Tag Archives: boss

The Abuse of Power

The Abuse of Power

I’ve been noticing the influence of power in life, more importantly the abuse of power. The easiest example is always my boss, who can give me unwarranted shit since she is in the position to do so. Power abusers don’t realize that it is actually more difficult for others to judge if the criticism is an authentic critique of a specific situation or if someone is using the situation to show their power. Because most situations fall on a foggy line between the two, the recipient of the abuse- once aware of what is actually going on- cannot tell what the real problem is. So a cycle starts where the abusee ends up doing all these things at the request of the abuser, but never does it right because the abuser forgets (or even worse changes their mind without disclosure) what they instructed the abusee to do. The abusee can never explain the correct side of the story because abusers see their own power as a right to construct reality- as they see fit- for those which they have power over.

Sadly, it can take a long time to see comedy in all the ways which I have been tossed around at somelse’s whim. I’ve learned that once I laugh over a situation, I am more able to rationally deal it with and therefore end up relaxing because I start to express less defensive emotions in future encounters. From there I can see how the content is not worth reacting to because each situation is just a drug people can chose to feed off to get their power abusing fix. At the point it is just a game where I am a player capable of choosing not to play.

A Day in the Life…..

A Day in the Life…..

An employee sends an email to her boss requesting to leave early for the day to get a flawed lens replaced in her new glasses. After 30 minutes the boss has yet to respond and it is now only 45 minutes from the time requested to leave. So the employee sends an Instant message to the boss because she is sure that the boss’s attention will be grabbed and she will get a quick response to her simple, practically trivial, question. No response.

Thinking the boss maybe out of her office, she asks another employee if she has seen the boss. The other employee answers, “yes, she’s there, so she definitely saw your IM.” A wave of dread crashes over the employee. “What problem is she going to find with such a simple question? Or at least she could let me know if she is busy…”

After 10 minutes of wondering, the boss finally messages back… “Can you come in here so we can discuss it?”

Head down, the employee walks into the boss’s office. The boss is sitting there with a fake botox smile, points to the employee’s glasses and says suspiciously, “so, are those the glasses you’ve got there?”

The employee quizzically responds, “yes.”

“You don’t have another pair?” asks the boss, who, unlike usual, hasn’t removed her reading glasses.

“No,” says the confused employee as the boss squints over her own ornate, out-of-style glasses as if trying to see a problem with the employee’s glasses. The employee thinks to herself, “Why would it matter if I have another pair? No matter what, I’d still have to get the lens replaced in this pair before the place closes.”

“Well don’t you think you should call the optometrist first and let them know you are coming?” asks the boss.

“That’s the whole reason I need to go, they called and told me the lens was ready, so I need to get there before they close so they have time to fit it properly,” answered the employee politely.

“Oh, so you have called them,” says the big-eyed boss, now looking through her reading glasses. “I was going to say it would be much more productive if they know you’re coming, so it’s no problem, you can go.”

The employee, confused, heads back to her desk…. “Did she really call me in there to tell me how productive it would be for me to call the optometrist first?”

Searching for Things

Searching for Things

Many times I search and search and search for something and finally give up and ask someone else if they have it, or have seen it, or know where else I can look. The split second after I (Questioner) ask the other person (Questionee), and just before they answer, I realize where it is.

I am not sure why asking someone is the trigger for remember where something is. But it seems that I must find out in order to skip that step of asking someone unnecessarily.

There are many hypothesis floating around in my mind, none of which seem the least bit concrete. Like maybe it is a way for me to maintain some sort of bond with the Questionee.

Or maybe it is my own mind adjusting to what I perceive is the timing of interaction necessary for the Questionee to feel confident in their bond with me.

Regardless, in this situation I am going out of my way to gather information that is already in my own head, I just haven’t accessed the correct folder to it yet.

In personal, social situations I see this as acceptable because this is what everyone in my family does when we are lazy and think we’ve searched enough or know someone else definitely could find something faster. I know that a family Questionee isn’t going to think ill of me and use this minor situation against me later. But at work (where I search to the bitter end), I could possibly be perceived as incompetent, rushed, needy, not paying attention, etc. by certain people who have acquired the thought that everyone should act like robots. It is these snooty people who take tabs solely on incidents that confirm their paranoia.

A boss for example, who is in charge of a project- that, in fact, has a the work load of three bosses- cannot possibly know what is going on all the time because the boss has no time to actually manage the project. This ever-increasing fear of the project going wrong -due to an inability to properly manage it- creates a huge fear that the project has fatal errors, which will not be discovered until a cataclysmic moment. The fear propagates paranoia and so every incident that didn’t go smoothly goes on to the list of potential huge issues for which someone must be blamed for.

From there you may as well start reading from the top because the person who gets blamed for problems created out of the boss’s imagination, is powerless to do any more than employ coping mechanisms that involve analyzing her own minute behavior so as to avoid being put in the hot seat merely for asking a question….

Miscommunication

Miscommunication

I wrote the below email titled “[insert work document here] – who is reviewing?” to the other members of my department this morning:

“Good Morning!

I’ve almost finished my review of [insert work document here]. Let me know whom I should give it to when I am finished.

Thanks!”

I instantly got a “reply to all” message from one of the managers saying that she doesn’t know who is going to review it but she will hold on to it in the meantime and also since I am almost done with it she has something else I can do.

My boss called me into the office a few minutes later (with some smoke coming out of her ears) to remind me that when I need more work to do, email only her first! She knows what is top priority. (She had told me to do this same thing last week, so she was annoyed because she had to do it again).

I explained that the email was in no way written to imply that I needed more work… my evidence is that fact that I had more work to do. I told her the tasks that were next on my list and even showed her where I was going to pick up again on a previous task I had to put on hold and that I wrote that email asking who I should pass my last project to. so simple and not worth the interrogation.

Once I finished explaining this to her, I politely asked if there was anything else she needed from me and she said “You’re going to make sure you ask me before you send an email like that the next time, aren’t you?”

With an extreme expression of confusion on my face I replied, “Emails…asking….who is…..reviewing certain documents when I am finished? Okay, no problem.”

She said, “No! emails requesting more work!”

I responded, “I didn’t write an email requesting more work, but I will ask you before I do next time. [Insert manager’s name] is busy and must have been hoping I might have time to help her out. If you open the email you can see I clearly wrote that I needed to know who to give the project to when I was finished, that’s all.”

She cut me off without rereading the email with a smart-ass, “I read the email, and you IMPLIED that you needed more work to do.”

Instead of starting all over again, I went into a explanation of how “I’m having a hard time because I am being as direct as possible when I communicate but I am constantly having to clarify that the words on the computer screen do not have other meanings. It is a simple miscommunication and I’m sorry if it was taken that way.”

Saying I was “almost finished” could also mean that I didn’t want someone to think I could hand it to them right away because I wasn’t done yet… or I want them to take note of how long it took me to do it…or anything…. but in reality, I just wanted to know who to give it to when I was done with it.

I feel like the Gods have cursed me to have the ability to say things clearly but few are able to believe that that is all I mean to say.

Or the boss is cursed to continuously think people are saying more than they really are.

Ultimately, before putting on their critic’s hat, it is the reader’s responsibility to make sure he or she understands the writer in order to avoid loosing what little lint of my respect happen to stick to their clothes as they passed by on their way to the kitchen.