It’s that time of the week again, and our resident SME agony uncle is back


Boss or Friend – Where to Draw the Line
First up this week is Tommy from Co Longford who has gotten in touch because he is feeling the pressure at work and is worried about how it is beginning to affect him outside of his professional life. Tommy also mentions that his boss, in this occasion is also his friend. For the past three years Tommy has worked in this current role, and is totally stressed out about how to tell his boss/friend.
Bobby's Advice
This is a difficult situation for Tommy, and is something that is very common, with people in all workplaces large or small. It’s not clear from Tommy’s mail how close he is to his boss, or whether he had become friends with his boss over time working with the business. There is definitely a conversation that needs to be had, between Tommy and his boss. What I recommend is to have a chat with someone else in the business - someone he trusts – and have them speak to the boss about sitting down with Tommy and discussing the issue. His boss is clearly unaware of the situation, and rather than Tommy cold calling him unexpectedly, it would be worthwhile taking more of a softer approach, whether through another colleague whom he trusts or tactfully speaking with his boss, perhaps outside of work hours.
Selective Pension Schemes
The next query this week deals with pension plans in the workplace. A person has written in to state that they have been with the same company for a number of years and has noticed that some employees were included in the company pension system, and others were not. This person is wondering if this is fair or allowed.
Bobby's Advice
Unfortunately this is legal, and it is the company’s prerogative to first of all, actually have a pension scheme, and secondly who then has access to the scheme. Traditionally, a pension scheme was a way to reward employees for loyal service to the business. As such, there would often be a split between employees who were on the pension scheme and those who were not. This may be after five years or after ten years of service. If a company doesn’t offer a pension plan, then the company is legally required to give employee’s access to a Personal Retirement Savings Account (PRSA) and would administer this on their behalf.

It is a common misconception that employees are entitled to a pension scheme. There are a lot of determining factors at play, and ultimately it comes down to the discretion of company management whether employees are admitted into a company pension scheme or not.
How Busy is Too Busy? The Key to Time Management
The final query this week again comes in anonymously from an employee who, although they refer to it as their “dream job”, they are feeling completely overwhelmed by the responsibility of the role. The role itself is a cross-geography innovation role with a high profile and a lot of responsibility on a daily basis. This person is finding it very difficult to manage their time affectively and is struggling as they do not have any time for development. They want some expert advice on how to approach management in a compelling way, as so far they appear to be deaf to this person’s concerns.
Bobby’s Advice
This employee is obviously working in a very important role, and is highly regarded by the company. The role of innovation can often be quite specialised and indeed quite demanding, depending on the type of output that is required. My advice to this person would be to first of all break down the role in detail and try and try make some allies on the management team. The key here is showing by way of action rather than with words. The role of innovation is difficult as you need to sell yourself almost as an internal service. I would recommend taking time to put something together to show and demonstrate how important the development aspect of the role is, and how it benefits the company as a whole. As the person mentions, they have expressed their concerns however has fallen on deaf ears. Development is clearly an integral part of the role, so the more this person can demonstrate to management, the better position they will be in. This might take some time and they may need to put some extra hours in at the office, however it would more than likely prove beneficial to both parties, going forward.
If you have a business or SME related query you would like answered - you can get in touch with Bobby each week by simply sending a short mail to [email protected]

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