My boss is mean. Is this small business?

Dear Aunt,

I have always worked in large companies and recently moved to a small business. But my boss is a mean, old bastard. I asked him if I could finish work early one day a week to do school pick-up and come into work early the next day to make up the hours, and he refused.

He also says we should only use our phone for work and not, say, to call family or take calls from family. It makes me laugh when people debate over social networking sites when we are not even allowed to use phones!

He makes us take annual leave over Christmas and hates us taking single days off. The other day I needed to go to the dentist because my teeth are about to fall out from neglect and he asked me to go outside work hours!

Is he normal or is he especially mean and horrible? He says staff will take advantage if he is more flexible.

Sick of the boss,



Dear Sick of the boss,

Most small business owners are not like that at all. In fact a survey that Sensis did recently showed that many SMEs are now offering flexible workplaces, with most of those companies saying the provisions had a positive effect on the business.

Most (87%) of employers provide access to a phone for family reasons, which quite frankly seems more like a right than a ‘provision’; given many employees work outside their set hours anyway.

As for the timing of annual leave, 83% allow employees to choose when they go and also give them the option to take single days.

And flexible start and finish times were offered by 73% of the SMEs.

Also your boss is wrong on another account.

Only 4% of the business owners felt that staff abused their conditions.

And the caring attitude seems to pay off. SMEs that offered a large array of carer and family friendly provisions to their staff reported very strong levels of performance.

So that’s your answer. He is a mean, horrible old bastard with trust issues.

In most other small businesses, you would have more flexibility.

Good luck!

Your Aunty B

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