- 2 weeks ago
I am finding myself in a difficult situation. I run a small organization (about 70 employees) and while I am young (31), I have the necessary experience and qualifications for doing the job. I have been successfully running it for 2 1/2 years thus far and while I have faced obstacles, I have persisted through them and met established expectations.
My challenge comes with an employee who has worked for me for 2 years. She is older than me (45) and has more experience for her particular position, but I have tried to balance between being respectful of her expertise and my vision for how things are done.
I have noticed she is a fairly pessimistic person when it comes to talking about past bosses. Of her past three jobs, she has nothing good to say about any of them. I get that every boss has their shortfalls, but she literally has nothing good to say about any of those bosses and has very nuanced opinions. We have had a handful discussions that resulted in her saying comments like, “Well, I have been working in this field longer than you have been working.” Or “I know what I am talking about given my experience.” I try to keep things professional and I don’t argue with her, but her comments are pretty abrasive and unprofessional in my opinion. When I have tried to give constructive feedback, she is VERY confrontational and not open to it. She shuts down and becomes defensive.
Fortunately, there have only been about 5-6 times this has come to a head in the past 2 years, so not often. However, she did just have her second child and returned from maternity back in January. Ever since then, she has been even more difficult to work with in general. I have tried to be accomodating, recognizing she is adjusting to life as a mother of 2…but her attitude and habits are very off putting. She will keep her office door shut almost half the day (we work in a commons style setting with 10 offices that lead to a larger office area and everyone keeps their doors open unless making calls). I have overheard her making very negative comments about “how things are run” and now she is asking for a flexible work from home schedule (our org has never done this).
When she requested to work from home a few days a week, I asked her to draft a mock schedule and we could discuss it. Apparently…she went to another employee (who later disclosed it to me) and told her that it was ridiculous to have to put together a proposal and that given her experience, she should be able to do it regardless.
I plan to schedule a check-in with her next week to talk over some of these issues. I don’t want to be confrontational, but I also want to make it clear that this cannot continue happening. She is becoming very negative to the culture, although her overall work product has stayed the same and is acceptable. I don’t want to fire her, but I don’t want a contentious relationship either.
Any thoughts or ideas would be appreciated!