Thursday, February 13, 2014


My boss is moving to another State. The person replacing him comes with a very nasty reputation. Part of it was managements fault. When promoting a person to management one should move people out to a new area. The sole exception was a peer who was so loved by her peers and was my boss that could overcome this unwritten rule.

I am happy for my boss in that he is returning home. The new boss comes with caveats and it would have been best had she been removed from the area. However, the infighting was to severe and the damage will follow her.

In my case, I am the peasant and though the peasant may or may not like the Lord of the Manor I remain attached to the land. The Lords come and they go and most were missed. I am tied to the land like a peasant even though the climate for me to move up has changed.

The damage of the previous administration has left me unsuited for anything else. In my case I no longer believe in management even as it embraces many of my ideas. My experiences with severe workplace bullying have left me a shell of the person I was. The reality of the extreme brutality just does not go away in seconds. Unfortunately, I have to work with my abusers lackeys and this is very difficult. The newer employees don't grasp my disdain and revulsion. My departing boss got me to dial down this disdain for one
person in particular. This boss had the ability to do this, but it is very hard being around a self proclaimed genius who screws up leaving messes I have to clean. I have started locking my door because I do not trust this person being around my work space so frequently.

The odd part is the incoming boss likely has an obvious solution to her woes, but lacks the introspective aspect of the persona to grasp the solution. The common denominator was the inability to communicate with peers. Of course being very humble at work is my natural state. When I get letters of commendation, I shift the focus onto the team. One person even got a Presidential award for my actions and I am okay with it. At the time every action including was tuned into a negative. This is the reality of work place bullying. Being able to laugh at one's self would solve 90% of this persons issues. One boss who is very difficult and has a grammar fixation turned an annoying moment into a moment of love just by laughing at herself in the key moment. I was exasperated with her corrections and in one case she corrected a comma into a semicolon. I looked at her exasperated and said, I don't suppose you can articulate the reason for that correction. She looked at me and said"actually I can and started". I looked at her and we both started laughing at ourselves and it turned a moment of exasperation into a moment where the boss was lovable. To this day, I have a soft spot for this boss who at times was very difficult to work with. I also credited her with many of the innovations that improved efficiency and named certain procedures after her.

The sad part is that this persons major issues are easily remedied with a few self deprecating jokes and a touch of introspective humor. My outgoing boss knows he does not have to ask me to do anything. He also allows me the freedom of action to pick moments to excel. Use your judgement and I will back you later.
An example of this was when another unit outside NYC made gaffes that would have been really damaging to the agency I took the initiative and imported the work. The natural tendency is to let the other unit fail and then repair the damage. In this case the recipient was an advanced senior citizen and permitting that to snowball just seemed absurd. In that case I repaired the damage quietly and moved ahead. Showing workers that you trust their abilities goes a long way.

My ability to laugh at myself and with others really got me through moments that would have made others snap. Not everyone has that ability and it really goes a long way. In a very difficult case, I had to thank a supervisor I detest. My ability to describe a serious problem modestly and bring it to her attention saved the day. In fact I conceded points incorrectly and was overly generous to a legal opinion in a serious matter. The area in question was procedural rather than a results or legal issue. In my world procedures exist to protect the public from out of control government workers. I then thanked this supervisor for her help and apologized for her having to read the disturbing case, That case was so venal that I could not even discuss it with my supervisor.

Trust in a supervisor is a very important issue. In the original case, I really needed the trust of my supervisor to handle that case. My supervisor at the time was a lovable woman who I really respected and could tell me don't be absurd trust your instincts. In most cases a mere glance did the trick. That case was so disturbing that when I asked to take a break and gather myself she knew something was wrong. I told her something in the file hit a raw nerve and I had t o get a Diet Mountain Dew and a big bag of chips to gather myself. I returned and she saw enough of the file to see what did it. I looked at her and asked if she wanted to reassign it to a more suitable officer. She told me you can handle it and that my reaction was normal. In that particular case with really odious information my dedication to procedure and legal restraint was actually a positive. A more gung ho type would have grandstanded this high profile matter. I just wanted it resolved correctly the first time and off my desk. If I didn't have total trust in my boss I could not work this case that was a walking EEO time bomb. I also had to discuss a word that I call the dreaded R word, recidivism. I refuse to ever use that word in formal correspondence.

I am going to miss the outgoing boss. He was a breath of fresh air and I was luck to work as closely with him as I did. He never did persuade me to leave my office. In my case, my office is my resting spot. I survived stuff that would have broke an ordinary person. Moving on was just beyond my abilities.

1 comment:

Always On Watch said...

I went through a change in supervisor a few years ago, and the one that I have now doesn't measure up to my previous supervisors. She just doesn't have any real understanding of what it means to be the caregiver wife. I have finally managed to get her to stop rolling her eyes when Mr. AOW calls me on my mobile phone during class time with an emergency; emergency calls from Mr. AOW are very rare now.