Today I’m answering a question on working with a boss who is always late and missing deadlines.
I work for a last-minute boss. He misses appointments, deadlines and even planes. I’m placed in the awkward position of calling our clients and apologizing for him. Worse, he gives me assignments at the last minute, resulting in extreme pressure on my home life as I’m forced to stay late on an “emergency” rush at least once a week.
My husband wants me to quit this job, but it’s the best job I’ve ever had, and I like that my boss depends on me. My husband, who’s an ex-alcoholic, says I’m an enabler. I’m starting to think that my husband is jealous of my boss!
I’ve talked to my boss several times about this, and he promises to change. He will clean up his act for a few days, but then he falls back into his old ways.
What can I do?
You need to convince Mr. Last Minute that time has run out. Until he believes this, he won’t make long-term changes.
Let your boss know how much you appreciate him and love your job. Explain that you realize he has a lot on his plate and mind, but say the weekly emergencies have become the norm, and you can’t continue to stay as late as you have been without jeopardizing your home life. Give your boss specifics on how upset he’s made some of your customers, despite your best efforts to apologize and/or cover for him.
Next, ask what you can do to help him. Can you meet with him daily and ask what’s on the horizon? Can you develop a deadline calendar?
If you show Mr. Last Minute you want to help him — but in a new way and one that leads to positive changes for both of you — he may take you up on your offer or at least change enough to lessen the toll on your home life.
Finally, your husband has a point. Your boss can continue giving you last minute assignments because you continue to rescue him. By accepting weekly emergencies as the norm, you enable your boss to give you assignments late without consequences. If your boss won’t change, you may need to — and that means your boss loses you.
© 2016, Lynne Curry. If you’d like an answer to your career question, it’s easy. Write firstname.lastname@example.org. Curry authored Solutions and Beating the Workplace Bully, AMACOM. You can also follow Curry on Twitter or access her other posts on SheKnows, workplacecoachblog.com or bullywhisperer.com.