A few years back, I asked people to tell me about their asshole.
The story was that I had someone who was making my life hell at work and I didn’t think I could take the bullshit anymore. Thus, with the idea of there being strength in numbers, I figured you all had someone, somewhere who did the same thing to you. Thus, I asked you to tell me about that asshole so, as Julie Andrews said, “I won’t feel so bad.”
Honestly, it really did help, so I'm asking for help again.
My wife is having a similar existential crisis these days at work, thanks to a boss with personal disorganization and a demeaning streak of OCD demands. This has been going on for about two years, although it has been getting worse over the past six months. The prevailing theory is she doesn’t want to run the department, won’t confront faculty and thus focuses on minutia in the front office and uses it to attack my wife. It’s like the guy who has a shitty day at work and goes home to berate the dog for not walking properly.
- She has been handed back meeting minutes with lines down them, demonstrating that she hasn’t been keeping every line in exact indented formation
- Her boss told her that she has to “be perfect” in every aspect of communication with other people via email. (My wife often corrects the emails of her boss prior to sending them out. The boss searches for typos in my wife’s email and brings them to her attention.)
- She was told she wasn’t following the standard form of minutes noted by my wife’s predecessor. When my wife pulled out several copies of minutes, all using different forms, her boss said that wasn’t the point.
- The boss forced my wife to go through a training guide that no one reads to fix all the problems. These “problems” ended up being spots where there were two spaces used to create harmony among indentations instead of a two-space tab. You can’t tell the difference unless you turn on the “show formatting” option in Word, but this was a huge problem for people who will get this thing in print, apparently.
- She was told she needed to “standardize” her lunch breaks because people needed to be able to “rely” on her and know when she would be around. After doing so, the boss would occasionally come in, during her lunch break, and talk with her. The reason? The boss had just shown up and was leaving early to do something else.
There are a dozen other patronizing or demeaning things I could list, but that’s not the point. The point is that this sucks and I’m hoping that if you were able to offer support or share your own stories of “Yeah, I’ve got a Dilbert-boss over here too…” it might make things just a bit shinier on a gray and rainy Friday.
Share away and thanks for your help.