A reader writes:
I'm a 40-year-old woman working for a 28-year-old man, who likes to micromanage and who I believe is bipolar but of course am not 100% sure. I've been working for him for 2-1/2 years and since day one have been miserable. When I interviewed for him, he was a completely different person, nice, considerate and seemed genuine. Since then, I can not believe one word he says.
When I started, I signed an agreement that stated I would receive 2 weeks of PTO and the major holidays off. I also signed a company handbook which breaks out vacation, PTO and holidays as 2 weeks of vacation days, 2 days of PTO for personal use and 3 days of sick PTO, along with the major holidays. I have used up my vacation and unfortunately had to take 2 days of sick, which I'm told will not be paid. I stated that in the company handbook that I signed off on, it stated 2 weeks vacation, 2 days PTO and 3 days sick. He said that I needed to negotiate this at the time of employment.
Now this would not have been so hard to listen to if he wasn't such a jerk to me. When I was hired, I was hired as an office manager. Since then, I have been asked to do his laundry, clean his truck out, pick up and pay for his tux for a wedding, take his truck to get a tire fixed and oil changes several times and he usually always picks a day it is raining out so I get drenched and then chuckles when I get back, and run other personal errands for him. The one thing that irritated me the most when he was putting some bagels away in plastic bags in our break room and he was almost completed when I came around the corner. He saw me and in the most rude voice, he dropped all of the bagels back into the brown bag, dropped the plastic bags, and said , "Here, you do this" and walked away. I also have found that if I don't high-five him or give him the knuckle hit or hug him when he goes out of town, I'm treated worse.
Any suggestions about the vacation? Am I entitled to this PTO and would I have a law case against him for the way I'm treated? I am the only female in the company and I hate using the woman card, but I hate coming in everyday wondering what is he going to ask today.
Oh jeez. Let's break this down:
First, on the PTO issue, if a different PTO arrangement was negotiated with you as part of your salary and benefits package, it could trump the policy in the company handbook. However, I'm not a lawyer and I'm not positive about this, and it likely depends on the wording of your hire agreement and the wording of the handbook. Does your company have an HR department you can ask about this? I'd start there. If not, or if that ends up not being helpful, you could certainly call a lawyer who specializes in employment issues. (Or do any smart readers know more definitively?)
Second, on the issue of your boss asking you to run his personal errands: First, we need clarification on whether this is legitimately part of the job or not. So:
1. You could sit down with him and ask for clarification about your responsibilities and priorities. Tell him you hadn't realized that running errands for him would be a component of the job and that you've tried to be accommodating but that you're concerned about it cutting into your other duties. Tell him that when he asks you to run errands for him, it means you have to neglect x and y, and ask if the company is okay with that.
2. I'm curious to know if his boss would be okay with this guy assigning you his personal errands. Depending on the dynamics of the company and your relationship with others, you might try to find out. There are some jobs where this would be acceptable, and others where it wouldn't be. It would be good to find out which yours is.
3. What would happen if the next time he asked you to run a personal errand, you simply said politely, "I'm sorry, but I've got to finish up this project"? (This is why you need more official clarification on what the expectations are for your position.)
But really, none of the above will change the fact that this guy is a jerk and will likely always be a jerk to you. Honestly, I'd start looking around at other jobs. There's no reason to put up with being treated that way and you shouldn't forget that you have options. You're not stuck putting up with this crap.