I heard an outrageous story from a candidate that I thought would be worth sharing. A young lady, barely three years out of school, came to see me. She had only been with her ad agency about two months. When I asked why she wanted to leave her company so soon, she was reluctant to tell me, but I pressed her because she had been there for such a short time. Ultimately, she told me. It seems she reported to a very senior executive who asked her to do things which went way beyond her job spec.
After several uneventful first few weeks, aside from doing a slew of personal errands (laundry, dog walking, grocery shopping, getting lunch etc.) almost every day, she was also handed credit card, taxi and shopping receipts and asked to complete this executive’s expense reports every week. She was told to be creative and put it all down to various clients – my candidate’s choice. After the first week, my candidate told this executive that she was uncomfortable doing the expenses for obvious reasons. In no uncertain terms, she was told that it was part of her job and if she told anyone or refused to do them, she would, "suffer greatly".
She also told me that the personal errands could take between an hour and three hours every day and this diversion caused her to both work late and to be late in getting her work done. And the boss actually criticized her for being late.
I didn’t think this stuff actually happens any more. But apparently it does.
My advice to her was to look for a job immediately. In the meanwhile, she is worried about being blamed for fudging this person’s expenses, which will surely happen if someone questions the expense reports. The problem is that if she tells finance or her boss’s boss she will be fired and she cannot afford to be out of work. She is damned if she does and damned if she doesn’t.
Further, I told her not to worry about the personal errands, as long as she is looking for another job. Doing a boss’s personal work is not that unusual, unfortunately, and, in this case, it is not the priority.
Does anyone have any experience with this kind of issue? I actually wasn't sure what to tell her to do or how to handle.