What do I do about this boss who gave me empty promises?

Friday July 24 2020

 

By Jane Muiruri

Dear Jane,
Six months ago, my boss got a side job with a PR firm, and he requested me to help him with the job. The project was to last three months and we orally agreed that he would pay me a percentage of his earnings. He hasn’t paid me since then and whenever I ask, he says that he is yet to be paid. Now, he has started picking on me for miniature mistakes. What do I do? Jackie

Dear Jackie,
In this day and age, it’s important to have a side hustle as long as it does not impact negatively on your day job and there is no conflict of interest.

Would you be comfortable if your employer was to be made aware of this arrangement with your boss? You are in an awkward situation since you don’t have any written agreement with your boss.

Also, this arrangement could create the impression that you and your colleagues spend precious office time attending to other external duties to earn an extra coin.

Even if some companies encourage their employees to get side jobs, I doubt there is any employer who would condone a side hustle that distracts employees from the company’s overall targets and objectives. If you have a side hustle, don’t involve colleagues. Make that your private affair. However, you can use your personal and professional networks to grow your side hustle.

Unfortunately, if your boss lacks goodwill, you might lose your money. You are at a disadvantage because you do not have any written document showing that he had indeed contracted you. For this, be diplomatic when trying to claim your dues.

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If you sense any resistance, count your losses and move on. Plan to establish clear boundaries with your boss in future because it seems that he has wasted your time and effort and also put a strain on your professional relationship.
I wouldn’t encourage you to escalate the issue because that could jeorpadise both your positions in the organisation.

It is possible that he has not been paid. But also, he might have decided to disregard the gentleman’s agreement. Whatever the case, politely tell him that you will not be pursuing the payment issue any further, and that you don’t hold any grudges over it. This way, he might stop frustrating you.

If you sense the relationship is irreparable, start planning your exit strategy. Word of caution: Your boss can never be your friend. Set boundaries and avoid relating with him too closely, for he has the power to either make or break your career.

Jane Muiruri,
Senior HR Manager,
Nation Media Group
jwmuiruri@ke.nationmedia.com

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