A reader writes:
I have a staff member who I hired recently, and she’s been out of the workforce for five or so years while she was a stay-at-home parent. I have been conscious of the adjustment for her being back in an office, and overall she’s been quite enthusiastic about working again.
The problem is that she regularly complains about missing her children, and acts quite often as if work is a hardship or an imposition standing in her family’s way.
It feels to me very unprofessional, and especially seems odd to complain about the timing of tasks that are the point of her role. She is the key worker who processes payroll, and the entire office depends on payroll being processed on a fixed and regular timetable in order to get paid. So complaining about how you didn’t really want to come to work and then launching into a long story about your children and how your kids asked you not to come to work because you should be with them, every single time she has to do payroll doesn’t make any sense.
At school holidays, she’ll work the bare minimum and talk often and bitterly about how she’s not with them. She’s not the only one with small children but everyone else seems to enjoy their work or at least realize that work is a necessary part of life.
I’m her manager. Should I tell her that she is coming across very unprofessionally and this makes her look bad, or am I overreacting?
I answer this question over at Inc. today, where I’m revisiting letters that have been buried in the archives here from years ago (and sometimes updating/expanding my answers to them). You can read it here.