Advice needed - Crisis, what to do?

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  1. #1 Feb 8, 2014
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2014
    My DD works as an EA for someone well known, very high up at a top financial firm in NY. Her hours are literally killing her. She's getting 5 hours of sleep a night and only able to eat one meal a day. She has no social life at all and she's just 30.

    Why? Because besides the long overtime hours she has to spend in her office, she's on call from 6am to midnight, answering emails and doing whatever each one requires as they come in from all over the world from her boss and traveling team. She spends her evenings and weekends working on projects she's been given. She can't even eat breakfast as she is so busy typing out responses to the heavy volume of emails she gets each morning on her several lap tops, iPad, and two phones, so she exists on coffee. She's not able to eat lunch at work due to the constant stream of incomings, plus all of the projects she is working on.

    One of the team members, a young exec. does not like her, or feels threatened by her, so works to make her life harder. He sends her angry emails, yells over the phone and in person - he also does that to his own EA- so that's par for his course. But, he regularly dumps his own unfinished projects on her at the last minute and his assistant does the same so she ends up doing both of their jobs, plus her own. He has my DD redo things a different way from what her boss has had her do already, which takes an enormous amount of extra time on top of her already heavy duties, then will have her work for hours on a complicated multi-country trip, scheduling meetings, doing logistics, etc, and presents her work to their boss as his own work and ideas to get all the credit. The boss has no idea how many hours of extra work she is having to put in because of this guy. She's went to HR but got nowhere last fall.

    This guy just wrote up a blisteringly horrible review about her in which he actually lied about several things which made her look incompetent and as if she was hiding reports which were late - she never hid anything. What should she do? She's afraid she will lose her job as the boss has no idea that any of the above has been going on, so may believe this guy who is quite valuable to him. Her boss also has no idea - I think - about the insane hours my DH has been having to work. He seemed to like her a great deal before this guy came aboard, complementing her to people outside the firm and telling her what a great job she was doing, but she is not so sure he does anymore as he's told her he will consider this a few extra weeks before making a decision about whether she stays on.

    I suggested that she ask her boss for 10 minutes of his time on Monday for a frank talk. She's emailed him that request and is waiting for a reply. She's so upset, in tears, and afraid that she will be let go.

    Any advice would be welcome. Can she also lodge a complaint about the young exec with HR? Such a horrible review will destroy her chances at staying on at this firm should her boss decide to believe it.
  2. Well quite honestly, your DD's position sounds pretty much par for the course at that age when you're in a competitive field. I worked so many hours in my 20s and 30s that I would have made more money if I worked hourly at McDonald's. At this point in her career it's really about sink or swim.

    If she really can't take the environment, then she really should actively look elsewhere. It sounds like she's fallen out of favor anyway, so she should be proactive and find something else. This job will not be the end of her career.
  3. Sorry, if I worry you - you already seem worried - last year a German employee died after having worked an insane amount of working hours at a bank in London.

    There was a short attention span, under what circumstances young people work and exploit themselves in the financial branches.

    This is not healthy.

    Sleep deprivation for a limited time - ok, one can take it.

    But constantly? Plus the mobbing? She will burn out. Gett ill. She should quit.

    Unfortunately young people have not found out yet, that no check in the world can buy you health.

    Can you talk with her?

    best wishes!

  4. Sound advice. I agree. (OP, I am sorry that she is working for a colossal jerk.)

    I was abused horribly by my editors for uears. It actually damaged me psychologically. I was young and stupid and lacked the courage to quit. If you're that low on the totem pole, HR doesn't listen. Sometimes they view valid complaints as whining and then you're not "being a team player."
    The good thing is that she is young and can do something else. Sometimes the abuse is not worth it.
  5. After reading what a horrible place this is to work, even HR won't take a stand for them. Sounds like they are being cheap, working the staff they have to death & not hiring people they need. Why did she even take on this other guys work? He has his own assistant.

    Being let go sounds like a dream. At least she'll be able to get unemployment while she is looking. If she's not let go, tell her to start looking elsewhere. She deserves better than they are treating her.

    After months of considering quiting a job I hated. Where we weren't supported by the higher ups. I got fired. Was in my 20's. Started crying & the boss said I'm sorry to make you cry. Told him oh I'm not sad. You are doing me a favor. It was onward & upward from there.

    So you've listed some of the negatives. :shocked: Which are way off the charts of normal office stuff. This young exec who is threatened by her. Could she be in line to do his job?

    I'm trying to look at what for her would be the pluses to this job. Maybe money, maybe status at the very top financial firm? Neither would keep me there. My health and sanity is priceless.

    Wishing her well! Whatever happens, it'll all work out.
  6. Thank you kind ladies for replying. I just sent them on to my DD. Neither my husband nor I could sleep last night. Our hearts are aching for our DD.

    The problem is, she really likes and respects her boss and would love to keep her job as it is interesting and challenging and suits her educational back ground well, though it doesn't seem likely that she will. She is panicked that her boss believes the young Exec's untruthful review because he travels so much that he is rarely there to know otherwise, and that not only will he find her expendable because the Exce. is more valuable to his team than any EA, but that her boss will not write her a good recommendation because of the young guy's opinion. As her boss is so well known that every living soul in this country knows his name - and it would be on her resume, she is very concerned that no matter where she applies, or for what kind of job, people would wonder what she did wrong if she had a poor or no recommendation.

    She is truly afraid that her career and future are about to be destroyed by a young exec. who's former boss within the company once told her, he was "hard to work with". I am dying inside for her. I'd wondered why she wasn't responding to my offers to get her a new Chanel purse, and to the pictures of them that I had happily been sending her these last few weeks, now I know why. She'd been crushed with work and worry, and is exhausted.

    Here's a question - Her team has been short an analyst and she has been doing that sort of work as well at times. How possible is it for an EA who has worked in the financial industry for quite a few years to get a job as a beginning analyst at another company? Her company only head hunts for its analysts, it does not have a training pathway or she would have tried that route years ago.

    And another - How would she go about looking for a different kind of job that might suit all of the skills she has acquired working for a top guy? A job that might give her room for growth career-wise, as the one she is in, even if all was well, is as high as an EA can go in her company without working for the CEO.
  7. In my last company, the high level EAs went from that to a project manager position. She should take a look at project management job descriptions -- maybe even get a certificate in project management.
  8. Thank you. That sounds like a good idea. Right now she is setting up a meeting with her boss, she asked for ten minutes of his time to talk frankly with him and he's agreed. This is where she finds out what he is thinking and what is going to happen. Please wish her luck.
  9. Wishing good luck to your DD, sunny.

    I worked as an EA at a large bank in Frankfurt and I have to say it was hell. I got out of there as soon as I could.

    If nothing comes out of this meeting with her boss I would suggest to her finding a new job. Yes, it is all about sink or swim in your young years, but what is the use when you are literally working yourself sick?
  10. Please let us know what happens with your DD's meeting. She's in my prayers.
    May I mention that I had a boss from hell when I was 24. I lasted 3 years with him and left on my own.
    However, now, 35 years later, I still have physical issues because of the stress of those 3 dreadful years. I developed insomnia and panic problems I have never been able to resolve.
    A job is not worth it.
  11. I think she needs to walk into that meeting with a very clear sense of what she wants. Does she have emails that document the work she's done for this other guy? Collecting them or at the least collecting some key talking points on what projects she did under the table might make sense. I'm sorry that she didn't act sooner - for example, forwarding the extra work emails with a FYI to the top boss. I'm sure with her work ethic her future is bright; she just needs the right place to shine. :smile:
  12. I am also an EA in NYC and my job is nothing like what you've described. It just doesn't seem like it is worth it to me. Good paying EA jobs are plentiful here. I get calls and emails from headhunters all the time. If your DD does decide to look for other opportunities, they likely won't call her current employer for recommendations. I always say that I don't want my current employer to know I am looking and they always understand.
  13. The lady is beside herself worrying about her DD and you tell her this? I don't understand that at all.
  14. I don't have any advice but I hope her talk went well. Can you let us know what happens?
  15. Most companies (outside financial) would hire someone for their skills. Not for who they worked for.

    Came across this article today. 'Swimming in a Cesspool' by Andrew Feinberg. He calls the financial industry sleezy & amoral. Wall Street guys denigrate women, its part of the code.
    He really let's loose on the industry. Odd since he works in it.

    Actually says he'd 'rather have his daughter marry a plumber than a Goldman Sachs partner.' :lol:

    I hope her time with her boss went well.