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Ethical Dilemma with my boss - WWYD?
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amother




OP
 

Post Mon, Oct 11 2021, 5:44 pm
So here’s the story (changing some identifying details) I’m employed for years in an expensive private school as program director. My boss – the principal - is also a salaried employee but I report to her. A few years ago I wanted to upgrade some kind of trip we organize and take it up a level. I discussed it with the principal who was fully in agreement and then I spoke to the head of the network who gave me his go ahead. We’ve been doing this extra trip successfully for three years.

I have been working at this job for years with no raise and although the hours and workload has substantially increased I have not been given a raise. 2 years ago I asked the principal to speak to the head and put in a request for one and then covid hit so nothing came of it. I again requested a raise in the summer and at first she told me it was taken care of, a few weeks later she said he wasn’t ok with it and finally she admitted that she hadn’t even broached the topic with him all this time “because others will also start asking for a raise.” I offered to speak to the head myself (she always insisted I go through her) but she told me it would jeopardize all the other funding the school gets.

2 days ago she called me and told me that she really wants to get me this raise, and knows that I deserve it but the head is putting pressure on the school to save money so she doesn’t feel it is correct to ask. BUT she has a preposition; if I will cancel the trip that I added as a treat for the students thereby saving money she will request that the money saved goes towards a raise in salary.

I told her that one has nothing to do with the other – if she feels this treat for the student is too expensive/not justified it is her right as the principal to cancel it and she should go ahead. Besides the head himself had okayed the funding for it! She insisted that it has to be my decision – continue with the trip at the expense of my raise or take it away from the students to go towards my salary.
Something here stinks and I’m not sure what. I feel like I’m in a catch 22 dilemma - Please help me, from an objective point of view, understand what isn’t straight about this? And also how on earth should I proceed?
TIA
(Apologies for the long post - too many details to include!)
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amother




Catmint
 

Post Mon, Oct 11 2021, 5:49 pm
I would think it makes the most sense to go straight to the head for a raise. Now that you went to your boss first it's kinda sticky to go over them to the head. But basically saying your raise needs to come from this trip money seems really wrong. I agree it stinks. Does your boss see your paycheck? If they don't I would probably go to the head. If they do, I still might do it anyway but you need to consider how this would affect your relationship.
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amother




Hunter
 

Post Mon, Oct 11 2021, 5:51 pm
Sounds really strange and she has proven herself less than trustworthy
I would talk directly to the one in charge of raises
Just say you believe in direct communication and don’t want to put her in an awkward spot like you are doing her a favor
I mean it’s been years of this already…
The other dilemma doesn’t sound right
Sounds like a set up for you to take the blame for an unpopular decision
Gut says no

Something does stink
Trust your gut

She’s the one with the ethics problem

Don’t let her throw you under the bus
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amother




Lilac
 

Post Mon, Oct 11 2021, 5:52 pm
That does sound a little narrow minded
Why are a raise or a trip the only 2 options?
Maybe I'm not as nice as you, but I would go to the head himself if you don't agree with her deal. You can say you tried to go through her, but didn't feel like this was a decision you should be given to make.
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amother




OP
 

Post Mon, Oct 11 2021, 5:57 pm
Thanks for your replies.
My feelings are exactly that, but if I go directly to the head (who already gave me the OK for the trip this year) and tell him what she said I am "snitching" on her and humiliating her. This in her eyes will be unforgivable and will wreck any working relationship we have. (She is a very respected "Rebbetzen")
And if I go directly to him for a raise without mentioning any of this he will ask me why I'm not going through her as she is my immediate boss...
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amother




Hunter
 

Post Mon, Oct 11 2021, 5:59 pm
I would only talk about the raise. I would explain that I’ve discussed this with her before and she said she is in favor of it. Since it didn’t happen yet you assumed you need to talk directly to him. Like maybe you didn’t want to burden her and know how busy she is.
Hatzlocha
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amother




Crystal
 

Post Mon, Oct 11 2021, 6:00 pm
amother [ OP ] wrote:
So here’s the story (changing some identifying details) I’m employed for years in an expensive private school as program director. My boss – the principal - is also a salaried employee but I report to her. A few years ago I wanted to upgrade some kind of trip we organize and take it up a level. I discussed it with the principal who was fully in agreement and then I spoke to the head of the network who gave me his go ahead. We’ve been doing this extra trip successfully for three years.

I have been working at this job for years with no raise and although the hours and workload has substantially increased I have not been given a raise. 2 years ago I asked the principal to speak to the head and put in a request for one and then covid hit so nothing came of it. I again requested a raise in the summer and at first she told me it was taken care of, a few weeks later she said he wasn’t ok with it and finally she admitted that she hadn’t even broached the topic with him all this time “because others will also start asking for a raise.” I offered to speak to the head myself (she always insisted I go through her) but she told me it would jeopardize all the other funding the school gets.

2 days ago she called me and told me that she really wants to get me this raise, and knows that I deserve it but the head is putting pressure on the school to save money so she doesn’t feel it is correct to ask. BUT she has a preposition; if I will cancel the trip that I added as a treat for the students thereby saving money she will request that the money saved goes towards a raise in salary.

I told her that one has nothing to do with the other – if she feels this treat for the student is too expensive/not justified it is her right as the principal to cancel it and she should go ahead. Besides the head himself had okayed the funding for it! She insisted that it has to be my decision – continue with the trip at the expense of my raise or take it away from the students to go towards my salary.
Something here stinks and I’m not sure what. I feel like I’m in a catch 22 dilemma - Please help me, from an objective point of view, understand what isn’t straight about this? And also how on earth should I proceed?
TIA
(Apologies for the long post - too many details to include!)


At this point I'd go over her head and speak to the head. As long as you tried the regular route in speaking to your direct supervisor, it's ok to reach out to the higher-ups. You've tried, more than once, and she can't accommodate. That's exactly when a meeting with the big boss should be scheduled. I also work in a such a setup. I meet with the big boss occasionally, and he always makes note to mention that his door is always open for any issue or concern I have.

Also, it looks like the principal is setting you up to the fall guy for the cancellation of the trip. I think the position she put you in is completely inappropriate. Your raise should not be dependent on any student related activity. The cancellation of such activities should never be a consideration for a raise. It's wrong on all levels. This action alone would have had me speaking to the big boss promptly.
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amother




Hunter
 

Post Mon, Oct 11 2021, 6:01 pm
Act innocent which you are and confident you are doing nothing wrong and helping them keep a valued employee
He is in charge of raises
So it is true
I don’t get why she said you have it then admitted she never even asked so assume she is too busy if she doesn’t think you are worth it she should say so- illustrate to him the ways in which your duties have increased
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amother




OP
 

Post Mon, Oct 11 2021, 6:11 pm
Thank you to all who replied!!!! I really appreciate you all taking the time to weigh in!
I already feel less of an idiot - it's really been eating me up.
The problem with going over her head is that at the end of the day she is the one who hired me and she is the one I have to interact daily with - she isn't stupid either.
This whole issue stems from money - she is extremely cheap and often boasts that she can get away with paying minimum for anything.
I would love to threaten to walk away but am scared she will call my bluff. I really would leave but how can I look for a replacement job without jeopardizing this one?
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amother




Crystal
 

Post Mon, Oct 11 2021, 6:12 pm
amother [ OP ] wrote:
Thanks for your replies.
My feelings are exactly that, but if I go directly to the head (who already gave me the OK for the trip this year) and tell him what she said I am "snitching" on her and humiliating her. This in her eyes will be unforgivable and will wreck any working relationship we have. (She is a very respected "Rebbetzen")
And if I go directly to him for a raise without mentioning any of this he will ask me why I'm not going through her as she is my immediate boss...


I would approach it in a delicate manner. I would say that you're coming in for clarification as there seems to be some misunderstanding. You had requested a raise from the Rebbetzen. But she stated that since the schools needs to cut expenses, the only way you can get a raise now is if you personally cancel the school trip and put that money towards your raise. Is this coming from the top or has there been some misunderstanding somewhere along the way?

I don't think this is snitching. This is standing up for yourself, and not letting yourself be stepped upon. One, she is denying a long overdue raise and two, she is setting you up to be the fall guy. She could have personally cancelled the trip and put the money towards your raise without informing you of it. Yet, she doesn't want to be the bad guy here. She wants you to be the bad guy, plus feel guilty about yourself for doing it. Or she is trying to manipulate you into giving up your raise.

I don't think this is relationship really worth preserving - unless your job will be on the line.
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amother




Denim
 

Post Mon, Oct 11 2021, 6:16 pm
amother [ OP ] wrote:

This whole issue stems from money - she is extremely cheap and often boasts that she can get away with paying minimum for anything.
I would love to threaten to walk away but am scared she will call my bluff. I really would leave but how can I look for a replacement job without jeopardizing this one?
Well that's your answer. She is manipulating you into keeping her expenses low.

You will need to go to the boss and let the chips fall how they will. Also start looking for a new job. Is it hard to find jobs where you live? Around here employers are desperate.
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amother




Crystal
 

Post Mon, Oct 11 2021, 6:17 pm
amother [ OP ] wrote:
Thank you to all who replied!!!! I really appreciate you all taking the time to weigh in!
I already feel less of an idiot - it's really been eating me up.
The problem with going over her head is that at the end of the day she is the one who hired me and she is the one I have to interact daily with - she isn't stupid either.
This whole issue stems from money - she is extremely cheap and often boasts that she can get away with paying minimum for anything.
I would love to threaten to walk away but am scared she will call my bluff. I really would leave but how can I look for a replacement job without jeopardizing this one?


You don't have to play along with her game. And not all the time does it mean it will wreck your working relationship. Maybe she'll be miffed at first, but sometimes standing your ground earns respect as well.

Why will looking for a replacement job jeopardize this one. Most recruiters and bosses are careful about alerting old bosses, unless they're given the go ahead to reach out to them. Now is actually a very good time to look for a new job. There are so many open jobs and people are desperate. It's totally an employee's market.
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amother




Crystal
 

Post Mon, Oct 11 2021, 6:21 pm
amother [ Crystal ] wrote:
You don't have to play along with her game. And not all the time does it mean it will wreck your working relationship. Maybe she'll be miffed at first, but sometimes standing your ground earns respect as well.

Why will looking for a replacement job jeopardize this one. Most recruiters and bosses are careful about alerting old bosses, unless they're given the go ahead to reach out to them. Now is actually a very good time to look for a new job. There are so many open jobs and people are desperate. It's totally an employee's market.


Another point to consider - let's say you find a new job and go to your big boss and inform him of your leaving. He is going to want to know why and when he learns of the reasons, he will be upset as to why you haven't approached him earlier to resolve this. So don't be hesitant at all to meet with him - that's precisely what he would want from you.
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Cookiegirl




 
 
 
 

Post Mon, Oct 11 2021, 6:24 pm
I would agree with amother Crystal above. At the end of the day, you need to take care of yourself, as the principal does not have your best interest at heart (which should be a prerequisite in a management heirarchy). I would ask for clarification (you can be transparent and mention that you first went to the principal but her response was conditional, and you were not clear on whether that was the head's position as well). Please make sure you relay that you understand budgeting is always a challenge but you would like to get the head's input into your career/growth potential directly and not let other school budgeting issues dictate your opportunities if that is not the reality.

To your point- the trip has been approved for several years running, so the administration sees a value in it for the students, separate and apart from how they view the salary budget, and you would like to know where they stand vis-a-vis the human resource piece of the equation. If they had to replace you, they might need to match or raise your salary, or if not, at the very least lose the intangible value of your experience while they train in someone new. The head should be able to make the calculation regarding those values.

Good luck.
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amother




OP
 

Post Mon, Oct 11 2021, 6:28 pm
amother [ Denim ] wrote:
Well that's your answer. She is manipulating you into keeping her expenses low.


I think that is it exactly. I actually love my job - working with these students in particular and the staff members I interact with - this is the only really negative issue I have but it is a biggie! I would hate to have to leave - and I think she knows that.

She stressed to me that she hasn't brought it up yet with the Head - she wants me first to make a decision and then she'll go ahead.... so she'll see straight through me if I go and discuss it with him directly and make her look bad.
DH laughs at my naivety and says that after I pull out of the trip she'll find another reason why I can't get this raise.
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amother




OP
 

Post Mon, Oct 11 2021, 6:37 pm
amother [ Crystal ] wrote:
Another point to consider - let's say you find a new job and go to your big boss and inform him of your leaving. He is going to want to know why and when he learns of the reasons, he will be upset as to why you haven't approached him earlier to resolve this. So don't be hesitant at all to meet with him - that's precisely what he would want from you.


Thanks Crystal - You really "get" it.
The problem with the setup is that the principal deals with all the daily running and educational decisions - and has been there since the beginning of the school. The Head meanwhile, is a kind of CEO - he was appointed by the owners to oversee as a financial investment and is only a couple of months on the job.
That is part of the problem - the principal is constantly trying to curry favor with him - one way by slashing the budget and she will never forgive me if I humiliate her in front of him. He also met with me at the beginning of his employment to run through my expenses and okayed it all.
If she feels so strongly about cancelling the trip I don't understand why she doesn't do it!
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amother




Hunter
 

Post Mon, Oct 11 2021, 6:37 pm
Sounds like he is right

I would never play that game

Tell her no you do not want to cancel the trip or have it be at their expense

Which she probably already knows and she may be using you as the fall guy to cover herself

Then go speak with the big guy

One thing at a time and keep the issues separate like oh then you did this to see if there’s another way like you took her at her word and then went to see if you could help resolve directly — whatever tell her u told your Dh and he said you have to take it to the big boss put it on him
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amother




OP
 

Post Mon, Oct 11 2021, 6:39 pm
amother [ Hunter ] wrote:
Sounds like he is right

I would never play that game

Tell her no you do not want to cancel the trip or have it be at their expense

Which she probably already knows

Then go speak with the big guy


The crazy thing is if I would cancel the trip my job would be a whole lot easier! Do I personally have an obligation to the students more than the principal?
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amother




Hunter
 

Post Mon, Oct 11 2021, 6:41 pm
The trip has been running for years already so what’s gonna happen if everyone hears YOU cancelled it…?
Tell her you cannot take on that decision and leave it to her
Sounds like after getting her ok at thst time then you did go speak with the big boss
So sounds like there is precedent
If you do not want to do it then don’t but either swallow it or think about the outcry if you cancel …could you then end up losing your job?
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octopus




 
 
 
 

Post Mon, Oct 11 2021, 6:43 pm
amother [ Hunter ] wrote:
Sounds like he is right

I would never play that game

Tell her no you do not want to cancel the trip or have it be at their expense

Which she probably already knows

Then go speak with the big guy

One thing at a time and keep the issues separate like oh then you did this to see if there’s another way like you took her at her word and then went to see if you could help resolve directly — whatever tell her u told your Dh and he said you have to take it to the big boss put it on him


Blame the dh ? She should say he told her to go to the big boss? Totally disagree! OP is not 4!!!
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