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Do Supervisors Have Inherent, Unspoken Privileges?

Waiting in line for delightful frozen yogurt the other day, I witnessed an interesting interaction between what was obviously two employees and their supervisor. The two employees were directly behind me and their more powerful colleague approached them from her spot at the back of the line. Find out what happened when you


She demanded from the two women, "Shouldn't you be working?" To which one of them responded, "We're just getting a snack." The accuser answered, after noticing a bag in her subordinate's hand, "And you've been shopping?" To which the accused defended herself, "It's Erin's going away present." There was no joking around going on here — the woman had a definite hands-on-hips, give-me-answers-now attitude.

The whole thing made me uncomfortable for the two employees; if their taking a break was truly an issue of concern, the supervisor could have waited until later to discuss it with them. It got me thinking, though, because obviously the supervisor was taking a break away from the office, too.

Those in positions above other employees have more power when it comes to work related decision making, but does that mean they should be held to a different set of rules altogether? Have you had experiences with supervisors that scrutinize your every move but act oppositely themselves?


Join The Conversation
KawaiiAyu KawaiiAyu 9 years
Our manager will constantly give you an evil eye and cold shoulder and snotty attitude if you were a minute late in the morning or a minute late back from lunch. But if she's ten minutes later or took an hour and half for lunch she just laughs it off with us like its no big deal. Um excuse me? Yeah, she's really childish like that. Sometimes you can't help running late in the morning, so I don't think it should be that dramatic if you're two minutes late (and I'm not exagerating, two minutes realy will piss her off), if you're 10 minutes without a phone call, yes, but two? come ON.
chatondeneige chatondeneige 9 years
Do they have inherent unspoken privileges? HELL YES. When I supervised at a restaurant, I took first break at 2 - I'd been there since 8:30 without a break for a drink or a bite to eat. The waitress who'd been there the longest had been there since 10. Plus the morning shift girls would be off by 4 at the very latest, when the evening shift started coming in... and I'd be there til 5, at least. So hell yes supervisors need unspoken privileges. Should it extend to criticizing employees publicly? No, I don't think so. I feel like the question posed by the title and the situation explained in the the text are very different things...
carhornsinapril carhornsinapril 9 years
this makes me so glad that i've worked for sane people!
Jude-C Jude-C 9 years
Mine did the same things, dcfashionista :irk: He also asks me, accusingly, where I've been, if I've had to leave the office for 2 minutes to use the restroom. :rant:
dcfashionista dcfashionista 9 years
Yes, I have been in this situation. My former supervisor put a tracker on her computer to track my internet usage but whenever I went into her office she LIVED on the internet. She took off whenever she felt like it and told me that I could not take off because I was needed. I eventually quit that job because it became too stressful.
AtlantaNoleGirl AtlantaNoleGirl 9 years
I used to work for a small company where the 2 top people (one of whom was my direct boss) were married. They kept trying to implement rules to help organize and grow the business, but they would break every rule themselves. It turn, no one really followed any of the rules. It was a mess!
Jude-C Jude-C 9 years
Ugh. That would really irritate me.
Taadie Taadie 9 years
She was just trying to flex her 'muscles' in public and embarass them. That unprofessional and there was no reason for it. I agree with syako, that one sentence could have handled it all.
lovelie lovelie 9 years
Yea I'm going to have to agree with syako. I think that the way the supervisor handled this was unprofessional and tacky. No matter what the circumstances. There is a time and place for everything, and in the middle of a foodline is inappropriate.
syako syako 9 years
darkangel, even if these women were in the wrong, the supervisor should have waited until she was in a private setting to bring these concerns up with them. All that needed to be said was "ladies, when you get back in the office, can you come see me? Thanks."
ehadams ehadams 9 years
That is pretty bad. I wonder if the supervisor knows that in CA you have to give your employees a break of at least 10 mins for every 4 hours of work.
darkangel2305 darkangel2305 9 years
Really this is a bad example. What if those girls have a habit of running off, or are bad employees, or have been told before not to take breaks outside the office? Whatever the case... We don't really know what are the details here. I have seen employees behave in ways that if I had been their boss I would have fired them on the STOP... :shrug:
Le-Luxe Le-Luxe 9 years
I would have told her to buzz off. Psycho.
silversnowflake silversnowflake 9 years
I intend to run my own business and I would never stand for that sort of thing. Yes, the higher up you are on the totem pole the more 'benefits' you have; but that doesn't give you the right to behave like the supervisor did in this situation. A matter like that should be handled on the job site and only on the job site. If I got wind of one of my supervisors doing such a thing I would reprimand the employee's and either give the supervisor a serious warning or if need be fire her for her lack of good discretion.
angel0950 angel0950 9 years
YES! and to top it off he wasnt even my supervisor but just a sick lonely punk who had nothing to do but watch my every move! thank goodness i left. it definitely depends on the situation as well as the people involved. i absolutely hate being micro-managed because i'm usually on top of my things. breaks are a necessity and what you do with those breaks are your own personal business as long as it doesnt interfere with work. i agree with lovely_1 as that was quite unprofessional!
Lovely_1 Lovely_1 9 years
Not only do I think this is WAY overboard...I think it's unprofessional that the supervisor dealt with these two women in a FOOD LINE-UP! I think she should have known to be more professional and dealt with them individually in her office one-on-one if there was really any issue here.
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