A Manager Gets Called Out For Not Letting An Employee Attend Her Own College Graduation

Schadenfreude is always great, especially for those of us who have worked under a clueless, rigid and inconsiderate manager at a job (that’s all of us at some point, right?). Once in a while, we get to experience this particular brand of catharsis, when one such clueless manager writes into a work advice website, asking how to call out an employee who quit because said manager mistreated her, and then gets a taste of his own medicine.

The offending manager who wrote into Alison Green’s “Ask A Manager” blog, wants to know how to school a former employee who quit on the spot, because said manager wouldn’t let her take two hours off for her college graduation. The manager justifies this by saying that they’re a customer service center dealing with a new product launch, so employees with the lowest seniority have to work on their normal days off. This, unfortunately, meant the employee who was graduating.

There are some other infuriating details, like the fact that nobody else would cover two hours for this employee, that the manager let one person leave early because he had concert tickets that he had paid for, and that the employee was the manager’s “best employee” who could always be counted on to work weekends and holidays. But the manager is willing to let all that go, in order to teach the employee a lesson in being professional, because she’s never learned it elsewhere for the following reason:

She was raised in a few dozen different foster homes and has no living family. She was homeless for a bit after she turned 18 and besides us she doesn’t have anyone in her life that has ever had professional employment. This is the only job she has had. Since she’s never had anyone to teach her professional norms, I want to help her so she doesn’t make the same mistake again. What do you think is the best way for me to do this?

This seems to be the overarching problem right here. Despite this woman being the manager’s best employee, he or she clearly didn’t think of said employee as on an equal level. Instead, she’s supposed to take whatever treatment she gets at her job, and be grateful for it because she was homeless at one time. When she asserts herself, it has to be because she doesn’t know any better, given her upbringing.

Luckily, Green has more empathy for the employee, and calls the employer out on his entitlement:

I’m not usually a fan of people quitting on the spot, but I applaud her for doing it in this case. She was raised in dozens of foster homes, used to be homeless, has no living family, and apparently managed to graduate from college all on her own. That’s amazing. And while I normally think graduation ceremonies are primarily fluff, I’m hard-pressed to think of anyone who deserves to be able to attend her own graduation ceremony as much as this woman does. You should have been bending over backwards to ensure she could attend.

Amen. Treatment like that doesn’t deserve two weeks notice. Green finishes the letter by saying that good management means doing right by employees, rather than blindly following the rules. This is something that a lot of bosses probably need to internalize. Of course, it’s stunning when someone in management feels so entitled to his employee’s time and attention that he can’t even realize such a truth on his or her own. Hopefully though, this manager will actually learn something from Alison’s answer.

(via Ask A Manager)