You’re Not the Boss of Me


I had a very interesting conversation with an employee the other day. This particular employee has been giving me a hard time since day one and really drives me up the wall.

It started as a dispute over an error on her timecard – I’d shorted her a half hour. I told her so, after she complained and offered to cut her a check right then and there or to add it to her next paycheck. She insisted it was more than that, and essentially I wasted an hour teaching her math so she could understand, in fact, it was a half an hour. Now this girl is a medical assistant and can’t seem to do basic math. Are we alarmed yet?

Of course, the conversation didn’t end there – oh no, there were many things that had to be discussed. Temper tantrums and flashes of anger, which I advised her to knock off and she did sort of…

As the time ticked off and essentially I was being paid to deal with this whining girl and she was being paid to whine to me, we got to the crux of the matter. She informed me that she was taking two vacations over the next 8 weeks. Two vacations???? This girl hasn’t even worked here a year, and has taken one week already to go to Hawaii and a long weekend to go to Vegas. Apparently there is a family reunion and a cruise she absolutely must go to.

Now, look, I don’t like to spoil people’s fun and I don’t really mind trying to work something out so people can go to things like family reunions and so forth. But give me a break – she expects to be given off essentially four weeks during the a course of 9 months employment. Call me crazy but I’ve never worked anywhere that would give that kind of time off in such a short employment.

And the kicker is, that she didn’t ask me. She told me. Like, “Oh, by the way, I’m taking these dates and these dates off. I have a family thing and then I’m going on a cruise.”

Eh? I asked her if she could take them at the same time, schedule them back to back so it would only be one leave. Oh no, can’t do that. Because her boyfriend is paying for it. When asked if she could persuade her boyfriend to schedule the cruise right before or right after the reunion, she said “I can’t afford to take that much time off at once.” Excuse me?

She can’t afford to take that much time off. So what? I’m supposed to be worried about her finances while she throws the practice into mayhem because she’s leaving on her little trips? She doesn’t have anyone who is coming to cover her, nope, she figures her supervisor can just cover for her during her absence.

So, I say, “Well if your supervisor can cover you during your absence, then why do I need two medical assistants?” You know? Why? If the supervisor can do all the work that needs to be done, what the hell is she doing?

Ooops, no answer for that one. Nope, she has to think about that. Kind of like her math problem, she just doesn’t know the answer. She just knows that she wants what she wants and she’s going to tell me and I’m going to do it.

“You’re not the boss of me, ” I tell her. “It may come as a shock, but I’m actually the boss of  you. And I just don’t know if we can give you the time off. Sorry.”

“Well, what are you going to do,”she asks. “Fire me?”

I smiled wryly and left the room.

You know, she’s been awfully nice to me since then. Let’s see if that lasts.


18 thoughts on “You’re Not the Boss of Me

  1. Wow, you go girl! I love people who can be tough like you! Let us know how this one develops!!

    Hey Simmone,
    Actually I’m not tough at all. This stuff frustrates the heck out of me. Just trying to find a point of reality with this girl would drive Mother Theresa off her nut. 😉


  2. Ugh. I never understood how people can think that, because they’re employed, they somehow have carte blanche to do as they please. The sense of entitlement sort of makes me worry for the future. I mean, everything’s been served up to so many people who have no concept of accountability. It’s gotta be a real zinger when the stormdoors come off for these chumps. I loved her rhetorical question, too, about being fired. It’s like she didn’t even think it was an option. Well handled, WC, but find out if her boyfriend can pay for me to take some time off, too. Tell him whenever’s good with me. I’m flexible.

    Hey Puddlehead,
    Yes, it is a little freaky, isn’t it? I wonder how these folks will do when it’s their turn to be in charge?Boggles the mind.

    I’ll definitely check with the boyfriend to see how much is in the travel fund. Heck, maybe we can all go on a cruise. 😆


  3. I am so glad I am not the boss of anyone (except my dog who is in Santiago and whom I miss like crazy).
    Being the boss entails putting up with what you have to put up with… Good luck and great patience!

    Thanks sweetie, I’ll need it.


  4. It IS always kind of funny when people think that they can’t be fired. Warranted or not. I mean… presidents and CEO’s get fired.. obviously ANYONE can get fired.
    And obviously people can always be replaced. The headache of keeping someone like that is rarely worth it.
    Although you know… sometimes people just need to be totally torn down and rebuilt. Some of the best employees somehow get created that way. It’s a difficult option though.

    Hi Mark,
    You’re right – anyone can be fired or replaced, but it never seems to enter the heads of people like this.

    I suppose you could completely tear down and employee and rebuild them as you say, but for me, there’d have to be a lot of potential there to make it worth it. In the long run, it’s not worth the trouble, especially with employees like her.



  5. The wry smile at the end– perfect! I would not have left the conversation any other way! A person that can speak in that manner and act that way toward their boss deserves what they get.
    heart. jane.

    LOL – yeah, that’s right – yeah…grrrrrrr 😆
    heart. wc


  6. I used to be that sort of person, I admit it and I learned that I am not that important, I can indeed be replaced on a job and I learned too how the REAL workplace is.
    I’m one of those people who has to learn everything the hard way and I know better now.

    Hey Ruby,
    Well, I’ll bet it was a long time ago. I’ve had to learn things the hard way too – it sucks. 😉


  7. Hi WC,
    I had no idea you are located in Europe!
    Back when I was a programmer, I was assigned an assistant. Since the young lady had a masters degree in computer science, I figured things would go smoothly. When she came to work, I gave her the shortest and simplest task on my schedule. Filled her in on the development software we were using, along with the user manuals, and left her to have a go at it. Toward the end of the day, I checked on her progress. This turned out to be, none. With a bit of slow and careful questioning, I found out the problem. Over six years of higher education centering on developing computer software, she had never actually written a complete program. I must say that in the year I was her boss, before I managed to convince my boss to give her to someone else, she maintained her distinguished record, and never completed an assignment.
    the Grit

    Hi Grit,
    You know, I had no idea I was in Europe either – though that does explain quite a bit, doesn’t it?

    Wow, you got an educated idiot for an assistant – you lucky dawg, you. 😉

    What astounds me is that these folks seem to keep their jobs – how is that? I just don’t get it.



  8. Rock On WC!! way to tell that whiney brat!
    i’d wait til the last second and then tell her no, she can’t have the time off. she don’t deserve it anyway.

    Yeah, I don’t think she’s going to get approval for this one. Guess we’ll see if she throws a tantrum and quits. That would be heaven, but I’m not holding my breath.


  9. Plus, you can use this as your high ground should you have another argument. “Watch out, or I’ll drop you like a trig class, like I almost did that one time.” Yup, you’d be cool alright.
    By the way, what do you do? I assumed you were a writer or a journalist or something, but apparently they don’t need medical assistants.
    P.S.- If that was mentioned previously on your blog somewhere, then I’m sorry I miss/forgot about it.
    P.P.S.- I’ll shut up now.

    Hey DT,
    Snappy line – I like it. I’ll see if I can fit it in the conversation next time.

    I work as the Practice Manager for a G.P. – I am a writer, I just don’t get paid for it..yet. Hopefully that will change soon, I am so hating working ‘jobs’. 8)


  10. Oh my gosh, do we work at the same place??? I have employees who think they deserve a raise just because they have too many bills to pay. Never mind that their performance doesn’t warrant a raise. I attribute this sort of attitude to the new crop of trophy kids who are used to getting a sticker every time they do something – like existing.

    Oh my gawd,
    We’re soulmates! She even brought up a raise during this little chat. Telling me the former front desk person told her she’d get a raise in 6 months. Just automatic. Never mind the former front desk person was in no position to make such a promise and left in disgrace – this girl still thinks it holds some sway. And that I’m going to bend on that. Oh yeah, that’s going to happen.

    She most definitely believes she deserves gold stars for just existing. Have you met her? 😆

    I love the logic of deserving a raise because they have bills to pay. Well, I would answer, perhaps you should learn how to budget your money.

    Another time I was talking to her and I don’t remember the context but she pipes up “Well, you make a lot more money than I do.” Well duh, I’m the boss, wouldn’t that make sense to any intelligent five year old? I had to remind her that I had a lot more responsibility and work than she does. Can you believe it? Yoiks!


  11. E’eryone is giving ya an Atta-girl .. So I’ll just say, YOU BIG OL MEANIE!

    Hey Red,
    I’ll tell you what – if you can stay a room with this girl for half an hour without wanting to mop up the floor with her – I’ll give you a prize. I really really will. 🙂


  12. Hah, no thanks. Really. I was just kidding, promise :]
    Oh wait . . what’s the prize?

    LOL – I know you were kidding. Oh I can’t tell you what the prize is, it’s a secret. 😉


  13. WC, I guess you have more patience as an employer than I would (or did). I’m wondering when she already took time before her first year did she understand that she was actually taking in advance or something like that? …. Next Stop Lauderdale

    Hey Steve,
    From what I can tell, she doesn’t understand much. 😉


  14. Hi WC,
    Did I forget to mention that was a Government job? My bad.
    the Grit

    Oh no wonder she didn’t lose her job and (probably) got promoted. I knew there was something I was missing. 😉


  15. WC,
    You handled it a lot better than I would have. My boot would kicked her butt right out the front door after she told me about the vacation. And that final paycheck might have been ‘accidentally’ short that half hour.

    Hey Ham,
    You military boys are tough with a capital T. Today a couple of the others inferred they didn’t think I did much around there. Cute, huh? Well, they may actually find out how much of their jobs I do, after I’m gone. 😯


  16. OMG…..that is just so wrong! Can I ask how old she is? We were talking about this the other day at work. The work ethic the younger generation seems to be non existent. Their attitude is one of ‘hey, I’M doing you a favor by working for you’ and it’s just rotten.
    WTG on letting her know how it is!
    Keep us posted won’t you?
    Cheers, Kelly

    Hey There, Stranger!
    You know, I don’t know how old she is – about 22-23 I think. And you’ve got the attitude exactly. Whenever I ask her to do anything, her face screws up and she says, ‘well..why? Hmmm…ah, because I’m telling you to and I’m the boss?

    I have a post coming about this week – it’s a doozy.


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