Need advice - Job related (VERY long)

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by hearts and roses, Jul 10, 2008.

  1. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    [FONT=Times New Roman,Times,Serif]Okay ladies, I'm really reaching here for a little advice, words of comfort, perhaps some understanding and well...also to vent a bit.[/FONT]
    [FONT=Times New Roman,Times,Serif]I will probably delete this post in 24-48 hours - possible breach of privacy on my end, sorry. So if you're going to respond, please do so ASAP. Thanks.[/FONT]
    [FONT=Times New Roman,Times,Serif]The background: I have worked at my job, which is for a close family member (brother in law), for 12 years. My role is office manager. I have handled all the bookkeeping (the main business checking/savings as well as 6-7 excrow accounts), payroll, human resources, IT contact, vendor management, hiring protocols, executive administrator, etc. I've basically been wearing about 7-8 hats at any given time over the course of my job here, often all at once. I like my job. At times it's a bit rote and mundane because I've been doing it for so long and I know it frontwards and backwards. But at other times, usually in Spring and holiday times it's crazy - I love the craziness part of that. I hate to have absolutely nothing pressing to do because then I get lazy and bored and that's when I will start playing on-line games and surfing the net. Ugh. [/FONT]
    [FONT=Times New Roman,Times,Serif]Back in April during my job review my boss mentioned to me something about having our accountants take over the bookkeeping part of my job, which would include the payroll. This takes up a better portion of my time and job. In fact, it's the part of my job that I actually enjoy the most. At that time when he asked me about how I'd feel about it, I said I liked my job and would like to continue in that capacity. He said fine, we talked about other stuff and it was dropped, or so I thought. [/FONT]
    [FONT=Times New Roman,Times,Serif]We've been incredibly busy the past few months with new business and some extra things that have been planned for marketing stuff. Anyway, the boss has been traveling a lot and so we've both put some issues that needed discussing on the back burner. But out of nowhere yesterday he asks me if I have time to talk. Sure I said and by 3:40PM we still hadn't spoken so I called him and asked him if that was a good time. He said sure, I went in his office and I immediately could tell that he was nervous about whatever it was he had to tell me, so I just waited patiently while he tied up some loose ends on his desk. Then he turns to me and tells me that he is having the accountant's bring in a bookkeeper to take over the books and payroll. I was speechless, really...because although we had talked about it in April, it seemed apparent [to me] that something had transpired within the past week or so that prompted this - it became more apparent to me that something happened when he told me the change would take place THIS FRIDAY! Yes, I was given two days notice. I am not fired, but about 70% of my job is being taken away from me. There was no discussion about a demotion or loss of pay, etc., but I felt blindsided. I didn't ask why or anything because I was dumbfounded and couldn't speak. He asked me how I was with this decision and for fear of bursting into tears (I have severe PMS right now) I just said, "Okay" and he asked me how I felt about it, and again, I said, "Okay, it's your company" and that was that. [/FONT]
    [FONT=Times New Roman,Times,Serif][/FONT]
    [FONT=Times New Roman,Times,Serif]On the one hand I wouldn't mind giving up some of those responsibilities, as it would free me up to at least take a normal vacation without having to worry about payroll and getting the bills paid every Friday. Up until now, I've strategically planned my vacations around those things. But if the alternative is sitting at my desk all day typing letters for others, then no thank you. I freakin hate typing. I mean I can do it, and I am good at it, but I hate it. It's boring, mundane and mindless. Some people enjoy the routine of it and the simple tasks, I do not. I was too dumbfounded yesterday to ask him what I would be doing but when I reminded him that bookkeeping and payroll were about 75% of my job, he chuckled. [/FONT]
    What is really niggling at me is the feeling that I am not trusted. I really hate the thought of someone, in particular my boss, feeling as if I cannot be trusted and I have no idea how to fix that.

    [FONT=Times New Roman,Times,Serif]So, I want to open a discussion with him about this. I want to ask him if there was anything else that prompted this (since it was so fast a move without my being aware of it sooner) and I want to ask him what he has in mind for me - in what other capacity will I be working. [/FONT]
    [FONT=Times New Roman,Times,Serif]Would you open the discussion or just carry on and see what unfolds? Would you ask him if there was something else that prompted this is or just keep quiet about it and meditate to move past it? And if so, what would you say?[/FONT]
  2. OpenWindow

    OpenWindow Active Member

    Sounds like a tough situation - working with family adds an extra layer that makes it more difficult. I'd ask him what his reasons were, and I'd tell him that it was the favorite part of my job. I think honest and open communication is the only way to go, especially since you've been there for so long. Of course, implicating the nephew may do more harm than good, so I'm not sure I'd go there, at least with the boss. I'm the type of person that hates not knowing, so it would just keep eating at me if I didn't try to get everything out in the open. If it turns out not to be what you think, and he's doing it for other reasons (or if he won't say), I'd ask for new additional responsibilities (something you think you would enjoy) to replace the book-keeping.

    I'd probably talk to my sister about it too, if you think she knows something about it, but then I don't know what your relationship is like with her.
  3. meowbunny

    meowbunny New Member

    I'd discuss it. Explain that you were knocked for a loop when told of the decision, that you really like what you do and hate to give part of it up. I'd point blank ask why -- is it a lack of trust? a financial decision? what? If it is your nephew talking, there's not much you can do about it. If they feel things would be more confidential if the accountant's bookkeeper did it, there may be a point -- separate filing under lock and key, etc.

    I will say that there is no way I would have anyone, especially someone with a penchant for talking, filing confidential documents such as expense reports, payroll records, etc. Those are usually held in pretty tight control by HR for good reason. If your brother insisted his son do this filing, fine. If you decided he could do it, it could be a good reason to have someone else come in. Sorry.

    I wouldn't be surprised if this was an idea pushed by the accountant along with some scare stories about family members embezzling, etc. Nice extra income for the accountant.
  4. Lothlorien

    Lothlorien Active Member Staff Member

    I would ask him what prompted this decision and tell hime that you want him to know that you've never discussed finances with ANYONE. Tell him that you want to make sure that this job isn't being taken away because of something that you did, because you hold yourself to a high standard where this is concerned and wouldn't want anyone to think or feel otherwise.
  5. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    Part of nephew's job description by my brother in law was "filing the payables". No one but ME touches anything payroll related, however.

    I think you may be on to something in regards to the accountant's motives. Good point.

    brother in law is out right now, but I plan on speaking with him after lunch - he just doesn't know it yet. I hope I don't well up - I hate when I act like a girl!
  6. WhymeMom?

    WhymeMom? No real answers to life..

    This is why many large companies have nepotism rules......could NOT be personal in any way, but because you know him, his family and are a part of it....this was the first thing that popped into your mind...frankly it sounds like a good business decision to have a bookkeeping department handle payroll and take it out of the hands of someone who has other responsibilities for running the office. I don't know how large your company is, but having files out where nephew can open and read this stuff would be a little twitchey in my mind. Now on to what you are actually feeling......First, I bet he tried to broach this with you earlier and pave the way. When he asked how you felt, he was probably just feeling you out to see if he thought you would possibly quit over this......then when he decided to do this he wasn't asking, he was telling you.....I don't think it was easy for him, but I do not think it was because he thought you couldn't handle it. It makes sense to have more than one person able to handle payroll and this is a very sensitive area to many---I wouldn't want people knowing what I make financially. Also keeping financial records elsewhere might be better idea.
    I think you need to decide what you want to do at your job.....if you want to do what you are doing and not handle bookkeeping then I would be asking for other responsibilities to keep me busy. You should probably look around and see where things are lacking and volunteer some ideas or he may not have anything to give you to do. If you want to do the bookkeeping, join that area or find a different job. After you have collected yourself I would have a chat with him about clarifying that your work was up to par and that is your concern.....if he was happy with what you are doing, isn't lowering your pay, asking you to take a cut in hours, then sounds to me he was making a professional business decision. If you are not happy with what is left for you to do I would start looking around for something else.....many small companies starting out could benefit from your "all around" work talents......and they may not be able to send out their bookkeeping.....AND they wouldn't be relatives........
  7. Star*

    Star* call 911

    Jo -

    Hugs for your stress. And so many things ran through my mind when I was reading this. I too am in bookkeeping (et al).

    You know, this could be your brother in law doing you a favor if you think about the long term effects of him handing his company to a difficult child nephew. Think about how easy it would be for GFGN to misappropriate funds and blame it on you - and how he could get his Mother to SEE that, because she is jealous and mental.

    I'm nt sure what is going on - but I think your brother in law owes you a little more explaination than to just take away your work. But I wouldn't approach him like THAT - (although it's me and I may) but I think I would go into the office and say "Well you know I'm organized, and since you've taken away my job duties, I will require a new written letter of my job description and my NEW duties as I'm going to need to know what to do with my time. I will appreciate it if we can discuss this before Monday - I want to be ready to go with my new duties when I walk in here bright and early)

    That makes him : tell you what you'll be doing. If it's training a new bookkeeper? Then I would wonder where he see's you in say a month or at the very least by the next quarter. If you have the 2nd quarter done - then they should have little to do. If you don't then I'd let them handle it with minimal intrusion or suggestions - sink or swim. You're not there to train them - they should come prepared. Right?

    And if he doesn't give you a list of things to do for new job duties - then ask him if he expects you to go to part time or is this his way of booting you out? If it is? Fine - you need an explaination of why.

    Maybe he has something bigger planned for you. I had a hard time going from running companies and being a Sr. level executive administrative person to bookkeeping very well. I tell people - I'm the LAST to know anything, but I'm the first person they run to when THEY want to know something. I stay in my "hole" and I keep my mouth shut. I have had more bookkeepers agree that that is how they feel as well - you are low man, but in charge of such important things - it rarely makes sense.

    And like you - I was told I would be doing GREAT things and this and that for the company. I was handed the keys my first day, in charge of this and that - and as time has worn on? My duties have been handed out to others. At first it made me angry - and now I think - HEY if you want me to sit here and do nothing but answer the phone, and accounting - no problem. Bob - I can surf, be bored and take home the same check. I'm not built that way - and I wish I were busy or doing something huge - but my role as bookeeper went from day one and 3 employees to 1.2 years and 22 employees - I'm still not compensated like the men and if I were not moving - I'd be outta here looking for a job
  8. nvts

    nvts Active Member

    First - Are you over the PMS? You don't want to go in there and bawl like a baby!

    Second - write down what you want to say - that way you'll make sure that you'll only have to have the conversation once AND you won't be going over it in your mind saying "oh ****, I forgot to say this!"

    Third - did you ever watch "The Witches of Eastwick" with Cher, Susan Sarandon and Michelle Pfiffer? There's a scene where he has to let Michelle Pfiffer go because his wife has gone nuts over the 3 + Jack Nicholson. Your brother in law might be in the position of his wife (your nutty sister) driving him nuts over some assumed wrong, broadcasting, discussing or whatever of their finances. He, knowing that you have your wits about you, can move the responsibility without you being in a position to make HIS life a living hell. So I'd make sure that my sympathy bone was in place.

    If this is the way things are going to flush out, he's not going to be able to give you back the bookkeeping. My suggestion is that you figure out what YOU want to do with the other 70% of your time there. Is there a school nearby that you can study graphic arts on his dime? You could be helping with research and development for the various marketing programs.

    I just think you'd be better off going in with a plan. You'd be the reasonable one, and he'll be caught completely off guard.

    Good luck kiddo, and let us know how it goes!

  9. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    Thank you Beth. I am going to jot down what I want to say and points I want to cover and remind myself what I want the outcome to be.

    I do not in particular want him to cancel with the bookkeeper (which at this point I doubt he would anyway). I just would like to have a better explanation on why it was so sudden - and let him know that it was a bit of a shock. Although we had briefly discussed it back in April, it seems as if everything is now being expedited by his only giving me a 2-day warning, you know?

    So, thanks. I love the marketing angle too!
  10. nvts

    nvts Active Member

    The cool thing about trying to get him to spring for some graphic arts training is that you can do side jobs from home and if you get really good, you could start doing some web-design as well.

    Who knows? You could end up starting your own business! Stranger things have come out of bad situations!

    Remember: let us know how it went!

  11. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful


    Sending (((hugs))) and hoping it goes well.
  12. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    Okay, so who's the difficult child now? :redface:

    I spoke with my brother in law/boss and told him that I've taken these 24 hours to digest things and now I needed to talk. So, I laid it all out on the table: how I was feeling blindsided and how I felt as if there was more to this change due to the expediancy in which he's moving forward with his plan. I asked him if he felt he couldn't trust me for some reason, if I'd done something wrong, whatever.

    He was genuinely surprised that I thought he didn't trust me. He profusely declared implicit trust in me and confidence in my ability to perform the job. He told me that the accounts had been bugging him for over a year to get in a bookkeeper because I wear too many hats and he felt that this would truly relieve some of the pressure I feel to juggle so much. He said the accountants also told him that even though we're so small a company, it's odd to NOT have a bookkeeper specifically to handle the payables and payroll. I would still be doing receivables and invoicing. And I'd still be doing my human resource work, etc. All good things. And the boss also said that he is going to monitor this change and if it's not working, then we will try to go back to the way it was [if I was open to it] and move some of my other responsibilities to someone else. He said that he's trying to create two jobs from my one, since he feels it's at least a two person job.

    So, I feel so relieved now...I'm so glad I went in and spoke with him. And tonight I am going to start reading The Four Agreements again because it talks all about how things that happen around us usually have nothing to do with us at all. I personalize things too much.

    Thanks for all the advice and good thoughts and hugs~
  13. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member


    I'm glad everything worked out so well.
  14. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Jo, not sure how big the company is, but if you are doing receivables, payables, checking, banking, etc. it violates the Sarbanes Oxley regulations. There is a separation of duties that must exist for the company to be trustworthy to its stockholders. It does make a difference in the size of the company on whether or not this has to be enforced. But, it is still something that many financial institutions are looking for when loaning money.

    I am sure that is what the accountants are thinking. It is big right now. Bigger companies felt the heat for the last few years. I imagine it is trickling down hill now.
  15. meowbunny

    meowbunny New Member

    I'm so glad you talked to him and he explained things so well. It is unusual for one person to handle it all and hiring a bookkeeper for parts of the accounting is a wise move.

    If taking this part from you really does make it that you are twiddling your thumbs, look around and figure out what else you might like to do -- marketing, PR, more HR stuff, inventory control, whatever -- and go to your brother in law and see if he'd be willing to have you take those roles over (including training you where necessary). Who knows? You might develop a whole new career much more rewarding than what you've been doing.

    Either way, good luck!
  16. Hopeless

    Hopeless ....Hopeful Now

    Busywend said what I was going to post, Sarbanes Oxley regulations. I work for a large company and we have strict rules we have to follow regarding segregation of job duties. I have been the lead on the auditing of these regulations for the past three years for my region.
  17. Lothlorien

    Lothlorien Active Member Staff Member

    Whew! I've been thinking of you all day, hoping that all went well. It's great that you talked to him. I bet, though he was surprised that he is impressed that you came and talked to him and you were genuinely worried that you might have done something or made him feel that you had done something wrong.

    Congrats....he actually respects you enough that he felt that you were doing too much and he is giving you a break.
  18. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    Glad everything worked out!
  19. Star*

    Star* call 911

    Jo -

    You know with the month you've been......with the year you've been......with the life you've been having HOW could you NOT stray from the 4 agreements? You're human and you're stressed, and I say - again.......IF HE is going to pay you the SAME thing to do LESS work - then


    Being the capitalist that I am -

    If he says he made TWO jobs out of your ONE job and it does not work and you agree to take it back?

    TAKE IT BACK WITH BOTH PAYS!!!!!!!!!!!!!


  20. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    I'm glad it worked out, Jo.

    I was on the other side of the fence (sort of) at one point. It was a charity rather tan a business, but we needed the organisation to grow. It had done really well in the hands of the ONE staff member we could afford (the rest of us were the voluntary management committee) but as the charity grew, it got to a point where her job was just too big. We needed to suubdivide, or we would risk stagnating.

    In our case, the staff member also had major psychological problems which the added stress was bringing out. We needed her on board though, because she was so good at so much of the job. But she was very resistant to any attempts we made to spread the load.

    For a while a volunteer went in to work with her and we grew a bit bigger from there.

    We should have insisted. I wish we had. She ended up leaving, because she really was cracking up and not coping. She saw any attempt to subdivide, as us showing a lack of faith in her (which we did not).

    A problem we had had for some time - because we had all our eggs in one basket (her), if she was sick or on leave, we had to shut up shop. And that is not good for a growing concern.

    We never had a solo staff member after that - the job was permanently subdivided. Memberships, computer database, distribution of information brochures, administrative mailouts, book-keeping were under one hat, while more complex administration, updating of brochures, public appeals, events, seminars, committee business and staff supervision were the second hat. A minimum of two staff members.

    Something I learned long ago - women in particular have a difficult time delegating responsibility. Maybe it's something to do with people relying on us so much to see tat everything gets done. Maybe it's due to experience, that when we DO delegate it only adds to our workload because we then have to chase up the person we delegated to.

    Jo, look on this as an opportunity. If this doesn't work out, consider NOW which other part of your job could be delegated, so you can pick tis bit up again.

    But if it DOES work out, think where you could now extend yourself and help the business expand further. Maybe even ask your brother in law that ("how can I help this company continue to develop?") and see what he says.