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Old 08-18-10, 06:48 AM   #1
trekker pete
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Anti-biking attitude from boss.

I have been commuting for about 3 years. Not nearly as regularly as I should, but that's another story.

I have kept my bike inside, up against the chainlink fence that serves as our shop's wall. It is an industrial environment. There aren't customers wandering around other than the occasional tour.

For a few years everyone was cool with it. The only comments I got was a big thumbs up from coworkers.

Last winter my boss, who used to be a cool guy before he took on the manager spot said my clothes rack, uhhhh, I mean bike looked like $hit. It was winter, so I had quite a bit of clothing draped over it to air out. So, I said, that's cool and cut way back on the amount of stuff on it. I still hang my clean, but damp towel on it to dry and a shirt.

Haven't heard a peep out of anyone about it till yesterday.

The boss man calls me into the office and hands me the dredded "associate discussion" form stating that I have been asked "repeatedly" to not hang crap all over the bike. He also says that the bike is no longer welcome in the building. He says it makes the place look like a locker room and that the building's big, big boss' assistant complained about it. That fat ***** obviously doesn't see the benefit in bike commuting.

bleep her.

I tried to explain that I had been talked to once and was under the impression that the issue was having the bike look like a cycling apparel store, not a neatly hung towel and shirt.


Looks like the old trek is gonna have to spend it's time chained to a light pole in the parking lot. It's not really that big a deal, but, if that thing ever gets stolen out there I am gonna be seriously pissed.

Also, I am gonna speak to our safety manager. Part of her job when she's not nagging about wearing hearing protection is to hang up all sorts of silly PC garbage about being "green" and eating our veggies and such. Basically, she's paid to be mom at work. I will see if she can find some place out of the way to store the bike. There are all sorts of places that are out of site.

As for the rationale that it "looks bad", that is complete BS.

If I was touring the place and saw a bike parked there, my reaction would be, cool, somebody is riding their bike to work. I would think that the majority of people out there would share this take. Maybe I'm wrong.

I am sure there are others who have run into this problem. Have any of you pushed back and tried going over the boss' head?
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Old 08-18-10, 06:56 AM   #2
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Honestly, I think you made some mistakes. When a boss complains about something you don't follow the letter of the law and play semantics games. He told you not to hang stuff on the bike, you did. It doesn't matter if his reason is silly, he's the boss. He gets to decide. Several people might have complained to him and you wouldn't know. The minute he said something, you shouldn't have hung ANYTHING on the bike. It doesn't matter if it was once or repeatedly.
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Old 08-18-10, 07:00 AM   #3
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I suspect that his complaints about the bicycle are just a symptom of a larger problem. It may be time to start looking for another job.
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Old 08-18-10, 07:05 AM   #4
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I suspect that his complaints about the bicycle are just a symptom of a larger problem. It may be time to start looking for another job.
I think is probably right on. Usually when folks bring up small things at work it's being motivated by larger ones.
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Old 08-18-10, 07:24 AM   #5
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Honestly, I think you made some mistakes. When a boss complains about something you don't follow the letter of the law and play semantics games. He told you not to hang stuff on the bike, you did. It doesn't matter if his reason is silly, he's the boss. He gets to decide. Several people might have complained to him and you wouldn't know. The minute he said something, you shouldn't have hung ANYTHING on the bike. It doesn't matter if it was once or repeatedly.
I honestly thought I was complying. I had a few years of no issues, then something was sasid when I started winter commuting because I did have a good deal of crap on it. I went back to minimal stuff and nothing was said for months.
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Old 08-18-10, 07:30 AM   #6
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That fat ***** obviously doesn't see the benefit in bike commuting.
Yeah but she/he does see the benefit of keeping his/her job. I'm sure your boss has a boss who's boss all expect some level of proffesional house cleaning from each other down to the bottom of the food chain level.

I really do sympathize with you but once you're on company property, it their rules and call as long it does not violate the state rule. In your situation, the appearance of your bike became a "site for sore eyes"(perhaps a new employee?) to the managment and whoever else. Honestly, if you still want to park it at the same spot, I think your best bet to resolve this is to look for a nice bike cover online, print it out and offer a suggestion to cover your bike discretely so it won't be as eye catching. Maybe and just maybe you might get a second chance if they see you are willing to give extra effort in resolving this.
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Old 08-18-10, 07:41 AM   #7
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Honestly, I think you made some mistakes. When a boss complains about something you don't follow the letter of the law and play semantics games. He told you not to hang stuff on the bike, you did. It doesn't matter if his reason is silly, he's the boss. He gets to decide. Several people might have complained to him and you wouldn't know. The minute he said something, you shouldn't have hung ANYTHING on the bike. It doesn't matter if it was once or repeatedly.
Oh horsepucky. I don't expect blind obedience from my folks now and in non-combat situations I didn't expect it in the Corps. Where he made his mistake was in not discussing the situation with his boss in the first place to get clear guidance concerning a solution to the problem.
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Old 08-18-10, 07:45 AM   #8
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I honestly think at this point you're best off not bringing in the bike at all, or mentioning it, as it's now a "problem". I wasn't trying to attack you or anything, I was giving you my best read and when a boss mentions something, the best approach is to avoid any room for confusion or misunderstandings and totally eliminate whatever the issue is.
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Old 08-18-10, 07:46 AM   #9
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Yeah but she/he does see the benefit of keeping his/her job. I'm sure your boss has a boss who's boss all expect some level of professional house cleaning from each other down to the bottom of the food chain level.

I really do sympathize with you but once you're on company property, it their rules and call as long it does not violate the state rule. In your situation, the appearance of your bike became a "site for sore eyes"(perhaps a new employee?) to the management and whoever else. Honestly, if you still want to park it at the same spot, I think your best bet to resolve this is to look for a nice bike cover online, print it out and offer a suggestion to cover your bike discretely so it won't be as eye catching. Maybe and just maybe you might get a second chance if they see you are willing to give extra effort in resolving this.
The bike cover is a good idea. I found that a barbecue grill cover works quit well.
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Old 08-18-10, 07:52 AM   #10
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Yep, he's building a case to establish grounds for letting you go. The same thing happened to me...4 years with a company and everything was great...new manager is hired...soon called into the office for unbelievably trivial stuff...eventually given a letter of termination.
Leave on your terms, not theirs.
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Old 08-18-10, 07:53 AM   #11
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Oh horsepucky. I don't expect blind obedience from my folks now and in non-combat situations I didn't expect it in the Corps. Where he made his mistake was in not discussing the situation with his boss in the first place to get clear guidance concerning a solution to the problem.

I disagree. The majority of bosses do want obedience and they do want their issues adressed. I also agree with the prior poster that when these issues arise, it's almost always because of other things.

I'd also suggest that you're probably a lot brighter than most, and if you've seen combat and served, you probably understand the difference between meaningless stupid rules and things that matter - most don't. I think a lot of people get into Napoleanic king of crap mountain mode and when that person does have actual influence on your life, you're best off not locking horns.

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Old 08-18-10, 08:01 AM   #12
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A bike with clothes drying on it looks terrible to non cyclists. Especially if at first you had bike shorts on it. It looks like underwear in public.
Depending on how important this is to you and your boss, maybe there is an out of sight location for a cheap drying rack or a line, maybe in a closet? There are a few nice bike covers on the market, I think that's a good idea too.
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Old 08-18-10, 08:23 AM   #13
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I think you are probably going to have to bite the bullet and chain it outside. What else can you really do? You can look for another job, but they may be hard to find given the current economic climate, although it might depend on your field and location to some degree.
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Old 08-18-10, 08:26 AM   #14
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The bike cover does sound like a good idea. Have you asked where they would like you to park your bike, and expressed concern about the security of the suggested area and about how you might be worried parking your bike by some not so nice looking vehicles?
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Old 08-18-10, 08:29 AM   #15
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A bike with clothes drying on it looks terrible to non cyclists. Especially if at first you had bike shorts on it. It looks like underwear in public.
Depending on how important this is to you and your boss, maybe there is an out of sight location for a cheap drying rack or a line, maybe in a closet? There are a few nice bike covers on the market, I think that's a good idea too.
it's a big place. there are many places it could be kept out of view. i am going to pursue this option. i am just wondering if i should do it through my manager or through the safety manager. he could look at my going through someone else as going over his head.

not sure what i'll do yet. probably best to just park outside for the time being and let things cool off a bit.
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Old 08-18-10, 08:29 AM   #16
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Your boss is a prick, but he's still your boss. Discuss the issue with him calmly so you are clear about what he wants from you. Then do it or start looking for another job if it's that important to you. We've all worked for ****** from time to time. Dealing with them sucks, but you don't have many options if you want to keep your job or at least remain in good standing.
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Old 08-18-10, 09:05 AM   #17
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There's always the option of buying a barely-running ugly-ass van, parking it in the lot and locking your bike inside it. Hey, you're just taking a single parking spot just like everyone else. Too bad if you used to take NO parking spot.

Yeah, I don't know if anyone's really done that, but we all like to fantasize.
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Old 08-18-10, 09:16 AM   #18
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Hi

You need to find out if you are highly respected for the work that you do, the bike is another issue. The safety manager might be the one person to give you support.
If you think that the big boss' assistant is a >fat *****< then perhaps its no surprise that she does not think highly about you. You need to make more friends or think about moving.

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Old 08-18-10, 09:18 AM   #19
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Your boss is a prick, but he's still your boss. Discuss the issue with him calmly so you are clear about what he wants from you. Then do it or start looking for another job if it's that important to you. We've all worked for ****** from time to time. Dealing with them sucks, but you don't have many options if you want to keep your job or at least remain in good standing.
+1

I'm a boss, I'm human and I've made mistakes with my employees. In your boss's case, his mistake was not clearly communicating what his issue with your bike was. He probably was never really OK with just the towel on the bike (and maybe didn't want the bike there at all) but having already confronted you once, he didn't really want to do it again so he let it go. It got brought to the forefront by one of his supervisors complaining about it.

You also made a mistake by not get clarification on what is OK and what isn't. It sounds as if you took the approach that as long as nobody says anything, they must be cool with it.

You could go back to your boss and say that you don't want to make a big issue over your bike and that if he wants it kept outside, outside it will be. Let him know that you would prefer to keep it inside if possible. Ask him if it would be OK to work with the green lady to find an appropriate place for it.

I'm pretty flexible and I try to give my employees the leeway to do theirs jobs how they feel is best. However, there are times when we disagree over a particular thing and if I feel strongly enough about it, I will dictate that something be done a certain way though I know the employee doesn't like it. I am the boss after all it's part of my job. You can try to go around or above your boss but that's not a great way to foster a good working relationship with them. Sometimes it's necessary but I question whether your bike parking rises to that level.

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Old 08-18-10, 09:20 AM   #20
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Maybe you can hang your clothes at your desk? When I commute I hang all of my cycling clothes and towel in my cube. No one has ever said anything about it. If my shorts or jersey are a bit funky after the ride in, I'll rinse them in the bathroom sink and roll them in a towel before hanging them up.
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Old 08-18-10, 09:34 AM   #21
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I hang my clothes to air out under my desk so nothing is said. I also like to come in early so that most people dont see me take the elevator, and the afternoon, take ths stairs back down.
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Old 08-18-10, 09:37 AM   #22
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Actually you should get what he/she wants from you IN WRITING ... emails on the authenticated company server are OK as well. Just follow that to the letter and then they'll pick on someone else.

I'm a boss and I let people keep their bikes and drink beer in my office. In fact, I threw out half of the designated furniture and put in a nice 60s Danish sofa so people can relax in here.

Your boss needs to chill out, but they're being pressured by upper management about cost-cutting (this is in the states, right?), so don't give them a reason to cut you.
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Old 08-18-10, 10:20 AM   #23
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What about some kind of locker/closet to store stuff?
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Old 08-18-10, 10:23 AM   #24
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I used to air my clothes out at my desk. Even with febreze, it smelled like a dozen lockers at a football stadium. I did get complaints and finally had to move them somewhere else.
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Old 08-18-10, 10:42 AM   #25
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Maybe It'sJustYou....
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