A reader writes:
I work at a company where the company handbook clearly states that the office hours are 9am to 5pm. We do not offer flex-time and everyone in the group works a straight 9am to 5pm.
Recently, we got a new senior manager (not our direct boss but rather the boss's boss) who is quite a micro-manager and who has decided that from now on every Monday for the next year that she is going to come over to our group (she works in a different building) to hold a staff meeting from 3:30pm to 5:30pm.
She is an Executive Vice President and a complete power hungry control freak and she is purposely scheduling the meeting to end after office hours to make some sort of point --- seeing as though she never goes home, has no family, and lives to work.
My issue is such: I have a daycare situation where I MUST leave at 5:20pm each day and not one minute later in order to pick up my daughter in daycare on time since the daycare closes and that is the latest I can leave in order to get there on time.
The problem is that I am being made to feel as though I am a poor performer because I can not do the meeting when in fact this meeting is not one of urgent nature (it's actually a boring, inefficient drawn out waste of time to be honest) --- but rather just a power-tripping micromanager who likes to abuse her power by making her subordinents listen to her every word.
Do I have a leg to stand on if I bring this up to HR? It clearly states in our handbook that the office hours are 9am to 5pm but not sure if that is any argument that is winable. It always seems that the employee never wins.
How do you know that she's purposely scheduling the meeting to end after your regular hours in order to make a point? Is it possible that you're projecting an agenda on to her that isn't actually there? You note that she works longer hours than most, so it's possible that she doesn't realize the impact of her meeting time.
Rather than approach this with the assumption that she is "a complete power hungry control freak" who "has no family, and lives to work" -- a charge rarely leveled against men in the same circumstances, by the way -- you'll likely have better luck if you drop the anger and assume that there's no evil motivation here.
Instead, talk to your boss and explain that this meeting is impacting your daycare situation and ask if there's a reason this meeting must be scheduled at that particular time. Ask if she can intervene with the senior manager to have it rescheduled to start half an hour earlier.
And really, do what you can to drop the animosity toward this senior manager. It's not going to take you anywhere good.