b Self-Helpless: True Tales of a Working Girl: Guerilla Warfare in the Office

12/27/2005

 

Guerilla Warfare in the Office

I get a real kick out of reading some of the business books that are currently available. I’ve said it before, but I spend a great deal of time reading a lot of the books that are out there to see if I've overlooked any possible solutions to my situation. By "solution" I mean a way to make it bearable for myself while I look for another job/start my own company. So far I've come up pretty empty. I get some laughs however, when I read some of this stuff. I'd like to share a some of these gems with you.

To be honest, I’m not sure where I picked up this first point. I had to share it though as I think it’s ridiculous (as it applies to me of course):

If your boss is an unreasonable manager that overloads you with work, ask him what his priorities are and for options to deal with what you can't handle. Maybe even ask for a part-timer's help.

Okay. When I ask what the priorities are I get a nasty attitude – as if I should know which is more important to her. I’m not a mind-reader; if you don’t tell me I won’t know! As for asking for a part-timer’s help: her answer to that would be “work through lunch, work late, bring work home and work on the weekends”. And oh yeah, don’t forget to take part in the ritual blood sacrifice required for Idiot Boss’ amusement.

The smart way to make promises: If possible, be vague. For example; how do you answer when your boss asks when you will finish a project? Do you say exactly when? Not if you can be vague. Your best answer is to say something like: “I expect to have it done by the middle-to-latter part of the week.” If that makes him happy, fine. You now have a lot of latitude. If he wants more precision, however, you can always say: “I’m shooting for Wednesday afternoon.” (It’s Not a Jail, It’s a Job by Robert M. Hochheiser).

Nice try, but most of us live in the real world… at least most of the time. If I were to try this with my bat-$#@%-crazy manager, she would get annoyed and ask which it was going to be – later this week or Wednesday? So now if I say it’s later this week and she doesn't like that and I then up it to Wednesday, I had better be darn sure that I have it ready for Wednesday. Then of course I have to be prepared for her to throw every obstacle in my path so that I don’t meet the Wednesday deadline. That'll play right into her belief that anything I say can't be believed and that she's right not to trust me. Remember that wire hanger scene from Mommy Dearest? That's how she makes me feel emotionally. How could I be so stupid? Yeah, I wouldn’t recommend this tactic. You REALLY need to know your boss before you pull any kind of “stunt”. I’m not joking. It’ll be easier for you that way.

Regularly document all contributions that you make to the company. Indicate the date, benefit to the company and benefit to the boss.

This is something that I’ve heard time and again. In some instances, this may be a good idea. However, it’s also one of those things that can be very tricky – regardless of how well you handle it or how right you may be. I tried this very same tactic to defend myself in a follow-up meeting to a poor review Miss Manager gave me. It didn’t work. I recounted my contributions and the benefit to the company and to her. Lots of things went down at this particular time, but my bat-$#@%-crazy manager also got promoted. So, I listed all the positive things that I contributed -- which I'm sure helped to get her a nice new title. I mean, if I was such a horrible employee, wouldn't that reflect negatively on her? Seriously, during a spell when I had weak people reporting to me I was hearing it left and right from management (insert finger-wagging here for emphasis) – none of it was good and they certainly didn’t promote me. Long story short, when I tried this tactic I was written up for insubordination. She probably felt exposed and undermined - which to be honest, when all was said and done, was what I wanted. It's too bad no one listened to me. My advice: Be very careful with this one.

Any words, be they ever so flawless, can have their meaning cancelled by body language – but not vice versa. There are no words capable of cancelling the meaning transmitted by body language. (The Gentle Art of Verbal Self-Defense at Work by Suzette Haden Elgin, Ph.D.)

This one I just threw in here for fun. There will be no need for words when I dive across her desk and start ripping the hair out of her head. What does that kind of body language say to you?

It's too bad that most of these books don't speak to my situation. It is on occasion, entertaining. When I figure out how to address these issues in a real-life manner in book format, I'll publish it. Until then, join me on the journey while I figure it out.

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Comments:
Ironic that the same class of people who guerrilla warfare is usually used as a tactic to overthrow is attempting to utilize its principles.
 
Why go to a gun battle with snowballs? Fight fire with fire.
 
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