Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Rotten Bosses

There is no perfect boss, just as there is no perfect employee. I've been both, I know (and you know it too). That being said, why is it that out of all the bosses that I've had, only 3 were any good? I've been working since I was able to work (at age 15) and I've been working ever since. I've held down many jobs in many different sectors. I went to college and even taught Management. And yet, I keep my mouth shut and watch my bosses in wonder as they (who also went to college or took Management courses) continuously show us all these textbook examples of Bad Management:

1. The Disconected Boss. I've had a couple of these. For me, these are by far the best. They let you do your own thing and as long as you're producing what you're supposed to produce, you're fine. However, they never get anything finished, they drop the ball on a lot of things, and they're unorganized. Still, they're pleasant and non-threatening (unlike the majority).

2. The Chauvenist Pig Boss. I've had a couple of these. They have to hide it better now, due to the EEOC. Back in the early 90s when it was fashionable to wear suits with shorter skirts, I had a boss who would tell me to turn around so he could see my outfit from all angles. He also told wretched sexual jokes that left everyone nauseated. He openly leered at women, and I'd never seen an illustration of the word 'leer' until I met him. He finally started reforming after the Anita Hill / Clarence Thomas incident but I already had my foot out the door.

Then there was the guy who was always dumping his work on me (I was supposed to be hired as an equal but ended up as his assistant) while he would go off golfing or riding around picking up women in his red sports car. He is the type that would show up at your office door, lean on the the side of it with a big dumbass grin, chewing gum loudly as he grinned at you. He would memorize a couple accounts I was working on, and would throw questions about them at me throughout the week just to see if he could trip me up somehow. He was half chauvenist/half bully. I bailed as fast as I could.

3. The Bully Boss. Unfortunately I've had a couple of these. These are the ones that openly tell you that they're considering taking away part of your paycheck because you're overpaid (even though you've worked hard to get to that point). Or they'll throw out questions to you to see if they can trip you up. They might ask you casually if you're doing something illegal, even though they don't honestly suspect it. They are usually friendly to your face while working on stabbing you in the back and their arms have a long reach. They are often insecure, and you pay for their insecurities.

4. The Lazy Boss. This guy will dump all his work on you, and then take credit for it. I've only had one of those (because they don't usually last for long?) They put everything off till the last minute, such as schedules or reports, and then fly about in a panic getting it done.

Who have I forgotten? Anyone?


mal said...

Saur, you left out the "Professional Boss" the one who believes that they need to learn nothing of the business itself since whether it is cheerios or refrigerators the management skill set is the same. These bosses NEVER understand the business as a whole and usually alienate everyone, customers, vendors, and employees

They can often be identified by the pointy hair

Ajay Shroff said...

I had my share of good and bad bosses but the way i see it, i try and learn from the bad ones and try and make myself a better boss and even a better person. These lessons cant be learnt in any school. So in a way, I would like to thank all the bad people who taught me how to do things right.

GodlessMom said...

The chauvenist boss is SO uncomfortable to work around. You try to get your job done but there is always this slimey undercurrent. I ran screaming from one of those jobs too.

Great post!

mal said...

one advantage of being an Amazon, I never had a problem with a chauvinist boss. An occasional horney customer, but I think they were always in rut anyway

back-to-basics said...

I am the luckiest person I know. I love my boss. Same one for about 8 years now.

Before this one...I have had one of every kind I think.

Fred said...

A few to add:

- The "I leave early but you have to stay late" boss.

- The "I always know better than you, so we'll do it my way" boss.

- The "I always blame someone else" boss.

Saur♥Kraut said...

Mallory, you know it's very interesting that the Professional Boss still exists. You're right, though. I left that one out. As you say, they are never that effective because they haven't been in the trenches.

Ajay, you are right. We can learn from their mistakes so that we can do better. However, I'd like to think I wouldn't make many of those mistakes in the first place. Perhaps they're just there to teach us patience.

B2B I know. I am soooo jealous.

Godless Mom, slimy true! Excellent.

Fred, I've met those too. I hate the "I know better than you" type. I had a boss that said "I admit our customer service is poor." I said, "Can I tell you why I believe it is poor, sir?" He nodded.

I said "Our customer service is poor because these new employees aren't buying into the corporate culture. Because they have no direct contact with the owners and the executives, they feel no attachment or loyalty. To them, these customers are merely another intrusion into their workday. If you can develop a relationship with them, this will change."

He looked at me for a moment, and said "No, we just need to hire more people."

...and to think I used to teach Management for Master's degree candidates. Silly me. I shouldn't have bothered.

Bill R said...

Well, yes, you left out the "Sympatico Boss." I've been lucky to have had some of these. Since I've been (and am) both boss and employee, this is the model I try to emulate. While I've had all the types you describe (except for #2, for obvious reasons), I've been fairly fortunate overall.

Saur♥Kraut said...

Bill, you're right. But I was just grousing about the bad ones. I have had 3 sympaticos and they're awesome. I worked very hard for them because I respected and liked them.

Cheynne02 said...

OT, but Hell's Kitchen is a really good reality show and I hate those things.

AP3 said...

Good post. I have had lots of disconnected bosses, and I like 'em just fine. I can be a bit of a disconnected boss myself at times, I think. I don't really like supervising people.

Bully bosses are the worst. I have only had one of those, and she was by far my least favorite boss of all time.

I've mostly been pretty lucky, I'd say.

Tabasamu said...

I have had OK bosses for the most part. In the 80s any female bosses were difficult at best (The Queen Bee Syndrome). I had one like Sigourney Weaver's character in Working Girl. Brrr. Women are better team players now that there are more of them in the workplace, I think.

snicksnack said...

The BEST solution is to be your OWN boss!

Saur♥Kraut said...

Cheryl, thanks for dropping in!

Aral, you are lucky!

TC, You're right, though I still see women out there that suffer from the Queen Bee Syndrome.

Snicksnack, very true. Of course we can't all do it, but it's the American Dream!

Saur♥Kraut said...

Oops, I meant Cheyenne, not Cheryl. Sorry!

Kathleen said...

TC, I agree. Women bosses in the 80s were very difficult. As they say, " we've come a long way."

United We Lay said...

I have a problem with authority, so I try not to judge bosses too harshly, but my boss this year was horrible.

Senor Caiman said...

I've never had a bad boss. I'm serious. Knock on wood.

R2K said...

Yeah, I think you have to take a bad boss as being part of the job. Dealing with them is what you get paid for :)

Saur♥Kraut said...

Alex, no, not really. That was a philosophy that went out in the 70s. Now we have laws that prevent a lot of truly bad bosses, and classes to curb some of their behaviors. But just because someone is in authority doesn't give them the right to mistreat others.

Mr. Gator, Wow, you are lucky!!!

Polanco, generally they say that the typical entrepreneurial profile is of a person who has trouble with authority figures. Perhaps you should consider starting your own business! Seriously.

Kathleen, the 80s were still so early in woman's emergence into the workplace. I still remember how overtly sexist some guys were about it. It's funny, you'd never see that now. Thankfully.

United We Lay said...

I would, btu I don't know what I would do. I'm a teacher. I want to go back and get my Psychology degree so that I can counsel, but money is a little tight. I'm looking for scholarships and grants at the moment. Any suggestions on what else I should do?

Saur♥Kraut said...


With your talents, I would consider making the psychology an end-goal, if not an immediate one. And otherwise, you might consider looking into counseling. There are some groups (abuse, alchoholism, etc.) that always seem to need good counselors. However, I don't know if you need a license up there (you'd have to check into it).

Otherwise, you should continue to pursue the idea that you had down here of being a teacher for a small, select group of students.

Eddo said...

Oh my word you nailed it on the head with The Disconnected Boss! I have had a few of those in my day - perhaps all computer bosses are that way.

Anonymous said...

I've had a "I don't care boss, I just want to line my pockets with as much money as I can and you're expendable". I worked with an individual that would critized my work, knowledge, etc. by email to business clients and have the nerve to email me a copy. After printing the emails and showing management I was basically told that this is how the guy behaves and that I should just deal with it. I quickly sited hostile workplace environment and attorney in the same breath and they took a different stance. But I took the high road and just quit.

Saur♥Kraut said...

Eddo, Thanks! ;o)

Anonymous, You had a sociopath for a boss, plain and simple. I had one that was similar once. He snorted cocaine night and day. One moment he'd be up and happy, telling us all how wonderful we were. The next moment he'd flip out and start screaming at his victims. He eventually got brain cancer, so I don't really know which was to blame for his behavior.

Anonymous said...

you forgot the wishy washy would rather be your best friend than show some balls and take charge boss. I worked for five years at an insurance company. My boss as a person is a sweet person, but as a manager, she had no clue as to what she was doing. I first started out as a temp, and from day one I saw exactly how she ran her department. If you weren't part of her "circle" of friends she made damn sure you never moved onto another position within the company. She made sure of that with me all because of a disagreement. Don't believe your managers when they tell you they have an "open door policy" If you don't stoop to kiss their ass and play office politics they won't make working at their company easy for you.

Anonymous said...

Any suggestions on what to do about a rotten boss if you are planning to stick it out? I was hired before my rotten boss. I am constantly being used for the secretary and scape goat. I try to cover my back but, this one has managed to throw me under the bus at least once every month or so. Now, upper management has reorganized and I no longer have to report to him. He is still causing me problems and making allegations! Any thoughts?