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Do I have a crazy employer?

  1. Dec 30, 2008 #1
    I worked for him for 4 months during summers and will be working for this term too as a programmer. He always little demanding but I guess all employer are like that. He has my msn and he doesn't clearly define my working hours and msn anytime even late at night (1 AM once.. 10-11 PM often even when I work over +8 sometimes that day but never get paid for additional hours)...

    I worked good last term and he rehired me. For this term, I needed a mac for programming and he looks pretty insincere in my opinion as following conversation suggests and pretends as if he is doing me a favor giving me a job:

    I am really confused about how to approach this situation but it's getting very frustrating. I am a beginner, so I guess I don't have enough say ...
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 30, 2008 #2
    I once worked for a guy and found myself in a similar situation. I was a senior in college and this guy hired me to help him build lasers and make a library for spectroscopy applications. One day, I told him i needed parts (transistors and such) and he kept stalling me, as if he expected me to just supply my own parts. Eventually his behavior became very erratic and i came to the conclusion that he was a bit eccentric. urgent Email correspondence at 3 am and short notice project were just unreasonable to me. He stopped shaving and started to never leave his lab. It was like watching a man's slow decent into insanity. I quit.

    Your boss may not be crazy, but i would probably start watching for signs.
  4. Dec 30, 2008 #3


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    I entered into a contractor/subcontractor agreement writing application programs in dBase III+, and compiling them with Foxbase (eventually). I was making the guy tons of money with billable hours, and I ended up having to chase him via phone, etc to get paid. He was a charismatic guy and he at least pretended to be a Christian (his brother was an evangelical minister in my town), but he was a con-man through and through. He gave lots of tough programming jobs to his cousin, then farmed them off onto me when his cousin screwed them up. Needless to say, customers were NOT happy being charged for my quick and reasonable wages making their programs AND the wasted hours his idiot cousin charged against them before I took over his projects.
  5. Dec 30, 2008 #4


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    A lot of these issues sound like miscommunications between employer and employee.

    First of all when you agree to work for someone, you need to make sure of what you're agreeing to - the hours expected and what work you will be paid for, for example. It's best to get this in writing.

    Many professors who hire undergraduate students will likely expect them to put in long hours, similar to graduate students. This is the nature of research. But again, this goes back to the first point - be sure of what you're agreeing to before you make a committment. Being contacted at at 1 am, seems unreasonable to me - but there are some cases (eg. experimental or clinical work) where this kind of thing is necessary.

    If you have a disagreement with your employer, be sure to approach him or her in a professional manner. Be sure to explain the issue and document any steps you take to solve it.

    Also note that posting MSN conversations on a public forum is generally not a constructive means of resolving a conflict.
  6. Dec 30, 2008 #5
    Yes, I think this is a good advice. But currently, I am just a beginner and new to the job market so I never disagreed with employer hoping that he would act fair and rational.

    Sorry about that. I used pronouns and selected only few lines for anonymity. Also, I am not even sure that there is a conflict that needs to be resolved because I don't know if I am thinking from the right perspective. My employer's definitely bit eccentric but I don't know if this happens everywhere.

    Thanks everyone for the replies :).
  7. Dec 30, 2008 #6


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    Are you salaried or hourly?

    Salaried employees have a little more expected of them in terms of availability. They do this in exchange for a steady work sitch and a consistent pay cheque.
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2008
  8. Dec 30, 2008 #7
    You're being treated like garbage. I was too, years ago. I didn't realize it then, much like you don't realize it now.

    Maybe there's a silver lining; maybe it builds character or something. You and I can hope.
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