Thursday, July 27, 2006


Should We Accept Bad Bosses As A Part Of Nature?

The standard advice about bad bosses is to either accept their existence with stoicism, or to navigate one's way around them as though they are an inconvenient part of the natural environment which we must accommodate or avoid. Removing them is not up to us, we are told, and confrontation is deemed unwise. There are a few basic types of bad bosses. To wit:

1) The Inappropriate Boss - This is the sort of dorkwad who repeatedly makes unwarranted remarks about your gender, your age, your ethnic background, your character, your lifestyle or your physical appearance. Or, in some cases, all of the above. These bosses are, in fact, very hard to change. They usually behave the way they do in accordance with a political agenda they believe in or a cultural bias that is deeply ingrained. They would be your enemies under any circumstances because they simply despise the demographic to which you belong. Don't let them raise your blood pressure. You would be happier with a laidback paper pusher, or someone who is so "all business" that they could give a rat's ass about what you are.

2) The Sadistic Boss - These are actually rather rare, since so many potential sadists these days have acquired enough "cultural competence" to mask their desire to torment you under a veneer of politically correct revenge - what they imagine to be their "sense of justice". Some monsters are still out there though. At their purest and least reconstructed, the source of their assholery is transparently weakness, and they are to be pitied as much as despised.

3) The Incompetent - Everyone is either born incompetent or becomes incompetent later on. According to the nineteen-seventies business classic, The Peter Principle, successful people always rise to their level of incompetence, and generally stay there. At least long enough to do real damage. Have enough confidence that you are smarter than your boss, and you will do fine. The ego satisfaction that arises from pulling some highly placed fool's nuts out of the fire will strengthen your position - and certainly your skills - in the long run. If you are not especially competent yourself however, then an incompetent boss is the absolute worst you can have.

Outside of steering around bad bosses, the article at the link below counsels tact (i.e., hypocrisy), and other common sense tactics such as making as many friends as possible and being prepared to move on at a moment's notice if things get too bad - or if you get fired. Never invest your emotions in a job or a workplace. Treat your employment with watchful detachment, as though it were a child in a TB ward or a replacement on the battlefield. Never assume that any job will last very long.

"How To Survive A Bad, Bad Boss" from Orange County Register

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