A Pit on behalf of my cousin and bad companies to work for

My cousin, and best friend has worked as an office manager for decades (more difficult than you think, It’s not just ordering supplies). She got a job at a tax preparation company. As an office manager.

She really doesn’t know anymore than most of us do about tax codes. Or didn’t. The office manager job turned into tax preparation and filing for multi-million dollar accounts/clients. She learned a lot in a very short period. I guess that’s good to know that stuff. So she learned a LOT.

During tax season (which is kinda all year, with extensions and all) she was working 70 hr weeks.

She was making $19 an hour. Nineteen. Dollars. An. Hour. Handling million dollar accounts.

She finally said ‘Fuck it’ and left. The boss had true tears in his eyes and said she is welcome back at any time.

She discovered that they are hiring 2 full time, and one part time person to replace her. They want her to train them. Gratis. No money. Just come back and train them.

Seriously, are you kidding?

I told my cousin to maybe consider it if they offer you $150 an hour (It would be contract work). Make it for a month, no more, get a contract, or you will get dragged back in.

As I said, we are best friends. I do my mothers taxes. But she died a month ago. So, taxes will be a little different. My cousin will help with that of course. It should be easy really, but I would like someone to watch over my shoulder as it where. No problem there. We’ll have a beer and get it done. Easy peasy.

It’s been a rough couple of months.

Similar happened to me years ago. 10% raise? No can do. Just can’t do that. So I found another job. They had to pay my replacement 30% more because nobody would work for what I was getting. Plus, I was looking after 30 networked computers and printers off the side of my desk, so they had to hire an IT person at 1.5 times my old salary. So instead of a 10% raise, they got to pay 130%.

And I don’t think they ever actually “got it”.

That this is is an accounting firm with CPA’s is kinda scary. Ummm… 1+1 is What?

At least they didn’t ask me to train my replacement(s). I know what my answer would have been.

They got the same introduction and training that I received when I started. Diddly. I did leave behind my “networking for dummies” book.

Perhaps my cousin should visit and lay a few ‘Accounting for Dummies’ books around.

Actually, they are a good firm, or she would not have worked for them. But they treat their employees like yesterdays trash. IMHO, with that kind of path, they won’t be a good firm for long.

On the other hand…

I recently had a retention interview (also known as a “stay interview”). They asked questions like “what’s your favorite part of the job?” "“what parts of your job could you do without?” “what can I do to make your job better?”

And finished by listing some things they appreciated about my past work.

I knew what was going on, but I’ve got to tell you, it worked!

And apparently not making any real fuss about this. So her (possibly quite-busy-with-many-other-things) manager was plausibly assuming she was more or less content with this inadequate salary.

Lots of good employees do this (fail to bring up a salary issue until they’ve reached a breaking point). Lots of otherwise competent managers fail to see this tolerably obvious problem looming.

FWIW, 70hr/wk at $19.00 and assuming 1.5x works out to $1615/wk. They can pay two people each $20/hr and as long as they each max out at 40 hours, it’ll cost the company about the same. (Yes, plus the part time person, though it wouldn’t surprise me if that person was only there through April).

Regardless, I agree with your strategy. Assuming she’d be okay helping train the new people, she should offer to be hired as a consultant with the terms laid out ahead of time.

Do you actually know that? It might be the case, but I don’t think the OP mentioned anything about it.

Oh she made a fuss about her wage, and also the ridiculous amount of hours. She needs to be able to have, you know, a life. She felt guilty to leave because the clients that she had loved her.

Please do not make such assumptions. That does not work with me or this board.

They want what! Fuck em.

Yeah this. With extra 20% fuck you surcharge for asking her to do it for free.

The thing that occurred to me is, seeing as she is clearly good at this, I would think (hope?) that actual tax preparers get paid a lot more than $19 an hour. If she is actually interested in this kind of work, could she actually parley this into being a tax preparer? I guess the complication is non super sketchy awful companies might require actual qualifications to do the job? If should does end up going back could she get it (in writing) that they’ll pay (and give her time off) to do whatever certification is required?

My mother was the office manager for the construction side of a world renowned golf course design firm and during the fifteen years she worked there she handled everything, payroll, accounting, the lot–and transitioned the company from paper spreadsheets to a computerized accounting system. When she left (to join up with my stepdad to handle the paperwork side of his company) they paid her a lump sum equivalent to six month’s wages for her to be on call to answer any questions regarding the accounting system–this was back in the day when the newfangled computer systems were nowhere near as turnkey as they are now and she’d done a shit ton of work to customize the software for the business. Far as I know they never needed to call her beyond the first few weeks after she left that company but they considered it worth the money to secure a foothold on her institutional knowledge and it’s not out of line to expect your cousin’s former employers to respect her time and pay her properly to train a replacement. $150/hr as a consultant is in no way out of line for that and she should NOT give them anything without a signed contract on the table, one that spells out exactly how many hours she’s willing to spend on the project and over how long a time. Oh, and they should pay her health insurance as well–since she can’t get another full time job so long as this mess hangs around. If they hire with as much acumen as they’ve displayed in their retention efforts she could be training multiple sequential hires who aren’t gonna put up with the bullshit for dick pay for years and years.

My youngest son worked at Menard’s (a Midwest DIY chain) for 17 years. The owner is a dick, and even after that many years he was still having to do shift work, even as an assistant manager. He became depressed and not very nice to be around. He finally quit and took a lower paying job at an insurance company. Not the best situation, but still better than that hell-hole, and he’s a happier person.

The alternative is that she was asking for better compensation, and being ignored - a clear message that it’s time to start looking for another job where her skills are properly appreciated.

Which fits with…

So I wonder why you assumed otherwise. :confused:

Tandy, aka ‘Radio Shack’ was a very bad company to work for, Just sayin’.

Because waiting until you’re disgusted with the situation and your salary is 30% of what your increasing skill should command doesn’t look like the best plan.

This is only tangentially related to the OP, but I’m reminded of my mother’s retirement.

After 40 years with the State of Illinois, she retired on a Friday. However, they wanted her to train her replacement, and then stay on for a few more weeks because of (something). She was brought back as an independent contractor (the very next Monday, no less), plus she earned some bonus or something for some reason. Long story short, she made about three times as much money with the State after she retired than she did when she worked for them.

This is somewhat misleading, and the nature of getting paid for contract work. While your mother was working, the employer was paying into Social Security/Medicare, probably a Pension, and health benefits, etc. So, what looks to the outside like a lot more pay for contractors, is closer to the total amount that it cost the employer. Whereas the contractor is now responsible for paying their own way on those items.

Mom took the family on a cruise with the money though. So there’s that. :smiley: