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Tips for Dealing with Unrealistic/Oblivious Boss(es)


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In June, I took a job with a  company that started out small, but which is in the process of growing rapidly. 

It's an exciting opportunity for me, career-wise. But I have had a lot of frustrations along the way. And I am not the only one. Since I've been hear, at least two people have quit out of sheer frustration from the way the owners are running things.

I know what they were going through because I was on the job with them when it was happening. Now, I am in a different position within the company and facing new frustrations.

The owners emphasize communication, but they themselves do not communicate and are inaccessible most of the time.

They do not make their expectations known until you have somehow violated them. Asking questions up front does not work. They either do not listen or they deflect with vague generalities.

They dump work on you without warning and expect you to accomplish it in an unreasonable amount of time. When you raise a concern, they tend to minimize it. But when the sht subsequently hits the fan, you are in trouble.

I talked to my boyfriend's parents about my concerns this summer. They've been business owners for 25 years, and they were like, "Why do you care about this?" And I really don't know why I care. I wish I could stop caring. I wish it didn't make me so mad. But it does. I get mad.

Any advice?

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Sorry you are going through this. I know how it feels to be with a company you care and work hard for but they ignore you every time you express or address your concerns/aspirations. I posted my work

I think you said the right thing. I would imagine you want them to expect quality work from you. And you are human, so you can only produce quality work when your workload is at or below a certain lev

I am just catching up here and I hope you have good news to report! I read all the instances and personalities and reflect on my own job and it's unfortunate misgivings as well. You are I ar

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I think you might care because work is a big part of your everyday life. And as much as people may say it's just work, it is a big bulk of time. So it makes complete sense (to me) you would care.

For what it's worth, I have a career I care about and I've had some success. And while on the whole, I enjoy my work.  I have had horrible bosses, similar to what you wrote.  And the way that I dealt with it was to continue doing my best, while quietly trying to move on.  It's easier to get a job, when you have a job. 

It's your life. You deserve to enjoy it but you're also responsible for every aspect. I would update my resume, start posting it. It takes time to find opportunities and for things to come together.  it's timing and luck just as much as qualifications and experience. 

The sooner you start the better. My current job, I got recruited and so that turn around time was like a week! They knew they wanted to hire me.  The job I had prior,  I applied and didn't hear back about it for almost a year! I actually forgot about and when the company called, I was like- wait you guys are still filing that! I ended up beating out over 200 candidates. Who would think a company would take that long and vet so many people. but that's what happened. 

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50 minutes ago, Jibralta said:

In June, I took a job with a  company that started out small, but which is in the process of growing rapidly. 

It's an exciting opportunity for me, career-wise. But I have had a lot of frustrations along the way. And I am not the only one. Since I've been hear, at least two people have quit out of sheer frustration from the way the owners are running things.

I know what they were going through because I was on the job with them when it was happening. Now, I am in a different position within the company and facing new frustrations.

The owners emphasize communication, but they themselves do not communicate and are inaccessible most of the time.

They do not make their expectations known until you have somehow violated them. Asking questions up front does not work. They either do not listen or they deflect with vague generalities.

They dump work on you without warning and expect you to accomplish it in an unreasonable amount of time. When you raise a concern, they tend to minimize it. But when the sht subsequently hits the fan, you are in trouble.

I talked to my boyfriend's parents about my concerns this summer. They've been business owners for 25 years, and they were like, "Why do you care about this?" And I really don't know why I care. I wish I could stop caring. I wish it didn't make me so mad. But it does. I get mad.

Any advice?

I think it’s great that you care as much as you do because it’s your livelihood and how you spend most of your day. You need to reprioritize your goals. Do you value money and perhaps long term growth over your happiness? It all depends on what you want and what you’re willing to put up with. 

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35 minutes ago, Lambert said:

And the way that I dealt with it was to continue doing my best, while quietly trying to move on.  It's easier to get a job, when you have a job. 

Funny you say that, because just this morning, I started looking! If I had my druthers, I'd prefer to slug it out for at least two years. But I got so mad this morning that the job hunt just felt good. Self-soothing 😂

37 minutes ago, Lambert said:

I would update my resume, start posting it.

I also updated my resume, lol! But I'm always doing that because my career requires it. 

You make a good point about submitting it now... This morning, I looked up the top firms in my industry and created a spreadsheet. Some of these are large companies with an arduous online application process.

Probably a good idea to get a jump on that. It does make me feel better.

Any ideas on how to cope with my bosses and deal with my frustrations if I decide not to leave?

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9 minutes ago, Thatengineerchick said:

I think it’s great that you care as much as you do because it’s your livelihood and how you spend most of your day. You need to reprioritize your goals. Do you value money and perhaps long term growth over your happiness? It all depends on what you want and what you’re willing to put up with. 

Thanks. 

Part of the problem is that my goals are in the order that I want them to be, and the level of responsibility that I have at this job is in alignment with my goals. If I can stick it out here for a couple of years, my resume will be awesome.

I'm definitely willing to put up with crap in order to accomplish what I want to accomplish. But maybe I can be more effective in making things easier for myself. I'm just sick of being frustrated.

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27 minutes ago, Jibralta said:

I'm definitely willing to put up with crap in order to accomplish what I want to accomplish. But maybe I can be more effective in making things easier for myself. I'm just sick of being frustrated.

I think a therapist that was really good, that you vented to weekly, could help you with this.  

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8 minutes ago, Jibralta said:

Arrrgh!

I saw that 🤪   Don't feel bad my posts kill me sometimes when I read them again!!!   I think the admins should give more time to edit our posts depending on the length of time we have been on this forum.  I know it won't happen but seeing my mistakes being unfixable is frustrating.

On to your thread topic.  So I have worked for the same place for over 30 years and throughout all those years I have had numerous bosses on 3 levels about me (I am the lowest boss) and I am a lot like you so at first it really bothered me how incompetent some were over the years.  When I had good ones it was blissful and having one knucklehead out of 3 in the chain was doable but when you have all 3 that don't know what they are doing it is unbearable.  Over the years I learned to size them up pretty quickly and simply worked around them. I let them think what they wanted and just got the job done well.  If they called me in to chastise me I wouldn't ague or explain myself to much or at all, I would simply let them think they were in charge and were really giving it to me.  They would feel better and I would let it slide off my back and go back to doing what I know.   My situation is almost assuredly different than yours but if you think about it this way it may help.  It is mind over matter, I didn't mind because they didn't matter.  Caring to much at work can hurt you emotionally, physically and relationship wise.  Be mindful of that as you get frustrated.  The passion you have for your work is a great asset and if they were smart they would tap into that passion instead of beating you down with stupid trivial complaints for things they probably don't completely understand. 

  Looking for a new job is a good idea.  It does two things: 1. It relieves some of the stress because you see options.  2. It allows you to see that at this moment this might be the place you need to be for right now.

  My situation has gotten to the point where I started looking into retirement.  I could stick it out here longer and they couldn't touch me but looking at retirement is like looking for possible new jobs and it opened my eyes.  I should have looked sooner because financially I am lucky enough to leave at any time and live very comfortably. 

  Where I work we have had an influx of people with degrees but no experience which cause the experienced people to leave out of frustration which brings in more inexperienced people.  This place is in trouble and if your work is starting to head in that direction get out before it gets so bad it hurts your soul. 

Play the game and stop trying to teach your boss how to do their jobs better because it won't work.  They just spout stuff they read about communication and open door policy but as you have found out the communication is one sided and the door may be open but you are not welcome inside.   

  Play the long game and ALWAYS put yourself and your family first.  Giving to much and expecting a reward I have found is a recipe for disappointment.  A good work environment is worth more than 15% more salary any day.   

 

Lost   

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2 hours ago, Jibralta said:

The owners emphasize communication, but they themselves do not communicate and are inaccessible most of the time.

They do not make their expectations known until you have somehow violated them. Asking questions up front does not work. They either do not listen or they deflect with vague generalities.

They dump work on you without warning and expect you to accomplish it in an unreasonable amount of time. When you raise a concern, they tend to minimize it. But when the sht subsequently hits the fan, you are in trouble.

This is every single entrepreneur. Very single one of them.  I'm not talking about mom & pop shops...I'm talking about corporations, big and small.  I think you just need to not take things personally, and whatever you do, remember, copy cats get ahead.  Mimic your bosses.  Soon enough, over time, you will find others underneath you to dump work on. It's the red tape of all things corporate.

This is why there's a thing called, "Happy Hour"

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I would check out the website askamanager I think it is - interesting feedback there too!  

Obvious question maybe but I wanted to make sure that you paper trail everything  - and with the vague responses I'd find a way to follow up on that -parrot what they wrote "So you want me to _______ by [this day] but you are not sure whether the final document should include ____ or only ___".  Please let me know, thank you.  I would not get defensive.  When you turn in a project, include a roadmap type e-mail describing what the project consists of and what it does not contain based on the prior communications -and reference them diplomatically "as you indicated/suggested, I included ____ but not ___ pending your review and comments".

I hear you on your passion for your work.  I do not think therapy would help in any way that would change anything.  I would look into good books on corporate communication, I would look into networking groups to both find a new position and perhaps share without revealing too much the challenges you face.  

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2 hours ago, maritalbliss86 said:

I think a therapist that was really good, that you vented to weekly, could help you with this.

I vent all the time in my journal. It's pretty helpful--especially since I can go back and see what I wrote at other points in time. It helps me to reassure myself that I'm not crazy!

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2 hours ago, lostandhurt said:

If they called me in to chastise me I wouldn't ague or explain myself to much or at all, I would simply let them think they were in charge and were really giving it to me.

This is the power that I desire! Where is it?! Why can't I stop fighting back?

2 hours ago, lostandhurt said:

Caring to much at work can hurt you emotionally, physically and relationship wise.  Be mindful of that as you get frustrated.

Absolutely.

I've been working from home, so I try to be especially mindful because my boyfriend's here too, and I don't want to take it out on him. I actually say to him, "Listen, I'm really pissed off, so give me a wide berth today." That basically means, ignore me. No hugs or kisses. Pretend I'm not here. And he's really good about it. But I feel bad for doing that, even though I'm not actually rejecting him.

There's this archaic phrase, "high dudgeon," which basically means "deeply offended" or "deeply resentful." My boyfriend has started calling me the Dudgeon Master and joking that I should wear a hat that indicates when I'm in high, medium, or low dudgeon.  😂😂

I've also learned to recognize when the stress affects me physically. I usually feel it in my stomach, a grinding feeling not unlike hunger. I'm not sure what do about that yet, because it's not a reaction that I can control

One thing I have to be very careful about is my reaction towards my bosses. I tend to favor the fight response over the flight response, and things can get ugly. I don't want to do or say anything stupid to the owner of the company. As annoyed as I am, I actually do want to work here. And I don't hate them. I'm just really frustrated.

2 hours ago, lostandhurt said:

Where I work we have had an influx of people with degrees but no experience which cause the experienced people to leave out of frustration which brings in more inexperienced people.  This place is in trouble and if your work is starting to head in that direction get out before it gets so bad it hurts your soul. 

This was the strategy at my last employer. It was a constantly revolving door. I was very unhappy there. 

There is a bit of a revolving door here as well, especially in the last department I worked in. When I talked to him about it, my boss's reaction was, "That's how surveyors are." I have to admit, I wasn't very happy to hear that because I experienced the bullsht the surveyors dealt with first hand. It was completely the boss's fault, and his comment told me that he will probably never learn that.

2 hours ago, lostandhurt said:

Play the game and stop trying to teach your boss how to do their jobs better because it won't work.

I'm working towards it. Wish I already knew how, though!

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1 hour ago, Wiseman2 said:

Ask for a raise. It's 6 mos and you're doing a lot more.

Yeah... I can. Part of me suspects that they complain so that they don't have to give raises--I don't want to find out lol!

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2 minutes ago, Jibralta said:

Yeah... I can. Part of me suspects that they complain so that they don't have to give raises--I don't want to find out lol!

Absolutely! Win-Win. You deserve it and it sends the message that you are well aware of the extra responsibilities/work foisted on you. Speak up!

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1 hour ago, tattoobunnie said:

This is every single entrepreneur. Very single one of them.  I'm not talking about mom & pop shops...I'm talking about corporations, big and small. 

It's really not, though. And I think that may be part of the problem I'm having. For 11 of the last 25 years, I worked for world-class managers who knew how to run a tight ship. No BS. Just fabulous, fabulous business management skill. I think that good life has made me very impatient with inefficiency and incompetence. 

It's also my natural disposition to prefer meticulousness and mastery. I don't mind when someone gets something wrong. But I hate when they deny it and try to pass the blame.

And when the owners won't be accountable, it infuriates me. Not exactly sure why that is. Just know it's a trigger point. I think it may make me feel a little unsafe.... maybe I do need therapy 😂

1 hour ago, tattoobunnie said:

I think you just need to not take things personally

I totally agree with you. And I really think this is my problem. I'm finding that very difficult not to take things personally. Somehow my career has merged with my identity. How do I separate it?

1 hour ago, tattoobunnie said:

copy cats get ahead.  Mimic your bosses.  Soon enough, over time, you will find others underneath you to dump work on.

The thought of mimicking my bosses makes me laugh--nothing would ever get off the ground!! But I know you're right.

I am able to delegate my work to others, which is good. The problem is, the others are not very experienced. So, I have to prime them on everything. By the time I am done with that, I almost could have done the job myself. HOWEVER. I do believe in the wisdom and power of teaching a man to fish. They will become more adept as time goes on, and I will have less on my plate. I hope.

1 hour ago, tattoobunnie said:

This is why there's a thing called, "Happy Hour"

Yes, but I'm on a diet 😭

Edited by Jibralta
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28 minutes ago, Batya33 said:

Obvious question maybe but I wanted to make sure that you paper trail everything  - and with the vague responses I'd find a way to follow up on that -parrot what they wrote "So you want me to _______ by [this day] but you are not sure whether the final document should include ____ or only ___".  Please let me know, thank you

31 minutes ago, Batya33 said:

When you turn in a project, include a roadmap type e-mail describing what the project consists of and what it does not contain based on the prior communications -and reference them diplomatically "as you indicated/suggested, I included ____ but not ___ pending your review and comments".

I do this. But there are several problems: 1) they often ignore emails/texts asking for clarifications altogether--I mean, it's astounding!, 2) one of them in particular--the main owner, Simon--minimizes every concern, and 3) ultimately it's not helpful to throw the bosses' errors back in their faces.

Last month, I tried several times to get Simon to recognize a concern that I had with the information we were presenting in a report, and said that we should really delay so that we could properly QC it. I texted him and called him because he completely ignores his emails. His response to both my text and my phone call was that this was just preliminary and to hold the deadline--which was unrealistic. 

Well, despite my concerns, he chose not to review the report and sent it into the township. They caught the errors and he was in the hot seat. He said to me that I should have communicated my concern to him. So, I read off my texts to him verbatim, and I read his dismissive replies to him. How do you think that went? Not great. He did not appreciate it. 

We had to do the whole report over. It took six times the amount of time that he thought it would take.

As my old (wonderful) boss used to say, "when someone takes a sht in the pool, we all have to swim in it." In my case, the owners are shtting in the pool. But they keep denying it.

30 minutes ago, Batya33 said:

I would not get defensive.

I really don't want to get defensive. I hate getting defensive. But it keeps happening. It's a sore nerve with me, I guess. I really do envy the people who aren't bothered by this the way that I am. I pray for patience like theirs!!!!

43 minutes ago, Batya33 said:

I do not think therapy would help in any way that would change anything

I don't either. I get a lot of venting out on my journal (as you have probably noticed). I've had my share of therapy, and I think it's very useful for certain things. But in this case, I think I get the same benefit by journaling. 

I will check out your other suggestions.

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Just now, Jibralta said:

world-class managers who knew how to run a tight ship.

I should clarify  - not the managers, you can always find great managers  - it's the dynamics from the top down of entrepreneurs.  You will always find this with budding companies, new blowing up companies who don't know how to navigate the rapid growth or growth in general.  

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4 minutes ago, Wiseman2 said:

Speak up!

I will. The timing's a little awkward though because of what I've been going through with them. I don't feel completely confident. 

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Just now, Jibralta said:

I will. The timing's a little awkward though because of what I've been going through with them. I don't feel completely confident. 

6 mos is often a time when people go off probation, etc so it's perfect timing. Start that as the lead-in. "Been her 6 mos , my responsibilities have grown with the company....."

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4 hours ago, Jibralta said:

Funny you say that, because just this morning, I started looking! If I had my druthers, I'd prefer to slug it out for at least two years. But I got so mad this morning that the job hunt just felt good. Self-soothing 😂

I also updated my resume, lol! But I'm always doing that because my career requires it. 

You make a good point about submitting it now... This morning, I looked up the top firms in my industry and created a spreadsheet. Some of these are large companies with an arduous online application process.

Probably a good idea to get a jump on that. It does make me feel better.

Any ideas on how to cope with my bosses and deal with my frustrations if I decide not to leave?

I agree! Its an arduous process but just looking feels good. you never know! just looking here and there, in your spare time, you might find a great fit! 

I think if you decide not to leave,you have to honor that decision. Meaning, when it gets tough, you remind yourself- I chose this because I want two years on my resume or whatever.  Then decide what are the things you enjoy about your job? And remind yourself of those things. 

All jobs have good and bad. Nothing is perfect or you'd do it for free. Find what motivates you. one horrible boss, I stuck with because I needed the job. I made a decent living, I had some seniority on the vacation schedule and the number of days I had... so that was enough to keep me going. I was fake nice to him and I sucked it up.

he was the worst!! even took me aside to let me know he didn't expect me to take an extra day off after my grandmother died. Meanwhile, I was one of her care givers and there was a lot happening to address after the funeral with hospital equipment that had to be returned... AND I had perfect attendance prior to this ONE DAY! Unforgivable in my eyes. But I got the last laugh... a new senior boss came in, got rid if him and I got his job. 

As for dealing with the bosses, try to separate yourself from their shortcomings. Remind yourself that just because they're bosses, doesn't mean you have to admire them. Yes you treat them with respect because they are bosses but you know they are morons! when they walk away, laugh to yourself at them and the ridiculous ways they act. That's what I did. 

Some bosses I learned how NOT to be when I became the boss.  Coping and dealing with difficult people are great life skills.  These are bosses, not people you'd pick to keep in your life. demote them in your mind to that. 

Lastly, I'd always keep in mind things don't last forever but if you stay professional and do the work, you will end up winning in the long run. hang in there!

Edited by Lambert
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Jibralta, this is a long shot and very difficult to do when we put our life into our work. Can you separate yourself emotionally from the bottomline or projects? 

I'm meaning accountability without the feelings of inadequacy or frustration. I'm wondering if there is a way to tackle each project or issue/person without attaching any emotion to the interaction and also ignoring any emotions from others regarding a given situation. This is hard to do if everyone around you is flinging blame around or aren't able to control themselves. It might also depend on your industry. 

 

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1 hour ago, Wiseman2 said:

Start that as the lead-in. "Been her 6 mos , my responsibilities have grown with the company....."

They've already started the lead-in. I've been procrastinating. Mainly because the expectations keep shifting. I can't make a good case until I figure out what they expect from me.

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38 minutes ago, Rose Mosse said:

Can you separate yourself emotionally from the bottomline or projects? 

I'm meaning accountability without the feelings of inadequacy or frustration. I'm wondering if there is a way to tackle each project or issue/person without attaching any emotion to the interaction and also ignoring any emotions from others regarding a given situation.

Yes, totally! I'm unattached to the projects, actually. I enjoy them, find them interesting and challenging, and that is it.

What's hard for me to deal with is the unfairness of some of the situations that have arisen out of circumstances that could have and should have been avoided. It really makes me angry to get pinned for a problem I didn't cause, especially when I did everything I could do to avoid it. That's what I have trouble with, the anger. 

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