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How to Survive a Bad Boss 148

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the stainless-steel-pants-to-cya dept.
Lam1969 writes "Computerworld has a three-page spread on how to deal with bad bosses. A common type is "the overgrown technologist who gets rewarded for brilliant technical work by being promoted to a position for which he's not qualified." Another type reported by a reader is the boss who's in over their head. The article says some bosses can be "fixed," but at other times it's better to hunker down or cover your ass so the bad boss can find other targets."
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How to Survive a Bad Boss

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  • In Summary (Score:4, Insightful)

    by biocute (936687) on Monday January 23, 2006 @04:00PM (#14542304) Homepage
    The article seems to imply that most bosses don't change, yet it's suggesting workers to change job.

    I believe a common scenario is some people have bad boss, and they just live with it and see who retires first.
    • Re:In Summary (Score:4, Interesting)

      by ePhil_One (634771) on Monday January 23, 2006 @04:07PM (#14542378) Journal
      The article seems to imply that most bosses don't change, yet it's suggesting workers to change job.

      The article seems to focus on the "overgrown technologist", seems he's the kind of boss that will go away in 6 months to a year and be happier for it; a better article would be how to deal with an abusive boss that upper management likes. They are often blind to the negative impact a boss like this can have on an organization.

      • Re:In Summary (Score:3, Interesting)

        by creimer (824291)
        They are often blind to the negative impact a boss like this can have on an organization.

        Absolutely true. I left a company that I worked for after six years because the new boss insisted on doing things his way or everyone can take the highway. (Not that his way was any better than the normal way.) Upper management loved him since he got the numbers in no matter how many people he stepped on in the process. I was the third person out of a dozen senior staff members who left during the first year of the n
        • Re:In Summary (Score:3, Insightful)

          by misleb (129952)
          I hate to be the one to suggest it, but perhaps you were more "senior" than "talent." I mean, if he was getting the numbers, maybe he was doing something right. Unless, of course. he was simply pushing you too hard and causing people to burn out. I'm not sure what you meant by "stepped on."

          -matthew
          • Who says this managers actions had anything to do with the team being successful? It is a possibility that his underlings were getting things done in spite of his actions.
          • Re:In Summary (Score:3, Interesting)

            by creimer (824291)
            I'm not sure what you meant by "stepped on."

            When I left the company, I had worked 12-hour days for 28 days straight because my boss demanded it. Never mind that the company policy say that I should only work six days a week and HR was looking the other way when I complained about the situation. That's being "stepped on" while getting the numbers.
            • A boss can't demand anything outside the contract! If he wants me to work overhours, especially for such a long timespan, he'll have to ask (no need to mention that the hours have to be paid or otherwise compensated). A try to demand such things instead of asking for it would make it very unlikely that I agree to do it.

              • When you have a boss who's pushing the legal boundaries of acceptable work behavior, and a HR department that's looking the other way, your choices are pretty narrow: bear with it, try to document it as part of a legal compliant, or move on.

                Don't forget that this is the video game industry where there are tons of high school graduates who would die for the opportunity to get paid to "play" video games 12 hours/7 days a week. Besides, I was a marked man anyway. I was in my 30's, had a personal life and I
                • When you have a boss who's pushing the legal boundaries of acceptable work behavior, and a HR department that's looking the other way, your choices are pretty narrow: bear with it, try to document it as part of a legal compliant, or move on.

                  What about simply not doing what is not acceptable?
                  • What about simply not doing what is not acceptable?

                    Oh, you mean being fired for insubordination? I decided to leave after I got a warning for insubordination over a trivial issue. As my boss told me, his way or the highway. After being there for six years, I didn't need to take this crap.
                    • Oh, you mean being fired for insubordination?

                      You can't be fired for refusing to do something that is not covered by your contract.

                      Sure, it is my job to do the work that I'm assigned to do, as it is specified in the contract. But it's also part of the job of your boss not to assign more work to you than can be done in the regular hours, at least not steadily. In Germany, this is even covered by law (duty of care).

                    • In California, it's called "Mandatory Overtime". If a company declares "mandatory overtime", everyone has to toe the line or else get a job at Taco Bell down the street. Sorry, sometime life just sucks in the worker's paradise.
  • RE Bad Boss (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Alex P Keaton in da (882660) on Monday January 23, 2006 @04:02PM (#14542331) Homepage
    A main problem I have seen with hiring from within is that many people who are VERY good at their jobs and have a lot of skills have no management skills.
    Like it or not you can be the best (fill in the blank: engineer, developer etc) and still be an awful manager...
    On a related note, in one of my first jobs, I was yelled at for not stapling reports with the staple at a 45 degree angle to the side of the sheets.
    • Re:RE Bad Boss (Score:4, Interesting)

      by sconeu (64226) on Monday January 23, 2006 @05:23PM (#14543136) Homepage Journal
      I was asked by my boss (company owner) if I could take over a management (actually just a group lead) position, that would entail scheduling and other management functions in addition to my technical work.

      I told him that if he really wanted me to, I'd do it, and do my best at it, but that it would most likely be a "disaster of biblical proportions". Yes, I actually used that exact phrase. I told him that I'm well aware of my limitations, and that it would be a good idea for someone else to take the position. Luckily for me and for him, he listened to me then.
      • Re:RE Bad Boss (Score:3, Insightful)

        by KermodeBear (738243)
        Every month or so, my managers ask me if I would be interested in a Team Lead position as well, and every time I turn it down. The reason they want me to lead a group of programmers on projects? Because I'm good at writing code.

        What they fail to see is what I see every day: I do not work well with others. I hate being interrupted with phone calls, emails, people dropping by, and I don't like being responsible for what other people do. I generally don't like people at all, to tell you the truth. They're anno
        • I wish smart folk (who are good at work) would take up the gauntlet and enter management. Who better to make a hard decision than someone who knows the stuff? Otherwise, it's a droid who will take the "safe" or "politically expedient" solution, neither of which are the "technically correct" solution. Yeah, you have to deal with people, but it's better than dealing with your tech-illiterate boss when he stumbles into your office and gives you stupid work goals.
          • Re:RE Bad Boss (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Grishnakh (216268)
            So you want to put introverted people who hate dealing with other people in charge? What kind of sense does that make?

            If you want to hire a manager, get someone who has a management degree. There's whole colleges for exactly that, where they teach people how to be managers. Sure, they're not technically competent, but a good manager doesn't need to be since he won't be doing any technical work; he can learn what he needs on the job from his technical employees, and defer to them whenever there's a questi
        • I hate being interrupted with phone calls, emails, people dropping by, and I don't like being responsible for what other people do.

          What programmer likes being interrupted? None of them. But with you for a manager, at least I'd have a sympathetic ear towards non-random meeting schedule times and perhaps an office environment that minimized interruptions. Do you know what kind of loyalty you could get out of your coding team by simply understanding the work they do, how they do it, and what would make their

      • A friend and I are of the opinion that should either of us attain a management position in a company, we must immediately strive to hire the other - not because we're capable of good management. Quite the opposite. We figure at that point, the company is totally doomed, but it will be an awesome, Aero-chair filled ride down to the bottom.
    • On a related note, in one of my first jobs, I was yelled at for not stapling reports with the staple at a 45 degree angle to the side of the sheets.

      Also, we're putting cover sheets on our TPS reports now. Did you not see the memo? I'm going to go ahead and get you another copy of that memo.

    • Re:RE Bad Boss (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Mateito (746185)
      A main problem I have seen with hiring from within is that many people who are VERY good at their jobs and have a lot of skills have no management skills.

      Spot on. People who want to be good managers will be good managers, and as we all know, there is a severe shortage of good managers in IT.

      Management can be learnt. Sure, some personalities are more suited to it than others, and some people have a more natural flair for management, but in the end, its a set of skills. The biggest point is "do you want t

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 23, 2006 @04:04PM (#14542348)

    ...but unfortunately, in my experience, it's the small businesses that have the worst bosses, and in that case, there's no getting away from them because they own the company and the number of alternative targets for them is limited.

    It's all very well saying "focus on the work", but the whole problem with bad bosses is they won't let you do that, whether it's by micromanaging you, constantly interrupting you, forcing you to change technical decisions, or just plain giving you the wrong work to do. I'd rather have a boss call me names every lunch break than a boss who seems friendly but fucks things up when I'm trying to work.

    • by zx75 (304335) on Monday January 23, 2006 @04:29PM (#14542592) Homepage
      ...in my experience, I've only ever had trouble with bosses in large companies. Be it absentee bosses who would rather leave you to your own devices without any sort of direction, or micromanagers who prefer to "drop-by" 20 times a day.

      Generally at small companies you can be on much better terms with everyone, be friendly with everyone you work with and you can resolve issues instead of ignoring them or hiding from them like this article suggests. I've worked for a number of small companies, and have been fortunate that each of them has been a wonderful experience, and the people I worked with have all been team-focused and aware that if a team isn't working well together, that's going to be a great hinderance to the success of the business.

      On the other hand, there's always a feeling of inertia around large companies. That your co-workers are just the people you run into at work and shouldn't be anything else. A bad boss can get away with how they are because they only worry about how their superiors see them, and then could always fire you on a whim if they wanted should they feel threatened.
      • So long as the small company isn't family owned.

        There is no boss worse than the boss's kid, if s/he hasn't been brought up through the ranks properly. I've experienced this (straight to V.P. 6 months after finishing college), and it's by far been the worst boss to work for. The company owner was an amazing boss, but his children just didn't seem to have a hot clue about anything. You can't just plop someone in a desk with the attitude of "I'll own this someday, so everyone should listen to me".

        I was in this
      • by swillden (191260) <shawn-ds@willden.org> on Monday January 23, 2006 @06:05PM (#14543575) Homepage Journal

        Generally at small companies you can be on much better terms with everyone, be friendly with everyone you work with and you can resolve issues instead of ignoring them or hiding from them like this article suggests.

        Keep in mind, though, that this is only true if your boss is a reasonably rational person. Small companies are owned and dominated by entrepreneurs, who are often eccentric enough that true nutjobs can fairly easily hide within their ranks. I've worked for some doozies.

        Lessee, I worked for one guy who never worried about the flaws in his business plan (which, granted, were not obvious to the casual observer) because he'd had a vision from God that told him his company must succeed because he was doing God's work. He was smart enough to keep his mouth shut about this claim, but when one of my coworkers found some papers describing his vision, many things made a great deal more sense to us. I wonder if God also told him to buy his daughter a new car with the month's payroll budget (all of it!)...

        Another guy I worked for suckered a normally shrewd businessman (David Neeleman, CEO and founder of Jet Blue) into starting an Internet business back in the mid 90's. Each of them put up $500K... but after a few months Neeleman realized that his supposed partner was penniless, and he had blown most of Neeleman's $500K on extremely expensive hardware. Not only did the nutjob (and he was CRAZY) extort some more cash out of Neeleman to make him go away... shortly afterward the office building BURNED TO THE GROUND, with all of that expensive hardware inside -- except that investigators could find no remains of the hardware. Everyone knew what must have happened, but there was no proof. I personally looked through the remains of my office and found what was obviously the case of the ~$2K PC, but no remnants at all of the ~$15K SGI workstation that had been sitting right next to it.

        I had another boss who was basically a good guy, but was just unable to handle the stress when his business didn't go well. Since he'd put everything he had into it, he got very, very stressed out when it looked like it was going to fail, and he took it out on everyone who wasn't working more than he was (and he was only sleeping like four hours per night).

        I've also worked for some really great small-company bosses. My experience with small companies is that, on average, they're no better and no worse than big companies. But the standard deviation is much, much larger.

      • A friend, who I worked with in a small company, moved to a large company and then told me:
        The only difference between a large company and a small company is that in a large company you don't know who it is that's screwing you.
    • Works for large companies... ...but unfortunately, in my experience, it's the small businesses that have the worst bosses

      Personally, I've only had three real corporate experiences myself:
      1) A small company where all of management was rotten.
      2) A small company where all of management was wonderful.
      3) A large company where a few managers are great but most are rotten.

      In my experience (and based on my friends' tales), in a small business you either get all horrible managers or mostly great managers. There'
  • by `Sean (15328) <sean@ubuntu.com> on Monday January 23, 2006 @04:10PM (#14542407) Homepage Journal

    My father used to be a Dale Carnegie Course [amazon.com] instructor and always talks about workers getting promoted to their level of incompetence. The basic theory in a huge unchecked corporate environment is that when a worker starts doing their job too well they get promoted as a reward for their hard work. When they learn their new job and start doing that job too well they get promoted again. Eventually they get promoted to just above their incompetence level and spend the rest of their lives floundering as a middle manager getting made fun of by their subordinates.

  • A bad boss... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BigZaphod (12942) on Monday January 23, 2006 @04:17PM (#14542477) Homepage
    I think the best way to survive a bad boss is to get a new job. Life seems too short to spend it under the thumb of an incompetent ruler - that is, assuming you care about getting stuff done and being productive.
    • I tend not to agree.

      As a contractor (I'm fulltime now) I had all sorts of bad bosses. One in particular used to pick on anyone who disagreed with him, and try to rally the rest of the team on his side and against said employee. It got to the point where the disagreer wasn't invited to the group lunches, and just made very uncomfortable.

      This guy would rather ruin someones career as well, rather than fire or transfer them out. At one point, I was the target, even though I'd seen the cause/result relat
  • Easy (Score:3, Funny)

    by squoozer (730327) on Monday January 23, 2006 @04:19PM (#14542494)

    Just don't go to work. That's what I did when I had a bad boss. He was so bad I went about a year turning up only once in a while when I felt like it. Eventually I left and did something else - I don't think he ever found out. He was well on the road to a caffine + stress induced heart attack so it was probably best that I just kept out the way.

  • by macdaddy (38372) on Monday January 23, 2006 @04:22PM (#14542513) Homepage Journal
    Quit. Seriously. The answer is to quit. A bad boss makes for a horrible working environment. Horrible working environments are detrimental to your health. Your working environment will affect your mental health and that's not somethin you can leave at the office when you go home at not. Your home and love life will suffer just as much as your health. Take it from me; I've been there.

    Just last week I was diagnosed with two partially-healed ulcers. A stomach problem over the holidays (read: bleeding) prompted me to go to the doctor. I'd been putting it off for 2 years after parting ways with a particularly nasty job that had an overabundance of office politics. My working life since then has been peaches and cream compared to what it was back then. I now have the best job I've ever had. Yet I still have two ulcers that have not yet healed themselves.

    Bad bosses cause bad working environments. You do not want to be around either. Move up or move out. It's that simple. The job market is better than you think.

    • Bad bosses cause bad working environments. You do not want to be around either. Move up or move out. It's that simple. The job market is better than you think.

      Amen to that. Another thing to consider though is if you're putting in 60-80 hours a week at a job that you hate, quitting and taking a new job may provide you with quite a bit of free time that you probably never knew you had as well.

    • Linin' Large! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Saeed al-Sahaf (665390) on Monday January 23, 2006 @05:38PM (#14543282) Homepage
      Quit. Seriously. The answer is to quit.

      Yes, of course, because we're all foot-lose and fancy-free, we all work because if we didn't we'd all just sleep all day, and jobs just come along! But seriously, for the vast majority of people out there, this is not really a realistic option. Usually, personal situations like family with children prevent it, but there could be many other things. Economically, most people today live a few paychecks away from living on the street, and might as well be indentured servants. This is why it simply is not uncommon for people in our society to snap and kill a few people on the way out the door. Bad bosses should not be the problem of the worked bee; it should be management's problem, that's why the "professionals" in Human Resources make the big bucks, right?

      • I know most people live this way, but why do so many put themselves in a situation where they can't quit? Don't tell me they don't have a choice. They most certainly do. I've had bosses who encouraged their underlings to turn themselves into financially dependent indentured servants, and been the target of harassment because I would not do that to myself. Been called a "flight risk". Wasn't any of their business how big my car and house payments were not.

        You who can't quit and who let that fact sli

        • People like to buy big things that they cant afford. Usually these things are cars and houses. They get big loans in one form or another, that basically lock them into working continuously for years. I don't do this, and I have a fairly sizable amount of money put away such that I could quit and not have to work for a year or two. This does mean I don't have as shiny of a car as my coworkers, but the ability to just walk out the door at any moment is worth far more.
        • You are so very right! My father is a financial moron (case in point: he used his expense account check, meant to pay off his ~19% credit card bill, to pay off his ~8% car loan). I have learned many things from his exquisitely bad examples, and this is one of the major ones. My wife and I have a paid off house (last payment was made on my 27th birthday), all of our cars are paid off, credit cards are paid in full at the end of every month.

          Sure, we could "afford" the huge house, BMW, boat, hot tub, vacatio

          • If you cannot resist the siren call of easy credit, chop up and burn your credit cards.

            It's better, though, to use credit responsibly, so you can buy the house of your dreams some day. Real estate (the only true wealth, which is why it's "real", get it?) is going to require credit history for most of us. So, follow this easy rule:

            If any of your credit cards is carrying a balance (that is, if any card is not PAID IN FULL at the end of the month) do not use credit for any reason. If you are starving you sh
      • by neo (4625)
        But seriously, for the vast majority of people out there, this is not really a realistic option.

        Quote from www.QuitYourJobDay.com:

        The prevailing view is that you need a job to survive and that you need the job more than the employer needs you. What most people don't know, and those who profit from your skill and effort certainly don't want you to hear, is that your employer needs you to survive as well.

        Do you really think there are less jobs than there are people? Do you really think you can't quit? Right
      • I know lawyers who made >$400,000 a year but had no time for their kids because of their hours and were stressed out all the time from the stress. They were cranky and mean to their family because of the pressure. They took a huge paycut (to around $150,000) and were perfectly happy. Money is, to some extent, overrated. Especially if you have to use your life--and those valuable in your life--to earn it.
      • Balls, NO.

        The answer is to quit once you've landed another job and explain why you're leaving in your exit interview.

        Attempting to fix the dick above you is a worthless, thankless, soul-raping task and no-one with an ounce of sense will do it.

        I tried it once... draw your own conclusions.

        Justin.

        • The answer is to quit once you've landed another job and explain why you're leaving in your exit interview.

          I agrre to a point. When it's time to go, if they don't understand why you are leaving, why WASTE any of your time tellijng them all about it? Realistically, they know what's up and don't think it's an issue, and if it's a problem it's YOUR problem. That's why they allow it to exist. Fuck 'em. Get a new job, walk out the door, and never look back. Toss a lit match on the floor as you leave.

          • Toss a lit match on the floor as you leave.

            I like your style... however I will be citing you in the case for the defence ;-)

            Justin.

    • Stress and bad bosses don't cause ulcers. As this year's Nobel Prize for Medicine emphasized, ulcers are caused by a bacterial infection, and can be cured easily with antibiotics. You need a better doctor, preferably one that keeps up with recent medical advancements.

      One reason why people endure bad bosses: switching jobs can cause loss of benefits like health insurance. Many people are encountering "job lock," a reluctance to change jobs for fear of losing their current health insurance. I've been there.
      • Stress lowers the immune system, making you more susceptible to the bacterial infection.
      • You are wrong. The majority of ulcers outside the US are caused by H. Pylori bacteria. A good percentage in the US also are caused by it, but it's definitely not the only reason.

        Stress increases the amount of acid in your stomach, and people whose stomachs do not produce a thick enough layer of protective mucus can be damaged by it. Damaged areas produce nearly no protective mucus, and it's a downward spiral once the damage is done. This is why it takes so long for them to heal.

        I also have an ulcer from
      • I take it that you've never had a stressful job or ulcers. Get the first sometime and I assure that the second with quickly follow.
    • Interesting anecdote... but ulcers are not caused by stress. Two weeks of antibotics should set you right as rain, thanks to Dr. Marshal and Dr. Warren [bbc.co.uk].

      When Australian researcher Barry Marshall, MBBS, first suggested in the early 1980s that stomach ulcers were caused by the bacteria Helicobacter pylori, he was nearly laughed off the stage at an international infectious disease conference. But 20 years later, H pylori is acknowledged as the chief cause of peptic ulcers, and antibiotics are their preferred tr
    • by nathanh (1214)

      Quit. Seriously. The answer is to quit. A bad boss makes for a horrible working environment. Horrible working environments are detrimental to your health. Your working environment will affect your mental health and that's not somethin you can leave at the office when you go home at not. Your home and love life will suffer just as much as your health. Take it from me; I've been there.

      Just last week I was diagnosed with two partially-healed ulcers.

      Stress does not cause ulcers. That's one of those pers

    • by dbIII (701233)
      Just last week I was diagnosed with two partially-healed ulcers ... I now have the best job I've ever had. Yet I still have two ulcers
      Now if someone were to find out that ulcers were not caused by stress but by bacteria and worked out how to fix them easily you'd think there would be a Nobel prize in it and it would get in all of the media (as it did). Stressful jobs are a pain - but you can't blame them for unrelated illness.
  • BOFH (Score:3, Funny)

    by i.r.id10t (595143) on Monday January 23, 2006 @04:25PM (#14542550)
    Some quicklime and a construction dumpster... or perhaps a elevator thats in need of fixing... or a air tight tape safe...
  • by Tibor the Hun (143056) on Monday January 23, 2006 @04:27PM (#14542575)
    But are you planning to use poison, a cold weapon, a firearm, or an explosive device?
  • by Hatta (162192)
    Quit.
    • You left out a few steps. This is slashdot
      1. Quit
      2. Take them to the local labour relations board
      3. PROFIT!

      Also, when you do, tell them what you really think of them. Its cheaper than therapy.

  • Apt Aphorism (Score:2, Insightful)

    by MBCook (132727)
    "Everyone gets promoted to the level of their incompetence."

    -- Lawrence Peters

  • by yagu (721525) * <yayagu.gmail@com> on Monday January 23, 2006 @04:32PM (#14542620) Journal

    The problem with "bosses" is they come from the same base as everyone else. My experience has been and continues to be, for any discipline, less than 5% or so of players in that discipline truly know how and what they're doing.

    That leaves the temperament and maturity of a "boss" as the essence with which you must deal. I had always been pretty lucky with managers and had good working relations with all but the last -- who turned out to be a little Nazi... He cared more about his image, and less about the work his team produced. He cultivated an "always busy" look for his group, but they produced far less with far less quality than other groups around us.

    I constantly took him and the team to task for their hubris, and faux work facade, and became unpopular with Mr. Boss.

    I rolled the dice at a bad time, it was at the same time IT decided to lay off 20% of the work force, and I had curried no favors to better my chances with this goonie. I don't know had I been a kiss-ass with him I would have fared better, but I was part of the 20% (after a illustrious 21 years with this company) let go.

    Bottom line: in today's world, there isn't much you can do if you want to stand on priniciple -- unless you're lucky enough to have landed a great boss who knows what he or she is doing -- there aren't many of them. It's a shame and a crime when the truth, as stated in the article, is:

    some bosses can be "fixed," but at other times it's better to hunker down or cover your ass so the bad boss can find other targets
    It's probably one reason so many things are fucked today -- it's probably one of the reasons things like DRM even manages to get any traction -- it's probably why half the decisions being made are done so because of money under the table.
  • This is my story (Score:3, Informative)

    by MikeDawg (721537) on Monday January 23, 2006 @04:35PM (#14542652) Homepage Journal
    Here is my story: Ask Slashdot article [slashdot.org]
    • I would give you the benefit of the doubt and call you a 'victim' of this behavior without knowing the details. In other words, what follows surely does not apply to you, personally. I want to make sure you, MikeDawg, understand I'm not criticizing you personally AT ALL. 'K?

      I've heard of this before. One of my Novell instructors (3.1, what? 20 years ago?) told us a story of a sysadmin who explored around his bank's files and discovered what everyone was paid. He broadcast this, was chastized for it, but the
      • He immediately went back to the computer room and attempted to login. The implication was that he was about to 'do some harm.'

        Or archive off his porn stash; personal emails, resume; etc. I took a couple of weeks after I'd been offered a better job to put my affairs in order before I walked out. I spent most of my time finishing jobs that could be finished, putting files in order and generally clearing my desk (my boss might have become suspicious at how neat things became if he ever paid any notice to m

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 23, 2006 @04:50PM (#14542792)
    That's right, I said it.

    Technically, I'm gifted. I can analyse a situation and come up with a solution almost immediately, often without a full grasp of how I arrived at the answer. That is where the problem lies. I don't have the patience to explain things to people, and I get frustrated when they don't "get it" as quickly as I do.

    I don't want to be the boss, but my bosses keep trying to put people under me. Just let me work, pay me, and I'll make sure your network is safe and secure, and runs 24/7. Just don't give me direct reports. It just makes them miserable, and me a nervous wreck. Don't blame me when they quit six months from now because I'm a bad boss, because I told you up front that I was.

    Quit trying to promote me. I know you want to retain me, but why not just remove the arbitrary salary caps per job classification and give me the salary I deserve without having to tie it to "management". Keeping the auditors happy is justification enough for the 10% raise you gave me this year. Sarbanes Oxley and GBLA is a bitch, and I manage the IT side of it for you. You've never once had a bad audit. Isn't that alone worth paying me what it takes to keep me without saddling me with arbitrating personality conflicts, managing vacation schedules, keeping track of overtime, and all the other petty bullshit that goes along with having "underlings"?

    Don't you get it?
    • by lgw (121541) on Monday January 23, 2006 @05:08PM (#14542977) Journal
      Many companies have a "technical career track" for just this reason. I have the same paygrade as a senior manager, yet I'm an individual contributor. My career track potentially extends all the way to "Fellow", with the same pay grade as a senior VP. While it's unlikely I'll make it that far in my career, it's still far more likely than becoming an actual VP on a management track, so I can't complain.

      If your technical skills are that good, find a company that knows what to do with them.
      • Name of company plz
        • I prefer to remain anonymous on slashdot, for reasons that should be obvious, but almost every large and established engineering company has a technical career path for non-contractors. For computer-related companies, HP, IBM, Dell, etc all do this, as do many software companies that have been around long enough. For "real engineering" companies this is also common, but they tend to look down on computer-related engineering.

          Beyond a certain point, promotion within a technical career track is usually based
    • by Kevin Stevens (227724) <kevstev@g m a il.com> on Monday January 23, 2006 @05:23PM (#14543142)
      This seems to be a very common problem in technical departments of non-technical companies. Getting into management is the only way up the ladder, and there are no ways to make a comfortable salary without managing people or projects. If you are techie you are deemed less valuable than a manager. This problem was first* outlined in the Mythical Man Month by Fred Brooks in the mid 1970's folks! Yet managers still don't get it. My manager doesn't get it. I have a coworker that is awesome technically that is experiencing the same problem. He has asked to take on an architect type role in the team, and my manager has told him repeatedly that being a developer is a dead-end. He was even penalized in his last review for it and labeled as "uncooperative to management" because of it.

      I think this mindset is caused by the fact that the people in charge- aka the management- did not see spending their life dealing directly with technology as rewarding and fulfilling and from their first day on the job had an eye on the corner office. Technology companies have a better understanding of technologists and accordingly have much better promotion paths for those not wanting to manage people.

      *Well maybe only first in the sense that the Model-T was the first car, but close enough.
    • by sakusha (441986)
      There is a philosophy amongst some of the more enlightened companies that the best bosses and managers are the people who are most reluctant to become managers. You sound like a perfect example. You have shown competence in your job, and know enough about management to know how difficult it is, and you are reluctant to take on these serious responsibilities. But that is what makes you the perfect candidate. You can become a good boss by cultivating the qualities you desire in your employees and in yourself.
    • This kind of shit bugs me.

      It's like anything - learn it. Learn how to do it well. And stop complaining.

      Tech-heads complain because people can't figure how to program a VCR. And quite rightly - it's a piece of piss. But non-techs decide in advance: "I can't do this", when all they really need to think is: "Ok, this device has been designed to make it easy to achieve common functions. Look at the buttons, interpret the symbols, keep trying untill you figure it out..."

      It's the same with management, just do it.
      • It's like anything - learn it. Learn how to do it well. And stop complaining... It's the same with management, just do it. And do it well. If you're as bright as you claim, then you can be a great manager.

        I'm sorry, but that's a load of bollocks.

        Have you ever heard of "talent"? Some people are naturally good at some things and naturally bad at others. Different people have different talents.

        If you are tone deaf, no amount of practice will ever make a worthwhile violinist out of you, because you
      • Program vcr -> read manual.

        While there are manuals for managing people, none of them can really help you get over the fact that you just may not know how to work with people well. IT peoples aren't exactly known for their great socializing skills. I know I could do it, but I also know several people in the industry that would not make good managers. They are very introverted, and don't like talking to people. While they could go through the motions, that doesn't mean they would be very good at it.

        I f
      • I would disagree. I'm like the parent in that I get frustrated with other people too quickly. It's weird in that nothing else can make me angry, but when someone is trying to understand but can't, I get so frustrated (at myself as much as them).

        Maybe I need a frustration-management self help course :)
      • If you're as bright as you claim, then you can be a great manager.

        or bankrobber, embezeller or poodle torturer.

        Just because you have the ability to do something doesn't mean that you want to, nor that you should.

        He may very well make a good manager, but that doesn't mean that he has any compulsion to move his career in that path.

    • Thankyou for your honesty. I know plenty of IT people in your situation. I throw blunt objects at them frequently. Some advice.

      People are reasonably easy to understand. Just provide them with the tools they need to do their job and a direction to follow. Then check in on them from time to time to make sure they are heading where you want them to. This is the hard part. TRUST THEM. Yes, every now and again they will stuff up, but give them space to do that and then the encouragement to have another g
  • by AeiwiMaster (20560) on Monday January 23, 2006 @04:53PM (#14542813)
    Thats how a top-down organization works by
    promoting people to there highest level of incompetents !

    As long as they do a good job they get promoted
    and then they get stock in a position where they don't do well.

    The way to solve this is to use a bottom-up organization and make every employee
    stock holders.

    In at bottom-up organization the project group chose there own project manager.
    The project manager chose a department manager and etc. to the top.

    But every member can challenges his manager for his position,
    and then the group vote between the 2 candidates.

    It is all described in detail on
    http://www.thenewagesite.com/jjdewey/molecular/bus iness1.php [thenewagesite.com]
    • I am glad to see this rated as Interesting as I think it is an interesting approach.

      One thing that I have always wondered about this would be whether it would reduce or increase the level of politics in an organisation. The parallels between this and a modern 'democratic' voting societies appear fairly close.

      Eg, if I want to be that project manager, I start to curry favours with other project members. Maybe I start offering concessions, or institute policies that benefit those members. Maybe it's a flat out
      • To a certain degree, I concur. I feel the reason why most democratic governments grow corrupt is mostly due to their size, rather than the structure. In a corporation I feel this would be true as well. So, for small corporations ( 200 ish ) I figure this scheme could work well. Larger sized things would probably be less effective.
  • by cpt kangarooski (3773) on Monday January 23, 2006 @05:37PM (#14543271) Homepage
    No matter how big, or bad the boss is, there's invariably some weakness you can exploit, and some way you can defeat them and move on. Maybe you should talk with other people in the area, to see if they can give you any helpful advice. Maybe your strategy for dealing with the boss is suboptimal: If a boss tends to concentrate on what's right in front of him, maybe you should go behind his back, and generally avoid him, or at least keep your head down and don't get noticed. Or you could watch for patterns in what he does, and take advantage of that. Don't confront a boss unprepared; make sure you've got the things you'll need when dealing with him, and if possible, some extra lives. And if there's just absolutely no other option, you can check a walkthrough.

    Remember that you're smarter than he is, and that only by persevering can you defeat all the bosses and rescue the princess, or whatever. But if you quit playing, then he's won.
    • by mswope (242988)
      Nah. Make sure you do your best and if your best isn't what's needed, go elsewhere. You can keep trying, but after a while that foolish feeling inside you is your subconscious trying to tell you to get real. "Remember that you're smarter than he is, and that only by persevering can you defeat all the bosses and rescue the princess, or whatever. But if you quit playing, then he's won." If you don't realize that there's a bigger game called "your life" outside your boss's world, you've already lost.
  • She was opinionated (wrongly so), two faced (She tried to hide she hated you, but made it obvious she was faking it), and quite frankly didn't really seem to do as much as one might think. I was lucky enough to have a supervisor though that knew what he was doing, so I didn't have to deal with her often. Although it always seems like other people aren't doing anything if you don't see them working, I'm pretty sure she offloaded a lot of work to the supervisor (her subordinate) that she was supposed to do.
  • If you have a bad boss, yes, it's a pain, but you can manage up as well as manage down.

    Suggest in a question what you think needs to be done and in a way that helps the "bad" boss see what the right path is without denigrating him/her. "Hey, I was wondering if you thought using a temp to do this work over here might free up atar performer alpha to do the harder work instead of this grunt work? I'm probably missing something but I don't see the downside. What do you think?"

    Nah, better to be a "bad e
  • by MvdB (260047) on Monday January 23, 2006 @07:10PM (#14544112)
    When people quit a company, I think that in about 80% of the cases people leave their boss. In how far the boss is a product of the company remains open to question.

"A great many people think they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices." -- William James

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