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World's worst manager asks how to to be even worse

THEIR "best" employee quit on the spot because she wouldn't let her go to her college graduation.

Now they want to know how they should go about contacting the former employee because they want to "help her so she doesn't make the same mistake again". 

A letter to Ask a Manager is diving the internet.

In the letter the manager said the employee was asked to work - along with other team members - on a day the office was normally closed.

The employee asked if she could start two hours later on the day because she had her college graduation ceremony.

They said they was "unable to grant her request because she was the employee with the lowest seniority and we need coverage for that day."

The employee tried to find another coworker to cover her for the two hours because the manager said they don't "interfere if people want to give or take overtime of their own accord".

However, they said they did intervene and switch another employee's end time because they had pre-paid concert tickets and this was "a special circumstance because there was cost involved".

The employee wanting to go to her college graduation ceremony quit on the spot.

The manager said they were a " bit upset" because she was their "best employee by far". 

"Her work was excellent, she never missed a day of work in the six years she worked here, and she was my go-to person for weekends and holidays."

They said the employee had grown up in foster care and had no living family and this was her first job.

They wrote to Ask A Manager because they want to "reach out" to this former employee and tell her that "quitting without notice because she didn't get her way isn't exactly professional."

They said they want to do this only because they don't want this former employee to "derail her career by doing this again and thinking it is okay". 

Well, Ask A Manager said no.

"No, under no circumstances should you do that," the moderator wrote.

They said if anything they should contact the former employee, apologise and offer her her job back.

The moderator said because of this employee's family situation they were "hard-pressed" to think of anyone who deserved to attend their graduation ceremony as much as this woman did and they should have been "bending over backwards to ensure she could attend".

"There's a lesson to be learned here, but it's not for her," they wrote.

Of the nearly 2000 comments on the letter, many commenters agree.

What do you think? Should the manager have done more to allow this employee to attend her graduation ceremony or was the manager right in rigidly adhering to rules?

The letter in full:

I manage a team, and part of their jobs is to provide customer support over the phone. Due to a new product launch, we are expected to provide service outside of our normal hours for a time. This includes some of my team coming in on a day our office is normally closed (based on lowest seniority because no one volunteered).

One employee asked to come in two hours after the start time due to her college graduation ceremony being that same day (she was taking night classes part-time in order to earn her degree). I was unable to grant her request because she was the employee with the lowest seniority and we need coverage for that day. I said that if she could find someone to replace her for those two hours, she could start later. She asked her coworkers, but no one was willing to come in on their day off. After she asked around, some people who were not scheduled for the overtime did switch shifts with other people (but not her) and volunteered to take on overtime from others who were scheduled, but these people are friends outside of work, and as long as there is coverage I don't interfere if people want to give or take overtime of their own accord. (Caveat: I did intervene and switch one person's end time because they had concert tickets that they had already paid for, but this was a special circumstance because there was cost involved.)

I told this team member that she could not start two hours late and that she would have to skip the ceremony. An hour later, she handed me her work ID and a list of all the times she had worked late/come in early/worked overtime for each and every one of her coworkers. Then she quit on the spot.

I'm a bit upset because she was my best employee by far. Her work was excellent, she never missed a day of work in the six years she worked here, and she was my go-to person for weekends and holidays.

Even though she doesn't work here any longer, I want to reach out and tell her that quitting without notice because she didn't get her way isn't exactly professional. I only want to do this because she was an otherwise great employee, and I don't want her to derail her career by doing this again and thinking it is okay. She was raised in a few dozen different foster homes and has no living family. She was homeless for a bit after she turned 18 and besides us she doesn't have anyone in her life that has ever had professional employment. This is the only job she has had. Since she's never had anyone to teach her professional norms, I want to help her so she doesn't make the same mistake again. What do you think is the best way for me to do this?

The response in full:

What?! No, under no circumstances should you do that.

If anything, you should consider reaching out to her, apologizing for how you handled the situation, and offering her the job back if she wants it.

I'm not usually a fan of people quitting on the spot, but I applaud her for doing it in this case. She was raised in dozens of foster homes, used to be homeless, has no living family, and apparently managed to graduate from college all on her own. That's amazing. And while I normally think graduation ceremonies are primarily fluff, I'm hard-pressed to think of anyone who deserves to be able to attend her own graduation ceremony as much as this woman does. You should have been bending over backwards to ensure she could attend.

Rigidly adhering to rules generally isn't good management. Good management requires nuance and judgment. Sometimes it requires making exceptions for good employees so that you don't lose them. Sometimes it requires assessing not just what the rules say but what the right and smart thing to do would be.

One of the frustrating things about your letter is that despite rigidly adhering to the rules with this person, you were willing to make an exception for someone else (the person with the concert tickets). I'm at a loss to understand how concert tickets are an obvious exception-maker but this person's situation wasn't.

And you note that she was your "best employee by far"! She never missed a day of work in six years, she was your go-to person, she covered for every other person there, and she was all-around excellent … and yet when she needed you to help her out with something that was important to her, you refused.

There's a lesson to be learned here, but it's not for her.

Topics:  business employee