How can I approach this without seeming like a B@#$%&?

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  1. Hey girls,

    I have another long rant about a situation at work, but I need some suggestions as to how I can possibly approach this one...

    Our receptionist, C, is a really nice lady... but her attendance record lately hasn't been so great, and it's causing problems for other employees, including myself...

    Part of my job includes covering for C during her lunches and whenever she is absent. I share this duty with another girl in my department, D, but she is a single mom to a young son, so her schedule often revolves around him. I, however, am single and without kids, so inevitably I'm the one who's stuck working late whenever C, the receptionist, doesn't make it to work...

    My normal work schedule is 7:30-4:00. C's is usually 8:30-5:00. However, earlier this year, C's youngest child was diagnosed with a learning disability, and she needs to take him to Special Ed classes in the morning, so she changed her schedule to come in at 9:30 instead. Ok, I can respect that...

    Lately, though, C has been calling in more and more. If she's not sick, then one of her kids is, or they have a field trip, etc etc etc. This means that either myself or my coworker D has to cover the front desk all day, stay at work late, and do all of C's duties in addition to our own. (She also functions as Admin Asst to the sales department, who are extremely demanding!)

    I understand that most of the time when C calls in it's because of her kids, and that parenting should always be a mother's first priority. However, it's *really* starting to get in the way of D and I being able to get our work done. (Seriously, at least once every 10 days, she's calling in for whatever reason!)

    Moreover, C has a husband at home who should be able to help her with their children. Yes, they both work, but she's always the one who handles their kids! With my coworker D, I have a bit more sympathy because she's a single parent... but with C, I often wonder why her husband can't take on some of the kid-related responsibilities.

    This week, C has been out sick since Monday with a sinus infection. It's probably a good thing she's out, because the last thing I need is to catch a nasty bug myself! However, she has a couple of "vacation" days coming up this month, so I'm going to get stuck working up front AGAIN later this month. I'm getting really, really behind in my work, and it's starting to worry me...

    My question is, how can I approach this to my (and C's) boss without seeming like a heartless b*tch who doesn't understand the responsibilities of having children? Am I completely out of line for getting a bit resentful of this situation? :s Any advise on how to deal with this situation would be highly appreciated!

    Thanks ladies!
     
  2. Tell your boss that this inconvience is interferring with your work. Your boss needs to hire a temporary replacement or ask that receptionist that she needs to be more reliable.

    I remeber when I had interned for this lawfirm, the receptionist was the same way. Although she didn't have any kids. She was constantly late for work and always took like 2 hour lunch breaks. Me and this other intern had to cover for her, and it was frustrating because we had other jobs at the firm that needed to be done. A couple of times I had to miss lunch covering for this girl!!

    Well, sooner or later she was fired and someone more reliable was hired. You should definitely say something. You doing the work of two positions is not fair!! That receptionist should really be working at a part time job..
     
  3. For heaven's sake, everytime I read about a situation like this I want to know where these companies are and who the bosses are... because my boss had better know for sure that I am laid up in bed with pneumonia if I call in sick. My friends' bosses have the same attitude, too.

    It really sucks when you have to pick up the slack of your colleagues because their family obligations call. Yeah, it's a tough situation to be in for that single mom, but guess what: it was her choice. She probably should have thought out whether or not she could juggle a child and a job before acquiring both. Life throws curveballs, I understand that, but geez, don't make other people pay for your poor life choices.

    There is a reason women are "mommy-tracked" in professional life, and it's because management expects women to behave just as your receptionist does... take time off willy-nilly after having a child.

    If a child is sick, hire a babysitter. What is the problem with that? If you're sick, you'd better be deathly ill... That's how it works in my firm and I just don't get how or why it would be any other way elsewhere.

    I'm sorry. I have no advice for you. Just be glad she's only the receptionist and not running your company because you can imagine how fast it would go under.

    Best of luck.
     
  4. I would just do what I could as far as work and mention it to the boss that there are so many hours in the day. Maybe it's just me but I just don't get these bosses that expect people to stay late, etc. just because there aren't enought people hired. It's the same way where I work, it's like you can't leave because the works not done. As long as people keep staying they won't do anything about it. I come in at 8, leave right at 4 where there are people here that stay and complain. Some don't take lunch. Me, I leave right at 12-1 for my lunch.
     
  5. Is your boss aware of the situation and just ignoring it or might he/she be unaware of how this is affecting you and your colleague? I would arrange to speak with the boss as soon as possible before you get any more behind and before your resentment gets any stronger. You can present the facts of the situation in a calm way and point out to your boss that you aren't complaining to be spiteful to C, but that you feel this situation will eventually affect the whole company (since you are falling behind on your work). I doubt your boss would consider that heartless.

    Would D be willing to speak up with you? It would be better for the boss to take this up with C rather than either of you trying to do it, and if you both keep mum, your work environment is likely to become hostile at some point, with either your boss being angry that work isn't being done, or with you and D being angry at C. Saying something is best. Best of luck.
     
  6. amen, IntlSet...
     
  7. Ask your boss if he/she would consider hiring someone else part time. C's name may or may not come up but it's important to let your boss know that the work load has been significant and the office would run much more efficiently if there were an extra pair of hands to pitch in and pick up the slack.

    Good luck and let us know how it goes!
     
  8. WOW, kind of harsh. :crybaby:
     
  9. Can you tell me why finding a babysitter for a sick child, when you have obligations at work, is "harsh?"
     
  10. Thanks girls...

    IntlSet - I agree that she should find childcare for her children. Moreover, why can't her husband pitch in? I don't think your comment was harsh... in fact, it was my thoughts exactly!

    AnneOnIMiss- My boss is already aware of the situation, but is too lenient on C, in my opinion. I've brought up the situation with him before, but he is usually too "busy" to really do much about it... He is on vacation all this week, so I'm not even sure if he's aware that C has been out.

    I discussed the situation with my coworker D, and we are going to arrange a formal meeting with him for when he gets back. D agrees that C's behavior is become too habitual, and her work is affected as well.

    My boss has a rule that anyone who comes to him with a problem needs to come with a potential solution as well. (Rolling eyes...) So, that's why I posted this on the forum, to get some feedback from other working women, mothers, etc. Thanks so much for the suggestions and I'll post a follow-up after we talk to our boss...
     
  11. As far as I can see, the best potential solution is for your boss to make C. aware of how her behavior is affecting the office at large (if she is not already aware) and for him to let her know that perhaps field trips and sick children aren't a valid excuse for missing work on a regular basis. She might be an oblivious type.

    If your boss is too wishy-washy to have that discussion with C., another potential solution would be to hire another receptionist from a temp agency to fill in for C. when she is out so that it doesn't fall to you to do her job as well as yours or hire someone part-time as was suggested earlier. Perhaps C., your boss, or someone else in the office knows another person who would like to do a job-sharing arrangement. Suggesting that to C. might strike your boss as a less confrontational way of solving the problem, as in, "We know you need to devote your time to your children when they need you, but we need you here as well..." and put the onus on C. herself (and your boss) to find a person who can take on some of C.'s duties.

    My last suggestion, if you think that your boss wouldn't consider either of the above, would be for you and D. to have the discussion directly with C. I don't suggest attacking her, but gently explaining how her absenses affect you and perhaps helping her come up with a solution to the problem (such as calling in less frequently, asking the husband to help with childcare, a babysitter, a part-timer, etc.) If you can convince C. that she might prefer a job-sharing arrangement, for example, you would then be in a strong position to convince your boss to accept it.
     
  12. I am a single mom. Have been forever! I will say I have NEVER asked nor expected special treatment. Yes I have rearranged hours, I have left for doctors appts. etc. I have also had to call in sick a few times because DS was sick.


    At my old job:
    We get a huge snowstorm. I do not have a car. My son was about 6 or so. They closed schools. I got him to daycare early, go on the bus to work. Got to work at 7:45 AM (started at 8 AM) The owner (small company) was at my desk. Looked at me and said it is snowing why are you here? I said because I have a job to work.

    Funny I would say I got more special treatment (people asking if I needed to leave in bad weather) cause I took the bus than because I was a single mom. But the owner hired me as a temp. 3 weeks into the job he gave me a key. He could not stand coming off the elevator and seeing me waiting in the hallway for him to open the door. LOL! I would be one of the first ones there.
    However:
    I have stayed late
    Taken work home
    Missed my lunch to help out
    HIRED sick daycare (yes they have them)

    Even now my 16 year old sprained his ankle. Is on crutches. I knew I had to leave early from one of my shifts (right now in retail) to get him to the Doctor. So I looked at what day would be the least stressful on the store. Also found someone to work part of my hours that day.

    C needs to suck it up and get with the program and her HUBBY needs to Man up and take care of those kids. I am sure he had no issues making them.

    I would suggest you saying to your boss:
    1. Have temp for her vacation days
    2. If she is out more than 1 day in a row - get a temp
    3. If she is going to be leaving early..have her skip her lunch hour
    4. Maybe get an "intern" in your area to help with C absent days. (That would be great for a college student or for a high schooler during the summer).
     
  13. I do think you are unfairly, taking it out on "C", if she has the SL or AL leave, then truly she has every right to use her leave, without anyone complaining, it’s no one business truly what she does, if she has a husband etc. as long as she lets her supervisor/boss/or person in charge know she took off. I do fault the boss, or job, in this situation, because evidently they are aware of what she is doing, maybe they are okay with it. The only thing you can do is go to the boss about the fact there isn’t adequate coverage in the office. Just my point of view
     
  14. Just because one CAN does not mean one SHOULD. As a professional person in a professional environment, I personally think it's unacceptable and really telling of one's work ethic to suck up every last sick day/personal day/etc. I mean, shouldn't we show some committment to our life's work?

    Reminds me of an article I read in the Wall Street Journal about a woman who took off all the time she could for maternity. She came back to her old job, only to find that she had been passed over for a promotion because upon taking so many consecutive days off, even if she legally could, the competitive environment she worked in couldn't tolerate it. In the end, others were left holding the bag and taking on her load, and they benefited while she lost out. Hopefully she felt, however, that her extra time with the baby was worth it. MAybe because "C" is a receptionist she just doesn't really care... I'm not sure there's any place for her to move up. She probably just will do whatever is slightly short of resulting in her getting fired, like taking time off as much as possible.
     
  15. I think it might have more impact if you document the time you spend doing C's job and the amount of time lost from your own duties because of it. I would NOT fault C in front of your boss because it is likely the boss knows when she is gone and it would make you look petty or harsh, but instead request that you either receive a raise for taking on significant duties in addition to your own or request a temp be called for the days C takes off. Seeing it documented how much additional work you are doing or being forced to hire a temp might really drive home the point to the boss about how often C is gone.