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my mysterious boss disappears for hours and cannot be reached — Ask a Supervisor


A reader writes:

I work on a small workforce. The character of my job implies that I usually must examine in with different workforce members about my tasks earlier than shifting ahead. I additionally usually must contact my supervisor, Dave, to get information/knowledge that solely he’s licensed to drag. Sadly, Dave is regularly troublesome to achieve and that makes it almost inconceivable to complete my duties.

He can be within the workplace, then spontaneously disappear someplace within the constructing with no rationalization. He additionally leaves the workplace on errands that he says will solely take 20 minutes, however find yourself taking hours. Throughout these occasions, he’s fully unreachable by any type of communication. It wouldn’t be such an enormous problem if our work wasn’t depending on continually checking with him. He can even depart after we are as a result of begin occasions that he’s internet hosting, or after we are receiving deliveries that solely he’s licensed to signal for. He by no means explains or acknowledges these absences. My workforce continually jokes that somebody must sew a tracker into his coat.

My close to breaking level was final week when Dave requested me to accompany him to a brand new work web site 40 minutes away to assist with a venture. I agreed, however reminded him that I received off work at 5 and needed to go to an appointment instantly afterwards, so I would wish to depart in time to get again. He promised that we’d be accomplished with time to spare. He additionally urged that we carpool in his automobile to avoid wasting fuel, which on reflection I shouldn’t have agreed to.

After we had been engaged on the venture on the new location for a bit, Dave instructed me that he needed to mail one thing on the put up workplace, and I might keep on the web site and work whereas he ran the errand. He was insistent that it will solely be a couple of minutes, and that we might be again nicely earlier than my appointment. Feeling like I didn’t actually have a alternative, I agreed. You’ll be able to most likely think about what occurred.

It was approaching the time we have been supposed to depart and drive again, however there was no signal of him. I referred to as him and texted him just a few occasions with no response. I spent some time panicking as a result of I used to be alone on the web site, 40 minutes away from the workplace, with no automobile. I used to be contemplating requesting a $120 Lyft when he lastly arrived, AT THE TIME I WAS SUPPOSED TO BE IN MY MEETING. He didn’t point out my calls and texts, or the truth that we have been speculated to be in a special metropolis by now. I do know I ought to have introduced it up within the second, however I used to be so flabbergasted that I simply sat there fuming in silence.

How can I carry this up with him?

What’s Dave doing throughout all these disappearances? Is he taking DoorDash jobs on the aspect? Secretly combating crime? Does he have an entire different in-person job with its personal workplace that he’s juggling alongside yours? Does he have a dysfunction the place he loses time and doesn’t notice he’s been away for hours? Is he falling by a wormhole?

I must know. I want you may do the tracker, or simply comply with him at some point. (Don’t do this, except you’re writing to me from inside a film, wherein case it’s the plain subsequent step.)

As for what you are able to do — as tempting because it is perhaps to deal with the place Dave goes when he disappears, once you speak to him preserve the deal with the affect on you and what you could get your work accomplished. So, some issues you may say:

 “I regularly can’t attain you once I want knowledge like X and Y, which implies that I can’t transfer ahead on tasks and we’re lacking deadlines or having to scramble on the final minute. Would you be keen to authorize me or another person on the workforce to drag that knowledge so issues aren’t held up and I can preserve my work shifting ahead? If I’d been capable of pull it myself final week, we might have been capable of make the deadline that Excessive-Stage Supervisor was upset we missed.”

 “How would you like us to deal with it when a supply arrives that solely you may signal for and we are able to’t discover you? This week I spent near an hour looking for another person who might signal, so I wish to have a greater system for once you’re not accessible.”

 “Is there a greater strategy to attain you once you’re out of the workplace? Typically once you’re out on errands, you’re not answering calls or texts, which causes points like X and Y. What would you like us to do in these conditions the place it’s necessary that we attain you?”

Actually, it’s ridiculous that Dave hasn’t deputized somebody to behave in his absence, and that’s most likely the suggestion with the potential to repay probably the most. You’ll be able to’t make him be current or accessible, however you and your coworkers might push exhausting for him to delegate authority to another person when he’s gone in order that work can preserve shifting ahead.

If he resists that, an alternative choice is to speak to somebody higher-up who would possibly care that is taking place in the event that they have been conscious of it. A method to do this is to easily search out that particular person for assist when you may’t attain Dave — framing it as “we are able to’t discover Dave, he hasn’t responded to messages for the final three hours, and we urgently want X — are you able to assist?” For those who do this just a few occasions, the particular person is more likely to notice one thing’s off in Dave’s area.

(And clearly, by no means get in his automobile once more or subsequent time chances are you’ll find yourself stranded someplace for days. If he asks you to, be easy about you gained’t! Dave wants to listen to, “I must have my very own automobile with me as a result of final time we carpooled, you weren’t again in time and I missed an necessary appointment.”)

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