Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Confronting a bad boss…brilliant or B.S.?

Cocoa Girl has experienced many not so freak-of-nature crazy bosses, meaning these notorious mofos are an all too common existence on any job, in any field.

If you worked the Mrs Fields mall counter, then they’d be the mofo monitoring how much dough you allot for each cookie. If you slang garbage into trucks for a living, your d!ckhead du jour would be the one clocking (for the head boss?) how long it takes you to bag a block. Furthermore, if you slaved away in an office, where peeps appear to be most concerned about stepping over everyone toward success (while being sure to not step on certain folks’ toes), well, let’s just say the opportunities for bullying the sub-boss set are endless.

So what – if anything – can be done to make a bad boss back down? Cocoa says not much, as girly girl has tried to reason, confront, and argue down (not recommended) crazies at work. Yet, according to an article posted on my favorite work-related site, careerjournal.com, there are ways that employees can work to check fools on the job, while continuing to chek for their paycheck. The article recommends not trying to sue (no legal footing to stand on); forming a support group for battered employees and confronting the manager-with-mange as a unit (LMBAO…yeah right!); confronting the boss solo (“don’t raise your voice unless he raises his first…your firm response may show your boss [you’re not scared]”…LOLLOLLOL!), and, should all else fail, reporting the tyrant to H.R.


Cocoa doesn’t know about you, but I laugh at the suggestion that employees take it upon their solo selves to confront a crazy manager. I believe the article fails to acknowledge one major fact in that companies/employers/owners/top dawgs know when their managers mistreat their sub-ordinates on a mass level – and they look the other way. It’s called managing your bottom line.

Hate it or love it (ahem...perhaps this is you?), the most-brutal jerk on the job is usually a top performer. Top management fails to confront them because of this very reason – they do not want to screw around with their business. So, why would anyone outside of the star position himself as the office martyr by going up against an obviously-protected employee? Cocoa has done it before and said it has to be one of the most non-smart things girly has done at work.

Cocoa’s suggestion
: Don't tolerate daily disrespect from anyone at work, but do understand that you must choose your battles because the C.M.C. (Cubicle Mafia Crew) runs thick. Don't take up swords on behalf of all officekind. When others rise up against crazy folks who are never reprimanded for their behavior (which should read like a neon sign in the dark), don't compromise your job security by steering the bandwagon. Matter of fact, Cocoa had a smart and succesful colleague who purposedly befriended one crazy boss and acted as if she were a devoted, hard-working employee who saw the crazy in the same faux-positive light as said crazy's managers. Call it shady, but what at work isn’t? She knew her boss had 10,000 percent job security, so what was she going to do?

It’s about survival and your paycheck. Martyrdom at work is for dummies.

Oh, and if things turn hella bad for you, start looking for a new job within or outside of the company. Unless you're an also an office star, the top dawgs are not ridding of their best performer for you. Hell, even if you are a star, chances are that you're still a Cocoa...so tread wisely because the playing is not yet that leveled.

What do you think? How have you handled crazy, unfair, deplorable bosses? How would you handle one?



Royal Standard said...


Harlem Songstress said...

Agreed....HR is a big joke sometimes. As u mentioned, the company ALWAYS has their best interest at hand b/c at the end of the day they're trying to run a business, not make friends.

I've been at a company where an exective went through 4 admins in one year! Prior to each AA leaving, they paid a visit to HR expressing their concerns about working with their manager. Had they come to me for advice I would have told them to be prepared for the consequences b/c they mind as well been writing their own pink slip. Even worse--when it is a battle between two executives, the senior of the two will usually use the tactic of forcing them to leave by methods such as assigning them outlandish projects with unrealistic deadlines. So at least that way they can build a faux cause and accuse them of not doing their job accordingly.

A lot of trickery-yes indeed. I don't care what anyone says. When it comes to corporations (especially), the business world and moral world will never co-exist.

Serenity the SistahGeek said...

COnfronting a bad boss...good idea for the soul...bad idea for the wallet...if you can afford it, yes...if not, grin and bear it and get on Monster every chance you get...

Knockout Zed said...

Being a bad boss myself, I'd say give him head.


The Very Reverend Ace Clemmons, Jr. said...

you cant win with a bad boss, even if they treat your poorly, and disrespectfully- in the corporate world you have to be prepared to get fired if you confront the bastard

Miss Ahmad said...

don't listen to KZ he's day dreaming at the desk again!

I say use your deliberate politicking skills.

Schedule some "face" time with the boss person and let them know that you admire them (it's called eating toad) you like their work ethic and although you are learning habits and work ethics that are foreign to you (ie you crazy ass mofo what the hell is going on) you want to know what you can do within the company to be as asset as well as achieve your personal goals (read if you want me to slave i want more money)
Close with how you are really interested in a long term relationship with the aforementioned company and you are looking forward to any feedback and what you can do to grow and become a greater asset to the company as a whole. ( subtitled i'm not trying to lose my job, i just wanna know the inside track on how to survive in this lions den)

Joel Randell said...

find out his/her after-work watering hole and slash their tires! at least you'll feel better when they yell at you.

eb0nie said...

From experience, I learned if you cant beat em join em. I use to have this bipolar physcopathic boss. I mean the chic was ruthless. She'd make up reason to fire people.

Well I was the "new" person. I had seen her fire half of the HR dept. about 5 people during my probationary period. I made friends with her. She started taking me out to lunch, Buying me x mas presents, inviting me to hang out out side of work. I didnt attend everything but I came up with a good excuse when I didnt to stay on her good side. I wasnt a suck up but I just knew to keep my enimies CLOSER than CLOSE. Plus I had bills to pay!

She couldnt be trusted. We worked in HR so there was no where else for us to go and complain. If she didnt like you you were fired. If she didnt like the way you dressed you were fired. She was off the hook.

Long story short. She ended up quiting to become a stay home mom. Plus she didnt know shit about Human Resources. I ended up leaving to go back to college. If you can befriend the mean boss, it might give you a little more elbow room to breath in the hostal environment.

Or catch the bitch in the parkinglot after work and BEAT HER ASS!

I kid I kid! lol

Cocoa Girl said...

True seven times over...LOL

Are there any dissenters? Any stories of boss confrontations gone disastrously bad?

e.g., Boss fire fanned by complaints that led to global ostracization and eventually a termination???

Oh, that must just be me...LOL

I don't know why I did not have sense early in the career. Perhaps, because I had never held a job that I needed until after college...dammit my kids are working young!!!

Supa said...

lmao @ Cubicle Mafia Crew!

lmfao @ Zed!!

great tips, a la Glamazon style.

Hey. I'm not a part of the real world (private industry). I'm a spoiled civil servant who's always had hella cool bosses. The only place I ever came up short is in regard to my retarded simpin' ass co-workers..

Look. I work for the guvment. Bosses get cussed out here all the time. (dastardly civil servant protection!). You hafta basically shoot and kill your supervisor to get fired up in this piece. And even then, they just might put you on long-term probation....

harlemsnowflake said...

I had the worst boss ever. It was in publishing, she was a real diva. She came up and forged her way when it was a total "man's world" and literally had to be a ballbusting bitch to be taken seriously. She had the mentality that if she suffered, well, then you were going to, too! It was horrible. I mean, as her "business assistant" I had to get her dry cleaning, help arrange her dinner parties (with the excuse that the schmoozing is all part of the job), AND deal with her schizophrenia. She would alternately be really nice (read: condescending) and cruel (read: cruel).

And of course she was rich, and I was just there to do her dirty work. Even though we went to the same college, with the same major, I was a peon. I hated waking up every day. I felt demeaned. I just wanted OUT. I would have days where I'd sort of attempt to kiss her ass, but it's SO against my nature with a person like her I just couldn't do it.

Two examples of her awfulness:
1) One time when we were leaving the building at the same time, the doorman was overly friendly to her (he was a bit cheesy, but whatever!) and she said, barely out of his earshot, "Ugh! I just can't believe anyone would ever want that job. To be a DOORman." Curled her lip, shook her head in disgust and everything. Like, I'm sure the guy grew up wanting to open the damn door for your ass...he wakes up longing for it.

2)One time she corrected me on my dictation (Yup, you read right, dictation. She didn't know how to use email. I had to teach her. Talkin OLD SKOOL) and said, "Um, the word was INsure. Not ENsure, as you typed it here." I calmly said, "Um, no the meaning you gave me would be ENsure." She looked at me like I was a complete idiot and dismissively told me that there was no such word and I should go retype the entire letter. I'm telling you, I had to bite my tongue so hard - this woman publishes BOOKS - I went to my desk, got a dictionary, went back to the door to her office and read her the definition. No apology, of course. I just smiled and walked out.

So how did I deal with it, eventually? I got out. I took the first job I could. The job was lame, not a career-booster, but it was six months after 9/11 and I was lucky to get anything. I guess my advice is, prove that you are smart and capable whereever you can, attempt (ha!) to preserve some self-respect, remember that it's JUST A JOB, and if all else fails, RUN!

Harlem Snowflake said...

(cocoa: went to washburn. lived by south. don't ask why i made that decision. not sure i can handle how bizarre this is...but it's fun. maybe we even shop at the same grocery store...)

Supa said...

Hey Cocoa - head on over to So Wise Sista's spot - (she's linked thru my blog) somebody's got a CRUSH ON YOU.... :)


Knockout Zed said...

Harlemsnowflake's comment just reminded me of the SECOND worst boss I've ever had:
Picture it, September 11, 2001, I think it was a Tuesday. I'm waiting for a regularly scheduled weekly meeting to begin. It's just me an my boss waiting for a third party. Someone breaks into the meeting and says "A plane just flew into the World Trade Center." I'm shocked! I hop up and go see what's happening on the break room TV. I see the second plane hit the second tower. I go back to the meeting room. "A second plane hit the World Trade Center! We're under attack!" My boss says to me "You're gonna have to stay 15 minutes later today to make up for the time you've been fooling around in the break room."

She sucked.


i like liquor and tv said...


Man recently I started going off on everyone I work with, team leads and all..except for my boss. But really, it's only so much you can take. People are getting shadier and shadier. So I just snapped.

It's finna be "when keeping it real goes wrong" all up and through

i like liquor and tv said...

Oh no! @ KZ. Now THAT's a wack boss! That's crazy.

Cocoa Girl said...

Supa - Working for the guvment, huh? I think you could smack the head of your agency and still keep your job.

I'll be sure to check out the site!

Harlem Snowflake - Washburn, huh? Did you know Faheem, Mario, Chloe Thigpen (my cousin) or Erin Wilson??? Hahaha... Also, what sports did you play?!?!?! We've probably played against each other!

Regarding your story: thank you so much for sharing. Working is sheyot, but working to get ahead at the bottom in a cut-throat industry is flippin' worst. I feel your pain. I worked in P.R. and faced the same bullsh*t treatment for so long. Thank goodness that you knew to get what you could and bounce! Well done.

Zed - I betcha that homegirl to th is day is still saying "I don't understand the big deal..." regarding 9/11.

LQ and TV - What we talk about???? Chill...the paycheck is so very necessary! Puleez for the love of God!

dpm said...

I'm wit KZ,

Give him head and THEN claim "sexual harassment."

Frog Kisser said...

true story~when my mother was in her thirties she has a secretary who rubbed her the wrong way once too often.

My mother beat her ass and threw her in a trash can and was a stay at home mom for the next few years.

Another time she had an unruly boss who kept messing with her...the woman dropped dead! no reason at all just dropped dead.

Another boss thought she'd try her luck at screaming at my mother on the job. Her husband dropped dead. No reason at all!

No my mom's the boss, and people don't really mess with her any more.

Moral of the story. Learn the game and be the boss!

T. Cas said...

True story: some of my co workers at a previous job tried to plant a bag of weed in the bosses desk and then called the cops. The K-9's found the weed, but he didnt get fired b/c they couldnt prove it was his.

Harlem Snowflake said...

T.cas - Damn! That is a serious plan. That sounds like a movie.

Frog Kisser - I really wish I had known your mom back then, maybe leased her out for a day/week or two

Ms. Cocoa - Yes, I was just chillin w/ Mario/Faheem at the reunion last August. I actually went to school w/ Mario from 4-6 grade too...I knew Chloe as an acquaintance but not very well. Sports - gymnastics was my main gig, diving (there were like ten of us in the entire city, we mainly competed against the richy suburbs), cross country running for one year, track for two years....

(btw, not really related to the work part of your blog, but I'd love to hear people's insights about growing up urban vs. suburban. I was all sorts of bitter about it growing up, b/c of sports specifically. Example: gymnastics - we had rollable wrestling mats, Edina had a spring floor/Roseville had a private gym. Also once I got to college these people were like, "Oh, at my school's squash field...blah blah blah" Um, right. For me squash is a nasty vegetable, not a sport. (but I digress...)

Your turn - sports?

Cocoa Girl said...

DP - :-O

Froggy - I pray for the sake of some unsuspecting assholes that your mother is no longer working.

T.Cas - Hella creative. What did the boss do once he realized he'd been set up? Did he go after anyone?

Snowflake - Oh, and I left off Geoffrey, too:)

I know all of those guys. I actually went to North and played volleyball, basketball and ran track. Oh, I also was a cheerleader (everybody - shhhh!). Co-captain and all! Wow...too funny!

BTW, I don't know Chloe that well, either. Dad's side of the family...LOL

BTW#2, I am crazy...I don't know why I assigned Erin the Wilson last name. She actually has her mom's last name: Strother. It's funny cuz we actually met-met here in NY.

Joel Randell said...

i have the privilege of working at a major women's magazine in NYC, and my two bosses are the sweetest, nicest ladies i've ever worked for. they've wiped out all memories of bad boss experiences i've ever had!

cocoa! link me to your page so i can increase the sisterly love on my page! muah!

Cocoa Girl said...

Uh, JR, I have to add like 5,000 folks to my page. I've been promising to do so for decades.

You were already included in that list:)

BTW, you're blessed to have cool women bosses in the publishing industry.

T. Cas said...

@ cocoa - he wasnt allowed to say anything about it, but we knew he knew. He started locking his desk drawers after that.

inciquay said...

Picking your battles is the right advice. I've did my share of confronting and yelling but I know when I have a case and when I don't and I act on it only when it's solid.

Juicy77 said...

I quit, and it was one of the best decisions I've ever made. It was an extreme situation and I actually could have (still could) sue, but I don't think I will.

Anonymous said...

what about the minority boss, in a very high profile position, who has creditors blowing upt he phone...accepts loans from and later just starts asking for money from his staff...

Goes on to an even higher profile job, becomes a millionaire... and won't lift a finger to help you (who loaned him lunch money).

Do you expose this type of asshole or let karma catch up with him?

Cocoa Girl said...

I say expose...LOL