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Blindsided by new job: over time hours

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  • #864994 Reply

    Ugh. I have started a new job two months ago. My boss has complimented my performance, I have felt happy working there and overall very pleased with the whole situation. Until today when I was blindsided by a receptionist who told me I needed to stay late and close the building alone because I was the new person and it was assumed I would now be doing it. Um. I had set hours and no one asked me if I wanted to work late every night or shift my work day to come in later and stay later…. so, she was pressuring me to do this despite not being my boss.

    Things got awkward and confrontational (on her part) because I would not relent and kept telling her we could talk to my boss about this in the morning. She told me “this is how things are done around here” and inferred I would be fired if I did not do this.

    Then she got her boss to infer the same thing.

    So, up to this point, everyone was super happy with the job I did. And then they blindsided me with this. Keep in mind they hired another person the same time as me and he got out of staying late because he said he lives 1.5 hours away and can’t work late. Also, there are 6 people who can stay late but are “unavailable’ too. The pressure is all on me to stay late every night. Or lose my job.

    What should I do?

    #865058 Reply

    So you’ve been there 2 months and then a receptionist asked you to stay late and close up one time.

    What I would have done in this situation is say, “oh, okay, sure, I didn’t realize. Well, I want to make sure I do it right, because I don’t want to be responsible for not locking up properly and someone gets in. Karen, could you please show me how you do it?”

    And then the next morning I’d talk to my boss one on one. I would not stand there and get in a confrontation with a receptionist who’s not actually in charge of me. I’d find a time to calmly talk to my boss about it and say I love working there and everything’s been great, yes and, I was surprised the other night when Karen told me I’m expected to stay late and lock up from now on. I hadn’t realized that, is that right?

    See what your boss says. If they say, “yes, actually, I was meaning to talk to you about that. We need…” then try to identify the company need and for how long. If you feel in danger being the only one there leaving a building at night, that may be a legitimate concern to bring up. If you have a regular thing like school that you have to be at after work, that too. At worst, you might have to agree to temporarily shift your hours to come in a little later and stay a little later. Maybe you could suggest a schedule where people take turns doing this. Try to help problem-solve.

    If your boss is really telling you you need to stay late forever and that’s that (unlikely), then Id say look for a new job.

    #865077 Reply

    Yes to a lot of what Kate said, though I do think it was ok for you to refuse point blank without talking to your manager. It sounds like this admin is trying to get you to agree to this without your manager around so she can then argue you volunteered.

    Talk to your manager. You can say you’re unable to change your agreed to schedule without giving specific reasons. “That’s not possible for me to do, I have family caretaking commitments/ evening commitments/ after work commitments that I need to attend to, and set up my schedule specifically to accommodate those. I can help with this task for X number of weeks and then it will need to be shifted to someone else”. No one needs to know that those family caretaking commitments are your cat, or yourself. If they press for more specifics simply say “I prefer to keep my personal and work life separate” or “I prefer not to talk about it at work”. You said there are six other people who could stay but are unavailable, so become one of those people. You can share your alarm that you’ve been told you’ll be fired if you don’t comply with this, and express that if you’d known this was the schedule up front you would have weighed it in your decision to accept the position. In the event you’re going to be required to stay late every night, it’s time to start job searching again. Any reasonable company is going to understand a job hop within a few months because a company without warning switched you to second shift.

    #865089 Reply

    I wouldn’t do it until you’ve talked to your boss. Once you do it a single time, it’ll be expected from then out.

    Chances are, this is a job that the receptionist didn’t want, but got saddled into. I would bet her boss told her she had to do it until someone new could get roped into it. That’s why she’s likely so perturbed by the situation, as she saw you as her way out of a task she didn’t want herself and her boss doesn’t want to irritate her so they’re trying to subtly imply you should do it so it gets them off the hook.

    Unfortunately, how hardline you want to be on this depends on how much risk you want to take. If you think you actually may get let go if you don’t do it will definitely be something you want to consider as you talk about it. Nobody here is going to be able to manage that risk for you, as it really depends on your circumstances.

    I would talk with your boss and use the “other commitments” thing without going into details. It IS unreasonable for any employer to expect you to alter your schedule at a moments notice, as there are a number of things that you can’t just change at the drop of a hat in most people’s lives.

    There’s a good chance your boss may phrase it in a “is that something you can do” or “it would be great if you can” way – as they probably don’t want to rock the boat with the others, but knows it was never asked of you until now. So, the hope will be you’ll just do it and nobody gets mad. There’s a great likelihood the receptionist will not like you regardless of what happens, so, hopefully that doesn’t affect your enjoyment of your job.

    #865101 Reply

    Yeah, people are right that it would have been good to avoid doing it even once. It would have been ideal to say to the receptionist that you weren’t aware of that and that unfortunately you have a commitment tonight, then peaced out and talked to your boss in the morning.

    I don’t think it’s a good look though to stand there and have a back and forth argument with a co-worker, especially when you’re new. That said, it happened, and you should now have the convo with your boss. Just watch your back with that receptionist now.

    ETA I also think there’s value in being seen as a team player when you’re new, you really like the job, and your boss has a real need. It may be true that each new person kind of has to put in their dues and close up for a while, in which case maybe you should too. But first find out from your boss what the need truly is and how it could be met. I’m not a fan of flat-out refusing to do something because it’s not in your job description.

    #865108 Reply

    Yeah, I think that sometimes it can be better to be cautious when you are in a new workplace and in the moment err on the side of being a team player. But talk to your boss about this ASAP.

    #865119 Reply

    Everything Kate said.

    #865126 Reply

    Wow. I’m sorry this happened to you! I’m generally the team player type at work — new or not — but the way this was asked of you by the receptionist was messed up, and it does sound like she’s trying to saddle you with a responsibility of hers she no longer wants. Unless she has direct authority of you, which it doesn’t sound like she does, she shouldn’t be the one assigning new responsibilities to an employee and insisting that’s just how things are.

    Anyway, yes, you need to talk to your boss — something along the lines of Kate’s script — and see what he or she says. If you’re open to it, you may be able to turn this into some kind of flex schedule (a friend I made at my first job was our office assistant and she was effectively able to work four-day weeks by working longer hours — I’d personally be down for that, but I know not everyone would be). But after-work commitments are real, and I’d be super wary of a company that sprung a new late-night schedule on me with no notice. I don’t think it’s fair to pick which employee has to give up their evenings based on proximity to work or who is a parent or whatever arbitrary criteria they may set.

    #865130 Reply

    Generally I also agree that pitching in and being a team player, even when it’s less than ideal, is really important, especially when you’re new and proving yourself. This represents such a giant and unexpected change to something that is generally really important and negotiated in advance (your schedule) that in this case I think it’s worth talking to your boss before you make any agreement. There are 6 other people who just said “no thanks” to the responsibility but if the LW does the same she’ll get fired? Something is way off here. I’m also wondering if these 6 others are men and LW is the only woman, and therefore this is being pushed on her in a way it would not be onto a male colleagues. In that case I’d keep pretty good notes about all of this in case it does escalate and you feel youre being singled out.

    #865139 Reply

    I don’t think anybody’s asked yet, but how late is late? Are you arguing about 5-15 minutes, or an hour?

    #865357 Reply

    I’ve always taken the position that I have things at work I am unwilling to negotiate on. I am a smoker and one of the non negotiable things for me is a smoke break. This came up as an issue at a security job where I was told I couldn’t smoke on my breaks even in my car or in the smoking area. Apparently they didn’t want their security guards to be seen smoking during their shift. I told them this was not going to work for me and asked if they would like me to finish the shift or leave immediately. They decided to have me finish my shift and I got a new job the next day.

    Point being is you should decide if this is a negotiable issue for you or not and make a decision accordingly.

    #865444 Reply
    avatarPart-time Lurker

    How did this turn out OP? Were you able to discuss things with your boss?

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