Posted by Erik Even on Jul 27, 2009 in Careers
From the Internet, with some additions of my own:
When you take a long time, you’re slow.
When your boss takes a long time, he’s thorough.
When you don’t do it, you’re lazy.
When your boss doesn’t do it, he’s too busy.
When you make a mistake, it’s your fault.
When your boss makes a mistake, it’s your fault.
When doing something without being told, you’re overstepping your authority.
When your boss does the same thing, that’s initiative.
When you take a stand, you’re being bullheaded.
When your boss does it, he’s being firm.
When you break a rule of etiquette, you’re being rude.
When your boss skips a few rules, he’s being original.
When you please your boss, you’re a suck-up.
When your boss pleases his boss, he’s being cooperative.
When you’re out of the office, you’re wasting company time.
When your boss is out of the office, he’s “in pocket.”
When you take a day off sick, you’re sick too often.
When your boss takes a day off sick, it’s a tragic illness.
When you ask for a few hours off, you must be going for an interview.
When your boss asks for a few hours off, it’s unavoidable.
If you forget to do something important, you’re risking your job.
If your boss forgets, you forgot to remind him.
If you can’t get the printer to work, you’re incompetent.
If your boss can’t get the printer to work, it’s broken.
When you get laid off, you get two weeks severance and a security guard to escort you off the premises.
When your boss gets laid off, he gets a golden parachute and stock options.
Got any others? Let us know in the comments!
Posted by Erik Even on Jun 1, 2009 in Advice
, Job Search
About a year ago, I was contacted by an entertainment lawyer who was looking to hire a writer. This guy was a genuine bigwig — hundreds of celebrity photos all over his office, and a video player on infinite loop in the front office with his many interviews on cable news shows, talking about the latest legal problems of Lindsay Lohan and other celebs.
I put on my suit, printed out the writing samples he had requested, and schlepped across town to his Beverly Hills office. There was already another applicant waiting when I arrived. I filled out the usual paperwork and handed over a copy of my resume.
At about the precise time of my interview, the lawyer arrived at his office. After a few minutes, he called in the other applicant.
Fifty-six seconds later, the other applicant came back out, looking confused. He left, and I was called in.
The lawyer told me sit down, and asked me some basic questions about my background. I started to give the usual interview answers, designed to emphasize my skills — but he cut me off. He just wanted the basic facts. So that’s what I gave him.
After a few more basic questions (did I have a car? was I insured?), he told me my resume was going on the pile, and if he decided to call me back, would the next Wednesday afternoon be a good time for another interview? “Yes,” I lied. He shook my hand and I left.
Fifty-six seconds had passed.
No, I would not have gone to the second interview if I had been invited (I wasn’t). This individual did not respect me, or my time. What kind of a nightmare would it have been to work for him?
What was he even trying to accomplish? He wanted to briefly meet each applicant before arranging an interview — why? Was he trying to avoid a certain ethnic group? Perhaps if he had warned me the first interview would be very brief, I would not have been offended.
In another, less heinous example, a Internet firm down by the airport called me in to interview with the HR person and the manager who would be my superior. I had an excellent conversation, for about half an hour, with the HR rep. Then she went off to find the manager.
Fifteen minutes later, deeply embarrassed, she returned to tell me that the manager was on a call that went long, and he couldn’t see me. Maybe I could come back the next week. “That would be fine,” I lied, with a smile plastered to my face.
A few days later, they gave the job to someone who interviewed before I did. That’s okay — I wouldn’t have gone back.
I have worked for people who, I assure you, would never treat a job applicant this way. In fact, I like to think that these arrogant and unprofessional employers are in the minority. But I have worked for people who had no respect for their own employees — and you do not want to work for these people.
As a manager, you do not want to be one of these people, either. No matter what your yearly income, title, or level of responsibility, you are not above the rules of common decency. A job applicant’s time is as valuable as your own. And even if you don’t accept that, then look at it this way — you are mistreating people who might be highly skilled workers who can make you a lot of money.
There are only two circumstances under which is permissible to treat people poorly and take advantage of their need for employment: never, and never ever. Act accordingly — it’s the ethical and professional thing to do.
Posted by Erik Even on Mar 30, 2009 in Careers
, Job Search
Just about everyone has had to deal with a bad boss — a supervisor who is mean, incompetent, manipulative, inappropriate, unprofessional, or all of the above. It’s like they say: those who can, do; those who can’t, teach; and those who can’t teach, manage.
But how do you deal with a difficult boss, when you job relies on keeping this insane person happy?
The best advice is: find a new employer. You shouldn’t have to put up with an unprofessional supervisor, and a clean break is the best cure.
Unfortunately, for a lot of people, this is not an immediate option, not in this economy.
Be unfailing professional. In the face of whatever bad boss behavior is driving you crazy, be calm, businesslike and mature. Of course, any employee or employer should behave this way anyway. But by being aggressively professional despite your boss’ antics, you will (1) impress other people at the company, including someone who might be in the position to get you out from under this bad boss, and (2) you might — might– actually influence your boss to behave better.
Some people call this “managing up,” a term I hate because it implies it’s your job to fix your boss. It’s not — but any positive steps you can take will just make your life easier.
Don’t sweat the small stuff. If your boss ignores your emails, gives contradictory instructions, or plans meetings during lunch without providing food, you’re just going to have to live with it until you get out of there.
Report the big stuff. If your boss is sexually harassing you, or physically or emotionally abusing you, you do not have to put up with this, nor should you. Go straight to your HR manager, if the firm has one. If you work at a small firm, consider speaking to a lawyer or a government agency. But this kind of thing is not okay.
Don’t badmouth your boss to other people at the firm. Everyone probably already knows your boss is insane, and will show you sympathy and may even be able to help you deal with him or her. But if you go around criticizing your boss to everyone, this will be noticed by management, who may come to see you as more of a problem than your supervisor. If you have to vent, vent at home. And don’t write criticism of your boss in IM or on email at work –your company can read that stuff!
Have any more advice about dealing with bad bosses? Let us know in the comments!