The Payroll Lady

I’ve been a payroll manager for over twenty years, that is until last October when the company I worked for downsized and deleted my position. How did they determine they no longer need a payroll manager, when I was the only one who knew how to process payroll? The truth is I was ready for a change, but I wanted to leave on my terms.

When I first began my career in payroll, I was given a job description with all the duties and responsibilities of a payroll manager. The list included processing payroll, union dues, taxes, reports, and all the other tasks required to get the employees paid correctly each week. All those thing was pretty cut and dry, but it was all the unwritten responsibilities that made being the ‘’The Payroll Lady” so rewarding.

My husband always drove me to work each day. (That is another story, for another day).  I would sometimes not be out of the car when an employee would stop me and say they just have to talk to me right now about a payroll issue. Sometimes they did indeed have a payroll problem, but usually they just needed someone to listen to them. I discovered very soon in my career my number one responsibility was to truly listen to the employees.

Many years ago an employee came to my office sat down and said he had a problem. I got my pencil and paper out ready to write up the payroll error he was about to tell me. This man was in his forties with long shaggy hair, dirty clothes and he smelled like he hadn’t taken a bath in quite a while. He started telling me he was single and lived alone with his four little dogs. Me being a person who loves dogs more than most people, was now interested in what he had to say. He said he thinks something is terribly wrong with him. He goes on to say he has hemorrhoids so bad he is hemorrhaging every time he uses the bathroom. He gets so weak from bleeding he passes out. His main concern was if he dies his puppies wouldn’t have anyone to take care of them.

The gentleman was very graphic in describing his heath issues. With his body odor overwhelming my small office, and the details of his illness, I was more than ready to have him get back to work.  I told him he needs to see his doctor ASAP. I also assured him the puppies would be fine. The next day he stopped by and said he was going to the doctor the next week. I rushed him out of the office as quick as I could. I certainly didn’t want his stinking up my office again.

I didn’t have to worry about that happening; he died before he could see the doctor. I will carry the guilt with me forever for not taking the time to simply listen. I was the only person he felt he could share his problems with. Though out the years I have heard in detail about employees cheating spouses, problems with children, drugs, alcohol, money, the list goes on and on. The personnel relationships, and the trust the employees had in me, was indeed the most rewarding part of being “The Payroll Lady”.


4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. tsonoda148
    May 13, 2011 @ 07:10:57

    Hi Mary! Welcome to Blogdom! So happy to see you here. Wow the Payroll Lady had a tough go at times. It was so sad to read about the man who died. You just never know. Well, I’m so glad you’re here and I will spread the word. So keep on blogging!!!!


  2. mbarker1969
    May 13, 2011 @ 11:10:53

    Thanks my dear, It means so much that you support me. Love ya bunches, Mary


  3. Sandy
    May 13, 2011 @ 19:32:59

    Welcome to blogland Mary! Terri sent me your way & I am grateful she did. I have done payroll for construction companies for years. The guys confide in me about their girlfriends, spouses….etc. I have always attributed it to the fact that I was the only woman in the company. Keep blogging away!


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