Thursday, November 12, 2009

If you can't do, Management is in your future

My current boss and I Do. Not. Get. Along.

I don’t mean in the way that I haven’t gotten along with other bosses. This boss is not taking credit for my work, lying about raises, ignoring my reviews, being overall catty or weird. I’ve had a slew of bad, bad bosses in my lifetime, yet this one isn’t totally, completely, one of the “bad” ones. We simply Do. Not. Get. Along.

At all.

I cannot manage him and ergo cannot function under his lead.

Through a series of headaches and questionably fortunate events I got to keep my job. We underwent a huge re-org, many people including myself forfeited any sort of raises or promotions, we all took substantial paycuts, many people are on reduced hours and many people were let go or took the “voluntary” retirement. I know that I am lucky in that I got to keep a job, any job, especially with healthcare, in this economy, but sometimes I don’t wonder if being laid off would have been the catalyst to propel me to doing something better, or substantial, or non soul wounding. It more likely would have lead to me being destitute and homeless, depressed and useless, but my mind (which we all know delights in torturing me) chooses to firmly believe that I would have walked out the door of my job with my pink slip and fallen into some sort of travel writing gig or novel deal or stand up comedy career or something. In any case things have been in upheaval since the great re-org of ’09 and to say that I am adjusting well is to say that I want Kirstie Alley to help me with my diet meal planning and healthy eating choices.

My very first job, with taxes and a paycheck and the whole deal, was for a married couple in a small coffee house. The husband chain smoked at least two packs of Marlboro Reds the entire morning, from 7-11:30AM, standing outside scowling and customers while I did all the work. He was the good boss. The wife came in on afternoons and was torture to work with. She was a penny pinching psychotic who screamed at me if I made the icecream scoops too big (in front of the customers no less), used expired milk, kept all the tips and mostly made me dread afternoons for years to come. My parents said I was very lucky because my first experience with a “real” job was with horrible bosses so I would be well prepared for the real world. This should give you an idea of what optimistic, happy folks my parents are. Bosses were mostly downhill after that.

I got along fairly well with the boss before this. Yes, he lied. Procrastinated. Said one thing and did the other. Played people behind their backs. Screwed me badly on a raise. But he never took credit for my work, never badmouthed me to other employees, and (this is the best part) mostly hid in his office away from operations so I was left to do my job in peace. I liked this boss, for all his shortcomings, and the marked lack of friction caused me sadness when I heard of the changes around the department.

New boss is much younger. New boss is kinda a jerk. New boss does have some great ideas about how to repair a department that has been left to decompose entirely on its own for years, how to get deadbeats to at least contribute a bit and how to improve things like documentation and efficiency. New boss, however, poorly communicates, changes his mind constantly, assumes we are psychic, and says charming things like “I don’t care” numerous times a day.

He tells us to email if we are sick and then tells us he never reads his email. He skims emails to “get the gist” of them or deletes them entirely without reading them at all. So if someone is out sick? No one knows. Nevermind the tedium of documenting or asking for help in an email that will never be opened.

He disappears for hours on end.

He schedules meetings and doesn’t show up.

He doesn’t listen to his phone messages. He says he saves them all and listens to them once a day.

He doesn’t answer his phone. He says it isn't productive. But he does talk on the phone to his family. All. Day. Long. I know he is capable of multitasking because he does this while watching youtube.

He cancels our staff meetings then is rude to us when no one knows what is going on.

He is inconsistent. He and I have had issue over this numerous times now. It goes like this: I bring up something that we normally used to do that needs to continue being done. He says he doesn’t care, it isn’t important, tells us all not to do it. We all do it anyway. He comes back after a bit, after talking to the boss above him, and tells us we actually should do it, never acknowledging that he was wrong ( a huge, wrong, pompous ass at that) in the first place.

I have a neck injury and cannot sit in the broken chair provided for me at an offsite location; I request to do my work remotely from my desk. He says I complain too much.

I have a huge issue that management needs to be involved with that is a glaring contradiction to company policy. At first he tells me that I need to tell big important people that the answer is No. Then I make him talk to them since I have no authority and he turns around and yells at me to get it done at all costs even though it is a breach of security and borderline illegal. This has happened not once but nearly a dozen times!

He doesn’t follow through. He doesn’t listen. He is immune to reason. He isn’t actually managing us, as a matter of fact; he gave us a lecture on what his needs are and how to manage him in order to make our working relationship better.

Now I get angry when I see emails from him. I want to snap at him when I need something because he is just going to blow me off then turn around and demand it be done. He thinks he is rational and smart and since he spends hours a day reading productivity blogs he knows how to manage. He doesn’t. He is awful. And I’m not doing any better.

I don’t know how my co-workers relate to him, I only know how they feel about him: They can’t stand him. They’ve all adapted an air of completely not caring at all. They’ve all been here much longer than I and have weathered numerous bosses so they are able to sit in meetings, agree to whatever, then go about their own day and their own jobs. I am going to have an aneurism if I don’t learn to do this. I need to not take things so seriously. I need to not lunge across a conference room table and throttle him the next time he does a complete about-face about something and instead... well, do anything else instead, I guess.

I can’t find a way around him. I can’t find a way through him. I need support and management and his actions impact everything I do so I must find a way to deal with him. All his issues aside, however, we have personalities that do not mesh.

We go together like a pebble in a shoe, like sand in tuna salad, like Britney Spears and moral decency or cognitive function. If he weren’t my boss and just my coworker we probably would have already come to blows.

I feel like I’m sinking into the land of crazy every time I talk to him. I can’t find a way to communicate with him, especially since email, phone, meetings, even one on one sessions seem to be out. What the hell should I use on this guy? Smoke signals? I can’t avoid him entirely, yet I can’t conform partially either; his decisions are crippling my job. I’ve already gone to the boss above him and she did what she could for specific issues but I’ve still got to handle him daily.

It is always something, yes? I should find the Zen balanve in that. The re-org jettisons a few awful co-workers and lands me with this. At least I have a job. I can’t forget that. I can, however, explain nicely to the New Boss that I no longer bother to read his emails (via email) since he has made it clear that he doesn’t read mine. That should go over well.

1 comment:

Sallyacious said...

Look at the bright side: the economy is starting to recover, and when you finally decide you've had enough, there should be other jobs available.

Welcome back. The internet has been lonely without you.