how can I back out of mentoring someone?

A reader writes:

My boss’s boss asked me to mentor a new hire several months ago, which I was very excited to do. I have been pursing management at this job (retail), so I was excited to show my supervisors how capable I am. Over the holidays was great — he was intelligent, capable, and eager to learn. He put in 110% on everything, and really went the extra mile. I was really proud of his work, and my supervisors praised my mentoring and his performance. Everything was going great until last week — they are pushing through a new part-time mandate at many stores statewide. Our store was notified last week that all the part-time people would no longer be able to work 40 hours a week — they were being dropped to working 24 hours a week maximum next month.

At the meeting to discuss the new hour structure, this employee (who is part-time) completely flipped out! He was like a different person. He verbally attacked our supervisors, interrupting the meeting, and was so disruptive, rude, and downright horrid that our boss asked him if he would rather have the night off. He agreed that he would rather go home than work, and stomped out of the meeting room and went home. Now he comes to work, but won’t take the initiative to do a good job like he was before, milks out his time, and has an extremely negative attitude about everything.

The issue? My boss (and his boss) are still expecting me to mentor and motivate this person. After the explosion at the meeting, I have no desire to be around him, and I cannot motivate him to his previous level of work performance (I have no authority over him jobwise). Eventually one of the bosses will notice that this individual’s performance has slipped, and I already know that they will question me about why I didn’t address or fix it — so I want to be preemptive and remove myself from this equation.

What is the best way to let my bosses know that I want to withdraw from mentoring this person? I don’t want it to prevent me from mentoring again in the future, because I really did enjoy the experience — it helped me gain valuable insight. But in this case, I feel like the issue bothering him (anger over hours) isn’t something that I could ever fix or even address — it is a corporate decision. Any advice you could give on this situation would be appreciated. I am still learning, and any insight into gracefully bowing out of this situation that you could give would be beneficial.

Well, this might actually be when mentoring can help most — and when it can most teach you the kinds of skills that you’ll want to learn if you want to move into a management position.

When someone is a great worker, mentoring is relatively easy. It’s when things are more complicated that mentoring really challenges you and builds skills in a different way.

Of course, let me be clear: This guy sounds like an ass. A good manager would tell him straightforwardly that he needs to pull it together or be replaced. But you’re not his manager; you’re his mentor — and this is a situation ripe for a good mentor talking to him about what’s going on, and seeing if you can help him view the situation differently.

So why not give that a try? Talk to him about the change you’ve seen in him since the new policy was announced, express your concern that both that he’s unhappy and that he’s jeopardizing his job and reputation, and see if talking through the issue helps him at all. If it doesn’t, then so be it. But this is exactly where a mentor can potentially step in and do some good.

Now, I do want to make something else clear: It is not your job to fix this situation. I can’t tell whether your bosses have really told you that it’s your responsibility to fix things like this or whether you’re (incorrectly) assuming that on your own. If you’re just assuming it and your bosses haven’t actually said that or strongly implied it, I wouldn’t assume that at all — that’s not the role of a mentor. But if your bosses have indeed told you that you’re responsible for someone else’s performance without any actual authority over them (!), then (a) they are being ridiculous, and (b) you need to go back and explain to them that you can’t do that without managerial authority.

That said, if talking to him doesn’t change anything, I would talk to your bosses about the situation, aside from the a-mentor-isn’t-a-manager issue above. I’d say something like, “I’m concerned about Bob. As you know, he’s upset about the new policy, and it’s showed in his work ever since. I’ve tried talking with him about it, but to no avail. I’m not sure if further mentoring at this point makes sense; I don’t think the issue will be fixed until someone with more authority steps in and addresses it.” And the reason I’d have that conversation is that you don’t want to seem oblivious to something serious going on with someone you’ve been charged with helping — so do bring it to your bosses, both so that it’s clear that you’ve recognized and tried to address the issue, and in order to flag that the problem is a manager-level problem.

But what I wouldn’t do is just say, “Hey, I don’t want to mentor Bob anymore.” Because that’s going to be contrary to your whole goal of using the mentorship to groom yourself for an eventual management position. Rather than seeming to just wash your hands of a difficult situation, you want to show that you’re calm in the face of silliness, that you recognize what you can and can’t do and are wiling to try the things you can, and that you can escalate appropriately up the chain when needed.

{ 107 comments… read them below }

  1. AllisonD*

    You are not responsible for his work; his manager is. Don’t take on this responsibility and make it your job to fix him. This is a time to coach and advise only.

  2. Cat*

    I feel for the guy. He was apparently doing a great job at a job that sounds thankless and underpaid. Then, probably because the company wants to limit the benefits they pay out to their employees and for no reason related to his work, his hours are slashed by almost 50%. So he’s probably now working a second job, or looking for one, and yet supposed to be every bit as enthusiastic and capable as he was in this one when he wasn’t splitting his attention two or more ways (and with God knows what attendant effects on his commute time, scheduling predictability, etc.) Yeah, life’s not fair and the business has the right to do it. But at a certain point, you can’t expect the same level of loyalty and service out of people as you would get if you treated them better. (This doesn’t really affect what the OP can do about this situation and I’m not disputing with AAM’s advice; just, I think there’s a lot of room for empathy for this guy even if he’s been behaving like an ass.)

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Yes, it’s absolutely frustrating and he probably has a legitimate beef. However, he gives up his right to that moral high ground when he chooses to behave unprofessionally and rudely and to start doing a bad job. That’s not okay, and it will quite legitimately harm his reputation.

    2. Meg*

      Maybe I’m not looking at this from the right angle, but I’m just not seeing that the company did anything wrong. I mean, yes, it sucks that he isn’t getting the hours he needs or wants. But if that’s the case (and corporate isn’t going to budge), then he needs to apply for a full-time position there or start job searching elsewhere. There are plenty of companies that limit the number of hours their employees work (full-time, part-time, or otherwise) and I just don’t see anything inherently wrong with it. It’s not to say I don’t feel bad for him, because I do – I’ve been in situations where I was an hourly worker and not getting the hours I needed to maintain a standard of living. But regardless of of how you feel your company is treating you, there are professional ways to handle it, and this guy isn’t handling it professionally at all.

      1. Cat*

        They didn’t do anything wrong, and, of course, there’s no excuse for storming around. But on a macro/societal level, I don’t know to what extent companies can pay people below living wages while continually cutting their hours regardless of their performance and then be surprised when they’re not getting the level of performance they would like. It might ultimately still be the best “business” strategy, in that maybe you don’t need all your employees to be on all the time (or maybe there truly are an endless supply of people these days who are willing to maintain an incredibly positive attitude under horrible conditions; I don’t know). But at the same time, it’s not surprising that situations like this occur.

        Again, I’m not saying this guy should be lauded for his behavior. Just that this is an interesting illustration of how you can take a motivated and dedicated worker and turn him into a bitter and disgruntled one.

        1. Meg*

          I agree with you in that companies shouldn’t be surprised when they treat employees like garbage and don’t get loyalty in return. But limiting the number of hours part-time employees can work doesn’t strike me as “horrible conditions”. In retail jobs, there are usually only so many shifts available, and if they have a certain number of employees that count as full-time, they owe it to the full-time employees to keep their hours at well, full time. The employee’s reaction is not even remotely the fault of the company – if he wants more hours then he should speak to his manager about it. He doesn’t have any right to be bitter and disgruntled when (to my knowledge) he hasn’t even asked for more hours yet.

          1. Cat*

            It’s possible. But based on the fact that it sounds like people were working those hours without a problem and the mandate came from the state level, that seems like a classic example of a retailer trying to limit the number of employees they have to pay benefits to. Again, not defending his actions, just noting that this story kind of seems to be a microcosm about how certain types of jobs are structured and the reactions that gets from employees.

            1. Meg*

              You’re absolutely right. But discussing the way retail companies structure their employee’s hours in order to avoid paying benefits (I’m looking at you, Walmart) is a separate discussion from the “This employee was rude and unprofessional, how do I deal with this?” question the OP presented. IMO, there’s no excuse for the employee’s unprofessional behavior. I don’t care how frustrated he is. There’s also nothing in here to suggest he actually approached his manager about resolving the situation, which should be any reasonable person’s first step. We don’t know if he was working 30 hours a week originally, or 40, or 60. His manager may not even have known that it would inconvenience him all that much. I know plenty of people that work less than full-time hours and are perfectly fine with that.

              As for the various ways retail companies weasel their way out of providing benefits – Walmart is notorious for forcing employees to work through their mandated lunches, clocking them out at 39 hours a week (even if they worked a full 40), etc. It’s really shitty and unfair, but I don’t think it’s quite on the same level as mandating a 24-hour limit for part-time workers. As I mentioned before, they may only have enough hours for so many full-time employees, and therefore have an obligation to those employees to keep them at full-time hours.

              There’s actually a decent amount of information missing from this post that I’d like to know in order to get a better idea of what happened and where the employee is coming from.

              1. Cat*

                I thought it was pretty clear from the OP that this wasn’t something his individual manager had any discretion to change and wasn’t something that was applied on an individual basis. Again, I’m not condoning his actions or excusing them. But people aren’t robots; when companies make decisions that are going to make life much more difficult for their employees, you are statistically going to have some of them who don’t react well. I thought this story was interesting because it’s a good example of the kind of thing that happens when you make those sorts of decisions.

                And as I said, no, this doesn’t change what the OP should do. Of course she should do what AAM suggested. But the decision + reaction is an interesting aspect of the letter, I think.

                1. Ask a Manager* Post author

                  The thing is, most people don’t react the way this guy did. His reaction is out of bounds and not consistent with most people’s.

              2. the gold digger*

                For what it’s worth, a lot of retailers apparently are making this change to PT hours because the new health care law mandates that FTEs be given benefits, with (I believe – I am not an expert) FT being defined as 32 hours.

                This is not just a Wal-Mart thing. (Not defending Wal-Mart, but pointing out that this appears to be a response to legislation.)

                I feel really bad for the people who are affected and am pretty convinced my company is following a parallel path and will cease to offer benefits at all next year. Or maybe they just thought we needed an hour-long meeting last year at open enrollment with the consultant to explain how the health-care exchanges would work.

                1. EM*

                  Yeah, we just went through this at my company. Some part-time hourly people were re-classified as part-time salary (with benefits). I still wanted to be hourly (no benefits), so I have to make sure I don’t work too many hours on average.

                2. LMW*

                  I was going to say the same thing. I had to deal with a similar issue at my previous job (where I was w-2 contractor, paid hourly). Nationwide company that is probably cutting hours and contract lengths for a lot of people who previously had rather steady employment because they simply couldn’t afford to pay for benefits under the new law. It’s a rough situation, and it’s really hard not to get bitter about it — but staying professional is even more important if you want to get good recommendations or potential FT work.

            2. Elizabeth*

              Definitely there are employers that use shady practices, and indeed, long-term, that might mean consequences in terms of employee motivation. However, looking at this individual guy’s situation, he’s not behaving in a way that’s going to help himself at all. He *might* be able to effect change by talking with his manager, writing calm letters of complaint to district management, lining up another job and quitting, going to the press to expose poor working conditions, etc. But sulking like a teenager who’s been told he can’t go to the mall until he finishes his homework… it won’t get him the results he wants.

          2. Anon*

            Cutting someone’s pay in half with little advance notice doesn’t seem “horrible” to you? Have you never held an hourly job? If you have a reliable, steady job with a set number of hours (and therefore a set income) you are going to rent a place, come up with a budget, pay bills, etc. expecting a set income. Sure, he can find another part-time job, but if you read this column you know how long it can take to find a new one in this market. It’s one thing to go into a job knowing it’s 20 hours, but if you spend your time job searching and finally accept one that lets you work 40 hours, and then, despite doing a great job, your hours are cut in half, yeah, that IS horrible.

            1. Anon*

              Meant to take out the “have you never held an hourly job” comment. I know you have. My point stands, though. It’s one thing to expect it and another thing to have the rug pulled out from under you.

            2. Meg*

              Of course it’s horrible. Please don’t misunderstand me. I just don’t consider it “horrible conditions”. The point I’m trying to make is that while it’s unfair and frustrating for the employee, I don’t think it’s necessarily the fault of the corporation for making that decision. Situations can be frustrating without there being someone to blame. And none of it excuses his behavior, no matter how unfair it is for him.

          3. fposte*

            I think the “part-time” phrase might be a little confusing here. It sounds like the OP is at a business where they’ve engaged in the unfortunately common practice of having people working essentially full time while being classified as part-time to avoid various benefits (and maybe union implications), and the way they’ve decided to deal with that was by cutting back the hours of the full-time “part-timers” (there may not even be any technical full time staff). That means that the OP’s protégé can’t get more hours by asking–the policy has just told him that he has to take considerably less than the amount he was already working, maybe only a little more than half.

            1. Meg*

              That may be true. Admittedly, my experience with retail work is somewhat limited – the only time I worked retail was for a year while I was in college, and I didn’t want to go over a certain amount of hours anyway, so I could balance my schoolwork. If he can’t get more hours by asking, I can see why he’d be that frustrated, although he still shouldn’t be acting that way.

    3. Anon*

      Many retail chains are reducing employee (both part time and full time workers) below 30 hours a week. This is due to health care reform which requires any employee who works 30 hours over a specific period of time to be offered medical coverage. It is an unintended consequence of the new law and yes, it really sucks.

      1. Jamie*

        The fines for not providing coverage are pretty insignificant, relatively speaking. It will certainly be much cheaper for an SMB to pay the fine rather than provide coverage for anyone FT or not. We recently had a presentation by our insurance carrier about this but the bottom line is we’ll still provide coverage because its a benefit that attracts and keeps great employees.

        There will be a a lot of changes for many people and I hope everyone is researching what the changes will mean to them personally so they can make informed choices.

  3. Malissa*

    Being a good mentor involves handling the bad situations as well as the good. It also sounds like you were asked to mentor as a way for management to judge your abilities better. So giving up when it gets unpleasant is not going to look good. At least sit your guy down and say, “I know you don’t agree with the new policies, but throwing a fit about them is unprofessional.”
    Point out to him that crazy and loud doesn’t get the results of calm and rational. Empathize with him that you know that this will be a hit to his wallet. Explain that at the very least he’ll do better with a good reference from this job than with-out. And that will help him in finding a new position if he can’t make this one work.

  4. Anonymous*

    Well, put yourself in his shoes. He probably lost A LOT of money he was depending on. He probably just needs time to get over it.

      1. Ariancita*

        Have to agree here. I think professionals need to act professional no matter the circumstances. I understand his frustration and anger, but vent to your friends, go to your gym for some kick boxing, and brush up your resume. But don’t act unprofessional and lash out.

      2. Rob (Bacon) Bird*

        I agree, to a point. I do not believe he is entitled to act like that either, but depending on his age/work experience, it may be all he knows how to do. This is a perfect time to train him on workplace expectations.

        1. Ariancita*

          Yes, agree that this is actually a really great opportunity for the OP to really mentor. He’s no doubt going to leave, but he can leave with new knowledge about how to handle these kinds of things better.

          1. Jessa*

            Exactly, this is the perfect time to take him aside and explain “look, I get you’re annoyed, you have every right to be annoyed, but you do not have the right to slack on work you ARE being paid for and you do not have a right to make everyone here miserable with your attitude.”

            And if they don’t shape up, an up the line talk with the manager that goes something like “I talked to him, I tried to deal with the issues of his behaviour since the hours cut, but at this point the only thing that might motivate him to do what he needs to do is someone in authority tying it to his continued employment. I don’t have that authority, so, what do you want me to do.”

            Then they either deal with it, tell you it isn’t worth it, or tell you, you do have the authority and they will back you up. At which point if you want to you get to have the “if I have that authority I want the title and the pay,” conversation.

            1. NUM*

              The conversation you suggest the OP have with the employee seems more supervisory than mentor-y. A mentor who approached the situation this way wouldn’t really be mentoring at all.

              The mentor’s relationship with the employee should be one based on mutual trust. She should help the employee figure out a solution to this situation (if one can be found) and take responsibility for her own attitude and building a rewarding career.

              It may be the manager will have to have this conversation someday. But, mentoring and supervising are fundamentally different.

                1. Jessa*

                  Thank you Alison.

                  @NUM, I might have sounded strident in print, the conversation of course would be tailored to the people having it and probably be delivered in a softer tone, but I do think it’s a mentor’s job to go “Look, this doesn’t further your career goals, and even in a lousy part time hourly job, you may need these people for references and maybe you may work with or for some of us some other day. And yes what’s bothering you is bothersome, and be as upset you want, but don’t take it out on us or on the job,” which is actually hugely useful advice for someone being mentored.

                2. NUM*

                  Jessa – I guess the tone might have been part of it. I like your second version much better.

      3. Anonymous*

        So when individuals are upset and acts in accordance with how the company treats them that’s unprofessional? But when the company drops a rule like this out of the blue without an explanation or period when a admittedly good employee is now going to have to figure out how to survive on half his previous pay check with no notice they are entitled to act like that? The reality is we have told people they should just lie back and take it cause they are happy to have a job, and as long as well allow that attitude corporations will continue to get richer on the backs of people they constantly make poorer. It’s nice of you to perpetuate that for them.

        1. Ask a Manager* Post author

          I’ve never told people they should “lie back and take it” when a company mistreats them. I’ve consistently suggested that they look for another job when that happens.

          But yes, acting like this guy is a bad idea and it will hurt only him, by harming his reputation, likely getting him fired if it continues, and potentially making it hard for him to find another job. It won’t hurt the company or anyone else. It will hurt him, and it’s in his best interests to change his behavior. Sorry you don’t like that reality, but it is reality.

          1. Anonymous*

            Every part time employee there should have told the company to shove it, thrown a huge fit, and walked out crippling the company… but instead you say they should just take it and allow the company to get away with it. Then it would hurt the company… but “managers” like you preach to never cause trouble, and stay “professional” because other wise it will hurt your chances to be employed by another company that will once again take advantage of them. It’s only “reality” because we’ve let people like you talk us into thinking that’s the way it should be.

            1. Ask a Manager* Post author

              My mission here isn’t to rewrite society or how business and employment works. It’s to help people make the best decisions for themselves, to help them get the outcomes they want in their careers. If you want to try to organize against the way business is done, by all means, go for it. But that’s not career advice; that’s political and social advocacy advice, and it’s not what people are generally asking for here.

              The “people like you” comment is particularly snotty and unwarranted, by the way. I’ve spent my career working for various forms of justice.

                1. A*

                  It’s funny – because I could very well say the same to you. You haven’t exactly been pleasant and civilized in your comments. Perhaps not so much the unjust part, but definitely the crappy society bit.

                2. Anonymous*

                  Quitting en masse might mean short-term discomfort for the company but would allow them to hire specifically for the rescoped positions, which would in turn confirm their choice as being “correct”. In the meantime the workers who quit will have poor references, zero income and other challenges that may impede their career growth for years. In comparison, if the unjustly treated workers maintain professional decorum, they can still look for a job that will treat them better, but they also can hold the ground they’ve gained. This places them in a better spot for gaining a position of influence down the road where their perspective on treating employees fairly might result in actual tangible changes.

            2. Jessa*

              If you are getting paid to do x. You’ve made an agreement to do x. If they change the agreement to Y. You really have two options – find another job or try and change it the proper way. Acting immaturely and flouncing around and not doing the work you’re paid for without actually complaining in an appropriately adult way (and maybe an actual work stoppage, or something) just makes you look immature and petty and will not ever in any way make them change something since they have not been put on notice as to WHY you’re doing it.

              Also acting out and yelling and stomping about will not in any way get them to LISTEN to whatever your grievance is.

              That being said, the realities of the working world right now are companies that are able and willing to do this to people are

              A: big enough that small stoppages won’t change things,

              B: Big enough that they do not care about small stoppages, except to fire people, and

              C: have a long line of people out the door willing to take the job when they do fire someone, because people are desperate. Particularly now that aid services have been gutted by sequester.

              and mostly D: in states where the government has completely sided with them, gutted labour protections like ability to organise in unions, etc.

              tl;dr – Yelling and leaving will cause no changes, nothing will happen except maybe a short news report locally and a bunch of people blackballing anyone they can ID as having been part of it. Which means nobody ELSE in town will hire any of them.

              1. Anonymous*

                DON’T MAKE NOISE! LAY DOWN AND TAKE IT! YOU’LL ONLY KEEP YOURSELF FROM GETTING A (crappy, where your completely taken for granted and seen as a commodity) JOB SOMEWHERE ELSE! YOU’LL NEVER CHANGE ANYTHING!

                1. Ask a Manager* Post author

                  Anonymous, this is a career advice blog, not a social justice blog. I think you’re in the wrong place if you’re looking for advice on how to make major structural changes to society; that’s not what people are seeking advice on here.

                2. Kimberlee, Esq.*

                  There are good jobs out there, unless you’re suggesting that every job everywhere is bad, and you’re certainly never going to get into a good job if you’re an immature asshole at a crappy one.

                  Have you ever tried to convince even a single store full of poverty-level employees to quit their job on principle to try to effect some kind of change that 1) will probably not happen, and 2) even if it does happen, they probably won’t be hired back to see?

                  Alison frequently advocates bringing up issues and confronting injustice like an adult: talk to your manager, talk to HR, write a letter to corporate, whatever. She’s not exactly known for yelling “LIE DOWN AND TAKE IT.”

                  Particularly when we’re talking about hours being cut at the corporate level. This isn’t massive social injustice. It’s business. Being an asshole about it isn’t going to make corporate’s bottom line magically gain enough money to keep everyone at their hours. Would it be better if people didn’t need to depend on asshole corporations that can pull the rug out at any time? Sure. But convincing the poorest working people in the country to give up their paychecks to make that change isn’t gonna happen.

                3. Jamie*

                  She’s not exactly known for yelling “LIE DOWN AND TAKE IT.”

                  That would be the worst catch phrase ever.

                4. Laura L*

                  One person throwing a fit doesn’t change society.

                  If you want to effect social change you need anger, yes, but you also need to be willing to organize and work for it.

                5. Chinook*

                  “She’s not exactly known for yelling “LIE DOWN AND TAKE IT.””

                  *shake shake shake*
                  Yes it’s legal
                  *shake shake shake*
                  Start looking for a new job
                  *shake shake shake*
                  Talk to the person
                  *shake shake shake*
                  Write a good cover letter

                  Nope…never shows up on the AAM Ask the 8 Ball.

              2. Jamie*

                Of course ITA that yelling and pouting is no way to make a point and will just negate any valid complaints me may have, but I’m not really sure what the company is “doing to” people.

                Am I wrong that the nature of a part time job is that the hours will vary? They had been getting 40 which is FT hours with PT regulations/benefits – to me that’s the bigger problem. I can see the anger more if they were being moved from FT to PT but that doesn’t seem to be the case.

                I understand that it sucks to get fewer hours if you need them, but as a PT employee 40 was never guaranteed so it seems ill advised to get up in arms about losing something you weren’t promised to begin with.

                Maybe I’m reading this wrong, but I don’t see how enforcing PT hours for PT employees is nefarious.

                1. Natalie*

                  In a retail environment, PT and FT are more like benefits eligible or not. It’s so common for PT employees to work 40 that, IMO, a retail employee could reasonably expect it.

                2. Kimberlee, Esq.*

                  I disagree with Natalie a bit below. She’s right in terms of the real question being benefits eligible or not, but I’d still argue that even if you’ve been getting close to 40 hours for months, there’s absolutely no guarantee that that will continue. Hours vary. It would indeed suck to get dropped down to 24 hours, but in a retail setting, it’s really common even before this Obamacare business.

            3. fposte*

              Organized and walked out? Quite possibly. Told them to “shove it” and “thrown a fit”? What’s the goal of that? It won’t make them sorry and it won’t make them respect you–it will make them glad to see you go. And given that the people who made the decision probably aren’t even onsite, it’s kind of like cussing out a call center worker for a bank’s policies.

              There’s a big difference between effective activism and a tantrum. You can achieve the first without indulging in the second.

            4. Joey*

              Easier said than done. I don’t know many folks outside of kids who live with their parents that will sacrifice their paycheck just to make a point.

        2. Anonymous*

          My advice to the mentor would be tell the company to eat a bowl, and go find a job with a company that values it’s employees enough not to do that to the person you have been mentoring.

        3. A*

          Wow, you sound like you have never worked a FT job before. I am hoping your response was out of frustration and anger, and not an accurate portrayal of your perspective.

          The ‘reality’ is that this guy got a PT job that allowed him to work FT hours, and then scaled back. He isn’t being given anything he didn’t sign on for. If he wants FT hours, he needs to seek out a FT position. I feel like your response might have been more appropriate if this was someone who was FT being cut back to PT, but that was not the case here.

    1. A*

      Does not justify his reaction. If this was me I would have been livid internally, but I would never have exploded like that. Largely because the minute I heard that I would want to go home and start looking for other jobs – in which case I would need their references.

      If he was working full time hours previously, presumably he has the time to work an actual full time position. If he accepted a part time job that allowed him to work full time, that no longer makes such accommodations – he should look for an actual full time position. If he wants the stability and garunteed hours of a FT position, that is what he needs to find.

      Frustrating, yes – but his reaction was inappropriate and unprofessional.

      1. Cat*

        Again, I’m not defending his reaction. But surely you know it’s not so simple as “so find a full time job if you want one”? And also that the people who end up taking jobs like this might also not be the ones who are most educated about the nuances of labor law and what constitutes part and full time employment.

  5. Wilton Businessman*

    Before I read AAM’s answer, I thought to myself, “NOW is the time this guy really needs mentoring!”.

    If you don’t have any supervisory responsibility over this person, then it is a great time to bestow your wisdom on him and help turn him around. If you do have supervisory responsibility over this person, you have a bigger problem on your hands (but much easier to resolve).

    1. Chinook*

      I agree with Wilton Businessman. This guy needs someone to show him how to get on full-time and how to act professionally. It is easy to do this in a good job but it shows real character/work ethic when you do it in a bad job (even if it is whiel you are looking for a new one).

      1. Rob (Bacon) Bird*

        Chinook, where are you from? Because I hail from a town called Chinook in Montana.

        1. Chinook*

          We chinooks blow in off the eastern slope of the Rockies, but I happen to be causing migraines in Calgary this year.

          And yes, I am referring to the wind, not atribe in BC, a type of salmon nor a type of helicopter flown by the Canadian Air Force.

  6. CoffeeLover*

    This whole question seems really…. immature (that might not be the right word, but I’m going with it). You can’t just throw in the towel as soon as the going gets a little tough.

    I’m not sure OP is cut out to be a manager. Management, especially in retail, is all about dealing with problem people like this. Sure, practically anyone can be a manager when you have perfect coworkers, but that’s not what a manager’s job entails. There’s nothing wrong with not being cut out to be a manager. Sometimes we feel like that’s the natural path we have to take to advance, but there are ways to move up that don’t involve people management. Ask yourself if this is for you OP, before you become one of those terrible bosses we AAMers read/write about. You might be great manager material, but it’s not being conveyed with what you’ve written here.

    As a somewhat side note, I think this place is poorly managed in general. I think OP’s managers should have spoken to the part-timers individually about this change before announcing it at a group meeting.

    1. fposte*

      I agree with you about managing of difficult people being the main part of managing, but I don’t think management is necessarily about being cut out for it or not. This is a young person with no management experience and no guidance in this situation trying to figure out what to do. That’s a time when a lot of people who did later end up being good managers nonetheless made a lot of mistakes. The OP hasn’t even made those mistakes yet–she’s just reacting to the situation–and I wouldn’t judge her ability to be a manager later from her first novice outing.

      1. CoffeeLover*

        I think the reason I’m judging is because she didn’t ask how to handle the situation or how to guide this person, she asked how to absolve herself of any responsibility… I’m not saying this necessarily means she’s not management material, but just that she should really think about it before going forward (because a lot of times we’re made to think the only way to go up is to manage).

        1. Jamie*

          I think managing is different than mentoring, though.

          If you’re a manager you manage – that’s the job. Don’t want to do it then turn in the key. But ime mentoring is providing career tutelage for someone who wants that. Most of us are managed like it or not, to some degree….but to be mentored I would think needs to be a mutual agreement.

          So I can see if the OP didn’t want to manage and they were a manager this being an issue…but not wanting to mentor someone who doesn’t seem to want it (however much they may need it) seems to be a fair question.

      2. TBoT*

        Yes. People don’t just step into a manager role and miraculously know how to be a good manager. This is a great opportunity for the OP to learn some leadership skills and for the person being mentored to learn some more about professionalism.

    2. Rob (Bacon) Bird*

      I agree, Management is all about dealing with these kinds of issues. However, when you are mentoring and not management, there is a fine line to watch for.

      It’s like watching the neighbors kids. You hold them to the same expectations that you do your own kids. However, if the neighbor’s kids don’t do what they are supposed to you can only do so much to punish them.

    3. Lindsay J*

      FWIW I disagree about speaking to the part-timers individually. If you did this, you would speak to part-timer #1, who, as soon as he got out of the conversation would text or call part timer #2, #3, and #4.

      #2 will misinterpret the situation because #1 won’t use the same words to describe things as you did and will add his own spin on things (intentionally or not).

      #3 will immediately call you because they have a ton of questions that #1 couldn’t answer.

      And #4 will be mad that #1 heard before he did.

      To control the message and prevent rumors and bad feelings from flying about – and ensure everybody is on the same page – I would go with a group meeting.

      1. CoffeeLover*

        I disagree with your disagreement ;P

        Even if Part-timer1 (PT1) tells PT2 before you have a chance to talk to her, you can just later clarify when you talk to PT2. If the number of PTs is reasonable (which it sounds like it is), then this is a way of avoiding blow-ups like this. Not only can you address their concerns privately at the time, but you save yourself the negative backlash that will result from this guys outburst (i.e. his mentor wanting out). Not to mention that I think its just nice to give people a heads up about something that will seriously impact their jobs before you announce it to everyone else.

        1. Kimberlee, Esq.*

          I agree with Lindsay’s disagreement, for all the reasons she stated, and also for another big one…. in retail/service industry, one-on-one meeting are very rare and take up valuable time. These stores run on razer-thin margins and are chronically understaffed; a manager can’t spend hours with themselves and another employee, one at a time, off the floor. It would disrupt the entire day, and it would be absurd when you’re talking about a reduction in hours, which happens *constantly* in places like this (it’s incredibly rare that anyone, even management, have anything close to a regular schedule).

          And what if this policy is impacting 20 employees, many of whom aren’t in that day? That entire week your store will look like crap, and your service will tank because not only are employees pissed that their hours are being cut, the manager and staff aren’t on the floor to make sure there’s adequate coverage.

          If it’s a policy from corporate that affects a ton of people in exactly the same way and there’s nothing they can do about it (or at least, nothing they can do in a meeting with you), having individual meetings to tell them would be absurd at best and really, really bad for the store at worst.

  7. Meg*

    I can definitely feel for the guy, but he doesn’t have the right to behave that way. It will really come to bite him when he goes to apply for another job and wants to use this job’s manager as a reference.

    I’ve been in a very similar situation in retail that rhymes with Malwart. I was coded as a part-time employee, but in a position with very, very limited peers that did the same thing. I was getting 40 hours easily, sometimes overtime simply because I didn’t have anyone to cover my position for a full hour lunch off the clock, but legally required to take at least 30 mins off the clock within the first 6 hours of my shift. So I’d end up racking up 30 mins overtime daily.

    But then we got the whole “part-time can’t work 40 hours hours blah blah blah” thing too… they cut my hours in half too.. and then had no one to do my position (it’s a position that requires SOMEONE to do it at all times the store is open because it maintains cashiers, money in the registers, overriding cash registers, handling customer complaints, etc) when I wasn’t there… so of course I ended up 40 hours anyway, unscheduled.

    If I was his mentor, I’d definitely tell him to just keep doing the excellent work he was doing and if the hours is that big of an issue, to start applying for other jobs… but to NOT burn bridges here by acting like a total ass because he’ll need the reference eventually.

    And who knows? Maybe if he continues to show stellar performance, he can get promoted to full-time employee (though in retail, it’s not likely, especially if it’s Malwart) or a position that is considered full-time.

  8. Elle-p*

    Alison’s advice is perfect as usual — this is exactly the response I’d want to see from an employee. It recognizes that there are areas where the mentor can still have an impact, but also areas that are outside the scope of her responsibilities both of which are key in a supervisory or management role. That said, I would certainly understand if the OP did want to end the mentoring relationship, but that would end any thoughts I had of promoting her to a managerial role. OP – as a fairly new manager myself I understand and empathize with the position you’re in right now, and I’m sure that it’s made more uncomfortable by the fact that you have no functional authority in the situation. But if you are able to stick with it and follow through on Alison’s advice you are going to put yourself leaps and bounds ahead of your peers who haven’t dealt with these kinds of challenging situations and it is going to make your life so much easier when you do eventually move into an official management role. Best of luck!

  9. Tinker*

    Seems to me that skippy here has learned an important lesson here about how hard work pays off at X-mart. Result is that he is clearly disinvesting — and really, this seems to me to be an obvious and natural consequence of what just happened. What skippy now needs to learn is how to keep his yap shut and not let things fall on the floor, that he might make a good case for his next employer.

    If a mentor is not good for endeavoring to impart this bit of advice, I’m hard pressed to think of what a mentor is good for. Dude already has a manager — it’s the definition of the role to address big picture issues like this.

  10. The IT Manager*

    As Alison said a mentor is not equivalent to a manager. I also don’t think a mentor is equivalent to a trainer (and it sounds a little like you were his trainer).

    I do think that a mentor/mentee relationship requires that the both participants be interested. You can and should make the effort to continue to mentor and motivate him, but if he’s uninterested there won’t be anything you can do since you are not his manager and can’t implement positive or negative reinforcement. In short, I agree with Alison’s recommendation.

  11. Nikki J.*

    You said it yourself; you want to get into a management role with this company. Well, management roles sure aren’t easy, especially in retail, and you have to work with high performers as well as the low (and sometimes cranky) performers. Just like kids, you might have secret favorites but you still need to parent your whole pack.

    Ultimately every time I’ve placed a mentorship responsibility on a high performing employee it’s been due to the fact I was 1. giving them the experience so they can move up the ladder and 2. to get a sneak peek how they’d handle the role. Yea, he may not be fun to mentor as he works himself out of the job with the attitude he’s having but you’ll gain priceless experience. It will be just one more notch on your resume bedpost when you are in an interview and you get the “tell me about a time when….”

    1. annie*

      Yeah but the core issue here is that it sounds like the company just pulled the rug out from under their part time employees by basically cutting their hours in half without warning – there’s nothing this mentor could have done to have stopped that. Sure she can coach him as Alison suggests about appropriate ways to behave when you are disgruntled, but I think we should cut the OP a break here because most reasonable people would understand why a corporate decision like this would lead to widespread disgruntlement and morale loss. I imagine it must be very difficult to mentor someone who has been affected by a decision like this, knowing that realistically they are probably looking for work elsewhere. Frankly if it was my mentee, I would have a straight talk conversation about the new policy and probably advise the person to consider working elsewhere or to accept this is a part of being in this type of business.

  12. Kat*

    I assume the managers are not surprised (or will not be) if this employee’s work drops off a cliff. Since they were presumably there for the meeting where he threw his fit, I bet they think he will quit or be a performance problem anyway.
    I don’t think you will be held accountable for his poor performance, if that’s what you’re worried about. But you can control how you deal with the situation. The best advice I have heard in retail management is that if you want the job, prove you CAN do the job. As a store manager for many years, I had assistants and associates who wanted to move up the ladder into management but at the same time, wanted to pass off the difficult situations. I’m not saying to take authority that you don’t have- it’s not like you can write the guy up or anything. It does take a certain level of finesse… sometimes when employees try to take on responsibilities their peers will think they are on a “power trip.” You can’t go overboard. But you do have to prove that you are ready and willing to handle coaching to improve performance and awkward situations like employees not following dress code.
    The part of your letter that stuck out to me is that you haven’t wanted to be around him. Unfortunately in management, that’s not an option. Not only can you not shy away from unpleasantness, but also you will have to work with people you don’t like, or have nothing in common with. I have had plenty of people I managed that I really didn’t like as people, but who were good employees or brought skills to the store that were really needed. I’m not saying this is necessarily the problem here, but it is something to keep in mind for the future.

  13. Rob (Bacon) Bird*

    I would be interested to know the age range of the new hire and if it was his first job.

    In any case, this is a great time to have that talk about his future and what employers are going to expect from him. Talk to him about how his actions can affect promotions, bonuses, raises, and his reputation.

    If anything, it shows management that you want to help this person out, which is what mentoring is all about. It isn’t all rainbows and sunshine.

    1. OP*

      Several people have mentioned age. He is mid 40’s and this is his first retail job. He had a trade job (constructionish) before

  14. Anony1234*

    I understand where the OP’s colleague is coming from. He just had his hours slashed nearly in half, and that’s half of his income gone. He should not have had that major temper tantrum in front of everyone; when I’m angry about something at work, I go home and vent. I work at a job that is retail as well, and I bust my behind trying to do a good job even though the pay is not something anyone can live on and at times the job is thankless.

    From what I understand, a lot of companies are cutting back on employees because of the new healthcare laws mandating benefits for people who average over 30 hours a week throughout the year. So the companies cut back on their present employees, and since that leaves gaps in the hours, they hire new people who will get less hours and less pay. I see it where I work now.

    Anyway, OP, maybe you should mentor him on how to behave professionally and explain how it can hurt him down the road as it erases away the past several months he was superb. Tell him it sounds like it’s nothing personal. At the end of the day, he still gets a paycheck, and if that’s the reward he can give himself to get through the days, then so be it. The reference he can get at the end of the job will be worth more than the 16 hours they are cutting.

    1. Rodney*

      To touch on the reference piece:

      There are soft references, to be sure, but retail by its nature doesn’t do well with references. All (as in, not excepting anyone) of the retail managers that I worked with/for over 8 years have been habitually horrible at providing references for anything else that came up for me. Was it because they wanted to keep me there? Was it because they were just swamped? I’m inclined to believe the second, as I’d rather believe good than bad about someone.

      Also, regarding professionalism: I agree that you make an agreement to do X for Y paycheck. There’s literally no reason, however, for a person who is disinvesting (great word!) to maintain the high standards they were doing when they can do the minimum to complete the role successfully. There’s doing your job and doing your job well. Just like there’s giving me enough hours and giving me some hours. The job of the business (at least at the retail level) is to maximize results and minimize investment of resources. The job of the retail drone is to do just enough to not get fired. The drone gets paid precisely the same for 5 hours whether they did 4 tasks or 50. Professionalism means something different when you’re making 8.00/hr than it does when you’re making 45k/yr.

      The big hook when I was in retail was “do the best job, get rewarded with hours”. You went above and beyond, you were rewarded with more hours. You slacked your way through your shifts, you got less. Now, they’ve removed the incentive. A loss in performance is a foreseeable consequent.

  15. OR*

    I would point out to him that his position is part time FOR THE MOMENT. You never know when a new position will open up and managment will look at his current behavior and attitude. From the opposite perspective, managment definitely witnessed his outburst and current attitude and could decide to further cut his hours. He has a choice on how to conduct himseld. As a mentor, I would point out how his outburst was percieved and suggest to him that he humbly appologize to the person in the meeting once he is able to handle the situation maturely and begin to redeem his reputation.

    1. Mike C.*

      Yeah, no, that sounds incredibly unrealistic. No business endures the morale drop of slashing hours like that only to open up new advancement opportunities in the near future. That would mean you’d have to pay them more, and that’s not going to happen here.

      Making claims like that is a great way to set someone up for failure.

      “Maybe, just maybe if I keep digging through that giant pile of horse manure, I’ll finally find that pony!”

      1. OR*

        I don’t think they slashed hours or began lay offs. The business began holding part time people to part time hours. As previous readers stated, probably for legal reasons related with the new health care regulations. A full time position can open up at any time.

        1. fposte*

          I think there are all kinds of reasons the guy shouldn’t be a jackass, but the possibility of a full-time job isn’t one of them. One isn’t likely to open up there, because the organization doesn’t want to hire people FT–that’s the whole point of this move. As Lindsay notes, this isn’t uncommon–plenty of places run entirely on PT.

      2. Laufey*

        And at any rate, deciding you don’t want to shovel manure anymore doesn’t mean you get to throw it at your managers and coworkers, who are probably having to do his work now that he’s not doing it.

    2. Lindsay J*

      A lot of retail places do not have full-time positions available. When I worked at Sears, all of the front line employees were hourly, part-time workers. Even if you were scheduled for 38 hours a week, every week, you were considered part-time, and there were no full-timers. It’s my understanding that many retail stores operate in this manner.

  16. Ed*

    My gut instinct is that you’re not a very good mentor if your first inclination is to dump this guy. Mentoring is to provide guidance and direction, not to be his manager. IF he chooses not to take your direction, so be it. Even though I have no authority, I approach mentoring just like being a manager. If I was going to fire someone, I would want to know that I did everything possible to turn them around. At the end of the day, all that truly matters is I have a clean conscience because I honestly did everything I could. I’ve seen plenty of situations (most if not all) where a co-worker was fired and I know their manager did very little to warn them. If somebody is ever surprised they are being fired, you’re probably not a very good manager IMHO.

    On a more selfish level, I would use this as an opportunity to approach my manager and say how grateful I am to be given the chance to mentor this employee but I would like her guidance. Not to sound like a suck-up but managers love to be asked these kinds of questions because it’s an ego boost that you value their opinion. And it confirms that you want more responsibility and that you take this mentoring very seriously.

    But, either way, I agree with AAM that this guy is an ass. I’ve seen happy, productive employees of 20 years flip in situations like this. As they say, you never know what a person is made of until the going gets tough. Companies have the right to set whatever hours they want but even if we all agree they are completely in the wrong here, you never have a right to freak out like that in the middle of a meeting. You bite your tongue and meet with your manager in private. It does tick me off when companies restrict part-time hours just enough to avoid giving benefits but you always have the right to leave if you don’t like it. I remember when I worked retail many moons ago and it was like winning the lottery to get one of the few coveted full-time positions with benefits.

  17. AB*

    “Rather than seeming to just wash your hands of a difficult situation, you want to show that you’re calm in the face of silliness, that you recognize what you can and can’t do and are wiling to try the things you can, and that you can escalate appropriately up the chain when needed.”

    Extremely insightful answer from AAM, as usual! The OP is very lucky to have written to her because many others might have addressed the “how to back out of mentorship” isolated situation only.

    Clearly, for someone interested in moving up to a management position, this is a great opportunity for showcasing your ability to step in as a mentor to see if you can help a difficult situation. Even if it doesn’t work, as AAM said, you are then in a great position do discuss the issue with your bosses, being able to demonstrate that you’ve recognized and tried to address the issue, and knew when to flag it as a manager-level problem.

  18. Castiel(le)*

    Alison’s advice is spot on, and I wish I’d had a mentor teach me that same thing when I was 21. I used to be a top performer, but I worked with this awful employee who nobody liked, and I did the worst job of hiding my resentment. One day, she decided to bump me off the schedule last-minute (we’re unionized, she had seniority) when I’d already made plans around my shift. I was furious. I let a few expletives fly when my manager told me I was bumped, and I wrote an email to management. I stopped talking to this co-worker entirely, and finally when she falsely accused me of something, I got in a screaming match with her. In front of my managers.

    I was EXTREMELY lucky to have been offered a better position elsewhere before this incident happened (we had the fight on my second-to-last day at the job), but obviously I burned my bridges there because of that mistake.

    I’ve learned a lot since then (and therapy helped), and am doing much better at my new job. But I’ll always regret stooping that low, and would encourage the OP to try to teach her protege that staying professional will help him in the long run.

  19. Eva*

    When I read the OP, I kind of replaced the word ‘mentor’ with ‘train’ in my head. Isn’t a mentor usually dis-engaged from the work itself? In this case I can understand why the OP is not primarily concerned with ‘mentoring’ but with making sure the person’s performance does not reflect badly on her. It seems premature to assume she is not cut out for managing just because she is thinking of the impact of the situation on her own career first (and not realizing the positive impact it could have if she takes AAM’s advice which will show the managers that she is indeed made of management material).

    1. The IT Manager*

      +1 i’m not sure the LW’s description of her mentor duties quite fit what I think of as a mentor. Not that she’s wrong; it’s a word with mutiple interpretations. Co-workers, supervisors, and people that don’t work with you at all, can all be mentors.

  20. Kacie*

    A little off topic, but people have to understand this was probably done to protect the company under the Affordable Care Act regulations that go into effect in 2014. Part-time employees have to stay under 30 hours to be exempt from receiving benefits. Many employers are setting weekly hours even lower to account for occasional overages. I’ve heard of lots of similar situations occurring now, as employers will have to account for employee time in 2013. This employee will experience similar issues if he leaves for another part-time position elsewhere, so it would be good to coach him that this wasn’t an isolated incident as a business decision.

  21. T-riffic*

    I sincerely hope that the OP considers Alison’s advice and also takes some time to reflect on why s/he felt the need to drop this mentee as soon as the going got tough.

  22. OP*

    Thank you everyone for the comments/suggestions. This has helped me understand mentoring more and how mentoring needs to be separate from managing-this is the first time I’ve ever mentored, and in my mind I now realize that I was attempting to manage him as well. This isn’t a situation that I can fix, so I need to stop trying to approach it that way. The comments from AllisonD and others summed it up well: I am here to coach, advise, and help as a mentor- not a boss. It’s obvious to me (and most of you!) that I still have a long ways to grow professionally before I tackle that responsibility. But I’m trying to make sure that I evolve into the “right” kind of boss when it finally does happen.

    I plan on implementing AAM’s advice about approaching him first, and then taking it to my boss if it doesn’t work out. Yes there has been abit of ridiculousness involved- my boss has asked me to make sure he keeps performing, which obviously I cannot force him to do. But I think if I present it as suggested (“further mentoring isn’t going to make a difference”) they will be satisfied that I tried to help, but that the problem needs to be addressed from above me.

    And yes, I do feel terrible that they are doing this to the part-time employees. For years they have worked them 40 hours a week, and obviously people budget around their income. The immediate store management does feel for them, but this decision has come from the corporate office and there is no way my boss can get around the new hour structure unless he wants a new job afterwards. It’s nothing personal- it is a business decision. Which unfortunately doesn’t make anyone feel better.

    1. FD*

      Something that might be a really nice thing to do might be to say something like:

      “Bob, I know that this new policy is very frustrating, and I can’t blame you for being upset. I can even understand if this decision is going to push you to look for a new job. But, if and when you’re looking for you next position, as your mentor, I’d like to be able to give you the best recommendation possible. And that means you doing X, Y, and Z.”

    2. Not so NewReader*

      Well said, OP. And kudos to you for identifying a problem and asking AAM. Nothing wrong with being new by the way- we are all new at something. Keep asking questions that is how we learn.

      I believe that training and mentoring can be aspects of managing. However, managing has many more angles to cover.

      I have dealt with angry coworkers, bosses etc. and it is not fun at all. And it was not in my genes at birth to know what to do- what’s up with THAT?

      The number one thing that I have found is that when I sit and chat one-on-one with a person very seldom is a problem really HUGH. But, yeah, when I open the conversation I am still a little concerned about how it will go.
      There are a number of good books out there that discuss how to deal with problems/upset in the workplace. I am sure a few readers have their favs to share here.

      The other thing that struck me is: who is mentoring YOU? Let’s see they gave you this assignment and then just cut you loose to do it? I really like the recommendations here that you try to approach him on your own, then go to the boss. “I have sat with him and explained X,Y and Z. Do you feel there is anything else I should do?” This tells the boss you are willing to learn and grow.

      And finally, there is a difference between mentoring and advocating. If you cannot HONESTLY tell the boss something positive about your conversation with this man then don’t. Not up to you to handle this your coworker’s PR. Your job is only to help in acclimate to the work environment.

      Retail has a very high turn over rate. You might want to ask your boss what the company stats are- how long do people stay on average? How many employees get replaced each year? This will help you to get a better idea of what to expect in the future.

  23. Corby Ziesman*

    If they’re cutting hours so that they don’t have to give their employees any benefits… I’d be pissed off too.

    I think the OP doesn’t understand why this part-timer sees this as so unjust. It’s a greedy corporate tactic.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      I don’t see any evidence that the OP doesn’t understand why he’d be upset. What she doesn’t understand is why he’d behave so poorly, as many of us here don’t.

    2. Joey*

      Lots of thing are unjust or appear that way, but if you value your career you can’t go around throwing a tantrum at work every time it happens.

      1. Jean*

        Re “Lots of things are unjust or appear that way”…maybe this experience will lead the once-good-but-now-grouchy-and-unmotivated employee to find paid or volunteer work with causes or candidates working for workplace justice (as he would define it). And–if the disgruntled employee can’t find work in such an area and has no free time for volunteering (perhaps because he’s now working two part-time jobs)–hopefully he’s a registered voter so he at least has that way of making his voice heard. Yes, we all get only one vote, but they add up.

  24. Tiff*

    I think the young man just had a “When Keeping It Real Goes Wrong” moment. And the OP probably has a better shot at helping him than his manager because she can tell him things in a way that are meaningful. He needs someone to “keep it real” with him as well.

  25. Alan Wexelblat*

    It feels like this answer is incomplete because it assumes that the mentor has no fallback. I wonder if the writer has a mentor themselves to whom they can go and say “hey, how do you handle it when someone you’re mentoring is a problem?”

    It also feels like the person writing hasn’t been given clear enough direction on what the scope and responsibilities of mentoring are at their organization which means (to me) that it might be a good idea for them to go to their own manager and get some clarification about what the scope/responsibility is. In addition, it might be good to find out what the company policy is for dealing in general with cases of mentor-mentee mismatch. Leaving aside the behavior in this case, there are just generally going to arise situations in which the two people aren’t a good match and maybe there’s a company policy or guidelines about this.

  26. Jazzy Red*

    There are 100 comments, and that’s just too “Monk” for me.

    I agree, however, that the OP should really try to mentor her co-worker through this. Managers have to be able to do the tough stuff as well as the easier stuff. If you want to get into management, you’ve got a great chance right now to show your bosses what you can do.

  27. Liz*

    As you know the new healthcare laws are going into effect soon where someone working 30 hours or more are considered full time and have to receive healthcare benefits. It sounds like the guy may not be an “ass” but someone who handled negative information poorly. I think that his outburst was definitely wrong. However, the information provided from the company definitely can lower employee morale, which is what has happened with this employee.

Comments are closed.