Mon, Apr 09, 2007 - Page 9 News List

Ten things your boss hates about you

Overworked, mistreated and underappreciated? Think you're the only one with a right to complain? Think again

By Mira Katbamna  /  THE GUARDIAN , LONDON

Go on, admit it: you hate your boss. You do. The way they accost you with: "It'll just take five minutes" as you're trying to leave. The way they smile patronizingly when they read your appraisal request for more training. Just them having power over you for eight hours every day is enough to make you spit with fury.

But at least we're not alone in our angst. It seems bosses are also a bit cross: they hate us, too. All of us. Even when we bring them coffee. And, according to Sandi Mann, senior lecturer in occupational psychology at the University of Central Lancashire, England, they may have a point.

"A generation ago, people worked their way up the ladder. Hierarchy was based on age and experience, and it was more respected," she said. "Now, people may be brought in [as bosses] who are seen as the `young whippersnappers' or `from outside' so there is much more resentment than there used to be -- which makes it much difficult to manage effectively."

And that's not all. In the days before open-plan offices and team-bonding days, managers were better protected from us oiks.

"Managers used to be more remote, with their own staffrooms and canteens, and there used to be more middle management," Mann said. "But now, they are expected to be the authority figure and `one of the lads' as it were, and it's not always easy to get that balance right."

The result of all this is that while your boss might look like she's fine, inside she's seething. You think you hate your boss? Here are the top 10 things your boss hates about you.

Topping the list is lateness.

Everyone has days when the bus breaks down, the washing machine packs up, or the alarm doesn't go off. The problem is that some people have those days Monday through Friday. But what really cheeses off your boss is your lame excuse.

"It shows you don't care," said Louis Halpern, chief executive officer at advertising agency Halpern Cowan. "Why they can't just tell you that they find it hard to get out of bed and be done with it I don't know. It makes me furious."

Lack of initiative annoys them, too.

"Don't ask me if you should buy lunch for the client, if the client is coming at noon," one infuriated manager said. "Call up the client and ask them if they want lunch."

Actually that's not quite what he said: there was a lot more swearing in the original version. Managers absolutely hate being bothered by stuff that really, if you thought about it for even a second, you could work out for yourself. They also hate constant updates and being CCd in on everything. They pay you to do a job -- get on with it.

But too much initiative isn't appreciated, either.

A marketing manager for a large educational charity reports that if there's one thing worse than lack of initiative, it's completely ignoring instructions to go off and do something else instead. She recently found herself on stage, ready to announce the winner of an award. When the person responsible for counting the votes turned up, he showed off a new, whizzy and completely redundant color-coded method for counting the votes. Unfortunately, devising the new program meant he hadn't actually had time to ... count the votes.

Bitching and whining is equally unpopular.

So Julie from the third floor might not have said hello to you this morning, and that might well be because she's an unfriendly cow, but in the context of say, the war in Iraq, does it really merit a four-hour disquisition? Your boss doesn't think so. On the other hand, while bitching is bad, whining is worse.

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