Wednesday 3 December 2008

Moonlighting - sheer betrayal

18 months is a long time to be shackled in charity HR bureaucracy.

Endless 121s, consultation meetings, capability procedures and finally disciplinary procedures. All in an attempt to ascertain why a previously satisfactory, if a little dull, manager had suddenly unplugged from the grid.

Even his team weren't sure what he was doing - working three days from home and only two in the office left plenty of room for speculation.

The best explanation I could come up with was that his wife must have some form of mental illness.

But no amount of guesswork could prepare me for the shocking discovery that he and his not-ill wife had set up an ad agency from home ... highlighting its 'ethical' credentials.

But moonlighting is hard to spot unless you micromanage - especially if, as in this case, the individual does just enough to avoid dismissal. There were so many other competing priorities that I never had long enough to focus on this issue in enough detail. If I had, I might have spotted the inconsistencies, and may have saved his team twelve months of frustration.

Sadly, one thing's now sure. His betrayal of his team means my starting point is "no" if someone asks for flexible working.


Kimberley MacKenzie said...

As someone who negotiates fex time in order to balance a long commute, children and a job as Executive Director this is a tragic, tragic development. I hope the next time you say yes provides you with extraordinary results. Glad to discover your blog. Thanks Mark!

Matt Parkes said...

Hi Kimberley!

Thanks for your comment. I know; flexible working arrangements are a really positive development. In truth, I am very open to it, but I think what I mean is that I'll be a bit wiser next time! A team member will need to prove themselves first ... and I'll do a bit of background investigation too!


Kimberley MacKenzie said...

Yes be less naive, absolutely. Rather then number of hours, I work on deliverables. This frees me up for volunteer work, recitals at school, dentist appointments, naps etc. I am much happier this way and still work bloody hard. I think it is working out. It goes both ways though and without good management those arrangements are very easy to take advantage of!

One of my staff worked at home a few weeks ago. I have to sign timesheets and I sort of commented on the fact she worked two full days at home when she was sick - how amazing, I could never to that (then signed it). She confessed later to owing me a day! So there you go.... k