Some of you may remember a topic that I posted on the other forum. To recap, I joined my business with Jane, and Laura (for a smaller share) was to invest some cash and provide us with space in the offices of her existing business. To make a long story short, once Jane and I walked through the door, she began treating us like we were her subordinates. I posted one incident in the original thread where she chucked a cardboard box in my direction, saying "Get this out of my way".
Well, although the situation has improved slightly, it's not enough as far as Jane and I are concerned. I just can't abide the way she treats her own employees for starters. In the five weeks since Jane and I moved into Laura's building, THREE of her employees have quit (two without any notice - one actually stormed out of the office Christmas lunch and never returned). Carrie, Laura's fabulous employee and all-round lovely woman, has also told Jane and I that she is resigning as soon as the project she's managing is completed. And last Monday, I turned up at work early, only to find Laura shouting at another employee, Danny, about a minor mistake he'd made on a project. I feel terrible because I recommended Danny to Laura before I discovered what a nightmare she is to work for. I'd hired Danny at my last job, where I worked with him for five years. He's a hardworking, honest and above all very clever employee who would give his eyeteeth to correct a mistake. In fact, the mistake in question occured when he'd been working late on a Friday. Both Laura and I know this, as we left at 7pm on Friday and he was STILL hard at work. After staying 2.5 hours past closing, he decided that he'd exhausted all of his options and would have to ask for help on Monday morning. Even if he had been a slacker, he didn't deserve to be chewed out in front of everyone in the building, particularly in front of people (me) who don't even work for the same company!
Laura's a bit more polite in her dealings with Jane and I, but only minorly so and I don't see it lasting. She has a terrible habit of speaking to us in a condescending tone (ala the "You Need To..." thread in the Life forum), especially in front of her employees. One trademark Laura antic: Jane and I share the room with Carrie. Jane and I are on a different phone system because our business has a separate number, and is therefore not on the internal phone system that Carrie and Laura use. Laura will often ring Carrie - you can tell it's an internal call by the different ringtone - and ask to speak to Jane or I, usually to summon us to her office. (It's not like she doesn't know our number - she could ring us externally if she wants to ask something, but I think it's a control thing.) It's always "You need to come up here now." Not, "Would you have time to pop up here for a few minutes please?" or "Would you come see me when you get a chance?" Or, if Carrie is not answering her phone because has gone out to get a sandwich or is in the restroom, Laura will let it ring about 30 times. Jane once made the mistake of picking up the call because she got sick of the incessant ringing, and Laura demanded to know why she didn't pick up sooner. Jane calmly explained that she did not answer sooner because it is not her phone, it's not on her desk, it's inconvenient to have to get up and walk across the room to answer a call which she has no reason to believe is for her, and most importantly, we do not work for her. Laura's response? "Whatever."
Laura is absolutely fine outside of work, but in the office, she blows her top without warning. She always apologizes afterwards, but everyone walks on eggshells because no one knows what will set her off next. A huge part of her stress is due (IMO) to the fact that she micro-manages down to the last paperclip, and just won't delegate. This is a woman who is the MD/owner of a small but successful company with 6 full-time employees, 2 regular freelancers, and a host of interns, yet she orders the toilet paper and the tea and coffee. If the coffee cups aren't washed thoroughly enough, she re-washes them herself. This is stuff that could easily be delegated to her office juniors, but she just doesn't trust anyone else do do it properly, nor will she give anyone the opportunity to learn. I have mentioned this to Laura in our heart-to-hearts during downtime, but she's always got an excuse as to why no one else can do these things properly.
Anyway, Jane and I have not yet signed the partnership deal, and we have decided to call the whole thing off and continue the business with just the two of us. It's a difficult situation because there's friendships at stake here, but the way I see it is if we go through with the deal the friendship will be shot anyway. Plus, there's no way I'd consider this deal if the relationship
was purely professional. Laura is an extremely smart woman, but she is incapable of behaving professionally with people she sees as her underlings, which is basically everyone. The words "colleague" and "business associate" hold no meaning for her.
I was supposed to go to the movies with Laura this weekend (despite all the above, on a social level she is a lot of fun to be with) but I will probably cancel because I feel like a hypocrite knowing that Jane and I are going to Break The News to her next week.