Working with a Jerk

Jerk1Jenny is excited about her new job with an insurance company.  She isn’t excited about insurance, of course; no one is. She’s excited about being employed again. None of her previous jobs had lasted very long as her employers were acquired or downsized.

Jenny’s new boss, Dan, assigns her to work with a more experienced co-worker, Alan. Since Alan didn’t join them, Jenny trots down the hall to his office to introduce herself. Alan’s office is a mess with files stacked haphazardly on the desk and floor. It looks like a fire marshal’s exhibit of a fire hazard.

Jerk2Jenny says that Dan has asked her to work with Alan while she is in training. She asks how she can help him with some of the claims he is working on. Alan flips through several folders on his messy desk and says he’ll get back to her.

After a week of stalling, Alan agrees to take Jenny along to a meeting with an insured that has filed a claim. The insured company’s office is on the other side of town. During the meeting, Alan tells Jenny to wait while he goes down the hall to look at some sensitive documents. Jenny waits in the conference room talking to a representative of the insured.

Finally, she asks whether Alan has finished his review of the sensitive documents. She learns that he left twenty minutes ago. Jenny is stranded at the insured’s office late in the day as rush hour begins. She calls a cab to take her back to her office where she parked her car.

The next day Jenny tells Dan that she would like to work with a different co-worker. She doesn’t tell Dan all the details of the prior day’s meeting but says that the current arrangement isn’t working. Dan calls Alan to his office and asks how things are going with Jenny’s training. Alan acts surprised and says he thinks it’s going well.

What should Jenny do next?

  1. She can tell Dan what really happened but she’s the new kid on the block and there’s no guarantee he’d believe her.
  2. She can complain to the HR representative who is 800 miles away at the company HQ and has a history of deferring to local managers.
  3. She can bide her time learning as much as possible so that she can find a better job with nicer co-workers.

In the actual situation, “Jenny” chose the third option. She learned new skills that increased her marketability and eventually moved to a new employer with nicer co-workers.

If your company is struggling with HR issues, Corporate Compliance Risk Advisor can help you create HR policies that are appropriate for your company’s size and then serve as a resource to your staff as the policies are implemented.


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