When the Boss is upset with his kid, why am I the one who gets yelled at? Not in anger, but out of frustration. He's afraid to rock the boat with Tim, who's not just his son but the engine that drives our little Company. It's through the force of Tim's will that things actually get built, and contracts get completed. All anyone else does is the math. The Boss does the estimating, and I count up what's left after a job is done.
So we don't rock Tim's boat. We don't call him on his little quirks, until it becomes a big enough problem that it threatens our livelihood. We let him get away with padding his expense account and overstating his hours, up to a point. Apparently the Boss reached that point today, and I got a call from him. One of those "What's this?" and "What's that?" calls.
I tried to explain Tim's thinking to him. It's a delicate matter, though, because Tim learned how to work the edges of the system from his father. There's nothing overtly illegal about anything, unless someone is lying to me, and I don't have any basis to do any more than ask questions. What's this? What's that? I learned from the Boss, too.
So I did my best to sort out all this with the Boss. Whatever the reality of the situation might be, Tim doesn't think he's doing anything wrong, and he doesn't think he's taking advantage of the Company. He's working for less than his full salary, because he's had two shoulder operations this year and can't do as much as he could before. But he's making up the difference by working fifty-hour weeks. If he's not working fifty hours, but just recording that much time on his time card, then we might have a problem.
In the midst of all this, I mentioned to the Boss that the only expense I'd reimbursed Tim for this week was the thousand dollars he'd put out as a down payment on the new company truck. The Boss exploded when he heard that. "What? Did he tell you he made the down payment? I paid that thousand dollars!"
He slammed down the phone and I went on about my business. Ten minutes later, after talking to Tim, he called me back, a little sheepish. It turns out they'd both given the truck dealer a check for a thousand dollars. The Boss would have already known that, except he's been ducking the dealer's phone calls all week, for some reason. Now they're all on the same page, and the dealer is going to refund one of the payments.
Oh, and by the way, I'm sorry I yelled and hung up on you.
No, he didn't actually say that out loud. It's just one of those things that's understood between us.