Pleasing a manager?

Subject: Pleasing a manager?
From: "Hart, Geoff" <Geoff-H -at- MTL -dot- FERIC -dot- CA>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 8 Aug 2002 08:57:25 -0400

Doc Writer reports: <<I can't please my direct manager. [abusive example
snipped] ... He's pompous, lazy, airheaded, unfocused and is going to make
me want to quit! ... Do you agree that they want me to quit?>>

Given that you've already reported you're company is going through "one
layoff per payroll period", they've pretty conclusively demonstrated that if
they wanted you gone, they'd do it with no regrets and no warning. However,
those layoffs probably explain much of the problem: if your manager is
spending most of his work day worrying that he'll be the next one to get the
axe, he's going to be almighty stressed, and if he doesn't recognize this,
he'll be taking out his stress on everyone around him. You, unfortunately,
happen to be the nearest and dearest target, and since there's tacit
permission to abuse the folks you supervise but not the ones who supervise
you, that makes you the target.

Add to this the fact that he eviscerated your white paper--presumably
something written to build market share and keep the company afloat--the
odds are excellent that he's under lots of pressure to produce a killer
white paper. Is it worthwhile pointing out that you sound pretty stressed
yourself, and may need to step back and take a look at how effective you've
been in discussing these problems with the boss? If you're this angry
"privately", is any of it leaking out when you deal with him?

What to do about this? Well, given that they're laying off people anyway,
the odds are depressingly high that you'll eventually be nominated as the
next one to leave. Rather than quitting, start spending some time looking
for alternative employment, particularly since the job market for
techwhirlers isn't so great nowadays and the job search will take time. In
the meantime, try to talk through the problem with your manager; sometimes
you can enlist the Personnel department as a mediator* and sometimes your
manager's manager can help**. Tread carefully, but don't let techwr-l be the
only people who ever hear of the problem.

* And sometimes the fact that Personnel rhymes with "hell" isn't a
coincidence. You should know which is the case at your workplace.
** And sometimes it simply creates bad blood between you two and does
nothing to resolve the problem. Tread carefully!

--Geoff Hart, geoff-h -at- mtl -dot- feric -dot- ca
Forest Engineering Research Institute of Canada
580 boul. St-Jean
Pointe-Claire, Que., H9R 3J9 Canada
"User's advocate" online monthly at
"By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is
noblest; second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third, by experience,
which is the bitterest."--Confucius, philosopher and teacher (c. 551-478

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