3 updates from letter-writers

Here are three updates from recent letter-writers:

1. My employee keeps giving me instructions

After having read all the comments (which were very useful, by the way), I came to realize more about why my employee has been acting this way. In short, she had been on her own for a few months while I was away on maternity leave, so she may have become a bit territorial. Moreover, in the long run, this position is contingent upon how busy we will be in the future, so she may be just trying to prove her worth.

However, after reading more of your blog posts (again, they are really helpful!), I came to realize that I am partly to blame for this. It’s my first management role, and in my effort to create a good working environment, I have been more friendly than I should have been, meaning that I believe I have conveyed that our relationship is lateral rather than vertical (if that makes any sense). So, lesson learned; I am trying to be more assertive, for example by explicitly setting our workflow schedule rather than giving the impression that this is a co-decision, making sure to oversee her work and provide feedback without trying to give a “don’t resent me for doing this” vibe, etc.

2. Coworker is claiming reimbursements for fake expenses

Here’s an update from the question I sent you last week, about misusing per diems and gas reimbursement. I sent an email to the woman we send our receipts and miles, basically saying, “Hi Jane, I know our driving situation is complicated, with me not claiming all my miles. Just to clarify, only Marcus and I have cars, so we’re splitting driving in half, unless he or I note differently. I’m not claiming reimbursement for trips under 50 miles, so hopefully that hole doesn’t cause trouble. Let me know if that all still sounds good, since we haven’t discussed it in a while.”

The per diem issue might have been resolved. Most all of our performances are in hotels, casinos, and other places with in house food options, so apparently we are going to be receiving essentially meal vouchers. This is a new change I actually found out about the day my question was posted, but it think it’ll solve all the funny business with reimbursements.

I told Fergus I was informing Jane about the mileage issue, and basically told him if he tried any funny business he would get caught. It ended up being a great heart to heart, and his circumstances are like a lot of readers suspected. He’s super broke and 22, and honestly really clueless about professional behavior. He’s a nice enough guy, and I think he really understood what I was saying. I also explained to him what a great opportunity we have here, and he can’t afford to mess it up.

Thanks everyone who commented.

3. How can I follow up on my manager’s mention of a possible promotion? (#2 at the link)

When I got back to the office after the weekend, I emailed my manager with the language you suggested, pretty much copying and pasting it. Less than an hour later, she replied and said yes, let’s talk about this, and just now we did. It turns out that with several leadership changes going on in my organization, all personnel changes, including promotions, have been put on hold. But they’re being brought up in a top-level meeting later today and may be resolved over the next few months. So the issue is red tape, rather than anything I did or didn’t do. That was a relief. And my manager asked me to follow up with her again in a few weeks so I feel like there’s a timeline and I’m not in limbo. Talk about a sea change.

Thank you again for your fast and specific advice. Without it, I would have chickened out of asking, and this episode gives me new confidence talking to my manager about my performance.

{ 12 comments… read them below }

  1. The Artist Formally Known As UKAnon*

    Three wonderful updates. I’m particularly pleased that #2 had a happy ending!

  2. BadPlanning*

    Good job OP #2 — you probably saved Fergus’ from a lot of pain — getting in trouble over money funny business.

    1. neverjaunty*

      Right? I hope he realizes how lucky he is that OP gave him a heart to heart talk on this.

      Great news all around!

      1. Ama*

        Yup, I didn’t have time to comment on the original post, but my father’s accounting firm once had to fire a brand new employee (along with an employee who had been around a few years) for falsifying expenses on a business trip. My dad was pretty sure the more experienced employee took advantage of the fact that the newer employee didn’t fully understand how business expenses worked to get him to go along with the plan, but this was in the years immediately after the Enron/Arthur Andersen implosion and most accounting firms were zero tolerance about any kind of financial misconduct.

  3. Chloe*

    Yay, I love these updates! OP #2, you did a great job handling that incredibly difficult situation! I’m glad it worked out the way that it did.

  4. Prismatic Professional*

    Yay! Good on OP #2 for taking a considerate route!

    I’m very happy for all the OPs! :-)

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