Author Topic: Accepting favors from an employer/boss  (Read 3732 times)

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veronaz

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Accepting favors from an employer/boss
« on: August 27, 2013, 01:47:47 PM »
Something in another thread got me to thinking about how employers/bosses often offer favors then later (if you accept) it comes back to bite you.

Sure, there are lots of “nice” bosses who do nice things and want nothing in return.  But I’ve usually tried to avoid getting involved in so-called no-strings arrangements.

I realize that sometimes situations happen where an employee feels they have no choice and they need a favor.  Maybe they are in a financial bind and need a personal loan or paycheck advance, maybe they want to be able to come in a little late or leave a little early due to personal obligations, maybe they like to take long lunches, maybe they can’t afford a cell phone, computer, etc. so boss says go ahead and use the company’s – no problem.

But most likely: 1) at some point later boss will make remarks about “after all I’ve done for you” (even if the favor was offered and not asked for, and 2) other employees will resent what they see as favoritism.  Make no mistake, even in a “keep it between us” situation, things have a way of getting to the eyes and ears of others.

I think often the seeds are sown when an employee volunteers information about problems they are having.  Then boss says “Oh, I don’t mind if you come in 15 minutes late a couple days a week”.  Soon boss is asking you to run his/her personal errands on you lunch hour, or stay late to type his son’s/daughter’s report.

Case in point:  Years ago I started a job and soon found out that my predecessor had volunteered that she was having financial problems and couldn't come up with a down payment for a car, so the boss lent her $1,000 with a “pay it back as you can” verbal agreement.  She quit a few months later and they ended up having to sue her for the money.

At another job interview the boss (a wealthy consultant) mentioned that things just hadn’t worked out with several people who had help the position.  The salary was great, but red flags were waving at me.  Boss said that if I ever needs a loan  ??? he was very generous with his staff, and that he took them on an annual vacation to various exotic locales.  I accepted a different job…….something about the “too good to be true” job interview gave me the creeps.

I’m not saying a person should be paranoid and never accept a favor.  I’m just saying tread carefully because there is usually a price.

Anyone have thoughts on this?
« Last Edit: August 27, 2013, 01:58:22 PM by veronaz »

siamesecat2965

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Re: Accepting favors from an employer/boss
« Reply #1 on: August 27, 2013, 01:56:51 PM »
I know for me, no matter how badly off I might be financially, I would never, ever accept any type of loan, salary advance, etc. from either my employer, or my company. I'd turn to friends or other means.   I'm a firm believer in not mixing business with my personal life, whether something like this, or dating someone, etc.

I'm reminded of one of my favorite lines from Moonstruck, when Cher's mother is having dinner, and invites a gentleman who just had a drink tossed in his face to join her. Upon finding out he's a professor, and she was one of his students, she looks straight at him, and says "don't sh** where you eat"

That being said, I have at my other job, "bargained" for time off, and volunteered to work other times I might not have, but in that case, its for mutual benefit. For example, I requested a week off this month, but later found out something I thought might be planned during that time, was happening sooner. So I said hey, I really need this weekend off, but will work the sat I had previously requsted. It works for both of us, and since I am flexible, and will "give back" I generally don't have trouble getting time off. Unlike some of my co-workers who will wait until the last minute, when the scheudle is DONE and then say, oh by the way, I need x week off.

And if for some reason, any of my bosses do "allow" me special favors, such as coming in later a couple times, I am grateful, but don't take advantage.

veronaz

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Re: Accepting favors from an employer/boss
« Reply #2 on: August 27, 2013, 02:02:25 PM »
Quote
I'm reminded of one of my favorite lines from Moonstruck, when Cher's mother is having dinner, and invites a gentleman who just had a drink tossed in his face to join her. Upon finding out he's a professor, and she was one of his students, she looks straight at him, and says "don't sh** where you eat"

Yes, that's a great scene with Olympia Dukakis and John Mahoney (later the crochety dad on "Frasier".)

siamesecat2965

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Re: Accepting favors from an employer/boss
« Reply #3 on: August 27, 2013, 02:05:22 PM »
Quote
I'm reminded of one of my favorite lines from Moonstruck, when Cher's mother is having dinner, and invites a gentleman who just had a drink tossed in his face to join her. Upon finding out he's a professor, and she was one of his students, she looks straight at him, and says "don't sh** where you eat"

Yes, that's a great scene with Olympia Dukakis and John Mahoney (later the crochety dad on "Frasier".)

I use that line quite a bit as I seem to work (at both jobs) with drama llahmas who like to bring their personal life to work, and so on.

QueenfaninCA

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Re: Accepting favors from an employer/boss
« Reply #4 on: August 27, 2013, 02:08:02 PM »
Employers should have a written policy for stuff like that and then simply adhere to it.

veronaz

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Re: Accepting favors from an employer/boss
« Reply #5 on: August 27, 2013, 02:12:32 PM »
Quote
I'm reminded of one of my favorite lines from Moonstruck, when Cher's mother is having dinner, and invites a gentleman who just had a drink tossed in his face to join her. Upon finding out he's a professor, and she was one of his students, she looks straight at him, and says "don't sh** where you eat"

Yes, that's a great scene with Olympia Dukakis and John Mahoney (later the crochety dad on "Frasier".)

I use that line quite a bit as I seem to work (at both jobs) with drama llahmas who like to bring their personal life to work, and so on.

I think in the movie the message was "don't get romantically/sexually involved with people at the place where you get your paycheck", but the principle is the same.

ladyknight1

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Re: Accepting favors from an employer/boss
« Reply #6 on: August 27, 2013, 02:48:03 PM »
I think that it is a very good plan to keep professional relationships professional. That means limited social time with supervisors and so on, controlling how much one vents or complains about their home life at work, finances and extracurricular activities.

My DH has a company vehicle and a company phone. He appreciates the benefits, and the owner does not hold those benefits over him. The company is very small, similar to the other story.

shhh its me

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Re: Accepting favors from an employer/boss
« Reply #7 on: August 27, 2013, 03:19:50 PM »
   I don't do favors but I don't think an occasional long lunch is a favor , employers make accommodation to keep good employees happy its mutually beneficial.  I've never borrowed money but I wouldn't be offend if an employee wanted their earned wages early, I might go a couple weeks ahead but I would consider it a favor. 

I do think the more favors an employer does you then more they expect in return. If someone let me leave early every Friday I don't think I could say "no" if they asked me to work late on Tuesday for example and I even think they would have a right to be annoyed if I said "no".

pierrotlunaire0

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Re: Accepting favors from an employer/boss
« Reply #8 on: August 27, 2013, 03:46:22 PM »
I used to work for a company that would occasionally make no interest loans to employees.  However, there was always a signed promissory note, and a payment plan which took out a specified amount from the paycheck.  That system worked out well because the company treated it as business.

I do favors for my employees (leave a few minutes early), but I try to make it as fair as possible, so that no one person gets more favors than the rest.

Also my staff is unionized, so there's not much I can do to call in a favor.
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Betelnut

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Re: Accepting favors from an employer/boss
« Reply #9 on: August 27, 2013, 03:54:55 PM »
I've actually had the opposite situation where several of my staff members did ME a favor.  Last year, I was getting chemo and one of my staff members offered to have her husband mow my lawn.  Done.  This same employee helped me move.

I think every situation is case by case.

I don't consider letting someone come it late or take a long lunch as a favor.
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nyoprinces

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Re: Accepting favors from an employer/boss
« Reply #10 on: August 27, 2013, 07:38:08 PM »
I posted this in that thread, but it's actually more on-topic here:

I've noticed a very distinct pattern in the last several years - a company/boss encouraging an employee to carry one phone to use for work and personal (either by providing a work phone and encouraging the employee to drop their personal plan, or by aggressively offering a reimbursement for a portion of the personal plan in exchange for using a personal phone for work also) seems to ALWAYS be a red flag. I've only seen one instance* where it hasn't been the first sign of the company/boss having no boundaries. Every single other time I've heard of someone having this come up in a job, it's been followed by massive boundary-crossing and resulted in the job ending badly, usually because of the boss expecting the employee to do something unethical/outside their job description, or by the boss crossing other personal/professional lines.


*At a large corporation that offered either personal-plan reimbursement or a separate company phone, at equal value, so the employees could choose depending on whether they wanted to carry two phones or one.

And I didn't put it in that thread, but the example I think of for this is my sister: she took a job right out of college with a company, and when she went in on her first day, they presented her with a fancy smartphone and told her to put her personal SIM card in it. When she told them that she didn't have a data plan, they said, "Ok, just bill us every month for the difference between your current plan and the one you need for the smartphone." She was very uncomfortable with this, but when she pushed back on it, they revealed that they had already (already, on her first day) ordered her business cards with her personal phone number printed on them. And had already handed them out to some clients. So, before she had even officially started the job or knew about it, clients had her personal cell number. Her gut feeling that it was a ploy to make sure she would always answer calls, even during non-working hours, was correct, and she ended up leaving that job very shortly.

katycoo

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Re: Accepting favors from an employer/boss
« Reply #11 on: August 27, 2013, 11:06:19 PM »
I do favors for my employees (leave a few minutes early), but I try to make it as fair as possible, so that no one person gets more favors than the rest.

See, I don't think this is a favoura s such - its more keeping work morale high.  And I think that other staffers shouldn't get jealous if Sally is allowed to leave at 4pm on the last Thursday of the month to take her kid to an appointment if she comes in at 8 that day, because they should see it as "My workplace will accomodate me if I ever need to leave an hour early"

katycoo

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Re: Accepting favors from an employer/boss
« Reply #12 on: August 27, 2013, 11:12:42 PM »
I've noticed a very distinct pattern in the last several years - a company/boss encouraging an employee to carry one phone to use for work and personal (either by providing a work phone and encouraging the employee to drop their personal plan, or by aggressively offering a reimbursement for a portion of the personal plan in exchange for using a personal phone for work also) seems to ALWAYS be a red flag. I've only seen one instance* where it hasn't been the first sign of the company/boss having no boundaries. Every single other time I've heard of someone having this come up in a job, it's been followed by massive boundary-crossing and resulted in the job ending badly, usually because of the boss expecting the employee to do something unethical/outside their job description, or by the boss crossing other personal/professional lines.

It's worked out for me.  My work allows me to use my work provided phone as a personal phone.  I don't ahve to pay anything for it a and I save on not ahving to pay for my personal phone.  A couple of times I've gone over my data limit but despite offering I've never been asked to pay the difference.  And while my job does require some degree of out of hours availability, it's never been abused at all.

And I didn't put it in that thread, but the example I think of for this is my sister: she took a job right out of college with a company, and when she went in on her first day, they presented her with a fancy smartphone and told her to put her personal SIM card in it. When she told them that she didn't have a data plan, they said, "Ok, just bill us every month for the difference between your current plan and the one you need for the smartphone." She was very uncomfortable with this, but when she pushed back on it, they revealed that they had already (already, on her first day) ordered her business cards with her personal phone number printed on them. And had already handed them out to some clients. So, before she had even officially started the job or knew about it, clients had her personal cell number. Her gut feeling that it was a ploy to make sure she would always answer calls, even during non-working hours, was correct, and she ended up leaving that job very shortly.

This is so not cool.  My work provided mobile number is not on my business cards.  That is the LAST thing I want my clients to have!!  I am not available TO THEM outside of office hours unless it is of my own accord.  Sometimes I do end up needing to give it out.  I would refuse to deal with their enquiry and direct them to call me during business hours if the contact was unsolicited.

dawbs

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Re: Accepting favors from an employer/boss
« Reply #13 on: August 28, 2013, 09:39:08 AM »
I think there are an awful lot of factors that would play into this.

In a non-work example, if any member of one branch of my family asked me for money, the instant response from me would be "no...let me think about that and say 'ehell no'", because that family has an overabundance of moochers. 
If someone from another branch of my family asked for money, my response would be "how much?  gift or loan?  how else can I help?"--because I know without a shadow of a doubt that these people would not ask me for money unless there was dire, awful, compelling need and that the amount of pride swallowed for them to ask is amazing.

I think the same is true for employers sometimes, which needs to be handled w/ tact but...that's life.
Example...
A few weeks ago one of my (hourly) employees was late.  I turned in his time-card to the payment office before he arrived.  When he did arrive, he asked how to sign in his time for the day, since he missed 1/2 an hour of work.  I told him  not to worry about it--he wasn't going to be docked.  He's a reliable (and always prompt) worker who regularly stays a few minutes past his shift, and he had a good reason for being late.

A week after that, a different (hourly) employee was late and I showed her how we were amending her timecard based on that and made sure it was clear.  Her habitual '5 minutes late' has improved dramatically since that discussion...which is why she wasn't given the same leeway as the first employee.

Now, there is a chance these 2 employees will trade experiences and figure out that one got a 'favor' the other didn't.  But if they're honest with themselves (which they may or may not be  ;)) the reasons for the accommodation/favor are probably going to be obvious.

(I have no authority to loan money from payroll--but since my employees are exclusively college students [who are very low-income, even by college student standards], there is at least $2 in change in the employee desk drawer.  It's an honor-system for "dangit, I need caffeine/chocolate/a snack/money for the meter/something from the vending machine/etc" fund that employees can 'borrow' from.  Over the 5 years that the $2 has been there, I've supplemented it once--generally it is repaid with interest every semester, because employees dump in a little bit extra when they have change)

cwm

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Re: Accepting favors from an employer/boss
« Reply #14 on: August 28, 2013, 11:29:07 AM »
Personally, I would never accept any unsolicited favor from a boss that wasn't clearly laid out to me in my employment contract. I get plenty where I work now, but I wouldn't dream of asking for extras.

BF has a company phone and company laptop. One of his team members was given permission to use the company phone as a personal phone as well, only after going through an extensive and exhausting process proving that his personal phone usage combined with his company phone usage didn't even amount to the allowed limits on the company phone. They kept an extra close eye on his usage for the first year and told him that if there was any extras on the bill he'd have to pay for them. There was a contract written up and everything. AFAIK, it was never a problem. He didn't have any family, contacted his friends on FB or skype, and the only thing he used his personal phone for was the standard use of calling work when needed, ordering out for food (when online wasn't available) and scheduling appointments. But that was the exception. BF says nobody else would ever be able to do that now.