried to avoid discussing it.  I told her I was sorry that my irritation over being asked to do personal favors for Betty on work time upset her, or made her feel that I was questioning her.  I even apologized for telling her how I truly felt about the situation, despite the fact that she has repeatedly asked me to be honest with her and insisted that she thinks of me as a friend. 

So - for those of you who have made it this far - what should I do?  Was Betty's request really appropriate and was I totally in the wrong to be uncomfortable with it?  How do I deal with my boss in the future when she presses me to tell her what I think about something and I'm not sure I can give her an answer she'll like without lying to her or her getting mad at me anyway for being evasive?   

* Edited - hit post before I had finished posting
« Last Edit: August 26, 2013, 07:54:32 PM by Little Girl Blue »

Promise

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Re: Need Some Advice: Bothered and Bewildered
« Reply #1 on: August 26, 2013, 07:48:04 PM »
Hmmm...I can see why you are bothered. I'm the director of a non-profit that is dependent on others' giving. You want to be honest with your time since you are paid by donors and not do someone's personal business. So it seems your boss is afraid that if she says, "I'm sorry, but that isn't possible today," that the donor will not give as much or at all. Since you are the employee and her request of you is not illegal (but perhaps inappropriate) you do what she asks. She knows how you feel about it. If she asks your opinion in the future, you might suggest that phrase. Remember, no explanation is needed with it. If she persists, you just keep replying, "It's not possible."

LeveeWoman

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Re: Need Some Advice: Bothered and Bewildered
« Reply #2 on: August 26, 2013, 08:04:13 PM »
Hi Everyone,


I need you help to get a little perspective on a problem I'm having at the office.  A small incident has gone nuclear, and I didn't mean for this to blow up into a total disaster, but I was crying and my hands were shaking my entire 45 minute drive home, so I thought you guys might be able to help me sort it out and give me so solid etiquette advice to gird my proverbial loins with for tomorrow.

I've mentioned before that I work at a small nonprofit.  It's just my boss and I in the office so we work pretty closely together and need to be able to get along to get stuff done.

Today was a busy day.  We had a medium-sized event that started first thing in the morning, so I was up and at the site at 6:45 to get everything in order.  I actually came in a little earlier than I needed to because there was something I needed to get from the office that I knew my boss wouldn't remember to pick up and take with her. 

Things started to get a little hairy when my boss mixed up the cash from one part of the event with cash from another part and then got flustered and irritated when we were trying to sort it out and tried to take control over it again by micromanaging me when I was trying to count out and sort one set of receipts from another (it didn't help that on the cash she'd taken she hadn't written down what she'd taken it for).  At one point I got really frustrated but managed to keep it cool and not show how irritated I was.  My boss is a super nice woman and works very hard, but she's forgetful and easily distracted.

So, after a long day we finally managed to get back to the office and start to count up the event receipts and get things straightened out when one of our major donor/volunteers, Betty, calls.  This is a woman who does a lot for our organization, but she also (I think) takes advantage of the fact that we rely a lot on her for one of our events and uses it to get us to do personal favors for her.  It's always little stuff, nothing that usually takes more than 15 - 30 minutes, but it bothers me.  So, today she needed a map of the area showing a particular hotel and a couple other places because her daughter is having a wedding in 2 weeks and their 200 guests need to know how to get to all the places they have to go to over the course of the weekend.

My boss explains what is needed and asks me to stop what I'm doing and start putting the map together.  The project involved scanning a map, editing it in a photo editing program and adding some text - think Smith - Jones Wedding : Pre-Wedding Shindig Date and Time.  Once again, it didn't take very long, but it irritated me that we were being asked to do it during work hours.  I half-jokingly asked my boss if Betty didn't have someone on staff or friends to help her with this sort of thing.  My boss reminded me of all the great things that Betty and her family do for our organization, and I resigned myself to doing this thing because my boss had asked me to do even though I thought it was kind of inappropriate that Betty had asked us to do it in the first place.

This was working well for me, I got the project done in about 15 - 20 minutes.  I hand it off to my boss and start getting back to work.  My boss has some fixes, I make the changes.   I give her another copy to look at with as little comment as possible because I know how she feels about us needing to do this for Betty, and even though I see where she's coming from, I'm bothered enough by it that I know I will have trouble keeping my expression neutral if we get into a conversation about it. 

After I handed off the last revision, my boss asked me what I think about the project (something that I really don't know how to answer in the best of situations) and, feeling pretty gloomy by that point, I shrugged and said I didn't really think much about it at all.  It was what I had been asked to produce.

This got my boss very upset.  She asked me if I thought she should have told Betty that we wouldn't help her.

I said (paraphrased "No.  I just don't understand why she came to us to do it in the first place."

This got my boss even more upset, and by this point I was very upset too because I really, really was trying to avoid this and I hate confrontation.  She repeated what she'd just said and I tried to explain that it bothered me when Betty called us during business hours and asked us to do her a personal favor. 

My boss kept pressing me until I was holding back tears because I was so uncomfortable with the situation, and finally I told her, in the calmest most rational voice I could manage, that if I were in Betty's shoes I would never, ever, call a friend at her place of business during work hours and ask my friend to ask her employee to do me a personal favor on company time - no matter how much I had done for that friend and her business - and that if Betty had called and asked if I could help her out after our work for the day was done I would have felt much better about it and been more than happy to help her out given all that she has done for our organization, but asking a friend for personal favors using company time, personal and equipment was something I was uncomfortable with.  Despite this, I was willing to do what my boss wanted.  It just bothered me and I was sorry, but that was how I felt.

At this point I was in tears, and my boss was very angry with me. 

She said her feelings were hurt and that she's never been talked to that way; that I was questioning her and she was very upset with me.  Then she started listing all little allowances she gave to me (the company cellphone that she insisted we had to have so that I could post pictures to social media sites - something she hasn't let me do because neither of us have enough time at events for her to approve my posts - the five - ten minute grace period she allows for me getting into work at the start of the day when the weather is bad or something unexpected happens - something she has always insisted is perfectly okay; please take my time - the occasions I've had to leave work early or come in late for doctors appointments - see above - and the extra days off she has insisted that I take because we work so hard -which I have protested every time because we've got stuff to do and not enough time to do it in - and so on and so forth. 

At this point I don't know what to do.  By the end of the day I managed to cool things down a little bit by way of profuse and teary apologies, but now my boss is sort of blackmailing me with all the little gimmes she's foisted off on me over the last year and a half (largely against my will, although I admit I enjoy them).  I feel like she's been giving me these things so that she can use them against me, implying that these were things that I asked for and have taken advantage of even though I have always been careful to let her know that I can schedule my appointments for outside of work hours / use my own cell phone for work calls / don't need the extra time-off, or that I'm happy to make up for time I've lost being late by staying late after work when it happens. 

She's making veiled threats about taking away my work cellphone (after encouraging me to use it as my personal cell and dump my other cell even though I very much wanted to keep my work and private calls separate).  I've pulled all my non-work pictures and stuff off the phone and am happy to let it go.

I tried to explain that I wasn't questioning her - she could tell me to do whatever she wanted.  She is my boss after all, but that she had pressed me to tell her what my problem was with Betty's request, even though I had tried to avoid discussing it.  I told her I was sorry that my irritation over being asked to do personal favors for Betty on work time upset her, or made her feel that I was questioning her.  I even apologized for telling her how I truly felt about the situation, despite the fact that she has repeatedly asked me to be honest with her and insisted that she thinks of me as a friend. 

So - for those of you who have made it this far - what should I do?  Was Betty's request really appropriate and was I totally in the wrong to be uncomfortable with it?  How do I deal with my boss in the future when she presses me to tell her what I think about something and I'm not sure I can give her an answer she'll like without lying to her or her getting mad at me anyway for being evasive?   

* Edited - hit post before I had finished posting

No, she's not.

katycoo

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Re: Need Some Advice: Bothered and Bewildered
« Reply #3 on: August 26, 2013, 08:17:09 PM »
I guess I don't really understand why you care so much.

Its not your busienss, its not your bottom line, and keeping a benefactor (who is turn, helps keep your business going) happy goes directly towards keeping your employed.

I know its annoying to be asked to do non-work related things, but ATEOTD you just do them, ake your paycheck and go home.

lilfox

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Re: Need Some Advice: Bothered and Bewildered
« Reply #4 on: August 26, 2013, 08:24:52 PM »
Whoa, your boss seemed to take your response very personally.  On the face of it, it seems like a pretty big overreaction, threatening to take your phone and other privileges?  Telling you you hurt her feelings because you didn't jump for joy over creating someone's wedding invitation map??  It's like she wants to cultivate this friendly beneficent relationship with you but only if you completely fall in line with her every thought - pushing these perks on you is forming a situation where (at least she feels) you owe her, so I can see where you'd be uncomfortable with that.

The donor's request was inappropriate but the precedent was set by all the previous favors done for her by your boss.  Your boss made the call (however unwise) to do this favor, or make you do it, and you did.  I also think your boss was wrong to grill you about how you "felt" about doing the favor - all the boss should have cared about was that you did a good job in a short period of time.  Particularly since the boss had to recognize that you weren't thrilled about being taken off your primary work (and maybe it showed), so that conversation was never going to end well.

I think you have the right words to say next time:  "I'm not sure I can give you an answer you'll like."  You could go further in pre-empting her by saying how much you appreciate all the things she does for you and though you feel like your time is best used on Primary Task, not Donor Favor, that if she wants you to do Donor Favor, you are of course happy to oblige.

crella

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Re: Need Some Advice: Bothered and Bewildered
« Reply #5 on: August 26, 2013, 08:31:39 PM »
I don't think that was fair of her at all. The issue was , does someone (although the are a great benefactor) have the right to ask for personal favors from a company on company time, but somehow it got turned around into 'but I do all this for YOU'. Something got skewed somewhere, and it wasn't you. I too, am puzzled as to why she took it so personally. The way she kept pushing you for an answer, it almost seems like she was in a bad mood and spoiling for an argument.

blarg314

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Re: Need Some Advice: Bothered and Bewildered
« Reply #6 on: August 26, 2013, 08:34:25 PM »
Your boss may be hardworking, and pleasant when she gets her way, but I don't see the nice person part. What I see is an oversensitive, vindictive bully.

She did something unprofessional and thoughtless (pulling an employee off a time critical task at the end of a long day to do a random, non-time critical favour for a work contact, something that made the work day even longer).  It was particularly galling because the day was longer due to the fact that you were fixing *her* mistake, and she was micromanaging the fixing process.

Then she pushed, and pushed and pushed to get an honest opinion out of you in gory detail, even though you resisted, and even though she could probably guess your views. Then, when she didn't like your (very reasonable) opinion, she got personally offended and threw a tantrum like a six year old. You apologized profusely. She won't let it drop, and continues to punish you for daring to disagree with her. She's now continuing to threaten you for stating your opinion.

So, now you know what your boss is really like. You're also pretty stuck - it's a two person work-place, she has the power, and it doesn't sound like you have an HR or supervisors to go to.

For what to do in the future... You've got a couple main approaches.

Approach 1: Lie, and CYA. Don't state your opinions, and simply do what she tells you, uncomplainingly. If she pushes or asks for an opinion, lie outright and tell her what she wants to hear. She's shown she doesn't deserve honesty, and you will be punished for giving it.   If she gives you 'perks', don't take them - make extra sure to leave early for work, leave the cell in your desk until asked to use it for a work related function, scrupulously take time off for appointments. 

Don't regard this woman as your friend. She isn't. Don't assume she's super nice. She's not. Avoid telling her personal stuff that may be used against you - keep your work relationship polite but non-personal on your part. It won't be a friendly, congenial work environment, but she won't have ammunition to take you down, either.

Approach 2: (warning, this could result in losing your job). Stand up to her. Give back the cell phone (bonus points if you have the original box). If she asks you for your opinion, state it calmly and honestly (you forced me to tell you what I think, and now you're punishing me for it. I don't think that is reasonable or fair) and calmly wait out the tantrum. Turn down offered perks directly. She may back down if you stand up to her bullying, but she may escalate and threaten to fire you.

Approach 3: Lie low, but keep an eye out for a new boss and a new job and give notice if you find it.

FWIW, I think that your boss is an idiot. While you were fixing the receipts, she could have gone off, printed and annotated a map and emailed it (without having to go through a round of corrections with you). It would save time, and she would have taken responsibility for the inappropriate promises she was making. Or, for that matter, what was wrong with "We'll send it to you tomorrow?" rather than breaking into the middle of a time critical task at the end of a long day.

GLaDOS

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Re: Need Some Advice: Bothered and Bewildered
« Reply #7 on: August 26, 2013, 08:40:03 PM »
Agreed with LeveeWoman. The situation as you've described makes it seem like she's been hoarding all these petty things (that she insisted you take!) as proof she's right about allowing Betty to use you as a personal custom printing service.

I'm wondering if she's doing an awful job of dealing with the guilt she feels about letting Betty use the company as a personal (free!) go-pher.

I wholeheartedly agree with you. Keep business business, and personal favors personal, /especially/ when you're dealing with donations and other people's time. It's very shady for Betty to use her standing as a good donor to finagle favors. Her donation isn't payment for services or a retainer, and if she feels like she should get something for her money, she should invest in a for-profit business.  If she's well-intentioned and just sees "Friend has photoshop. I need photoshop. Friend= photoshop job" I'm sure she'll be understanding if you don't drop everything that you're doing right exactly that instant and get it to her sometime that day (which is still blazing fast turn around!), citing being above board or something.


Whatever you decide to do, I don't think rolling over is a good way to handle your boss. I know how hard it is to be in the doghouse for no reason, or  it's more her fault than yours, and the first instinct is "Do what it takes so she's not mad at me". But she knows this works, now, and anything she gives you (which, none of it is all that groundbreaking or a staggering revelation of how amazing and fantastic and what a wonderful boss she is. It's nice she gave you a cell and vacation days and lets you schedule dr's appointments during work hours, but unless you're terribly ill all the time, I doubt you take much vacation or time off anyway. it's fairly standard.) will be used against you if she feels attacked. How can that foster a good working environment if you can't trust that she won't rip the rug out from under you in what feels like a set up? Or that what's freely given one day won't get invoiced the next with payment due in full?


So I'd clear the air, and clear the board. Obviously she doesn't respond well to what she views as an attack or a criticism (her problem, not yours). Talk to her honestly, making it about your feelings and your response to things. "Boss, I enjoy working here, believe in the vision, etc, etc, but I need to know we can trust each other. As a non-profit, you know it's very important to stay above board. I don't mind doing favors for Betty. She's a great donor. But if we were to be audited, I want to be able prove what I was doing was related to the non-profit. I don't want her or us to get in trouble or get audited. So if she asks for more favors, and they're not critical, I'd like to do them after the business day has ended. "

And then I'd separate work as much as possible. If possible, get a pay as you go phone and use her phone strictly for work. (probably looks better on paper, too). Try not to schedule time off during business hours unless it's necessary. Don't give her ammunition, and don't let her take it away as a punishment, give it up freely of your own volition, and it takes the wind right out of her sails. (Obviously that means no E-hell during work hours, either ;))



ETA Blarg said what I was trying to so much more concisely.
I'm sorry that your boss isn't  who you thought she was.
« Last Edit: August 26, 2013, 09:09:14 PM by GLaDOS »
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Library Dragon

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Re: Need Some Advice: Bothered and Bewildered
« Reply #8 on: August 26, 2013, 08:47:11 PM »
This is not appropriate on Betty's part or your boss' part.  If I were a donor/supporter of your non-profit I would be livid that you were using the time and resources that I helped to provide to do someone's petsonal errand that is not part of your mission.

Your organization can end up loosing more than one supporter if this becomes known.

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NyaChan

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Re: Need Some Advice: Bothered and Bewildered
« Reply #9 on: August 26, 2013, 09:42:27 PM »
I'm going against the grain here, sorry.  Your boss gave you a task.  You apparently showed enough disapproval of this that she was prompted to ask you what your problem was.  Instead of brushing it off pleasantly, you criticized the boss's friend and business contact as well as questioned the boss' judgment in agreeing to the friend's request.  I am not surprised that she did not react positively (though of course the extent of the reaction being appropriate or not is definitely questionable).  If you acting that way has consequences, I don't see that as blackmailing though.  I see that as a boss who previously was willing to be flexible on some matters no longer wanted to be quite so flexible for an employee who is behaved (in her eyes) in a bad way.

Little Girl Blue

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Re: Need Some Advice: Bothered and Bewildered
« Reply #10 on: August 27, 2013, 01:20:27 AM »
OP - Thanks for the input and advice. 

Approach 1: Lie, and CYA. Don't state your opinions, and simply do what she tells you, uncomplainingly. If she pushes or asks for an opinion, lie outright and tell her what she wants to hear. She's shown she doesn't deserve honesty, and you will be punished for giving it.   If she gives you 'perks', don't take them - make extra sure to leave early for work, leave the cell in your desk until asked to use it for a work related function, scrupulously take time off for appointments. 

 Blarg - I think this is where I'm going.  I have to keep the phone with me in case she calls or texts, but other than that I think you have the right idea.  She's more than welcome to ax me from the plan.  It would inconvenience her more than me, to be perfectly honest.


It's like she wants to cultivate this friendly beneficent relationship with you but only if you completely fall in line with her every thought - pushing these perks on you is forming a situation where (at least she feels) you owe her, so I can see where you'd be uncomfortable with that.

I'm beginning to feel like this is what's going on, and that's what really upset me.  She's been practically maternal toward me, and even though I was reluctant to accept the perks offered I she kept after it until I really did believe that she was only being nice and that she thought of me as a friend more than an employee.  I don't like to think that she intentionally set out to manipulate me like that, but it certainly feels that way. 


I'm going against the grain here, sorry.  Your boss gave you a task.  You apparently showed enough disapproval of this that she was prompted to ask you what your problem was.  Instead of brushing it off pleasantly, you criticized the boss's friend and business contact as well as questioned the boss' judgment in agreeing to the friend's request.

I did try to brush it off pleasantly and few times, she just wouldn't let go of it until she my real feelings about it out of me.  I never would have said anything more if she hadn't kept asking and if she hadn't repeatedly made it seem like I should be honest with her when I thought / felt something was amiss. 

I usually do very well keeping my feelings about things to myself unless I'm asked.  I've managed to do about a billion little tasks just like this one for Betty and not been visibly irritated, and on previous occasions my boss has even joked with me about how hard it is to get stuff done when Betty's always calling with something that needs taken care of.  I thought that she and I were on the same page about Betty - that these tasks were unpleasant and that Betty was a little inappropriate in asking us to do them, even if we had to do them anyway to keep her happy.


This is not appropriate on Betty's part or your boss' part.  If I were a donor/supporter of your non-profit I would be livid that you were using the time and resources that I helped to provide to do someone's personal errand that is not part of your mission.

Your organization can end up loosing more than one supporter if this becomes known.


This is how I would feel to if I were on the other end of things, and that's a big reason why Betty's requests bother me.  My boss is always talking about the importance of showing our donors how well we invest the funds that they have entrusted with us, and while it's 99% true, the one wrong person catching us hard at work on one of Betty's projects when there's real work to do would be a big problem.  My boss would argue that we won't get caught, but you can't be sure and even if you could it wouldn't make it right.

BarensMom

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Re: Need Some Advice: Bothered and Bewildered
« Reply #11 on: August 27, 2013, 01:43:22 AM »
Really, all it would take would be for Betty to say to one of wedding guests (who also may be a donor), "I had the girls at (Nonprofit) do the maps.  They do stuff like this for me all the time."  Which would possibly make the donor think "so my money pays the (Nonprofit) salaries so they can do personal stuff for Betty?  That's the last they'll see of my donations."

Evil me would tell your tale to one of other major donors.

PastryGoddess

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Re: Need Some Advice: Bothered and Bewildered
« Reply #12 on: August 27, 2013, 03:12:31 AM »
It doesn't matter how much money Betty gives.  A major donor is thanked in ways such as naming something after them, making sure they have first dibs on the best tables at the annual event, making sure their name is listed prominently on collateral, etc.  Becoming de-facto personal assistants is not how you thank a major donor.

Also your boss sounds a bit passive aggressive.  She shouldn't have asked you the question if she wasn't willing to hear the answer.  Just how much of your time are you really spending doing favors for this one donor?  Have you added it up? 

Betty is ONE major donor, not the only major donor.  Your boss needs to learn the word no, or do it herself, not pawn it off to her staff.  Otherwise, she could have a huge problem on her hands.
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blarg314

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Re: Need Some Advice: Bothered and Bewildered
« Reply #13 on: August 27, 2013, 04:19:34 AM »

And the 'conditionally friendly' personality type definitely exists, and can be really hard to deal with.

This is the person who is amazingly warm and friendly and helpful and sweet.  As long as they are getting exactly what they want. If you cross them, or criticize them, or deny them something they want - watch out. They'll come down on you like a ton of bricks, accuse you of betraying them, go with the tears, the guilt trips, the threats, the nasty revenge.

The reason they are so hard to handle is that unless you've been the victim of one of their vindictive fits, you really do think they are an amazing person. So if someone comes to you with a tale of woe about how this person has mistreated them, you figure the second person has to be lying, because the first person is so wonderful.

Sometimes, and only sometimes, they manage to mistreat enough people that their victims compare notes, and they get a reputation as a smiling backstabber. But it can take a long time.


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Re: Need Some Advice: Bothered and Bewildered
« Reply #14 on: August 27, 2013, 06:13:08 AM »
I think there is a lot of over reacting here - both on your side and on your boss' side.

I don't know if the request was appropriate or not - in many non profits, the donors/volunteers are "spoiled" because, let's face, their time/money/efforts are needed in order to keep the organization alive. there are some fuzzy areas, and obviously not *everything* is appropriate. but asking you to "give her" 15 minutes of your time doesn't sound like something that is OTT.

Is this something that happens on a daily basis? are her requests above and beyond the realm of your capabilities? my answer might change based on different input.

certainly, once you took it upon yourself to do the work (whether you liked it or not) you should have been more gracious, and, when asked, you should have had some "ownership" about it. if your boss asked if you liked it - you should have said "i like this and that, i think the color is nice, I like how the caption came out, whatever". your action was a bit PA IMHO (again, we weren't there so we don't realy know, but that's what it sounds like. instead of being open, you made a snide remark at first. then when she pushed again, you didn't answer, when you finally answered, you didn't actually answer her question but brought up somethign that was bothering you).

your boss is not your friend. this donor is not your friend. I don't know why you see them as friends. they are your bosses. this doesn't mean you can't be friendLY with them. but this isnt' about "friends asking for favors".

Your boss over reacted as well, but she does have a point - you WERE questioning her judgement. and again, you weren't doing it in a professional way. Instead of being UPFRONT, "I know how important betty is for the organization but i feel funny about doing personal work for her during work hours. Would it be possible for me to do this after 5 tonite or before 8 tomorrow morning"
(I wouldn't even say that, but if it really bothers you then do it that way). but what you implied to your boss is "I think this is wrong, ergo you made a bad decision"


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