An unfortunate reality of any career path is there are often people who don’t want to see you succeed. Typically, everyone in an organization should be striving towards one common goal; however, jealousy can have people silently cheering for the failure of their co-workers. Although the failure of a co-worker can lead to speedbumps in reaching an organization’s goals, some people don’t care as long as they are the ones who look good and reap the rewards of someone else’s hard work.
Our friend, “Carl,” had to deal with this exact situation; however, instead of it being a co-worker it was his manager, “Steve.”
Carl worked for an international organization working closely with a number of Non-Governmental Organizations, “NGOs.” Carl’s office would establish policies and the NGOs would enact those policies through their various endeavors.
Carl and the director of one NGO “got along like a house on fire.” The High Commissioner, “Will,” immediately approved when the director requested Carl to organize their upcoming conference to establish relationships with international experts to form a gameplan on the best way to enact a new policy. Everyone was on board with the idea aside from Steve, who thought Carl didn’t deserve the privilege of organizing the conference.
Carl helped arrange the hotels, drivers, interpreters, and even established relationships with experts in different fields on behalf of the NGO. Carl worked on setting up the conference for months. The NGO called him at all hours of both weekdays and weekends to check in on his progress and discuss any aspects of the conference they wanted to clarify. It was extremely hard work but Carl didn’t mind because the conference was taking place at a five-star hotel in Vienna and it was assumed by everyone he would be in attendance.
There was only one issue.
“You’ve Got To Be Kidding Me”
Due to scheduling restraints of various participants, the conference had to be scheduled to start on a Friday and end on a Monday. Under normal circumstances, this would be no big deal; however, Carl had to get Steve’s permission to attend otherwise he wouldn’t be reimbursed for his travel expenses or paid for working over the weekend.
Carl waited until a Monday morning to approach Steve about it. He walked into Steve’s office looking “as neutral as possible, trying to pass it off as an annoying detail.”
The fact Carl even had to worry about getting Steve’s permission is a clear indicator of Steve creating a hostile workplace. I couldn’t imagine going so above and beyond on something, being rewarded for it, and having to worry about getting permission from a manager who doesn’t want me to succeed. I’m not sure how Steve got into his position of authority over Carl but hopefully, he doesn’t remain there for long.
Carl set the authorization form on Steve’s desk and said, “Sir, concerning the conference. Will you sign this document for approval? I know it’s a bother but you know. Please?”
Steve picked up the form, looked at it, then checked something on his computer.
He asked Carl, “The conference isn’t organized by us, but by the NGO?”
Carl responded, “Correct, Will is also going to be a guest.”
Steve asked, “So, the rooms and travel are paid for by the NGO?”
Carl responded, “Correct.”
Steve said, “So you’ll be a guest! You may go. I’ll grant you Friday and Monday as paid leave. And nothing else.”
Steve filled in the authorization form, signed it, gave it to Carl, and dismissed him from his office with a wave saying, “That will be all.”
Carl walked out of Steve’s office thinking, “You’ve got to be kidding me.”
“There’s Nothing Much I Can Do”
Steve knew exactly what he was doing. By only granting Carl the Friday and Monday as paid leave, he ensured he would miss out on half of his travel expenses being covered. Meaning Carl was responsible for covering his own expenses at a five-star hotel in Vienna for two days. Carl couldn’t back out of going to the conference; however, it had just turned into an extremely expensive weekend getaway.
This is extremely messed up on Steve’s part. You have an employee who is going above and beyond to make sure your office is successful, and this is how you repay him? He’s obviously jealous of Carl’s success, but it’s no excuse to pull a move like this on someone who is clearly one of your top employees.
Carl must have “radiated an air of dejection” because as soon as one of the policymakers, “Kendall,” stopped by his desk, he immediately asked what was wrong.
Carl broke down what happened with Steve and Kendall immediately responded, “You can’t accept that!”
Carl shrugged and said, “There’s nothing much I can do. He’s my manager.”
Kendall responded, “Well, we’ll see about that.”
Carl went about the rest of his day of work and did his best to push his expensive trip to the back of his mind. He managed to not think about it until he was called into Will’s office a couple of days later.
“I Have To Respect His Decisions”
Will was “sitting behind his desk with papers piled up in great stacks.” The director of the NGO putting on the conference was seated across from him. “They seemed very relaxed.”
As Carl walked in, Will looked at him and said, “Ah, have a seat. I gather you will be working for us in your spare time this weekend?”
Carl nodded and said, “Yes, Steve didn’t give me authorization for the full duration of the conference.”
Will responded, “Well, correct, and I will not change one iota as he is your manager. I have to respect his decisions regarding his own staff. Otherwise, I’ll undermine his authority and I can’t have that. I am sorry but my hands are tied. The authorization stays unchanged. It is a bit of a conundrum really as I gather you have been working day and night on this.”
Carl nodded again and thought to himself, “Why did you call me in here to state the bleeding obvious?”
The director of the NGO let out a chuckle and Carl saw a smile cross Will’s face. Will grabbed a form off of his desk and looked at it. Then the conversation took a turn Carl wasn’t even remotely expecting.
“You Are Not Aware Of This Conversation”
Will said, “We had ordered you a plane ticket but we just decided we need you to bring some supplies. We’re going to have to provide you with a first-class train ticket with sleeping quarters to account for all of the equipment. The supplies you have to bring are going to take up some space, so we’ve upgraded your room at the hotel to a suite. Also, we can’t have you tripping over everything, now can we? Would your girlfriend be available that weekend to assist with carrying your supplies? We will reimburse her travel and stay on the same conditions, of course. Furthermore, you will get a ‘per diem’ for four days and as you will be working during the weekend and for two days of your leave, your salary will, of course, be increased. I’ve already signed the form. Oh, and tell your girlfriend I’ll be looking forward to hosting the two of you at my table for the first evening.”
The director of the NGO lost his composure and burst out laughing. After regaining his composure, he said, “Oh, and as you are consulting for us for the four days, we will be paying you a consultancy fee. Not a large one but an administrative fee should do.”
Carl couldn’t believe his ears. He would be making over a month’s worth of salary in four days.
His mind quickly turned to his manager and he asked, “Won’t Steve protest? I mean I don’t want to get in trouble over this.”
Will looked at him with a mockingly innocent expression and said, “As far as I am aware, I have completely respected his authorization form so I am not undermining his authority in any way. I have just added a new authorization form to it.”
So clearly Will and the director of the NGO both hate Steve and think he’s a complete prick. I’m glad to know Carl isn’t the only employee who recognizes this. You can definitely tell this is taking place outside of the United States because Will is still worried about respecting Steve’s authority. Most managers in America would tell Steve to kick rocks and reward Carl for his hard work which honestly might have been the move in this scenario.
Will continued with a smile that suggested they might share the same hatred for Steve and said, “What we discussed here falls under confidential information. You are not aware of this conversation and I have already forgotten I signed the new authorization form.”
Will has been waiting for this moment to pull a fast one on Steve for a long time. I’m sure this wasn’t the first time Steve had tried to stifle an employee’s reward for going above and beyond and Will had finally seen enough. My only question is, shouldn’t that be enough cause to get rid of Steve? If someone is actively doing everything in their power to dissuade employees from going above and beyond out of jealousy, shouldn’t they be fired?
Carl stood up and as he walked to the door, he remember something. He turned around and asked, “What supplies do I have to transport?”
Will picked up a fold off the desk containing maybe ten pages marked “Conference” and said, “I thought you’d never ask. Don’t drop it. I understand it’s heavy.”
Carl and his girlfriend went on to have an amazing time attending the conference in Vienna. Steve still thinks he successfully stuck it to Carl.
Thoughts From The Author
Will definitely wins the award for being the coolest boss possible. Not only does he understand Steve completely sucks as a manager and Carl deserves better but he actively rewarded Carl for his hard work while sticking it to Steve. He even let Steve think he was winning in the situation and completely “messing” over Carl. Also, the folder thing was completely smooth. What an awesome boss.
Will couldn’t be an awesome boss without Steve being the worst boss ever. Who actively tries to “mess” over their employees like that? What kind of manager rewards an employee for all of their hard work by trying to stick them with ridiculous travel expenses and making them use their own leave time? What a prick. I hope Will and Carl laugh behind his back for years to come.
I was glad to see Carl be rightfully rewarded for all of his hard work. Tarnishing an employee who succeeds at their job is ridiculous and there is no chance Carl would have been willing to go above and beyond in his role if Steve had gotten his way at the end of the story. No one in their right mind would continue to put forth their best effort if they knew any reward would be erased by their jealous manager. I hope Carl got all of the positive reinforcement he deserved and continued to put his best foot forward.