With this blogging year being all about Kindness, I am reading back on my posts and seeing that perhaps I am just a little too-good-to-be-true.
I sound maybe like if Mother Teresa and Gandhi had a child.
With that, I thought I would post a blog I wrote about six years ago.
Where I am not so nice.
I think that this little essay still offers some pretty good advice.
But more like the offspring of normal human beings. Nice ones, of course, because they were.
So here I am back in 2011 – It’s still me. Just a teensy bit meaner.
Just about everyone gets a bad boss sooner or later.
At my age, I’ve been through several. My motto has always been, “Just Outlast the Bastard.”
For the most part, that mantra has worked pretty well. Executives seem to either rise in the organization or leave. So I just hang on till the obnoxious boss is gone.
I’m lucky now to have one of the good ones. But a few years ago I had my most terrible boss ever. The sight of her car in the parking lot was enough to make my heart pound. I persisted for two years, waiting for her to move up or move on, but I began to realize that she expected to take care of me first.
If I made a decision on my own, I should have consulted her. If I consulted her, I didn’t have any initiative. If I worked late, I was slow. If I finished early, I was uncommitted. if I laughed, I must be ridiculing her. Okay, she had me on that one.
I’m sure down deep she was a wonderful person. She loved her kids sincerely, for example. I mean, why else would she have had three nannies in two years?
The day it became apparent that I wouldn’t outlast her was the day of my annual review. After more than a decade of reviews as glowing as J-Lo’s cheekbones, I was suddenly substandard in every category. I had considerable management responsibilities myself, and Bad Boss said that I was a horrible manager.
“You have no management skills at all,” she said.
Which actually is true, but I’d manage to conceal that for lots of years, just by hiring smart people and leaving them alone.
So I was willing to suck that up, until she offered me this advice: “You need to be tougher. You need to be more like ME.”
Well, I had an overwhelming, uncontrollable urge, that at another time in my life (that is, non-menopausal), I would have been able to suppress. But I said it.
“I don’t want to be more like you.”
It was an unwise thing to say, not to mention very mean. If I had it to do over again, I wouldn’t say it. But since I can’t do it over, I might as well be glad I did say it. But that was pretty much the end of my career at that company.
Looking at it now, from a happier place, I can see that lasting two years under miserable conditions was a success in itself. And so I offer this little secret that helped me get through.
Just hang up.
On Voice Mail, that is.
When you get a voicemail from your Bad Boss, hang up. Slam the phone down. Right in mid-sentence. Cut the idiot off. Then play it again, and do it again. Sometimes I slammed the phone down several times before I ever made it through to the end of the message.
It felt awesome.
Just make sure you don’t do it in real time.
That’s a riot. I think we had the same boss!!! Take comfort in this. I kept my mouth shut and still wish that I hadn’t – even all these years later.
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I think you are right. If I had kept quiet, it still wouldn’t have ended well, and I would have felt even worse.
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I said the same thing when I was reading this! I used to find solace in rolling my eyes loudly at her constant emails.
I had a (woman) boss from hell, too, once. Good for you, making that statement.
It had taken me 50 years to like myself the way I was. I wasn’t going to change for her.
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Reblogged this on World4Justice : NOW! Lobby Forum..
You’re not too good to be true because there is ALWAYS room for kindness.
Thank you. These days we need all the kindness we can muster.
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We outlasted the boss. The owners realized he was worthless, but as long as the results were good they let the rest of us work around him. When things got tight they dumped him.
Most of the time, outlasting the bastard is a strategy that works. Glad to see it worked for you too.
I love mean Nancy for standing up for herself! And you were not mean, just honest. You said what you had to say and it all turned out for the better. Look at you now!
I can imagine how you must have been feeling and the words you were thinking just popped out I expect. Career wise probably not the smartest move but it was the truth. If the three nannies in two years was anything to go by she was not the easiest person to work for.
I learned another good use for the hang up from one of my first bosses, who was terrible to her employees but had very good skills when dealing with clients. If you on the phone with a client and find yourself no longer able to contain a remark about his incredible stupidity or rudeness, hang up. Once you calm down, call back and say you were cut off, and try again politely to make him see reason. For those who are no longer working, this also works with friends and family.
Love this advice. Here’s some more: if you feel the urge to write an angry email to your boss, go ahead. But remember to hit ‘save as draft’ — not ‘send’
I have to disagree with both assessments of your management skills. In my experience (as both an employee and as a manager), hiring good people, keeping them happy and leaving them to it is the very BEST management strategy. Hardly anyone takes that approach though, so they miss out on all the benefits of a confident, engaged and motivated workforce. Good on you!
PS: My most recent boss was of that same ilk. I did not outlast him. But the uncertainty of now is so much healthier!
I am A Boss – sometimes good, sometimes bad. But if I were your boss I would be…GRATEFUL! (pinching my husband’s ID by the way)