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Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Beware the Boss - What IS he like????????

I am horrified to see I last did something with this page on 10 May 2010 - that's almost 2 years ago.

I'd like to say that life has been very quiet since then but sadly that's not the case.

It is true that about 3 weeks after my last blog I started a new job with a dive centre in Hurghada which kept me VERY busy. The dive centre was more interested in profit than diver wellbeing (though I didn't see it quite like that at the time - what a wonderful thing is hindsight) and it was not unusual for me to have to dive 6 or 7 times a day and get home too exhausted to do very much at all.

So, with almost no social life, you may wonder why I'm not rich. What about all the money I must have saved???? Fact is, the job wasn't very well paid. It's one of the lowest paying dive centres in the whole of Hurghada and the boss/owner takes it upon himself to constantly change conditions and rules without any prior notice.

Here is an example. When I first started working there I would stay until the office closed even though my students (I'm an instructor) and all the other guests had gone back to their hotels. I was quickly told there was no need for me to stay - that once my students had gone I could also go home. Of course, this wouldn't be on the staff bus but the normal bus from work to my home was easy to catch and didn't cost much. So this is what I did. Then, about a year later on a quiet day workwise my boss saw me leaving at around 4pm. He made a sign to me which I took to be a wave and I waved back. Then, a few minutes later after I was already on the bus, I had a call from the centre manager to ask where I was and hadn't I seen the boss at all. I replied I was on the bus and yes, I had seen the boss and we had waved to each other. The next day the boss spoke to me to explain he had not waved at me. The movement of his hand had been meant to tell me to come back to the dive centre; that as of yesterday everyone has to stay until the office closes at 5.30pm.

OK, I can live with this. However, about a week later things changed again also without notice. It was just after 5.30pm. The staff bus was waiting and everything was being locked up. Suddenly the boss stops all activity and tells us the new closing time - as of right this minute - is 6pm. Never mine how the staff felt, the driver of the staff bus was absolutely furious as he would now be half an hour late for his next contract job!!!!!

Sadly this was normal behaviour for my boss.

He would do the same with salaries; changing the salary downwards on pay day for the previous month so you never really knew you would get what you were owed. I haven't worked for him for 6 months now and there's still a lot of money outstanding from him owed to me that I realise I will never get. Here's what I wrote publicly on Facebook about him which rendered some very helpful expressions all of which were, amazingly, polite:

"NOTE - THIS NOTE IS ABOUT MY OLD BOSS IN HURGHADA - NOT MY NEW BOSS IN EL QUSEIR. Since I moved to El Quseir I am well treated and respected, properly paid and have reasonable time off. However, I was disappointed this (originally a note) does not appear on my Timeline to shame my old boss so here it is now - it was originally written on 31 July 2011. The result of these events was that I was talked back into working for him with a promise of receiving my full commission within "4 or 5 days". That didn't happen so I looked elsewhere. In the end I gave him short notice (only 3 days) that I would leave via the centre manager as my boss didn't answer my phone calls. Eventually, the day after I left and collected my equipment he had the centre manager call me and summon me to a meeting. I was not available at the time stated but did go at a time to suit me. At this meeting I told him everything I've written below as my reason for wanting to leave - he was very angry, said he was hurt because he sees himself as having been somewhat a "father figure" to me!!!!!! iI got quite a lecture from him. Anyway, he DID give me the outstanding commission and told both the Manager and the Administrator (who were both in on the meeting) to make sure they paid me for the 9 days I'd worked in August at the end of the month. However, even today I have not been able to collect this money. First I had to play telephone tag between the 3 of them, then my boss kept backtracking and saying things like "when you leave at short notice you expect to take some losses". Hmmmmm - what about all the last minute changes to our employment conditions without consultation and the fact you don't give anyone a contract of employment????????? So, I've given up asking for the outstanding money. HOPE HE'S HAPPY NOW. Here's the original text from 31 July 2011:-
"I need your help!!! I am trying to find the right word to describe my boss and need some ideas please. I came home angry, upset and confused so my brain is not working well. Here's the reason why. I started work for him in June last year with an agreement I should get salary and commission. It has always been a problem getting paid - mostly the salary was paid on time but the commission was another matter. When I needed money for a vacation last November I had to pester and pester to get enough to pay for my booking but still didn't get all my outstanding commission. Then in November with no consultation we are told there will be no more commission in December, January or February. However, I was still owed money. Again I pestered and pestered and pestered until eventually in January I did get about half of what I was owed. Trying to get the other half was like trying to get blood from a stone and I still don't have it till this day. Then, we had the revolution here in Egypt. Hotels closed, flights were cancelled and the industry died. January's pay was eventually paid in March through no fault of my boss. However, any days we had worked in early February were NOT paid and, we are told, will not be paid because my boss claims he told everyone not to come to work after 31 January. Not sure who he told but certainly not me or the other people working with me the first 8 days of February nor the guests whose money he had taken for courses that I was conducting. So, we were back to work in March but business was very slow and pay was about half what we should normally earn. We were told he hoped to pay us full pay, but without commission, in April but April was also slow so we got more than in March but still not full pay in spite of earlier promises that we would be on full pay this month. Same thing happened in May. Then in June we DID actually get full pay. I asked about commission and was told if I met a certain target in July I would get pay AND commission. I MET AND PASSED THE TARGET!!!!! I was elated. First thing my boss did was try to find ways to say I hadn't met the target such as a course did finish in July but started in June so didn't count in July. Even using this ruse I still exceeded the target - GREAT. Then, here's what made me angry. He admits he did promise the pay and commission and agrees I have passed the target even after the inventive accounting on his part. So, he's suddenly, at the last minute, changed his mind. I can either have my basic salary reduced by 43% and have commission or have my basic salary and no commission. Commission would have been equivalent to 75% of salary this month so this might have seemed like a good idea but I don't trust him not to say once I agree to accept a lower salary that this remains my salary for the future. So, I hope you can see why I'm so upset and angry. I had to accept basic salary and ended up coming home with only 58% of what I was expecting. So, words fail me - help please and come up with a suitable word to describe my boss!!!!!"

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