I’d like to keep this anonymous if that’s ok!
I’m having trouble with one of my bosses in work. Let me just say first of all that my bosses are great and have been really supportive with me in work as I’m vulnerable to Covid and need to keep myself safe.
However, quite recently, one of my bosses keeps making remarks that I’m only doing so much in work. I work in a café/play centre and as I work with people, there’s only so much I can do as much I need to minimise contact with customers as much as possible. My boss keeps saying to other people I work with that I’m doing very little (thinking I can’t hear her) and that I only have like 2/3 jobs to do when I’m there. I need to keep myself safe and she knows this, but lately it seems that I’ve become a burden in work and even useless. She thinks she’s being funny and maybe I’m overreacting but it’s making me feel awful. Before the pandemic, doing things like cleaning the toilets and collecting empty glasses from the customers tables were never an issue because it was fine for me to do, nowadays I can’t do that cause of health reasons and I feel like I’m being made to feel guilty about that. Thankfully, my other boss is very understanding and my work mates are too.
I don’t want to feel like I’m moaning as I’m very fortunate to still have a job in this current climate! But I’m unsure as to how I should handle this situation. What makes it worse is that this boss who is making these comments is a friend of my Mum’s and knows how serious Covid is to me and the repercussions it would have if (heaven forbid) I would ever contract it.
I’d love to know your advice Donna, please help!
Being unhappy at work can really drag you down, not only during your time there, but also it can impede on your free time as inevitably at the back of your mind will be the dread of those days you do go into work. That is why this definitely has to be tackled head on, so that you can go back into enjoying your work and feeling happier overall.
First and foremost, your manager has a duty of care to you. It is her responsibility to ensure a safe working environment regardless of your medical vulnerability or in the context of a global pandemic. This responsibility is heightened at the moment which, if your manager is taking seriously, could be causing elevated stress. This does not negate her need to ensure you are comfortable at work, but it is a consideration which could go some way to explaining her behaviour of late.
As you have pointed out, she might think that this is humorous, but if this does make you feel awful as you have described, then it should be addressed.
You mentioned that this manager is a friend of your mother’s. You may feel sufficiently comfortable speaking to her directly about how you are feeling at work. I would advise that you avoid directly laying the blame on her shoulders, rather you could paint a general picture whilst giving her enough clues to join the dots herself. Don’t be apologetic when explaining how you feel, be completely honest about how much it is grinding you down. Explain to her like you explained to me how much these feelings of guilt and uselessness are affecting you. If she knows how you feel, I would very much hope that she would reflect on how her own remarks will have contributed and perhaps even seek to make your working environment less emotionally difficult.
If this discussion does not work or you do not feel comfortable addressing this issue directly with the boss, then address this with your other boss who you have referenced as being more understanding of your situation. She too has a duty of care to you and if you bring this to her, she should try to rectify the situation by mediating.
My final piece of advice is to keep a log of everything. Note the date and time of any remarks or formal discussion. If you bosses choose to take notes during your discussion with either of them, then you can request a copy of the notes. You may never need to use them, but should the matter become more serious, then having a record of everything that has taken place will be invaluable to you.
I really do hope that this is a case of nothing more than a misjudgement or miscommunication which can be resolved with one discussion. At a time of so much uncertainty trouble at work is the last think that anybody will need.