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#208301 - 10/10/10 08:41 PM Need advice...help!
katebcca Offline
Member

Registered: 07/09/05
Posts: 631
Loc: Victoria BC Canada
I work for a magazine. I have done for over 12 years. My company is not the best, they have never even sent me a Christmas card never mind showing any appreciation. Just some background.

Problem. I sell the ads. In the past month I have had so many cancellations that the next magazine may not go to print as the revenue is down so low. I have not been able to increase the revenue with new accounts as all I get is NO's. It is no surprise that many niche magazines are closing their doors, with the economy, internet, IPAD etc. It continues to be tough in the magazine world.

Anyway, I was asked three years ago to work from home. I get a very small amount to cover the phone, internet etc.
As sales are so bad my boss emailed me to tell me he is coming over to my home this coming week to meet with me.
Before he sent this email, he asked for a script of what I say to people. He also asked me to call a potential client that he said he does not know. I think he did this as this guy was a contact of his and he wanted to find out how I sounded over the phone. It is clear by the things that he is doing that he feels I am the problem, not the economy.

Here's the question: Why does he want to meet at my home. He has never been here before. We always go out for lunch to have a meeting, or I go to his office, or we meet at a coffee shop. He is in another city 2 hours away so it appears he is coming over to see me. I feel upset around this. I don't go to his home. I don't want him to come here and invade my personal space. My office is in my bedroom. Only we will be here alone in the house. I am not concerned that he will come on to me or anything like that. It's just I don't feel like meeting him here.
I want to say to him "Look, I would prefer to meet as we usually do at a coffee shop" but, I have not done so yet.

What would you do?

I hang on to this job as it allows me to work from home so I can do other jobs too. I make more this way than working outside the home at just one job. Also there are perks, medical dental, 80% paid. But, I do not like my company as they are not good to their employees and I feel they are looking to get rid of me. Maybe I'm paranoid?

Comments please!!!

thanks,
Kate

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#208317 - 10/10/10 09:41 PM Re: Need advice...help! [Re: katebcca]
orchid Offline


Registered: 01/21/07
Posts: 3634
Loc: British Columbia, Canada
If he is a good entrepreneur, he would tell you up front that your services are no longer needed and give you several weeks advance notice. It makes no sense from a business owner's perspective to create elaborate schemes to turf you out by snooping around you, etc.

He sounds business-wise, desperate. Yes, the hard copy publishing world is hurting all over the place. Since I am a librarian, I am aware of publishing firm corporate mergers in this area since it affects vendor relations, contracts with people in the library world who manage content acquisition budgets.

Why not stick to having coffee with him as usual not far from home? It's your home, not his.

By the way, my partner owns a business with 2 other business partners. He has never met in the homes nor requested such of his 2 other partners. He has only invited 1 biz partner ONCE into our home for a meeting. I know, because I was around at home myself part way during their meeting. In our building we having meeting room space for residents in common facilities floor, where he does have business meetings.

I would suggest that you ask him what his biz strategy is for next months. You need to seriously think the possibility that you might be laid off because his biz is suffering.

It's tough. I know. I've been job searching for last 18 months (meanwhile helping out my partner with his company blog for free.)
_________________________
http://cyclewriteblog.wordpress.com/ (How cycling leads to other types of adventures, thoughts)
http://velourbansism.wordpress.com
http://thirdwavecyclingblog.wordpress.com/

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#208323 - 10/10/10 11:15 PM Re: Need advice...help! [Re: orchid]
katebcca Offline
Member

Registered: 07/09/05
Posts: 631
Loc: Victoria BC Canada
Thanks Orchid, I was just wondering if this was normal business procedure and found it strange that he wanted to meet me at my home. He is in Vancouver and I am on the island. We just had an intense meeting in August for the entire company where we all discussed the growth of our magazines in great detail. I was there for a full day and had a private meeting with him then in his office as other's did.

Now just a couple months later he wants to meet me on my own, at my home?

I do know he has stayed over at another employee's home here on the island but they have worked together for years and work on the same magazine. She is married and her husband often helps out at trade shows etc. My situation is a little different in that my magazine was bought out by his company and we have only met a handful of times, always at the office, or at a restaurant. We don't have the same kind of close relationship as his other employee does.

So, I question his motives and would like to meet on more neutral ground.

His exact words were, "I'm coming over this week to meet with you and I want to meet at your place as there is no where else to go".

If he was more honest with me I would not feel this way. His comment that there is no where else to go is a front as there clearly is lots of places to go. I can even meet him up at the ferry so he doesn't have to drive into town. He is being cagey and I don't like it. Hence my finding his request weird and unsettling.

Kate

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#208325 - 10/11/10 12:11 AM Re: Need advice...help! [Re: katebcca]
Anne Holmes Administrator Online   content
Boomer in Chief

Registered: 03/11/10
Posts: 2685
Loc: Illinois
Hi Kate,

I understand your unease. Steve and I work from home and have done so for about 10 years now, but we are set up so that we have offices that are in a separate part of the house from the living area, and when sales reps, clients or employees come over, we meet with them in the "office" part of the house.

If we choose to meet over a meal, we do it at a restaurant.

The only time I ever go to an employee's home it is to drop off material they need to work, which was sent to my office. And just as frequently, my staff comes here to pick this stuff up. When I do make these trips, I don't go into their homes, I meet them in their lobbies, or just knock on their doors and hand stuff over. I never "invade their space."

We USED to have a 3,000 square foot office, but after 9/11 we found ourselves in a position where the only way we could stay in business was to give each employee office equipment and send them home. So I can also empathize with your story of how the employees at your company got "sent home" three years ago.

I am guessing, as it sounds like Orchid was, that he wants to be very private in whatever he has to say, but I also agree with her that you should counter that you want to meet outside of your home, as you have in the past.

If he wants some place more private than the coffee shop, perhaps you can meet in the lobby of a public building, or rent the conference room of one of those office buildings where people rent an office and share use of the conference room.

Of course, your boss may not know that your office is in your bedroom.

I also suspect that if, as you say, the company may not be able to publish their next issue, he does want to talk to you about the future. Certainly that is what would be on my mind in a similar situation.

Good luck and god bless!

anne
_________________________
Boomer in Chief of Boomer Women Speak and the National Association of Baby Boomer Women.
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www.boomerwomenspeak.com
www.boomerlifestyle.com
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#208326 - 10/11/10 12:25 AM Re: Need advice...help! [Re: Anne Holmes]
katebcca Offline
Member

Registered: 07/09/05
Posts: 631
Loc: Victoria BC Canada
I have the office in my bedroom out of necessity. I used to have it in the dining room but the kids would come home after school usually with friends and were noisy, a distraction etc. Also due to decreased revenue. I rent out my spare room to an international student so my bedroom is it as I can shut the door. I don't think my boss is aware of where my office is.

My concern is that he is not being too clear. He definitely has an agenda as we just had the "talk about the future" meeting. There is really no more to say, we covered all areas in a full day of meetings in late August.

So, he is putting me on the defensive, or I am becoming defensive as he is not being clear about what we are going to talk about. His excuse that there is no where to go is very transparent. That is what I don't like about this meeting of his, that he is not being upfront with me.

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#208406 - 10/13/10 03:30 PM Re: Need advice...help! [Re: katebcca]
Anne Holmes Administrator Online   content
Boomer in Chief

Registered: 03/11/10
Posts: 2685
Loc: Illinois
Hi Kate,

Is there any chance you can ask your boss for an agenda for the meeting so that you can be prepared in advance to discuss whatever it is that he wants to address?

You might tell him that you know finances are challenging right now, and then ally yourself with him, so to speak, by saying that you're anticipating that he wants the meeting so that the two of you can brainstorm ways to bring in money...

After all, since you are doing ad sales, and you know that your successful sales efforts are what cover the production costs, you are in the unique position of being able to solve all of his financial problems, if you can just find a way to bring in some significant money.


If yours is a small publishing company, as it sounds like it might be, why not try to think of how you can act like a partner, rather than an employee...

If you can get yourself in a position to be an asset to the firm rather than a liability, the boss will not want to let you go. So for example, if you could come up with some marketing idea that involves benefiting a non-profit, while at the same time generating funds to allow for publication, you become not only the hero of the day, but also indispensible to your boss...

I'm not aware enough of all of your details to be able to offer more details, but as the owner of a small business for the past upteen years, I'm pretty sure this sort of employee attitude is what gain you long term job security in my organization.
_________________________
Boomer in Chief of Boomer Women Speak and the National Association of Baby Boomer Women.
www.nabbw.com
www.boomerwomenspeak.com
www.boomerlifestyle.com
www.boomerco.com

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#208409 - 10/13/10 04:46 PM Re: Need advice...help! [Re: Anne Holmes]
katebcca Offline
Member

Registered: 07/09/05
Posts: 631
Loc: Victoria BC Canada
Thanks Anne,
Lots of good ideas here. Because sales are so slow I'm feeling insecure in many ways.
I have done some major soul searching over the past few days and am wondering if I have just lost it for this job. Have I given it 100%. In all honesty I have not, but, calling people and getting nothing but No's, or no budget is frustrating.

I have been complaining about my job for three years. Had a light bulb moment today when I realized the major reason for my unhappiness, I have worked on my own at home for the past 3 years. I am alone, all day. There is only me to motivate myself and in this economy I am not doing a good job of it. My company is not great to it's employee's but, I work on commission, so it is me that motivates myself to make money, them aside.

I have never been 100% happy at this job but it was much more satisfying when there were others around, when I worked outside in an office. My kids are almost grown, don't need me accept for drives, money, etc. I feel all used up.

I have started to apply for jobs where I can be around people. I am by myself all day, weekends my kids are out and I am home alone. I need to reinvent myself.

I think I finally see that it is not my job that is making me unhappy, although it is affected. It is my lifestyle, and I need to change it quickly before I shrivel up.

Thank you again,
Kate

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#208410 - 10/13/10 04:49 PM Re: Need advice...help! [Re: Anne Holmes]
katebcca Offline
Member

Registered: 07/09/05
Posts: 631
Loc: Victoria BC Canada
Thanks Anne,
Lots of good ideas here. Because sales are so slow I'm feeling insecure in many ways.
I have done some major soul searching over the past few days and am wondering if I have just lost it for this job. Have I given it 100%. In all honesty I have not, but, calling people and getting nothing

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#208431 - 10/14/10 02:03 PM Re: Need advice...help! [Re: katebcca]
orchid Offline


Registered: 01/21/07
Posts: 3634
Loc: British Columbia, Canada
Anne has given good thoughtful advice (ie. agenda for meeting with your boss, etc.)

It's good that Kate, to understand oneself more and more over time, what work environments make us thrive better.

Keep us posted!
_________________________
http://cyclewriteblog.wordpress.com/ (How cycling leads to other types of adventures, thoughts)
http://velourbansism.wordpress.com
http://thirdwavecyclingblog.wordpress.com/

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#208440 - 10/14/10 11:36 PM Re: Need advice...help! [Re: orchid]
katebcca Offline
Member

Registered: 07/09/05
Posts: 631
Loc: Victoria BC Canada
OOPs! sent it before finished looks like, wondered where that message went.

My insecurity got the best of me. The meeting was a brainstorming session to see what we can come up with to save the publication. I was assured that I was not the only sales person in crisis mode.

I have to call on all the advertisers that cancelled to see why they did. Was it too expensive, is it the editorial direction?
We have changed the magazine over the years.

When I have the answers to these questions I can then move forward and try to save it. If the rates are too high, I have permission to charge less. We can always increase rates when things get better, or this may be the new reality.

Anyway, I feel much better now. I tend to look on the down side when feeling insecure. It did not help that it's also that time of the month. My anxiety goes up. When will I finish with this. I am 54 next month and continue to get the curse. It seems to get worse every month.

I did talk to my boss about my not liking working from home. He told me to get up earlier and end my day earlier and then go do something fun. Good advice :-)

Kate

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