View Full Version : Restrictions being placed on me at work


Radio Hiker
08-02-16, 02:25 AM
The Situation:

I have been the production manager for a building maintenance company (janitorial, commercial floor/carpet work) for a little over a year now. When I was hired, I was given access to the electronic/online timekeeping system (which I will call Yowza). Access to this system enables me to do many things that are of benefit to the company, some of which include: track trends for how long it is taking employees to clean a building, compare current man hours with what was budgeted for the building, and run reports to find where cleaners did not clock out, so that I can contact them for their correct clock out time (this is of great benefit to the company bookkeeper, who happens to be my boss's mom).

The problem is, my boss just informed me tonight that his mom wants me locked out of the system. I have suspected for a while that the boss's mom does not like me. She has expressed "issues" with me, which my boss would later inform me of. When I provided an explanation to my boss for any of the "issues" his mom had with me, he was satisfied. Once, in relation to one of these "issues" my boss even said, "my mom is crazy".

I suspect that one of the reasons (if not the main one) that my boss's mom wants me locked out of the system is that, many times I manually enter my clock in/clock out times via Yowza, either from the office terminal or my laptop at home--my boss gave me remote access to the system.

Why do I often manually enter my clock-in/clock-out times using Yowza rather than calling into the system at the time I start/end jobs? Well, this is where my ADHD really enters the picture. So often, I simply forget to clock in. I am focused on "the job itself" and by the time I remember to clock in, I have already been on the job for 30-60 minutes.

The Problem I have with this:

The day I was hired, my boss gave me a key and alarm code to the office, which also gave me access to the Yowza system on the office terminal. He personally installed, on my laptop, a remote access program that enabled me to access Yowza and our company Outlook calendar and gave me the access code for it.

I have been able to use the Yowza system to do many things for the benefit of the company, some of which include: catch employees who are falsifying their time, compare actual man hours for a building with budgeted man hours with a view to either dialing in our cleaning systems or possibly raising the price of service for that building, and correcting time clock issues where an employee forgot to clock out/was unable to clock out--which saved the bookkeeper (boss's mom) some work.

On many occasions, my having access to the Yowza system has greatly contributed to preventing client complaints, as well as saving at least two accounts from cancellation.

I am now being told that I am going to be denied access to this system. My intuition tells me that--as I alluded to above-- the underlying issue is that my boss's mom dislikes me and possibly does not trust me. However, I have never been called out on any question of ethics or honesty. My boss occasionally throws stuff at me in a casual way that I can tell probably is coming from a concern that his mom has, but he is always satisfied with my explanation.

What is the solution?

Truthfully, I don't know. I can't afford to quit this job. My gut instinct tells me that, while my boss is running the day to day operations of the company, he still has to bow to the wishes of his mother and father in-law. He has many times referred to his father in-law as his "business partner". I suspect that it is more likely that his father in-law (and mom) is the real power when push comes to shove.

My boss has been saying for the last few months that he wants to get the business expanded so he can afford to promote me to a General Manager position--something he never said to my predecessor. But lately, that kind of talk has been absent from our conversations. I am concerned, but am not sure what to do about it.

What do you think?

midnightstar
08-02-16, 03:44 AM
Is looking for another job an option? :grouphug:

Radio Hiker
08-02-16, 03:58 AM
I incorrectly used the term "father in-law" where I should have used "step father".

sarahsweets
08-02-16, 03:59 AM
Is your boss approachable? Did he give you a reason why he wants to lock you out?

Pilgrim
08-02-16, 04:34 AM
Is your boss approachable? Did he give you a reason why he wants to lock you out?

This is what I would do. If this woman has concerns about you it's probably out of your control. Sometimes honesty's the best policy. Tell him what you think and tell him why you do it, maybe just embellish the ADD part. Soonish if possible.

Radio Hiker
08-02-16, 05:16 AM
Is your boss approachable? Did he give you a reason why he wants to lock you out?
My boss said that his mother told him the corporation, of which we are a franchise, only wants "authorized administrators" to have access to the timekeeping/account records system. But this is the first I've heard of it, and I've had access for over a year. A further question I will ask is, "so why can't you make me an 'authorized administrator'"?

This is what I would do. If this woman has concerns about you it's probably out of your control. Sometimes honesty's the best policy. Tell him what you think and tell him why you do it, maybe just embellish the ADD part. Soonish if possible.
Interestingly, I strongly believe that my boss has ADD too. He shows a LOT of the external signs--so much so that when I tell my wife of things he does, she laughs and says, "honey, I've been living with that for 14 years!"

I have responded to the concerns of his mother (as voiced through him) over the past year. I think that things have come to a head because in the past two weeks, I got 13 hours and 7 hours of overtime, respectively. I was filling in for several people who were on vacation, out sick, or who had quit--in addition to my normal weekly work load. I rarely get overtime, and often come in at under 40 hours in a work week. His mom, the bookkeeper, watches my hours like a hawk, apparently.

Interestingly, I did some digging into the timekeeping records to see what my predecessor's weekly hours were for the three months before I replaced him, and I found that he followed a similar pattern as me--a few weeks at a time with well over 40 hours, followed by a few with anywhere from 29-37 hours a week. So it's not just me.

The interesting difference here is that my boss has liked me from Day One. We are the same age (I'm one month older). The interview was basically each of us sharing high school experiences, horror stories of things we had seen in janitorial work, and him telling me, "I want to hire you. When can you start?" I had also been given a glowing recommendation from a former employer, who my boss knows. When I was hired, my boss immediately wanted to give me access to the computer and timekeeping system--something he had not done with my predecessor, at least partially because my predecessor was not computer literate.

The question is going to be, will my boss take my side, or will he be forced to give in to his mom's wishes? The bottom line for me is, I can't do my job well if you take away one of my best tools for doing it. Unless you want me to stop being a production manager and instead be only a janitor, that is.

Fuzzy12
08-02-16, 06:31 AM
I wouldn't mention his mother at all. You are dealing with him so don't let him put the blame of a bad decision on anyone else.

You could phrase it this way: You could ask your boss what facilities you are going to get that will replace your current ones. Ie if he's not going to let you access the system what is he going to put in place as a work around so you can do your job still satisfactorily.

spamspambacon
08-02-16, 06:59 AM
I think Sarah has nailed it.

If your boss gave you a reason, you have your reason.

Do your job as best you can.
If there's something you CANNOT do, and it's part of your job, let your boss know.

I fear you may have been doing things that either no one cares about, doesn't know about, or feels is not part of your position.

I owned a company.
I've downgraded computer access for more than 1 employee.
I've had good reason and I've always made sure they were still able to do the job I hired them to do. I had one girl who did use her brain and the extra info she had access to DID help her do her job better, much like yourself, I suspect.

However, I still needed to downgrade her and it wasn't personal; purely a security issue. (She had access to payroll records, which I had to lock her out of)

Radio Hiker
08-02-16, 09:17 AM
I think Sarah has nailed it.

If your boss gave you a reason, you have your reason. As mentioned in my original post, no real reason has been given, just a statement of what is apparently going to happen.

Do your job as best you can.
If there's something you CANNOT do, and it's part of your job, let your boss know. Well, as Production Manager of the company, it's kinda hard to "manage production" if the main production management tool is made off limits to me. Without it, I am, in effect, simply a fill-in guy and floor technician--which is not what I was hired for. I was hired to be the production manager.

I fear you may have been doing things that either no one cares about, doesn't know about, or feels is not part of your position. This would be incorrect. My boss is aware of what I have done for the company, although he sometimes forgets. It is his mother (the bookkeeper) who has the issues with me. She is a controlling type (kinda runs with the territory of being a bookkeeper, I think), and she doesn't seem to appreciate seeing me take initiative; my boss/the son DOES like it when I take initiative. I have been able to take things off his plate (such as handling all vacation/time off requests), and he has been grateful. His mom's issues with me have been a thing almost since I started with the company, but has only recently come to a head. I am beginning to suspect that when his mom puts her foot down on something related to the business, he has to accede to her wishes. I also suspect that his mom and stepdad may be the main source of capital for the business. I once worked for a different company where this was the case. If mom or dad didn't like somebody that the son hired, they would find a way to fire them or to make their lives miserable to the point that they would quit. Lots of turnover there.

I owned a company.
I've downgraded computer access for more than 1 employee.
I've had good reason and I've always made sure they were still able to do the job I hired them to do. I had one girl who did use her brain and the extra info she had access to DID help her do her job better, much like yourself, I suspect. I see no legitimate "good reason" here. I do not have access to any financials. My use of the system has always been to benefit the company. I even once found an overage in hours for a cleaner that Payroll missed, which resulted in overpaying a cleaner who misreported their time. On a 3 hour job, they clocked in at 9pm and clocked out at 8am the following day. This was found to be deliberate, but the cleaner quit before the issue could be addressed with him. Mind you, I wasn't looking for that specific information, but was trying to track their hours for a three month period related to client complaints and stumbled upon the information. My boss seemed impressed. Maybe he told bookkeeper/mom about it and it got under her skin that she didn't catch it, who knows...?

However, I still needed to downgrade her and it wasn't personal; purely a security issue. (She had access to payroll records, which I had to lock her out of)I hope you at least gave her a good explanation for your actions. In my case, it is looking a bit personal. A while back, I found a hardcopy of a Word document in the production manager desk in our warehouse outlining things they looked for in a Production Manager, and some of the expectations included running certain reports using the timekeeping system.

@spamspambacon: thank you for your response. Please see my notes above in your quoted post.

Radio Hiker
08-02-16, 09:22 AM
Is your boss approachable? Did he give you a reason why he wants to lock you out?

He was the messenger. His mom is the one who wants to block my access to the timekeeping system. My boss is usually approachable, but he is going on vacation this week, so his approachable-ness is not great right now.

Radio Hiker
08-02-16, 09:24 AM
Is looking for another job an option? :grouphug:

Sure, if I'm willing to work for a lot less money and my main interaction with people is saying, "Would you like fries with that?"

KarmanMonkey
08-02-16, 09:26 AM
Playing devil's advocate, depending on the size of the company, it's possible that the corporation either changed its policy or just became aware of your having access.

Also, you describe some of the things you've done for the benefit of the company; if those tasks were not part of your work duties, you may have, through the best of intentions, stepped on somebody's toes. People get quite uncomfortable when someone else does a job that was assigned to them.

My best suggestion is to have a talk with your boss, and to try and keep your assumptions out of the conversation. Keep the discussion focused on two things:

1) That access to the system was convenient given that you'd often forget to sign in, and it allowed you to keep accurate logs of your time. Loss of access means you will likely be increasing the workload of whoever is doing the scheduling by sending e-mails to update them when the information wasn't logged correctly. Admit that your focus is on the work, not logging the work, and that while you continue to look for ways to improve, it is something that is challenging for you.

2) Stress any tasks the software enables you to do that is part of your job, and that you will be unable to do having lost access.

Basically the goal is to have the conversation without judgement or assumption, but instead focused on the effects the change has on your job and his.

You could be right in saying that his mom has it out for you, and at the same time making that judgement public does you no favours, especially if you're right about it!

Hope this is helpful!

Radio Hiker
08-02-16, 10:07 AM
Playing devil's advocate, depending on the size of the company, it's possible that the corporation either changed its policy or just became aware of your having access.

Also, you describe some of the things you've done for the benefit of the company; if those tasks were not part of your work duties, you may have, through the best of intentions, stepped on somebody's toes. People get quite uncomfortable when someone else does a job that was assigned to them.

My best suggestion is to have a talk with your boss, and to try and keep your assumptions out of the conversation. Keep the discussion focused on two things:

1) That access to the system was convenient given that you'd often forget to sign in, and it allowed you to keep accurate logs of your time. Loss of access means you will likely be increasing the workload of whoever is doing the scheduling by sending e-mails to update them when the information wasn't logged correctly. Admit that your focus is on the work, not logging the work, and that while you continue to look for ways to improve, it is something that is challenging for you.

2) Stress any tasks the software enables you to do that is part of your job, and that you will be unable to do having lost access.

Basically the goal is to have the conversation without judgement or assumption, but instead focused on the effects the change has on your job and his.

You could be right in saying that his mom has it out for you, and at the same time making that judgement public does you no favours, especially if you're right about it!

Hope this is helpful!

Thanks for weighing in!

Actually, the production manager is supposed to have access to the timekeeping system. The Word document I found outlining the duties of the production manager clearly stated that the production manager was supposed to run reports with the system. Hard to do that when you don't have access.

As far as my stepping on somebody's toes by taking initiative, the things I took initiative on were not being done by anybody, or were things my boss was trying to do, but not doing well because of having too much to do. And my boss was actually appreciative of my efforts in lightening his workload.

He has been talking about promoting me to General Manager once the budget supports it. The last time he mentioned that was just a few weeks ago.

Regarding your #1 above, I already told him how valuable a tool the timekeeping system was for me and why, as well as reminded him of other beneficial things it has enabled me to do.

As for #2, some of that was also mentioned when we talked last night.

It's hard not to mention his mom in any of this because she's at the center of the whole doggone thing. Heck, he himself once said to me, "my mom is crazy", when we were discussing one of her "issues" with me.

I'm kinda feeling like saying, "hey, if you don't feel I can be trusted having access to the timekeeping system (and having such access has been stated as part of the production manager position), then you should just fire me and get it over with."

sarahsweets
08-02-16, 12:43 PM
If you really feel this has to do with his mother, I think you should say" do you not want me to have access or is this coming from someone else?"
Once you have his answer you can proceed. He will either tell you why HE doesnt want you to have access, in which case you can address why you should OR he will fess up that its his mom and HE will have to figure out a way to handle it OR if he says its a company thing ask him who you can follow up with to better explain why the access is essential to the position.

KarmanMonkey
08-02-16, 01:38 PM
Your boss obviously values your work, so I hope it doesn't come to you leaving the job or asking him to fire you.

I find that when family is in business together it's a tricky situation, because it's tough to separate business roles from family roles. Your boss is left in a position of choosing between doing what's right for his company and doing what's right for his family.

While you're apparently suffering from the fallout of this dilemma, it's also a subject with which you will need to tread carefully. I feel that you're more likely to be effective the more you keep the focus on finding a solution rather than passing judgement on the mom. Your boss may have called her crazy, but that doesn't give you license to.

You could pose any of these questions to your boss:

If this is a corporate decision, can we ask corporate how to address the issues created by their decision?

If you would like me to continue doing X,Y and Z., how can I do so without systems access?

Can I see the corporate policy affecting this decision to help me understand the reasoning behind it and/or help to find a solution that will make you (the boss) happy?

Hope this is helpful. I know how tough it can be to keep your attitude professional and impersonal when someone you work for seems to make things personal. Unfortunately I doubt he'll fire his mother, and attacking someone's mother (even if fair, warranted and accurate) is rarely a good way to build an alliance with the person. If you do bring up his mom, try and keep things factual. In other words, it's okay to state what she has said or done, but it hurts your case when you infer her motivation or attitude. (for example, saying that she has criticised you for ____ is okay, saying that she did it because she hates you is less likely to get support) It's also okay to say how her behaviour has affected you, how you felt after hearing her say or do certain things, just as long as it's about you and your reaction, and not about assigning blame.

Hopefully you can focus on being the best employee you can be, work with your boss to find reasonable solutions or work around problems, and with a little luck his mom will act in a way that will show him how her behaviour is affecting you and your ability to do your job.

acdc01
08-02-16, 03:24 PM
Personally, at this point, I'd let it go.

Companies don't like insubordinate employees. You've already told your boss why it was important for you to have access and he's already decided to stick with his mom's decision. There's nothing more to say.

I think you should make sure you log your time correctly from now as mom's watching. Use an alarm app if it helps. If you're gut is telling you mom's got the power, I'm guessing you are right. She seems like an uptight, detail oriented person that can't see the big picture well. Those types of people rarely respond well to any disclosures of ADHD. It just makes them look up the symptoms of ADHD and then watch you like a hawk even more to see if you display any of those symptoms so the slightest errors become signs of trouble. If there is a way to make mom like you more, I'd do it.

I recommend you figure out as best you can alternative ways of doing your job without the access. After a month, casually ask your boss how he's feeling about production. When you ask, do not make it sound like you are pushing for the program again. You're goal is not to ask for the program but to make sure he's still happy with your performance. If he expresses concerns, well then tell him the ideas you've implemented to replace some of the things the access used to do for you so he sees you are trying. But them tell him you're not sure how you can do so and so tasks without the program and ask him if he has any ideas on what could be done.

Are you underpaid for your job? You mentioned high turnover. I kind of wonder if your company is just not a great one and that you'd be better off finding another job. You made it sound like you wouldn't be able to find another job. But I do wonder as a production manager with good references, I would think there might be opportunities even if it's in a slightly different field. My excoworker became a manager in an assembly manufacturing industry when he used to be a manager in general construction. Huge pay raise too. Anyway, don't know if this is really possible but just a thought.

Cost of living is going to increase faster than your pay raises so you might be better off switching jobs anyway.

Radio Hiker
08-02-16, 10:51 PM
Personally, at this point, I'd let it go.

Companies don't like insubordinate employees. You've already told your boss why it was important for you to have access and he's already decided to stick with his mom's decision. There's nothing more to say. I see your point. However, my chat with the boss last night was pretty brief, and I didn't get to clearly present all of the reasons why it is of benefit to the company for me to have access to the system. Right now my boss is in "vacation mode", so it's not the best time to have a real conversation with him. Also, I would hardly characterize my attitude as insubordinate. I'm questioning a decision that is negatively impacting my ability to do the job for which I was hired.

I think you should make sure you log your time correctly from now as mom's watching. Use an alarm app if it helps. If you're gut is telling you mom's got the power, I'm guessing you are right. She seems like an uptight, detail oriented person that can't see the big picture well. Those types of people rarely respond well to any disclosures of ADHD. It just makes them look up the symptoms of ADHD and then watch you like a hawk even more to see if you display any of those symptoms so the slightest errors become signs of trouble. If there is a way to make mom like you more, I'd do it. Remembering to clock in or out of an account has always been hard for me and it has always irritated her--at least with me. I've never heard anything about her being frustrated with the other employees who also forget. In any case, my challenge with remembering to clock in/out isn't going to change just because someone says "try harder". Just like you can't fix an ADHD persons listening ability by telling them to "listen harder". As I said, I'm not the only employee who does this. Lots of others do as well. For the past year I've been handling ALL of the clock in/out issues (so that my boss's mom wouldn't have to) by having employees text me when they goof, so that I can fix it right away by manually entering their times in the system. My boss liked this.

I believe this situation is occurring in part because I logged in some significant overtime over the past few weeks, and some of my time was manually logged with the computer terminal rather than calling it in via the telephone access system (because I forgot to call in/out at some accounts). The thing is, I was covering extra work for several employees who were on vacation, sick, or who had quit--in addition to my own stuff. In fact, one week I worked both of my days off. This is easy enough to verify, if they care to take a few minutes to do so.

I recommend you figure out as best you can alternative ways of doing your job without the access. That's all well and good, in theory. The reality is, there are a number of things (some of which are referenced in my previous posts in this thread) that simply cannot be done unless you have the ability to run reports using the timekeeping system.



While typing this post I realized a few things--a sad dose of reality, I guess you could call it.

One, this isn't my company and I have no say over what they choose to do with my job position.

Two, my only options are to a)shut my mouth and accept the new developing reality of my work situation, or to b)plan on leaving the company, either voluntarily or by being fired if I don't let this go.

Three, I am easily replaceable. We have two people working for us who used to have crew lead positions with other companies, and one of those persons could easily step into my shoes at a moment's notice.

Reality sucks.

acdc01
08-03-16, 12:46 AM
Reality does suck sometimes. Good for you though for recognizing it.

Really, you may end up better off if you find another job. Being super busy and then being super light of work sounds awful. I imagine you stress about money during the low periods and stress about too much work during the busy times. You can't keep that up long term. And personally, I wouldn't be surprised if you found a higher paying job if you look in the right directions.

Or maybe you could get promoted to general manager still if you can get the mom to like you too.

Good luck with everything.

Radio Hiker
08-03-16, 02:21 AM
Reality does suck sometimes. Good for you though for recognizing it.

Really, you may end up better off if you find another job. Being super busy and then being super light of work sounds awful. I imagine you stress about money during the low periods and stress about too much work during the busy times. You can't keep that up long term. And personally, I wouldn't be surprised if you found a higher paying job if you look in the right directions.

Or maybe you could get promoted to general manager still if you can get the mom to like you too.

Good luck with everything.

Yeah, the ups and downs of hours does create stress.

As for trying to get the mom to like me, that would mean I have to do some kowtowing, which I simply won't do.

So for now I'm going to try and make the best of the situation that is being created, and in the meantime I will work on updating my resume.

Radio Hiker
08-04-16, 04:12 AM
UPDATE: I was able to talk to my boss alone today. I took folks' advice to not mention the mother. I expressed my concerns about what it would mean for me if I were shut out of the system (unable to do my job as well) and what it would mean for him (more work). Turns out he had already been rethinking the whole thing and he had realized that it would be "stupid" to restrict my access to the timekeeping program, for the same reasons I had mentioned above.

So, looks like things are resolved. Thanks y'all for your input!

KarmanMonkey
08-04-16, 03:08 PM
Yay! Glad you got that sorted out! Often bosses will be quick to respond to a problem if it's explained on a practical level, especially if it would mean more work for them!