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I received a troubling email from my bosses. I am a software developer at a small company and have been employed here over 7 years.

Essentially I was accused of working 2+ hours extra (which I didn't and had proof of), pressed as to what I was working on and how it is against protocol. I am aware of this rule and realize they have to enforce it. Instead of waiting until today to talk to me about it, I was sent an accusatory email last night demanding an explanation of something that didn't happen.

My boss admitted to me he read his office security camera notification wrong. My other boss (his wife who wrote the email) did not apologize or acknowledge the whole thing--just blamed her husband for reading his phone wrong.

I explained that I understood his mistake, however the underlying notion of the email is that I would likely be doing something improper with my time in addition to working overtime without permission (which I have not done in 7+ years working here). I could have simply left my phone, glasses, jacket at work and returned to get them which would have set off the security camera. Despite my boss explaining he trusts me the whole thing does not pass the "smell test".

I cannot imagine writing the email I received to someone who I found trustworthy. Also I have received no apology, despite clearly indicating that I found their way of handling this unprofessional and upsetting.

The email and resulting discussion seems to indicate that there are two troubling things going on:

  1. The company is in some trouble (boss admitted being super stressed about company in our private meeting)
  2. I am not regarded as trustworthy by at least one of my bosses (I am not sure she finds anyone trustworthy though).

So am I overreacting and making too much of email semantics or should I be concerned?

  • 10
    Time to find a new job... FAST. – Apologize and reinstate Monica May 1 '18 at 20:24
  • You're not overreacting and yes, you should be concerned. Follow @sgroves advice. Good luck. – Isaiah3015 May 1 '18 at 20:36
  • thanks for the input--the whole thing has definitely caught me by surprise and has given me lots to think about – xwass May 1 '18 at 20:57
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    Anecdotally I have found that small family owned/run businesses can have excessive amounts of drama from things such weird rules, not following best practices, and bosses wearing way too many hats. – Peter M May 1 '18 at 21:49
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    I've worked for some great companies and some terrible ones in my time. I've never worked for a company that complained about me staying a couple hours late. – Steve-O May 1 '18 at 22:02
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If your boss is "super stressed" about the company, then you start looking for a different position. If your boss is so "super stressed" that he flips and makes wild accusations against you that are quite insulting, then you leave as soon as you have found a better job, and leave the boss to his stress.

  • I agree it is probably time to explore new opportunities. One thing that sucks is I just began the process of putting an addition on my house which makes me much more financially vulnerable than is typical. I am not too worried about losing my job before the work is complete on this so I will use the meantime to get my resume and contacts together and hope for the best. – xwass May 1 '18 at 20:33
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    When I was freelancing, I once had a client flip out and accuse me of stealing some $10 decorative candlesticks. Turns out his wife thought they'd look better in their house than in their office, so she took them. He never apologized. I'd just built him a recording studio, worth about $35K! Less than a year later, the bank took whatever was left that didn't go up his nose. Ah, show biz ... – Wesley Long May 1 '18 at 21:19
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I think you're overthinking it. They might have been having a bad day (it doesn't necessarily mean the company is in trouble) and wanted to take their frustration out on someone.

Also, some people just don't apologize. They never admit fault and just move on, even if they know they're in the wrong.

However, it is a sign that you might need to make some effort to repair your relationship with the boss in question, or at least feel things out further. Maybe have a sit down and ask if you've been living up to expectations, and how you can grow in your position.

  • Unfortunately there seems to be a pattern of her disdain towards the dev team. I think her husband tries to mend the wounds she causes but his effort has been lacking as of late. Her opinion seems to be is she pays us enough to put up with it, since none of us have quit I guess she is right... Mice in the building--dev team are slobs Door left open-dev team are careless (even though the lock was actually broken) This time is happened to be pointed solely at myself. Weird thing is when I was doing only design work she treated me much better. – xwass May 1 '18 at 20:40
  • @xwass Yeah, there's not much you can do there. Also, you're a software dev--is this the US? Are you hourly? If so, you're probably getting drastically underpaid as well. – Slothario May 1 '18 at 20:42
  • Pay is decent for the area but could do better if i moved a little ways away. Benefits have gotten worse also. The only reason I have stayed is we have a new product being marketed that has a good chance of doubling revenue within the next year. – xwass May 1 '18 at 20:44
  • I get paid salary--I don't know why I am required to fill out a time sheet probably some kind of NYS employment classification stuff. I am going to ask them about that next time we meet. – xwass May 2 '18 at 14:30
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One way to avoid the appearance of working overtime would be to bring your laptop home (if you have one). If your boss questions you on it you can say that it is just in case there is an emergency and you don’t plan on using it to work unapproved overtime. Once at home you can work at much as you want. I would advise keeping it disconnected from the internet so your employer can’t monitor you on chat apps or the like and see that you are working late.

Another option would be to address your boss directly and explain how the overtime policy is preventing you from getting your work done and try to get a change that way.

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    We do not have laptops at work. For whatever reason I have to keep a time sheet while the other two developers do not (they are senior I am mid-level) which seems kind of pointless. – xwass May 1 '18 at 20:30
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    The poster didn't work overtime, and has no intention to work overtime. – gnasher729 May 1 '18 at 20:33

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