I love my job and in many respects it is perfect for me. I work at an educational institution 2 blocks from my home. Since I have a 5 year old who goes to school in the neighborhood too, this is really invaluable. I have general flexibility to leave and attend programs at his school during the day, am nearby if he gets sick, don't spend any time commuting. Although I wouldn't say my workplace is extremely accomodating to parents, there is enough flexibility that I am able to be available for these things as long as I don't push it. The salary is not fantastic, but the benefits (including retirement plan) are really, really good and I get 4 weeks of vacation plus Christmas break off. In short, I have what is almost a perfect situation for a full time working parent.
The problem is my boss. She is an incredibly demanding, yet totally disorganized individual. She is a TERRIBLE manager. She refuses to look at projects in production until they are virtually complete; then barrels in at the last minute with thousands of tiny changes that disrupt all the work that has been done up to that point - things she could easily have addressed if she spent 2 minutes answering a question from myself or another of my co workers earlier on in the process. She talks down to her employees as if they are incompetent. She has a vested interest in appearing to be overworked and stretched to the limit, so she creates chaos so she can have something to complain about.
If you can believe it, even with all of this going on I had always had a good relationship with her. I had a soft spot for her and we had a good rapport. But (and I really hate to say this because it is such a cliche) since her last child left for college in September she has become less than human. All her bad qualities multiplied by 1000, especially the nastiness and disorganization. It is now so bad in our office that every single employee, without exception, is extremely unhappy.
I know everyone can complain about their bosses and I've really tried to be dispassionate about it. I've even reasoned myself to a point where most of the time I don't take what she does personally. But the stress of managing her is exhausting and depressing me. I come home at night and snap at my husband and am short with my child. For various reasons it is not reasonable for me to leave my job right now, and I actually love 99% of my job responsibilities and what I do on a daily, weekly, monthly basis. I feel like people outside my department value my contributions. It's just my boss! HELPPPPPPPP!!
boy do I hear that one.. I have *three* bosses and they all have very different styles. One is super on the ball.. to the point where I have to scramble to keep up with him.. one is a micromanager.. and when things go wrong he goes into super panic mode (and it's usually his micromanaging that causes the problem) and one is organized "in her head" .. ah huh.. she looses paper like mad. I have a scanner and anything that crosses my desk gets scanned before I give it to her. She "friended" me on Facebook..er.. no I don't think so.
The thing I've found to be the best way to handle them is to accept that they will not change, expect that they will be consistant and work within their quirks. I don't get angry (much) anymore at their idiosyncratic behaviors and plan for them. I have learned to anticipate what will fall through the cracks, what will cause a kerfuffel and what will go smoothly..
Then I get to be the hero when I save the day because I *knew* that would happen.
Mmc, good for you, posting about a work situation which affects your state of mind for a good portion of your everyday life.
It seems to me that if you're NOT the boss, that most jobs have some sort of discomfort which is created by someone or something beyond your control.
I found the best thing I could do was focus on my own responsibilites and keep my rants to myself (it seems there is always someone who passes comments around.) Focusing on "yourself" is the one thing you have control over. I think the lunchtime walk is essential for keeping yourself on track.
I do think it's really important to leave all the troubles at your desk when you head home. I lived with my bro when I was in college. My SIL brought everything home and it was miserable. We heard about the same guy over and over and he never changed. Funny, the rest of us knew that but she was so emotionally charged she was unable to let go.
My yoga teacher really emphasizes finding the calm in a storm. BTW-I find it works at home, too.
I got my job and started Sept. 9th (my wedding anniversary) - 8 months to the day that I was laid off of my previous job. In my first 2 weeks, I had almost every single employee come to complain about my boss -they like her as a person but because she's disorganized and does the same thing as your boss (swoops in at the last minute with "ideas"), they hate working with her. She also seems to push work off on people. Now, after only 2 weeks, I didn't know this. Plus, I am not her EA. But now, it's become evident.
We bonded in that 2nd week because I told her I was overwhelmed, and why and this whole thing started and things have gotten better but then we had a disagreement and since then, it's been different. I am no longer looking forward to going into work and managing her.
Can you sit down and talk to her? My boss had NO CLUE she was giving off that air and now, while she still does it, she is better about how she asks for things....
Will that help or will she be open to that?
Plus, it doesn't hurt to look for a new job. The market is slight but if there is something out there and they bite, why not?
Mmckellen, I too work at an educational institute - where like yours, the benefits are amazing and there's a lot of flexibility. While there are "office politics" at every job, I have found that they're much more prevalent in higher education. However, I agree with some of the others, and that perhaps a sit-down with your boss and letting her know your expectations of your position and hers - to maybe draw some boundaries.
I'm fortunate enough that I have an incredible boss, but can sympathize with your having to manage the boss. There have been a few situations that I've been in that closely mirror yours, and the best thing to do is just to talk it out . . . perhaps have a mediator? Do you have a review coming up soon? These types of issues seem to come up in employment reviews . . .
I hope that this gets resolved, as the stress of thinking about it can wreak havoc on your peace of mind!
Thanks for all your suggestions and support. Unfortunately, talking to my boss is not an option. It used to be - we used to have a great rapport - but now she is neither open nor available to talk about issues. I am not the only one who has tried. And, I wish I could report her to the department head, but she is the department head. The only person above her is the Dean of the school who is even more unbalanced than my boss. You note I am not naming the institution I work for!
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