employee clique is causing problems, employer will pay me more if I work as a contractor, and more

It’s five answers to five questions. Here we go…

1. An employee clique is causing problems

I’m a new manager who’s been internally promoted and taken over a team of 13 people, divided into two main cliques. There’s a group of the tenured employees and a group of the new employees, and they can’t seem to manage to intermingle.

I would love for this to be a non-issue, but unfortunately it’s often brought up in my weekly one-on-ones where the new employees mention they feel as though they’re stepping on the tenured employees’ toes. One even referred to the workplace as “pledging into a sorority.” The more tenured employees have negative attitudes about new processes that are rolled out, which affects the team’s momentum and growth. They question decisions made by leadership without presenting an alternate solution and have a sense of entitlement that’s caused a toxic environment for others. This is starting to be noticed by other employees outside my department and affect our ability to hit goals, and I’m starting to feel more like a therapist than a manager.

I’ve arranged buddy systems, team outings, and switched up seats/lunches but nobody is warming up. Any suggestions on how to squash this and make a cohesive team?

You’re seeing this as a social issue (and trying to solve it from that angle), but it’s not. It’s not about the longer-term employees needing to mingle with the newer employees; it’s about specific behaviors they’re displaying that are impacting your team’s work results — resisting new processes and generally naysaying and creating a negative environment. That’s the piece of this that you need to address, and you can’t do it through social engineering (buddy systems, outings, and switching seats). That’s like trying to solve a sore throat by putting a cast on your knee.

Instead, need to talk with the problem employees individually about the behaviors they’re displaying that are problematic, clearly tell them what you need to see from them instead, and then set and enforce consequences if the problems continue. You should be treating this like any other performance issue that was impacting the work.

2. Employer will pay me more if I work as a contractor

I was recently extended a job offer at $58k. I replied that I was hoping the salary would be more in line with something in the $62-$65k range. The employer responded that the salaries were not negotiable but that if I was willing to waive my benefits, they would have some wiggle room. I asked him to expand upon this, and he said that if I wanted to waive all benefits, including leave, and become a 1099 contractor, they could meet $65k. He said if I only waived health insurance could he offer $60k.

I’m a bit upset because my current employer is wonderful and has a great benefits package. They’ve also been upfront with me every step of the way. This new offer seems shady. What do you make of it?

They can’t just decide to make you a 1099 contractor without restructuring the job; there are legal restrictions on how contractors must be treated. (See more here.)

Moreover, contractors generally charge significantly more than employees, because they’re not receiving benefits and are responsible for paying their own payroll taxes. It’s very, very unlikely that a 12% increase in pay would make up for that; it’s more common for contractors to charge twice what an employee would, so you’d be taking a huge hit in your overall compensation.

3. I don’t want to tell my manager what I’m getting physical therapy for

I have a recently-diagnosed medical problem that requires me to get pelvic floor physical therapy once a week for at least 8 weeks or more. Because of the hours of my physical therapist, I may have to come in late to work each time I have therapy, which I will have to clear with my manager. My manager is both a great manager and an all-around nice guy, but because of this, I’m sure he’ll ask what’s wrong, and I feel strange saying something like “it’s a private medical issue that I’d rather not talk about,” because I feel like that makes it quite obvious what the problem is.

Is it wrong/could it backfire if I lie and say I’m getting physical therapy for some other less embarrassing body part, like my back or my knees? I feel funny about lying, but I’d really rather not talk about something so personal with any of my colleagues! I’m assuming that if I have to get a doctor’s note, it will be vague enough that it won’t “out” me. Could you see this causing issues for me later on if I lie?

You can say it’s physical therapy for a medical condition without going into details, or you can simply say it’s a “weekly medical appointment for the next eight weeks.” If asked what’s going on, you can say, “nothing too serious, just something I need to take care of.” Most people aren’t going to continue to push for details at that point, but if he does, you can say, “I’d rather not talk about the details, but I can definitely get a note from my doctor if you need it.” (I’m not a fan of doctor’s notes, but in this case offering one is a way of emphasizing “this is legit, just not something I want to discuss with you.”)

4. Listing my current internship as a reference when I’m applying with them as well

I am a graduate student and currently working at an internship for a small (less than 20 people) engineering company (company X). I enjoy my work there and the office environment, etc. I graduate with my MS in December and will be looking for full-time jobs starting in the next month or so.

I plan on applying at company X for a job, but also at other companies (Y and Z). I think it would be weird to ask my current boss for a job at company X and then have him get a call from a recruiter from company Y/Z a few days later. Should I check “yes” or “no” for “may we contact” when I list company X as a previous employer for the job applications at companies Y and Z? If no, how should I explain it? I also plan on listing one of my coworkers (I work with him on a daily basis) at company X (who knows I am interested in applying there) as a reference for the other jobs. Should I do this?

Your current company knows that you’re job searching (or at least they hope that you are; you’re in an internship, so it tends to be assumed that you’re working on lining something up for once it ends), so it’s not that weird to have them get reference calls from other employers. I’d still give your manager and the coworker you’re listing a heads-up out of politeness — just say something like, “As you know, I’m applying for a job here and would love to stay on, but I know that may not happen, so I’m also applying with other companies. Would you be comfortable being a reference for me?”

5. Should I send a thank-you after a rejection when I wasn’t interviewed?

I’m a somewhat-recent grad with a good job, but one that’s not really in my field, so I like to keep an eye on job postings. I applied to a job last week that was kind of a long shot, but I really loved the location and company. I received a rejection email today that stated that they would keep my resume for future opportunities. Like I said, it was long shot, but I really appreciated being notified and not left hanging.

My question is if it would be appropriate or annoying to send them a thank-you email? I never even interviewed with them, phone or otherwise, so I don’t want to come off as someone who crosses boundaries/is annoying/etc.

Sure, that’s fine to do. It certainly won’t come across as annoying. If it’s fairly generic (“thanks so much for letting me know; I really appreciate your time”), it’s just going to be neutral; it’ll neither help nor hurt. But if it’s more charming/interesting then that (more like this one), it has the potential to help your future chances.

{ 63 comments… read them below }

  1. Stephanie

    #2: OP, nooooooooo! Alison’s right. $7k is nowhere near enough if they’re going to make you a 1099 contractor (and they probably know that) and expect your net to be in line with your desired salary requirements. The company covers a lot of things as a W-2 employee aside from benefits, like payroll taxes and unemployment insurance. And if they’re not upping your pay, you’re getting the downsides of being a contractor without the upsides (like the flexibility). I agree it’s shady.

    #4: Eh, it’s an internship. Those are designed to be short-term. They’re probably waiting for you to ask about references or how to get a full-time offer (assuming you’re doing a good job).

    1. Connie-Lynne

      WHAT STEPHANIE SAID PLUS A HUNDRED.

      $7K isn’t going to make a dent in your taxes or UEI. They’re trying to play you.

      1. Chani

        +infinity.

        Been there, done that, got the tax headache. Thankfully canada’s tax department isn’t scary like the IRS – I was more worried my ex-boss might try and convince me to pay his share for him.

    2. Vex

      +111111

      I had the opposite happen – I went from independent contractor to W-2 employee. Even though my salary is slightly lower now, I’m keeping more actual money in my pocket because a) no self-employment taxes and b) healthcare benefits.

      Self employment taxes SUCK (and keep in mind you have to pay both state and federal, which is where I really took a hit).

    3. Chinook

      #2 – I don’t know if the hiring manager realizes this, but she is also talking about different budget lines which may be controlled by different groups. Payroll is a different line item than a contractor and subject to different approvals.

      Another thing to consider is what happens to your pay if the company as financial difficulties. Payroll needs to be paid first but, as a contractor, you get put in the same bucket as every other vendor and may only get pennies on the dollar if the company goes under. This risk is part of the justification for the greater cost. Plus there is no guarantee about when you will be paid (if you do this, negotiate Net 1 terms and enforce them.)

      As well, as a contractor, your company may have liability insurance requirements, etc., that they require for all on-site vendors that you will have to cover. Before agreeing to this, ensure any requirements are in writing and have been seen by their procurement department (if they have one).

        1. John B Public

          You’re also not covered legally- as an employee, your actions are considered to be part of the company’s actions, so you’re not individually held liable for what you do (assuming you’re not doing something otherwise covered by liability laws, like architecture). But as a contractor, you could be singled out for prosecution.

          I’d never do 1099 work without getting paid at least double, because a good chunk of that will go to covering yourself legally, in addition to the taxes you owe for being self-employed, the extra headache of filing the correct paperwork, getting your own insurance, socking away money for retirement (no 401K for you!), socking away even more money for possible unemployment times, etc. Oh, and no holiday/sick time. No tuition reimbursement. No employer-match for charitable donations. No FMLA. I’m sure there’s more but I’m tired =)

          1. Chickaletta

            This is why if you should set up an LLC if you’re going to be a contractor. It’s so easy to do, makes it easy to manage your taxes, and will save your butt (and your bank account, and your house, and all your other assets, etc) if there ever is litigation. You don’t even have to file separately, you can still do a schedule c with your 1040.

  2. S

    OP #4, Alison is spot-on. I was very clear about wanting to stay at my internship company because I did love it there, but I was also very clear about the fact that I was job-hunting elsewhere. My supervisor actually offered to serve as my reference before I could even ask. Reasonable managers will understand that their interns have to keep all options open, including applying for other jobs.

  3. Artemesia

    I don’t know the setting where the senior employees are ‘tenured’ — it might be public school teaching or college — or it might be a more informal use of the term to just mean senior, but if the OP has no heavy consequence potential e.g. job loss at her disposal that doesn’t mean there is no leverage. Start of course with clear feedback that focuses on the productivity of the group, but be prepared to think of creative ways to penalize people who cannot be fired. The kinds of assignments people get, the resources they have, their work spaces etc etc are all things that can be tools when reason and encouragement fail.

    And for OP with physical therapy — I don’t see a problem with vagueness ‘some muscle issues’ or even with a bit of lying ‘some back and joint issues’. I agree that ‘it is private ‘ pretty much says it all and should be avoided.

  4. Bee Eye LL

    #3 – I work with a guy who thinks he’s a doctor and if you mention any kind of medical issue he will first tell you about the time he had the very same thing, then start dispensing all kinds of unwanted advice. If you don’t want to be specific, then don’t be.

  5. LisaLee

    #3: I don’t think anyone will bat an eye if you say something vague like, “I’m getting treatment for a medical issue, but it’s not serious.” There are plenty of people who prefer not to discuss their health at all with coworkers.

    Physical therapy is also really common now, so if you need to be more specific you could say something like, “I’m getting physical therapy to help with an old injury/torn muscles” or “I’ve been dealing with some muscle pain and my doctor suggested physical therapy” or whatever seems truthy-ish and applicable to your situation. I’ve had my share of embarrassing and lengthy medical issues, and generally I feel like giving a little bit of the truth is easier for me, since no one is going to wonder if I’m dying or ask never-ending questions if I satisfy curiosity up front.

    1. Connie-Lynne

      OP#3: This — your manager is probably not going to bat an eye if you reference hand-wavy “muscle issues.”

      At the same time, I’m not gonna lie, I did have some women’s health issues a while back and I told my (male) boss straight out that it was for “lady things.” I’m a pretty straightforward person (I will gripe about my crummy perimenopause periods with my male friends while on a volunteer work crew, for example) but man, sometimes you just don’t wanna share, and people do understand that “lady stuff” means “I CHOOSE NOT TO SHARE.” I do understand that in some relationships, even that might feel like oversharing, though.

      1. bassclefchick

        I was going to say the same thing!!! Most men, if you even start to say the words “lady things”, will back off because they REALLY don’t want to know about that sort of thing. OP#3, if you’re at least comfortable enough with your boss to say that or “my gyno is helping me with an issue”, he probably won’t push for details.

        1. Hotstreak

          OP is not comfortable saying “it’s a private medical issue that I’d rather not talk about” though, because she thinks it would be obvious what the problem is. I don’t think she’s going to want to say “lady stuff” or “gyno”!

          1. Wren

            You know, I think my mind would go to “butt stuff” rather than “lady stuff” if I was told you didn’t want to talk about it.

  6. Anonymous Educator

    #2 That is definitely shady, and you do not want to give up benefits and be a contractor for $5-7k. Totally not worth it.

    #4 I think it would be weird to ask my current boss for a job at company X and then have him get a call from a recruiter from company Y/Z a few days later.

    No, it’s not weird at all. They can’t guarantee you the job with them, so they know you’ll be looking at other jobs, too. If I were your current boss, I’d actually be surprised if you weren’t looking elsewhere and were, in fact, banking on staying when you don’t know if you’ll be able to.

  7. CreationEdge

    #2

    Everyone so far has pointed out that the $7K difference is not enough, and way below standard for contract work.

    Then there’s the issue of the job not changing, but the 1099 status coming in?

    So far people only seem to be commenting on the shady aspect of the salaries mentioned. I would say the employer is shady, and would seriously consider avoiding them completely if it’s something you can manage. “Non-negotiable” salary, but low-balled “contract” work? No thanks.

    1. Kat A.

      This. That employer is acting shady and will probably screw you over in some other way it go work for them.

    2. A Dispatcher

      +1 – employer sounds super shady to me. I’m sure you must have a pretty unavoidable reason for leaving since you describe your current employer as wonderful, but if at all possible I’d avoid this company and keep looking

    3. Tau

      What I also find particularly shady is that they seem to have told OP that contractor status would mean no benefits and leave… not that OP would then be responsible for paying her own payroll taxes etc.

      1. MK

        Strictly speaking, it’s not their job to educate the OP about what being a contractor entails.

          1. MK

            But they haven’t done anything to mislead the OP; they told them that they would pay a contractor more, but not give the contractor benefits and leave, not that a contractor pays no taxes. Classifying an employee as a contractor is shady, though I agree with those who think the company is being thoughtless and ignorant, not intentionally shady. But if the offer was legit, all they had to do was be honest about what the offer entails; I don’t think they would have an obligation to spell out all possible ramifications for the OP, who is an adult entering a bussiness relationship.

      2. Allura

        Yeah, you could make the case that you get unlimited leave as a contractor, it’s just unpaid. Which means they have no clue what a 1099 really is or they’re trying to screw you. I’d keep looking.

        1. Honeybee

          I’m betting on the latter, because dollars to donuts they’d great her like an employee (controlling her hours, when she can take leave, tasks and projects) while still not paying benefits or payroll taxes.

    4. mander

      I was going to say the same thing. This sounds really sketchy and they will probably look for other ways to screw you as well. If it’s just a job offer and you haven’t left your current place yet, I’d say no thanks and keep looking.

    5. MaryMary

      Eh, there’s a good chance the employer is just ignorant, not malicious. My guess is the conversation went something like this:

      1: OP is our first choice, but she’ll looking for a salary in the range of $62-65k
      2: Well, we can’t afford that. We only budgeted $58k
      3: Isn’t there anything we can shift in the budget? Benefits cost about $5k annually, what if we told her we’d pay $63k but she’s not eligible for benefits?
      1: We can’t do that. We have to offer benefits to all full time employees, with the exception of contractors
      2: So hire her as a contractor for $63k. PROBLEM SOLVED.

      OP, you might be able to leverage Alison’s “I’m sure you didn’t know this was illegal, but…” wording here. The DOL is doing more audits, and 1099 employees is one of the areas they’re really focusing on.

      1. Ask a Manager Post author

        Yes, I think that’s the most likely scenario too. This stuff is more often ignorance than anything else. Still doesn’t make it okay, of course, but it’s useful to understand how it most likely came up and how they’re thinking of it (as opposed to knowingly proposing something illegal and knowingly screwing her over).

        I’d say something like, “I think we can get into trouble if we keep the job basically the same but convert it to contractor status, because the IRS has pretty strict rules on when a job does and doesn’t qualify as a 1099 position. Plus, I’d be responsible for my own payroll taxes, which would mean I’d actually be taking home a lot less than if it were a W2 role.”

  8. TheLazyB (UK)

    #3, you are me! Except my line manager is a woman. But I’ve only been working for her for two months.

    I’m going with “non-serious short term gynae probs” and hoping she doesn’t enquire further. If she does I’ll say “I’d rather not go into detail”.

  9. Grumpy bear

    #3 if someone told me that they were getting Physio but didn’t want to give specifics, it would not occur to me that it was for pelvic floor issues. But I think it’d be a good idea to have a general “strained muscle, needs some training, no biggie” statement handy.

    1. hbc

      I suppose if she’s the kind of person who calls in sick with “I’ve had it coming out both ends all night,” I might assume it’s something very personal if I’m not given details this once. But that still doesn’t send me straight to pelvic floor.

    2. Elysian

      Yeah, I didn’t even know that this was a thing people could get physical therapy for, but I guess that makes sense now that I’ve googled it. Honestly I would just assume you strained or sprained something and were working on it, but I don’t make a habit of inquiring into my coworkers medical stuff in general.

    3. themmases

      Yeah, I don’t think it will be obvious what the medical issue is if OP doesn’t share. People think this a lot about their specific health problems (“A weekly appointment for something I don’t want to share can only mean one thing!”) but it just isn’t true. Personally if I were to speculate about an appointment like that (which I and other normal people generally don’t, don’t worry!), I would assume it’s therapy because that’s my thing.

      Off the top of my head, medical issues people don’t want to share about could include: anything sexual, anything reproductive, something they’re worried about and don’t want to be reminded of, anything related to GI/bowel movements/vomiting, something they don’t know the outcome of yet, weight management, mental health, something that is hard to explain, something that sounds scarier than it is and they’re trying to avoid pity/worry… I could go on. The fact that we each tend to think our embarrassing health issue is the one super obvious one is really proof that most people can’t or won’t bring much imagination to bear on wondering what your medical issue is. Just say it’s a medical appointment and decline to give details. Don’t even say it’s physical therapy if you don’t want to.

  10. BananaPants

    I would not automatically assume that a general “going to the physical therapist” was for a pelvic floor issue. Actually, I might (I’ve given birth to two kids and I know women who have had pelvic floor PT) but I’d certainly NEVER ask more questions. If the person elaborated with “for a private issue” I would probably figure out that it was along those lines, but again I wouldn’t let on that I had any idea. Alison’s advice is good.

    I’m a woman working in a very male-dominated industry and have always had male managers, including through two pregnancies. None have ever wanted details on exactly why I was going to the doctor, regardless of what it was actually for. I was prepared to lie through my teeth in early pregnancy if necessary but I can get away with that in my workplace.

  11. Stephanie

    On the independent contractor thing…can a company pay you as a contractor if you never agreed to it? I took a job a few months ago at a startup that I thought was just a regular hourly employee type thing. That is how I’ve been treated by my primary boss (I have 3, but one works remotely and the other is rarely in the office). The boss who is remote isnone of the founders and handles all the business aspects of the comanpy, including pay. I’ve been being paid as a contractor since Day 1, even though I think everything else points to me being an employee. I’ve exhausted the ways of going about getting this resolved without being accusatory and the next step will be to file with the IRS, but I’m just trying to wait until after I have found something else (I’m leaving for reasons not actually related to the pay thing).

    1. Natalie

      Nope, it’s not up to you or the employer. In general, tax laws aren’t done ala carte.

    2. Clever Name

      So they aren’t paying payroll taxes on you, an employee? Did you fill out a W-4? It sounds like they think it will be fine to basically pay you under the table. I agree with talking to a lawyer. You want to make sure they are on the hook for not paying employment taxes, not you.

      1. Stephanie

        No, I never filled out a W-4. We have a number of independent contractors and they pay me just like they pay them. The only difference is I’m treated as an employee and never agreed to be an independent contractor. They control my hours, where I work, the work I do, etc. The on-site boss is who hired me…but the off-site founder handles all the pay stuff. There’s a disconnect there. There’s major business issues…no written policies, no contracts, no one is ever on the same page. I’m treated just like every other person in the office is…except they are salaried (there’s only 6 of us in the office and about 30 contractors off-site). I’m just the first person who had pushed for any kind of change and it’s not going well. I can’t afford this though…1/3 of my paycheck has to be set aside for taxes and I’m only making 20k a year after all that. I want to remain civil (burning bridges with this company would be a bad move for my career in my town)…but things have also got to change.

        1. HR Wannabe

          Stephanie,

          Best advice: complete a W-4 and state tax form and send a copy to the person who handles payroll. If it’s your boss, mention that you haven’t seen taxes coming out on your pay stubs and want to make sure your payroll record is updated. Tell them that you want to make sure taxes are being taken out appropriately going forward.

          If you been there more than a few months you should also probably contact your state’s department of revenue (and the SSA) to see if wages have been reported for you. If not, the agency should have a process to request an audit.

          If that doesn’t work, find the county the business is incorporated in and contact that county department of revenue.

          Between the county, state and SSA *someone* will have some information.

  12. Techfool

    The cliquey thing is difficult. As someone who has been in the clique and out of the clique it does affect work even if ostensibly everyone is doing whatever tasks they are supposed to be doing.
    You can certainly get people to display certain behaviours in the office but it’s fairly obvious when groups are bitching about other groups in their own time during lunch or after work. Many people can’t rise above it, at the very least it makes them uncomfortable and people don’t work as well with each other as they could.

  13. AvonLady Barksdale

    #3, I understand why you don’t want to be vague, but I want to reassure you that being vague is FINE, especially in this case. If you said to me, a woman, that it was a private medical issue, I might speculate but I would never go immediately to a pelvic floor issue. That’s the first thing. The second… most men I know either do not think twice about women’s health issues or don’t want to hear it. I had a great relationship with my male boss– one day I went to the gyn and fainted, so I went straight home. The next morning, my boss asked if I was ok and I said, “Yeah, I just passed out at the gynecologist,” and he all but put his hands over his ears and went “la la la”.

    A “nice guy” like your manager will accept your vague response, not push, and wish you well. He might ask how things are going, but he will respect your reticence.

    1. mander

      Urgh, I find the hands over the ears and la-la-la thing rather immature, to be frank. If I had a male colleague tell me he had to see the doctor for a testicle issue I’d be like “oh no, hope it gets better soon” not “OMG gross body parts I don’t want to know about”.

      1. AvonLady Barksdale

        I said “all but”– he didn’t actually do that, he just felt uncomfortable hearing it. Did he have strange discomfort issues hearing about ladybits? Sure. But many people do, which is my point– often, they don’t want to know, therefore it’s not necessary to elaborate.

      2. CMT

        Yeah, I don’t think it’s cute or funny when men get embarrassed about women’s health issues. Obviously, nobody needs to tell their boss or coworkers the details of their medical treatments. But it wouldn’t be weird to say, “I have an appointment with a podiatrist” so it shouldn’t be weird to say “I have an appointment with a gynecologist.”

      3. KerryOwl

        Me too. The worst is when grown men get grossed out by the mention of menstruation. Give me a freaking break.

  14. Clever Name

    #1 I wonder if you have been inadvertently feeding into the problem by viewing it as the newbie group v the veteran group in addition to what Alison mentioned. If I started at a new company and was stonewalled and my ideas put down by my new coworker’s, and then my manager jumped in with teambuilding activities, I’d probably start looking for a job sooner than later.

    Also, it’s entirely possible to create a team of employees who perform well and get along great but are not friends.

  15. Persehone Mulberry

    #3, one thing to plan for if you mention that you are getting PT is for your employer to ask if you need any accommodations at work, which could lead to questions about what kind of PT. Having a ready answer might help you avoid disclosing more than you’re comfortable with.

  16. schnapps

    OP1 that sounds like my office a few years ago. Now, most of the long term employees have retired, and the rest are expected to go in the next year or two.

    But the important thing to remember is that they don’t have to like each other, they just have to work together. They need to be courteous, respectful and share information, but they don’t need to hang out together. The sharing information is key – in my workplace that was the problem: the longer term employees with all the corporate knowledge would deliberately withhold information from the newer employees. So when I came in and was told, “Well, ask so-and-so”, by a manager, I would say, “Oh, she said she didn’t know the answer”. Which would be true because I would ask her, but my manager always looked surprised.

  17. not telling

    #1: probably the seat rearrangements and forced social mixers are just making the problem worse. If these two groups don’t like each other, then you can’t force them. Attempting to do so is likely only increasing the friction.

    Forget how long people have been there, or haven’t. Forget who they are friends with. All that matters is whether or not they re meeting their performance expectations, which presumably includes teamwork. Stop trying to communicate your expectations with passive-aggressive social engineering tactics. And don’t try group announcements either–it will allow the cliques to rally around each other. Address this problem one-on-one. Sit each person down and address their actions and attitude and job description, and only theirs.

  18. Ruthie

    #3

    I just wanted to wish you luck! I finished up my pelvic floor PT a few months ago. The exercises and my therapist were both lifesavers! I wish more women knew that pelvic floor PT was an option and that more medical facilities offered it.

  19. JulesSunny

    #1 – I’m glad you brought this issue to AAM. In my field, and in many others that friends/family work in, this kind of environment toxicity is a HUGE problem.

    Is there any way to possibly have an AAM blog or article related to this topic? Or a guest blogger or something? Alison, I know you’re Super Woman and we all love you and recognize there are only so many hours in a day for you to help us all get through our work-related issues :)

  20. OP#3

    Thanks, everyone, for your thoughtful and helpful comments! Those of you who said my boss wouldn’t press the issue were absolutely right. He didn’t ask any further questions when I told him I had some recurring doctor’s appointments, and has been just fine with me being late once in a while.

    For those of you who were wondering, therapy is going very well :)

  21. Ad Astra

    FWIW, pledging a sorority doesn’t sound anything like what OP #1 is describing. When you join a sorority, the older members are, you know, excited you’re there.

  22. Erin

    #1 – Not a significant piece of advice, but I just wanted to say you have my sympathies. I used to work for a retail farmers market, in addition to a cooperative owned and maintained by farmers. About 80% of them had a huge sense of entitlement and thought that rules didn’t apply to them, because their father’s father’s father belonged to this market, darn it! We also had wholesaler tenants who were married to the farmers on the board. Guess who didn’t have to pay any late fees when not paying their rent on time?

    Newer, non-farmer people like me didn’t stand a chance. Every time I tried to exert any authority and make everyone live up to the same rules I was shut down by the higher ups.

    Whatever you need to do to nip this in the bud do it immediately, because this sense of entitlement will just go on and on and get worse and worse the longer they’re there.

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