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Many people often make this mistake. They work for a authoritarian, psychopathic or incompetent boss and they start complaining about her or him to a “good friend” who also works for the company. For whatever reason this might happen because you are seeking comfort or love. Sometimes you simply need a sounding board in order to release the pinned-up stress. Do it outside the office and avoid discussing your problems with others with whom you work.
You may be thinking about talking with your bad boss about her or his effect on you to ease the pressure. But if you've got a boss who doesn't like you, wants to dominate you, or is trying to get away with something inappropriate, you'll be wasting your breath.
Talking about your stress will only make your bad boss happy to know he or she is causing you to suffer. So don't go there. Always (this is one time when "always" is the right answer) state your concerns in terms of their effect on business results.
Suppose, for example, your boss keeps giving you impossible deadlines and you're stressed out about it. If you decide to talk about this with your boss, say, "When we don't allow enough time to get their jobs done right, our customers go to our competitors the next time, and we lose." Nothing may change, this just keeps your bad boss from knowing he is torturing you -- and it helps you develop a healthy managerial outlook that you can take with you to your next job.
No matter what this issue, bad bosses always have a negative effect on business results. Think it through before you have that talk.
Interrupt the flow of venom. If you're caught in the middle of a tongue-lashing, find an opportunity to remove yourself from the situation. Excuse yourself to go to the restroom or say you've got a call on hold. The break will allow your boss to cool down.
Move out of harm's way. If you're able to figure out your boss's behaviour pattern and can determine when the next eruption will occur, look for a reason to leave the office. Go out on a field assignment so that you are not in the line of sight.
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My department must hold the record for the company's fastest revolving door. In less than a year, we've been re-orged three times. I've had four different managers, and every new person who comes in wants to 'mark his territory.' Meanwhile, none of these people know as much about my area as I do, so their guidance is useless. Plus, I'm changing direction so much I never get anything done. What is it they say-same sh*t different day? If I have to be 'rah rah' at yet another welcome lunch, I think I'm going to explode.
Robert, 27, Oregon
If you're reading this chapter because you're struggling with someone's attitude problem at work, you're not alone, and your hostility is probably justified. I've spoken to dozens of twenty-somethings, and most have spent their fair share of time banging their heads against the wall and regretting the day they signed their offer letters.
As much as I feel your pain, I don't believe it does much good to complain, because unless you're going to grad school or can successfully start your own business, you're in the corporate world to stay. We all have to deal with business-world insanity whether we love our jobs or not, so we might as well take the necessary steps to overcome the challenges. However, because this chapter is about your emotional well-being, we need to start by recognizing the things about work that drive us nuts. Most of these points will probably sound familiar, so read on and be comforted. Warning: Do not hang this list in your cube!
Top 10 Annoying Things About the Corporate World
- Corporate Déjà Vu. It seems as though it's a requirement in corporate business that you spend huge amounts of time reporting the same information in a dozen different formats, attending status meetings where conversation from the week before is repeated word for word, and putting out the same fires, because your department doesn't learn from its mistakes.
- Invoking Syndrome. The invoking syndrome occurs when colleagues try to persuade you to do what they want by name-dropping someone higher up. Whether the executive manager was actually involved or not, invoking him is a manipulative tactic used to get you to bend to your colleagues' wishes (for example, "Really? Well, I spoke to the CEO last night, and he told me we have to do the event this way.")
- Egomania. When certain people reach a high level in a company, they think that they are better than everyone else and that they are entitled to be treated like a god. Regardless of the issue, they believe they are always right and that they can't possibly learn anything from someone lower on the chain.
- Hierarchies. In the corporate world, all men are not created equal, and sometimes you can actually get in trouble just by talking to someone higher up without going through the proper channels. Unless you happen to know the right people, you're invisible.
- Denigration. In some companies, it's an unspoken rule that the younger you are, the less respect you receive. Many senior managers are quick to call you on the carpet for situations that may or may not be your fault, but they say nothing when you've done superior work.
- Bureaucracy. How many departments does it take to screw in a lightbulb? Corporate business has a lengthy approval process for everything, and companies delight in changing those processes constantly so that you're never sure which 10 departments you need to consult before a decision can be made.
- Hypocrisy. Don't you just love the way some companies tout values such as quality, entrepreneurship, innovation, and integrity, when they would be perfectly happy if their employees just kept quiet and never strayed from their designated roles? If you've ever acted on your company's values and gotten burned for it, you are probably a victim of naked ambition (when doing what's best for the company leaves you out in the cold).
- Micromanagement. Twenty-somethings thrive on independence, yet some managers will bear down on you with critical eyes at every minuscule stage of a project. Gotta sneeze? Better make sure your manager knows about it.
- Uncommon Sense. I've read that common sense is dead in the corporate world. The author almost sounded proud of this. People might make a joke of it, but this dearth of logical thought in corporate business is kind of sad. It's also frustrating when the obviously correct way to do something is staring everyone right in the face, and no one sees it.
- Nonsensical Change. Every now and then, companies will decide to throw their departments up in the air and see where all the pieces land. Yes, it's the corporate reorganization (aka the dreaded re-org). Despite the fact that it results in mass confusion, greatly decreased productivity, and low employee morale, companies continue to do it year after year. Some things never change.
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