Wedding Woes

Just WOW! That's all I got!

OliveOilsMomOliveOilsMom South Jersey
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1. My boss made me leave a work-related note at the grave of my bereaved coworker’s relative

Three weeks ago one of my coworkers lost a relative. She has been off work on bereavement and family leave. Our boss isn’t happy with her being off for so long. Since it is out of his control and he doesn’t get to approve or deny her leave in this case (the HR department is in charge of that) I have been doing my best to ignore him whenever he complains.

Last week my boss gave me an envelope with my coworker’s on it and told me to leave it at the grave of my coworker’s relative. He said it was a condolence card at first, but I didn’t buy it because our work had already sent a card. When I asked him about it again, he said it was a note with some work-related items only she knows about and he needs answers ASAP and she won’t answer her (personal, not work) phone when he calls her. He gave me directions to the cemetery and everything.

Alison, I hope you don’t judge me for this but I did what he said and brought the envelope to the grave. I don’t know if she has seen it yet. I am horrified and disgusted with this. I am disgusted with myself. My boss threatened my job if I didn’t but it’s still no excuse. I don’t even have a year of work experience not counting internships in college. I was scared of being fired and so I did it. But now I’m disgusted with myself and I don’t know what I should do about this. I imagine telling my boss off or telling his boss but I’m scared to actually do it. I wish I had never delivered the letter but I don’t know what to do next. Any help or tips you or your readers have for me would be so helpful.

Re: Just WOW! That's all I got!

  • OliveOilsMomOliveOilsMom South Jersey
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    I don't know how to Spoiler Alert - but here was the outcome:

    Thank you again. The updates you have posted on your site reminded me I should update you on what happened. I went back to the cemetery because I felt so bad, but the note wasn’t there and I felt sick to my stomach after that. I was hoping the gardener or someone from the cemetery cleared it away but either my coworker or someone in her family found it. I was going to tell HR but I didn’t get a chance because it was found first.

    My coworker was so mad. She emailed other people at work to tell them what happened and came in to the HR office even though she was still on leave and made a scene. She left in tears. The note was clearly from our boss but he denied leaving it there and said I delivered it. He had emailed me about going to deliver something and I said “okay” but nowhere in the email did it say what the note was. He only told me when I went to get it from him.

    He denied threatening my job and the HR department was angry at me for delivering the note to the grave instead of bringing it to them and telling them what happened. I never confronted him either or told HR about it. I was going to but my coworker went to them first. Someone else we work with (I don’t know who) told my coworker it was me who delivered it. She sent me an email saying I’m a horrible person. There were no threats in it and has been no other contact from her so there is nothing I can do about the email. She sent our boss a similar email. Besides telling people at work, she called a few of our clients and told them too. There was so much backlash from both my coworkers and the clients. I was fired along with our boss. No one from HR or any of my coworkers supported me and they blamed me as much as my boss.

    I couldn’t get unemployment because I had not worked for a full 12 months and also because I was fired for misconduct. I have been looking for a new job but I haven’t found anything yet. I have been temping in a field that is related to the field my old job was in but is separate enough I feel I can make a new start. The field is also relevant to my degree. I am planning on leaving my old job off my resume after what happened and because I was there for less then a year. Even though this was my first job ever, I did an internship each summer when I was in college and between those and temping I’m hoping it’s enough experience to find a job. Given how the economy and job market is, I am hoping it won’t look strange for someone to have not found a full time job a year after they graduated. I don’t want to go back to the same field because my coworker told so many people from inside and outside of the company and every single person supported her and blamed me and our boss. I still live at home and feel fortunate that my parents have said I can stay until I can afford to live on my own.

    I regret what I did and I’m still upset with myself over my actions. I wish I had not been fired but I realize there is nothing I can do about it no matter how I feel. I hope to make a new start in a new field. Thanks for being gracious with your answer. Thanks to all the people who left gracious comments.

  • Egads!  Both the LW and her coworker need to spruce up their resumes and start sending them out everywhere.

    But, for practicality purposes, here is the other part I find really bizarre.  Why wouldn't the boss just have the LW drop the letter off in the coworker's mailbox?  Way less callous.  Would get to the coworker faster and in safer condition.

    Not quite this egregious, but I had something similar happen to me.  My coworker had gone back home to CA for a 3-day bereavement leave, when her grandmother had passed away.  One of our supervisors wanted an answer about something that only this coworker would know and asked me to call her.  I was pretty sure that particular day was the day of the funeral and suggested I call the next day.  Nope.  She told me to call anyway and leave a message, if "S" didn't pick up.  FFS!!!  It was mildly urgent, but could have waited a day or two.

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    charlotte989875eileenrob
  • Wow!  I think I would go to HR, explain my Boss's request and why I complied with it.  Boss was way out of line.
    image
  • I definitely feel for the LW, but this is exactly what HR is for. Does she not have any friends of family that she could have asked about this? Anyone would have told her to go straight to HR with the letter. I feel for her, but damn why would you go to the grave site?!
    short+sassyOliveOilsMomeileenrob
  • CharmedPamCharmedPam Chicagoburbs
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    edited December 2017

    I agree Ro.  I wish she had spoken to someone in real life before dropping the note off at the cemetery.  A co-worker, friend, even one of her parents!  LW knew deep down what was going on was wrong.  I understand the thought process of her maybe being fired for not complying, but if only she had reached out to someone else first.

    Also, if boss had given the LW the directions to the cemetery, were they written out?  Printed out?  LW couldn't give that as proof that boss wanted LW to place it on the grave?

    LW did update, but I really hope the whole thing was fake.  Did LW just show up to the cemetery and drive around looking for freshly moved dirt? LW would have had to go to the office to get directions to the actual plot.  In all of that, it never occurred to LW to step back and say "Wait a minute - what am I doing?"

    Absolutely the LW knew it was the wrong thing to do.  I would hope she's comfortable enough to go to HR, but obviously she wasn't.  I do feel for her.  We're always told to do what the boss asks us to do.  btw, what kind of "boss" is this person?

    edit: grammar 

    short+sassy
  • This has to be MUD right?  I mean, it just seems impractical to ask someone to leave a note at a grave site.  There is no guarantee that coworker would go there in time to find the note before it got blown away or picked up by the grounds crew.  Why wouldn't the boss just send LW to the coworker's house?   

    short+sassycharlotte989875OliveOilsMomeileenrob
  • (Warning: miscarriage mentioned)

    More cringeworthiness from IRL.  I had a coworker (previous job) put 3 days of bereavement on his timecard, when his wife had a late-term miscarriage.  The big boss wanted me to call him and have him change it to vacation or sick time because the guy "doesn't get bereavement for a miscarriage, sometimes it happens". 

    I was only a few years out of college and rarely questioned whatever a higher-up told me.  However, this time, I told him that I respectfully disagreed and asked if it would be okay if I asked HR if this fell under their definition for bereavement.  He grudgingly said that was fine and to do whatever HR said.  The HR director's reaction was, "Of course!"  Phew.

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  • Ro041 said:
    This has to be MUD right?  I mean, it just seems impractical to ask someone to leave a note at a grave site.  There is no guarantee that coworker would go there in time to find the note before it got blown away or picked up by the grounds crew.  Why wouldn't the boss just send LW to the coworker's house?   

    I was thinking/wondering the same thing.  In fact, the "update" convinces me even more this is MUD.   
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  • I agree that the update makes me think even more MUD.  I felt for the LW wrestling with what to do because it sounds like she is young and perhaps naive in the workforce. But at the same time in today's world with technology it would be easy to get ahold of a friend or family member or crowdsource an answer before doing it.  The only thing I thought of at first was maybe they don't have an HR department so she wouldn't know who to talk to at work but it sounds like they did have that so not even an excuse there. 
    charlotte989875
  • OliveOilsMomOliveOilsMom South Jersey
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    Just for reference.  This letter was actually posted back in March 2017.  I was looking for a good one.  The boss "won" Worst Boss of 2017 from Ask A Manager.
    charlotte989875short+sassyeileenrob
  • Ro041 said:
    This has to be MUD right?  I mean, it just seems impractical to ask someone to leave a note at a grave site.  There is no guarantee that coworker would go there in time to find the note before it got blown away or picked up by the grounds crew.  Why wouldn't the boss just send LW to the coworker's house?   

    I was thinking/wondering the same thing.  In fact, the "update" convinces me even more this is MUD.   
    Im also thinking it’s MUD...at least in my experience, the gravesite is just a mound of dirt for a month or two.  The formal headstone arrives a bit later.  You’re telling me the boss knew the exact location of a plot?!  
    If it’s real god help us, I hope LW has learned that if something feels wrong, regardless of who’s requesting it, she stop and analyze before acting.
    charlotte989875
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