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Believing Boss/Friend Lets Me Down, Asks for Evaluation

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  • Believing Boss/Friend Lets Me Down, Asks for Evaluation

    Hi! I’m looking for some advice.
    I’m leaving a good job I’ve had for over five years. It’s been great but it’s a dead-end positionin the company, so I’m looking for something new and different. My immediate supervisor is a friend, abeliever, and a good man, but our relationship has soured somewhat. On the advice of a family member I asked mysupervisor for an exit commentary, a summary of my strengths and weaknesses. To my surprise he asked me for the samething. Now I’m stuck not knowing what towrite.

    Here’s the situation. Like I say, he’s a fellow believer, agood friend and a good man. I’ve learnedSO MUCH from him, and he’s been very forgiving when I’ve made some reallydumb/costly mistakes. I’ve been closewith his family too- his two kids adore me and the younger is guaranteed totalk my ear off while climbing on me whenever we see each other. However, the last 18 months or so things havegone downhill between me and my boss. For one I asked my boss for a reference letter as I applied for correspondenceschool, and though he wrote one the reference letter was really weak. Not bad, just faint praise, and I really feltlike I deserved a lot better. God gaveme my skills of course and the opportunities to use them, but it’s a downerwhen it seems they’re not noticed or appreciated. I’m a problem-solver, I’m conscientious, andin a spirit of servant hood and friendship I volunteer for difficult andunpleasant tasks- in the letter my boss basically said I do menial grunt workwithout complaining. That’s true but it’snot exactly calculated to help me further my education. He’s told me a numberof times “I don’t know what I’d do without you,” and when he leaves forvacation I take care of the entire shop,including taking the work phone home and being on-call day and night, but noneof that made it into the reference letter. In my heart then I began questioning if hereally saw what I did for him. Afterthat on one occasion my supervisor’s supervisor visited, and told us that we’daccomplished as much in two years as he thought we would in accomplish in four. I mentioned it to my boss since he oftenexpresses frustration with what he considers our slow pace, and his words were,“It was nice of him to say that, but this project is going so much slower thanI want.” That hurt since I had two yearsof blisters, bruises, hustling and heavy lifting in the project. Last year we unexpectedly got some positive,international media coverage (yes, really), and I thought maybe my boss (sincewe both know I have a dead-end position) would be kind enough to let me have abit of the spotlight so I could advance my career and do some networking, buthe brought his wife in instead (she runs errands for us sometimes?). I was hurt, and of course I had friendscalling me and on facebook saying “I saw your shop and your boss and yourproject on TV- where were you?” Then we’d been so busy he brought in someshort-term help. Unfortunately some ofthe short-term help was either lazy or physically incapable of carrying out thejob very well (“old football injury, can’t lift more than ten pounds” type ofthing) so I wound up doing ALL the heavy, difficult jobs, but now with no breaksince the cushy jobs which I used to have to mix things up were assigned to thehelp. I also wound up babysitting thehelp since I know how things “work” and know how my boss likes things done. I thought that was bad enough but it gotworse- recently some of the short-term help had long blonde hair and big blueeyes. I think my boss is too good a manto actually cheat on his wife, but I notice Blondie (who was indeed quitecharming) started getting all the fun and career-boosting jobs, and my bossactually gave her credit for a problem I solved (she carried out my idea, butit was still my idea)! He also praisedher highly for giving him daily “updates” during the day- which I usually didon my own time after closing, since I was usually too busy during the dayactually getting things done to chit chat. So I think he may have had some sort of crushon her. My last week on the job hebasically said I wasn’t working fast enough, and said it seemed like I didn’tbelieve in my work anymore. I wasspeechless,- that same week I had about 7 hours overtime in (which I didn’tknow if I would get paid for or not, because of our weird payroll system), hadsaved our shop maybe $200-300 and at least temporarily solved a materialshortage. We parted as friends, I think,and he seems supportive of me finding a new job, but I’m busted up inside.

    Caveat- I might have been overly sensitive this fall becauseof some failures in my personal life. Mylong-term girlfriend and I broke up because she was sexually assaulted bysomeone she knew and couldn’t overcome her subsequent trust issues- even thoughshe said she trusted me and I was as supportive as I knew how. It felt like all the love and patience andunderstanding I poured out counted for nothing. I also competed in a sporting event that I’d been preparing for formonths and failed miserably- it didn’t help that I’d injured myself hustling atwork a few days before! Another instancewhere it felt like all my effort was wasted. I’m also not good at standing up for myself or telling people when they’vehurt me, so I’ve told my boss almost none of this. My knee-jerk reaction is sort of “well ifthey care they’d be sorry anyway and if they don’t care they wouldn’t be sorryanyway, so why even bring it up?”

    I try to remind myself that God’s in control and He will putme wherever He wants me, and all these little things are JUST circumstances,but that helps only in some ways and not in others.

    I’m not sure how to handle writing my exit commentary. My supervisor is one of my heroes. Until recently I thought we were going to belifelong friends (I still want to be, but the friendship feels sour these days). He’s also really hurt me and let me downlately. I don’t like to criticize anybody,but I also… have the urge to point that he’s not always done right by me.

    So to shrink all this down into a few questions:

    How much criticism, if any, do I give my former boss in theexit write-up? Especially since some ofit, like perceived favoritism, may be very sensitive? Only he will read it unless he shows it tosomeone, but still. If I don’t put anyof that in writing, should I make a point of addressing it in a more informalway at a later date? If I do it later,again, how deep do go? I love my bosswith my whole heart and of course I forgive him, but that doesn’t mean my hurtjust goes away. Is it wise to try tokeep up a close friendship in this situation or should I just more or less fadeaway once I get a new job?

    Thanks for reading! God bless you.

  • #2
    Re: Believing Boss/Friend Lets Me Down, Asks for Evaluation

    There's a few Scriptures which came to mind:

    Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble." Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. (1 Peter 5)

    And why don’t you judge for yourselves what is right? Make every effort to reconcile with your adversary while you are on your way to the magistrate. (Luke 12)

    It seems like most of your issue is that you want more recognition, which would be a matter of pride and should be let go. Your performance should speak for itself. Secondly, if you are so close to your boss already, why not bring up your concerns in person before writing a formal critique? If you simply have a conversation and explain that you felt slighted by certain actions, likely all of this negativity would dissolve and you would not have such difficulty reviewing your experience as an employee. I'm sure if you are close friends, he would understand and apologize?
    「耶和華聖潔無比,獨一無二,沒有磐石像我們的上帝。
    撒母耳記上 (1 Samuel) 2:2

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    • #3
      Re: Believing Boss/Friend Lets Me Down, Asks for Evaluation

      Hi Aviyah! Thanks for your thoughtful reply. It's good to be reminded that humility and patience come first, that God cares for us but opposes the proud, and that we ought to be on guard. And certainly, since I don't like conflict or relational tension anyway, reconciliation is almost always my ideal.

      I can see why you considered this a matter of pride, and I do want recognition. I prayed about it after reading your post yesterday but thus far I don't feel any conviction of pride in this circumstance. I DO want recognition, but not for the purpose of patting myself on the back or for the "limelight". My primary desire for recognition is for career advancement. Do you remember when Joseph was in prison and asked Pharaoh's cup-bearer to help him get out of prison? But the cup-bearer forgot? That's more how I see my situation. My job is almost as low on the "totem pole" as it gets- I have no benefits, no vacation, no sick days, and though I'd like to have a family someday I really can't afford that with this job. I'm not complaining, its been a great job, but with my experience and education I'm now qualified to take a more challenging and rewarding job. I've worked hard, and I suggest it's not unreasonable for that to be acknowledged both personally and professionally. As 1 Timothy 5 says, "You shall not muzzle the ox that treads out the grain. And, The laborer is worthy of his reward." Or to reference Proverbs 3, "Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to do it." The reward or the good I'm thinking of is a good reference and simple acknowledgement of my accomplishments in my boss's service. I'm not sure I have that, for reasons I explained in the OP. How would you feel if in one week you saved your company $200+, solved a material shortage, and put in several hours of overtime you might not get paid for, and then your boss said, "It seems like you don't believe in your work." From an unbeliever who was a poor leader anyway that would be one thing. But from a believer and friend who ought to be able to see how much I've given?

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      • #4
        Re: Believing Boss/Friend Lets Me Down, Asks for Evaluation

        PS I like your idea of a talk, Aviyah, but I'm really not sure how to do it. I'm not good at that kind of thing. He IS a friend and I don't like criticizing him. I'm a man, and a Christian man, and we Christian men are taught how to be tough and forgiving and understanding and how stand up for other people etc. but nobody really teaches us how to set personal boundaries, stand up for ourselves, or say, "hey, that hurt." Any tips on how to do that?


        PPS- I like your avatar! No pun intended I miss that show.

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        • #5
          Re: Believing Boss/Friend Lets Me Down, Asks for Evaluation

          You need to redirect your thoughts just to what God wants you to do. All the emotions involved with friendship and romantic relations are temporal, and tend to interfere with your dedicated service to God.

          You simply ask God to give you wisdom as to what He would be pleased to see you do. Then make the best choice you can for yourself, and watch to see if God blesses it. If anything becomes too complicated, it is either because evil is persecuting you or because God is not blessing that choice. It's not worth losing your love.

          Rather than lose your love and respect for your boss, get out of Dodge. As to writing up an "exit commentary," just focus on the good things about that job. Try not to burn your bridges. Leave on as good terms as you can. Your boss sounds like he is as risk as far as temptations, and you don't want to push him over the edge. People who are tempted to sin are looking for an excuse to do so.

          But by all means pursue what enables you to progress. I wouldn't get stuck in a rut just because a friend doesn't like it. That seriously impairs his value to you as a friend. Take care!

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Believing Boss/Friend Lets Me Down, Asks for Evaluation

            Originally posted by MoveMountains View Post
            I prayed about it after reading your post yesterday but thus far I don't feel any conviction of pride in this circumstance. I DO want recognition, but not for the purpose of patting myself on the back or for the "limelight". My primary desire for recognition is for career advancement. Do you remember when Joseph was in prison and asked Pharaoh's cup-bearer to help him get out of prison? But the cup-bearer forgot? That's more how I see my situation.
            Gotcha, that's totally fair.

            As 1 Timothy 5 says, "You shall not muzzle the ox that treads out the grain. And, The laborer is worthy of his reward." Or to reference Proverbs 3, "Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to do it." The reward or the good I'm thinking of is a good reference and simple acknowledgement of my accomplishments in my boss's service. I'm not sure I have that, for reasons I explained in the OP.
            I love those verses, and used them myself! And I think they could apply to this situation also. But I think you should look to God for nourishment in this way rather than your supervisor. Think of how many verses in Psalms there are about "wait for the Lord" or "trust in the Lord" or "commit your way to the Lord," "be constant in prayer." Turn your focus onto Him as He is the one who provides for you. Joseph may also be a good example, I think his attitude was similar to:

            Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men... (Colossians 3)

            How is it to your credit if you are beaten for doing wrong and you endure it? But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God. (1 Peter 3)

            It could be that this experience is meant for you to put more faith in God rather than what you believe you have (rightfully) worked for. Remember what the Israelites were meant to learn coming out of the wilderness:

            Beware lest you say in your heart, "My power and the might of my hand have gotten me this wealth." But remember that it is the LORD your God who gives you the power to gain wealth... (Deuteronomy 8)

            So that would be my advice, to see God as the One who feeds the ox treading the mill. This was also the message behind the sermon on the mount as far as "do not be anxious about anything, your Heavenly Father knows, seek first the kingdom." Man has no power over your life - God is the one who makes paths straight or crooked. There is a lot of freedom in this when you truly apply it, speaking from personal experience!

            PS I like your idea of a talk, Aviyah, but I'm really not sure how to do it. I'm not good at that kind of thing. He IS a friend and I don't like criticizing him. I'm a man, and a Christian man, and we Christian men are taught how to be tough and forgiving and understanding and how stand up for other people etc. but nobody really teaches us how to set personal boundaries, stand up for ourselves, or say, "hey, that hurt." Any tips on how to do that?
            Hmm, there might not be a simply way that fits perfectly in your comfort zone. I think being able to show vulnerability or genuineness is a huge sign of strength and maturity. Obviously you don't have to be so direct about it, but maybe find a way to steer the conversation in that direction and bring up whichever point you find most significant. Mainly I think you should just give him the opportunity to apologize, because it's likely he has no idea how it affected you. It may be an opportunity to practice:

            Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. (Galatians 3)

            Plus, being courageous enough to raise these issues will help you do so in future scenarios, and might also help your supervisor identify flaws in his own approaches. And of course it can't hurt you friendship.

            PPS- I like your avatar! No pun intended I miss that show.
            Same, she was maybe favorite character in all of TV, lol!
            「耶和華聖潔無比,獨一無二,沒有磐石像我們的上帝。
            撒母耳記上 (1 Samuel) 2:2

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            • #7
              Re: Believing Boss/Friend Lets Me Down, Asks for Evaluation

              Here's a verse I try to cling to, for hope:

              "Seest thou a man diligent in his business? he shall stand before kings; he shall not stand before mean men." - Proverbs 22:29


              Another thought... as an employee of a "boss," which of the two might he be feeling like, the king or the mean men, lol. Perhaps I might have something of an impact on his perceptions regarding this, who knows...

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Believing Boss/Friend Lets Me Down, Asks for Evaluation

                Hello MoveMountains.
                It seems to me you already know what to write.
                My letter would go something like:
                First I would like to thank you for the opportunity of working with you and this fine company for the past 5 years.
                Although at times it has been challenging, I have learned many things about myself.
                I am a dedicated hard working employee.
                I am a problem solver.
                I work well with other employees by coaching them and helping them to succeed.

                You don’t want to say that your weakness is that you “work too hard.” This will come across as insincere. However, you might explain how you do certain things in excess at work. This will show that you work hard, but it will be a more honest answer. Examples of weaknesses related to your work ethic might include:

                Leaving projects unfinished
                Providing too much detail in reports
                Shifting from one project to another (multitasking)
                Taking credit for group projects
                Taking on too many projects at once
                Taking on too much responsibility
                Being too detail-oriented
                Being too much of a perfectionist
                Too much procrastination (as long as you still meet all your deadlines)
                Being too helpful to others
                Working too many hours

                I will always be thankful for the opportunity and skills I have received and will take them with me into my future education and employment.
                Sincerely

                ____________________

                That's just an example of how I would go about it.
                Good Luck
                MoveMountains

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Believing Boss/Friend Lets Me Down, Asks for Evaluation

                  My advice as crusty old broad...?

                  Cut your losses and depart amicably. The things that you have listed for the most part are not concrete nor quantifiable. "Babysitting the blonde-haired, blue-eyed help" or "not letting me have the spotlight."

                  For one to cite another person's weakness in a professional evaluation, there must be documentation proving the weaknesses over a period of time. A one-time weakness could be just a slight error. And he will say to you, I guarantee you 110%, "Why didn't you come to me with these things." And he will be insulted.

                  Your problem is that you were working for your friend. Friend? Boss? Friend? Boss? Which one was he really? Because you had the emotional attachment of friendship with your boss, his actions, personal workplace ethics, and flaws AS a boss could bring you pain. It was inevitable.

                  I HIGHLY advise that you do not list the things that you posted here to us in his evaluation. It could hurt you in the long run when you have to use his as a reference for a new job.

                  Don't lie. Just don't disclose it all. This has built up in you over time and putting it all down on paper for him to read will not bring any good fruit about.

                  Tell him thanks for being his friend and for the job. Tell him that you learned a lot from him. As for a weakness, tell him that for the person who takes your place, it would be a good idea to meet with him/her once weekly to assess how everything is going so that any problems won't be compounded.

                  The time for you to have spoken up was before.
                  sigpic
                  ".....it's your nickel"

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Believing Boss/Friend Lets Me Down, Asks for Evaluation

                    Thank you for the advice and thoughts everyone!

                    Randyk, you make such an excellent point about leaving rather than losing love and respect for someone who's special to me. And asking for God's wisdom about my future- so true!

                    Thank you again for the verses Aviyah! Thank you for pointing out the big picture to me and reminding me of what God could be doing in my heart rather than just my circumstances.

                    Thank you TheDivineWatermark, that's a good verse!

                    Lonewalker, the review I wrote was actually supposed to be about my boss, but I've of course been working on my resume etc lately and your thoughts on self-examination were helpful. Thank you!

                    Jayne, thank you for the sound advice. It's true that some insult was inevitable eventually because of our friendship, and that's good to remember and put things in perspective. You also said the time to have spoken up was before, and that's a very good point, though I'm only learning this lately. Speaking up in the moment (or rather, not speaking up) is a weak point of mine- I've now accepted a minor short-term law-enforcement position specifically because (among other reasons) it will be give me opportunity to improve at that!

                    Update: I haven't written my letter yet since I've been busy with studying/applying/moving/training etc, but I've been in contact with my old boss several times and he's always been very kind. When I do write I plan to write only positives, other than reminding him that in some situations for various reasons one person might tend to get stuck with the harder work- but only a reminder, just something to be on the look out for. If my complaints come up at some point in person, I may touch on them, but I'm fine letting them go too

                    Thank you all!

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