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Be the Boss

Posted by Peter Post  August 4, 2011 07:00 AM

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I am working the summer before I go to college at a pizzeria. I got the job
at the pizzeria through my best friend, who already worked there and told me they needed another person, and recommended me to the owner. She works more hours a week than me, and since I have a second job while she doesnít, I feel that this is reasonable. However, the owner wants to increase our hours. Discussing this, my friend wants to take the overwhelming majority of hours (approx. 18) and leaving me with 2 additional hours. Iíve mentioned this concern to her, but she has defended herself by saying that she really needs the money for college. So do I. The owner is understandably reluctant to intervene (teenage girls can be a mess to deal with) so Iím left on my own preserving the job and friendship. Is there a way to tactfully negotiate a more equitable distribution of working hours?


In a nutshell, the problem is the boss. The solution, therefore, is the boss. The boss does the hiring, the firing, and the scheduling. The boss should be allocating the hours worked by each employee. Not to do this sets up exactly the kind of situation you find yourself in: two employees vying for and having to decide who gets to do what. And that is a formula for confrontation and stress.

Suggest to your friend that together you ask the boss to mediate the situation. Itís the only way you can resolve it without either damaging your friendship or salvaging the friendship but feeling that you are getting the short end of the stick.

If the boss continues to put the decision onto you and your friendís shoulders, then the two of you need to sit down and hash it out. Before you engage in that conversation, think through what would be an equitable split. Twenty hours equates to two and one-half days of work. A split of two hours and eighteen hours seems lopsided. But given that you want to maintain a relationship with your friend and you already have a second job, realistically, how much additional time can you take on? Before you start the conversation have a solution in mind. For instance: Would one extra day be enough for you given that you already have some hours and a second job? Whatever you think would be an equitable split, be specific and positive when you engage your friend: ďMarge, youíre my close friend, and I donít want anything like these extra hours to come between us. Iíve been thinking about how we might handle divvying up the hours. Would it work for you if I got eight hours and you got twelve? That would be one extra day for me while youíd get a day and a half or twelve hours. What do you think?Ē

Good luck.

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