I began my new job at Large Multi-National Company in a small division. I was hired into the finance department to deal mainly with fraud detection/prevention and accounts receivables. At the time I was hired there was 1 other person working in finance, and that was the CFO of this particular division (a very nice guy). Apparently due to some restructuring small division is going to be splitting from Large Company and the 3 other people who worked in the finance department were transferred elsewhere in the company as they chose to stay Large Company employees rather than be part of the split off, so work was very much backed up and I worked hard to get it on track.
However, ever since I came on about 4 months ago the CFO has been dumping more and more things on me (I love taking on more responsibility don’t get me wrong) first the Accounts payable, then the month end reporting, then the credit cards, and on and on.
And slowly he started being at work less and less and this is causing a slight problem. Generally he comes in at 11-12 (I am here from 8am – 4:30), soon after he takes an hour and a half lunch, and then disappears sometime around 3-4 to hang out with his friends a few floors down for an hour or two. Sometimes he doesn’t come in at all, and just calls to tell me.
A few times he has forgotten very important meetings about the split, come in late for them or dressed inappropriately (in jeans). Obviously this is none of my business, but I sit right next to his door so when people come by to see him and inevitably find him missing they come to me and ask where he is, why he isn’t here, doesn’t he know he has a meeting….and its really getting sort of awkward as people (like the CEO of this unit and people from the corporate finance) begin getting very agitated at his lack of presence and his lateness and ask me more and more often. If he is in the building I try to call his cell (he usually leaves it at his desk) and once went down to fetch him when he’d blown off an important meeting. Now people are making comments like, “Doesn’t he ever work” “When IS he here?” and the like.
I really do understand they are frustrated, as am I…as I am buried in work, and with no help at all from him I don’t know when I will ever catch up. But these questions from people looking from him are extremely awkward for me.
Do you have any advice for me? Pretty please?
I think we all (well most of us anyway) have an innate desire to be nice. To cover for people. We’d appreciate it if our co-workers didn’t blab to everyone, “Well, Evil HR Lady’s not here right now because she had this horrible toenail fungus and she’s been complaining about it, driving us nuts and she finally got into see a doctor…” (Please note, I have no such toenail fungus. My toenails are very healthy. This was just a made-up example.)
So, it’s natural that you feel compelled to give excuses for this slacker. You need to stop it.
Now, to be fair, I presume that the CFO is your boss and that makes it more difficult. But, it’s becoming obvious to the world that he’s not pulling his weight. So, it’s time to start being honest.
“Where’s the CFO? He’s supposed to be in a meeting right now.”
Your response: “The last time I heard, he was hanging out with Jim and Karen downstairs. You can try him there.”
or: “He normally doesn’t get in until around 11:00, so I’m not sure. I’ll let him know you were looking for him, if I happen to see him.”
or: “I think he went to lunch–although that was two hours ago.”
No other commentary. Just the facts.
You need to go to his boss and explain your workload and that you need help. This will probably not result any help, but at least you’ve established that you are the one working.
The real problem here isn’t with the CFO, but with his manager. What?!?! All of you are screaming, we are each responsible for our own actions! Yes, yes, that is true, and hopefully he’ll get what is coming to him. However, his manager should have been managing this obvious performance problem a long time ago.
I realize that statement does nothing to help you out. However, for all of you who manage people–these types of problems just get worse. You must MANAGE your people. Not ignore them. Manage them. Fire if necessary.
Now, if you really want to be nice, one thing that stands out in this story is that this appears to be a big change in behavior for this guy. As a subordinate, it’s not your place to talk to him about this. You may, however, want to bring it to the attention of Employee Relations. (They may already be aware.) Changes in behavior like this can be indicative of bigger problems inside or outside work. He may just be a slacker, or he could be going through some major trauma outside of work.