Bosses You are Glad You Don't Have
Everyone thinks that their boss is the best or the worst that is out there. I’ve been in both situations and I’ve found that though I have had some extremes on both ends, I’ve met people who have had worse (or better). When you work for these individuals, you realize that standards for management is probably a reason that customer service has been quickly declining and scandals of every sort are plagueing the workforce from theft to harassment cases. I once told my manager to please not promote me. That from where I stood it was an insult to be promoted since only the not-so-bright, snake-in-the-grasses were promoted in that company.
Following are a few accounts of bosses that would not even be at the end of the line for Boss of the Year Award.
- One woman worked for a doctor as a receptionist. She was accused of losing a very large amount of money. When the worker asked in disbelieve what he was talking about, he informed her that because she did not ask a patient of his to pay the balance of his bill the last time he was in before declaring bankruptcy that she was the reason for his losing money. The fact that she was never working the same days and times that the man in question came in did not factor at all in this. Wonderful guy, huh?
- A waitress was having a rough night because they were short-handed. The managers were sitting in the back room gossiping while the waitresses were having to serve too many tables and dealing with extremely hostile customers. They were on their own because the managers were “busy”.
- One office worker was called into her bosses office and promptly placed on probation. The reason? The new boss was unsure what she did. What?????
- One boss pulled an employee in because he saw her resume on the internet. The poor hurt soul and already turned in notice.
- One worker was told that she was responsible on getting the company Christmas cards ready and mailed out. Her boss discovered her working on them during office hours at her desk and wrote her up. How dare she do the work assigned to her!
- Yearly review time! Boss called up and left it on a voice mail. Good interpersonal relations.
- One young woman was told that her position was being cut because the company could not afford the entire office staff. With the bad economy, one could understand. Until the bill came across the desk for the boss’s liposuction and trip to Hawaii.
- One employee was written up because when a co-worker was leaving, she didn’t take the iniative to order pizza and make sure that there were enough plates and napkins on hand.
- This one I have to leave exactly the way the young woman told me. Paraphrasing would lose SO much. I once was told to wear my uniform (dress) at a certain height that was well above my knee (I was a Waitress)… I hemmed it to the length required but wore shorts underneath… my co-worker did the same and she bent over to wipe a table and the boss saw her shorts and pulled both of us into her office and told us we cannot wear shorts under our uniforms (we were 14 yrs old)… later I found out the person was running a house of ill repute in the back of the restaurant! My Pa made me quit immediately and my co-worker’s Dad made her quit as well.
- Another winner: On 9/11 a young lady was working less than a block from the White House on a big project. The call came in from her husband about the World Trade Center and that there was a possibility of the White House being a target. When her boss was informed of this by her and other co-workers, he refused to let them go home like the security all around them were demanding. They had to finish the project. On her way home, the Pentagon was hit.
- One boss had rules that her workers had to be in the office form 8-5 with no exceptions. Though she came in at any hour and left early most of the time. She was also working from home much of the time. The reason given was that she was a mother of a young child and pregnant. When a complaint was lodged, the employee was told that if she had children of her own they might bend the rules for her, too.
- One manager decided to take his staff and another manager out for a celebration luncheon. The company was a manufacturing company so the dress-code was slightly relaxed. The treating manager then called the other manager and reminded him to dress more appropriately for going out to lunch. That did not go over well.
- One employee was told two days before Christmas that her father was diagnosed with cancer and only had three to nine months to live. She told her boss that she was going to take off the two days after Christmas to spend the last holiday with her father. She was told that her vacation time was used up (which she was ordered to use up before the first of December since no one was allowed to take off during that month). Later she was told that due to the circumstances they would not dock her salary. A few months later the worker had surgery on suspected thyroid cancer. She was off work for two weeks. On the day she was to see the doctor to get a release to go back to work, she got the phone call that her father had passed away. When she called her boss to tell him that she would be gone a few more days for the funeral, the first words out of his mouth was not “I’m sorry”. It was “How do we record this on your time card.” Such compassion!
- Another employee was called on the floor because she had not used the phrase “Would you please” in an email to another manager. The phrase “Please complete the attached form and forward to the General Manager” wasn’t polite enough.
- Another worker was written up because she was having to leave work 15-20 minutes early every day for about two months for a medical condition. She came into work early and still ended up working 45 hours a week and meeting all deadlines. She was told that the time she arrived before her boss showed up did not count toward her work hours. The hours only counted when the boss was in the office.
- An employee called his boss at a retail store to tell her that he was rushing his wife to the hospital to have her baby. He was told that this would go in his file for not showing up for work.
- A retail worker was told to set up a display for items that were on sale. Other workers asked why because those items were not in the advertisement. The district manager got very angry and said that his world was final. The next day the display was taken down because they were not in the advertisement after all.
- One manager had a special project that she had to pull two employees away from their normal jobs to work on. The arrangement was that she would make sure that their normal work got done and not to worry about it. Time for review came around and they were penalized for their normal work not getting done correctly. They were still responsible for ensuring the accuracy of it, it seems.
- One boss was approached by an employee who was seeking advice on how to handle a co-worker who was not a good communicator and was causing problems in the department. The boss informed her that she was adult and to work it out herself. Good managing skills.
- Another manager did not replace two employees that left the department. Work load was shifted throughout with everyone now doing the work of at least two people. It was announced that there would be no raises for the year and all deadlines were still to be met. There would be no additional help brought in and it was expected that you were to put in as many hours as it took to meet these deadlines. All vacations were cancelled and no adjustments for family emergencies were given. Any heart there?
- A woman was told throughout the year that everything was going great. Whenever she met with her boss, he was always complimentary and praising her. The time for her review came and all of a sudden she was not such a good employee. When asked why this was discussed during the year when the issues came up, he said that he needed something negative to say on her review to justify not giving a high raise.
Do We Get a Say-So?
It seems that ability to relate to others is not a criteria for managing others. They attend classes on relating to others and show up at the one hour seminar on handling conflict. But how many of them are actually graded or instructed on their interactions with their employees? I have worked at a couple of companies in which we were asked to “grade” our bosses. Seems that our comments were used in their reviews but nothing was done to correct issues which seems to defeat the purpose. I once read an article many years ago in which a case study was done on one female manager that had a hard time relating and getting respect from her employees. Her bosses talked to her and both parties agreed to work it out. She went to classes and seminars and even saw a counselor that helped her become a much better manager that got the job done while earning respect from her bosses and her employees. (I’ve been trying to find that article again to forward one. I’ll keep looking – this was about 20 years ago).
If you are a manager, how would you be rated? Being liked doesn’t make you weak. Being disliked doesn’t make you a great manager. A great manager is someone who can get the job done while developing and strengthening their department. You must also remember that an expert or really great worker might not make a good manager. A good manager goes beyond knowing how to do the necessary work. It involves managing the work and the people who actually do the work. That makes someone who you will above and beyond for.
I learned some hard lessons over the years. One was to keep extremely detailed journal of my work. I documented every single minute of my day including the time in the bathroom so that the next time my boss accused me of stealing time from the company for leaving early to handle a sick children, I could show him where the company owed me 150 hours of overtime if I was to be treated as a salaried employee. I did call the Wage and Hour phone number and was told that since I was salaried and that I did not sign an actual time card (my boss submitted it all for us), any of my documentation on my time would be the anchor in court. I still do that at all my jobs so that I can ensure myself and my employers that I’m putting in the required time and exactly areas are taking up that time.
Some other articles in dealing with bosses are:
ABC News – Meet the World’s Worst Bosses – an article summarizing a few bad dudes
Bad Bossology – a site devoted entirely on how to work for and handle bad bosses
Bad Boss Contest – the results of a contest – there are quite a few bad ones here
Dealing with a Bad Boss – a great article on what you can personally do when your boss falls under the bad category.
Big Bad Boss – this site has a lot of resources in working for a bad boss.
There are many other sites that help. But I want to leave you with this: If you are a manager, please humble yourself for self-improvement (which we all could use). If you are an employee of a bad boss, don’t let this ruin your health and your life. Look at all these available resources and find some new ones. There are choices in life and even in a bad economy if we look hard enough, we can find relief.