Employee Worries Why New Boss Hides in His Office: Aloof or Reclusive?

By Lindsey Novak

September 5, 2007 4 min read

Q: Last year I lost the best boss in the world. He checked in constantly to see how things were, and because I worked in a remote location of our plant, he kept me informed of plant happenings. He was replaced by a man who is so uncommunicative, it's unbelievable. We have spoken exactly five times in the past year since he began. I have been in jobs before where an uncommunicative boss has led me to the door on the way out, permanently. I am getting nervous that the same thing might happen here. He does let me do my job without interference, but I miss the feedback from my previous boss. I have volunteered to do extra work for him and to take on any work of his that I am qualified to do. Instead, he remains cocooned in his own world until he needs to come by or call. How do I make myself feel more secure in my job with such a silent boss?

A: Working for such a boss is awkward because he will never change and allow you to know him. Use whatever investigative skills you have to find out if he is simply anti-social, or if he is working on serious budget cuts for the department. If the latter is true, then he has good reason not to get to know his employees. Call your previous boss to let him know you really enjoyed working with him. Great bosses are seemingly few for most people, so stay in touch no matter where he works. Then get down to business; if you hadn't asked him about the new boss, now is the time. If he doesn't know anything about him, gather the courage to talk face-to-face with your new boss. Explain that you were accustomed to the former boss checking on your progress; then ask if he would like reports or informational calls to keep him up-to-date. You will know by his tone and body language if he is dismissing you as not worthy of his time, or if he is generally uncomfortable with personal exchanges.

New Pregnancy Should Not Be Announced in Interview

Q: I have been interviewing for jobs and just found out I am pregnant. My husband works but does not make enough money to support both of us, so I have to work now and even after I have the baby. I know I don't have to tell employers that I'm pregnant, but if I get a job, what do I say to them when they find out? On one hand, I feel it's none of their business. On the other hand, I feel like I will be lying during the interview.

A: Let's separate the legal from the moral issues. You should not tell interviewers you have recently become pregnant, nor can interviewers ask. In fact, if you don't wear a wedding ring to interviews, they won't even know you are married. Interviewers also are not allowed to ask how you will get to work, which was a question that employers asked years ago of job candidates who lived far from the company.

You are not lying by leaving out the pregnancy factor. You are being realistic. Pregnancies are generally not announced to others until about the third month. Women who announce too soon are subject to many unwanted comments and conversations when a pregnancy suddenly ends in a miscarriage. You can avoid putting yourself through this by waiting until you are sure you and the baby are healthy. Once you announce you are pregnant, tell your boss that you and your husband need the double income, so you must continue to work after the baby is born.

Please send your questions to: Lindsey Novak, c/o Creators Syndicate, 5777 W. Century Blvd. Suite 700, Los Angeles, CA 90045. E-mail her at [email protected], or visit her Web site at www.lindseynovak.com. To find out more about Lindsey Novak and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.

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