Saturday, January 16, 2010

Apparently I'm Poultry

Last Monday, five days ago, I told my boss that this week was going to be difficult. Not impossible, not even back-breakingly hard, but difficult. I gave him a rundown of why (which, one could reasonably argue, he should have known already), and asked him to coordinate with the account team. After all, I am not a boss.* I have no real authority over any of my coworkers. Except to be a nagging bitch, which gets tiresome. So I wanted him to man up and be the boss.

Most of the week I just kept slogging. I want to do my job well. I respect my client and want to do right by them. I felt I was making compromises to keep the peace in the office because having the days go by uneventfully seems to be what my boss wants. However, I have not always been happy with the quality of product we are cranking out. This is especially distressing to me because we begean the year with unpleasant news about the status of our business.

On Thursday, my boss called me from the road to tell me how things looked on his end and he told me, pleasantly but firmly, that Friday was going to be difficult and he really needed me in before 9:00. I was perplexed because 1) DUH! I knew Friday was going be hard and flagged it to him days ago! and 2) my opposite number, Phil, wouldn't be in until 10:00 because of a long-scheduled dentist appointment. But whatever. I had told my boss I needed him to run things, coordinate things, TO BE THE BOSS and make sure the work got done and was confident he wouldn't let me down.

So imagine my surprise when I got in yesterday at 8:50 and saw my boss walking around rather aimlessly around. "Phil's not here. I mean, I knew that. But what are we going to do till he gets in?"

So the Bossman is asking me? He clearly forgot Phil wouldn't be in for our first, internal creative review. Goodie. Hanging up my coat and changing out of my boots I faked a plan of attack, even though I felt the direction should have been flowing from him to me, not the other way around. I said we could go over my work at 9:00, Phil's at 10:00, and then sit down with the account team at 11:00. He nodded.

So now it's about 9:15. I am collecting the rest of the team -- minus Phil -- to go over our work with our boss before we show it to the account team. The account team that my boss was supposed to talk to earlier this week, to coordinate with days ago. As I head to the conference room, I hear little computer alarms going off in office after cubicle. The account team has set up a meeting from 10:00 to 10:30 to review our work.

That can't happen. My boss has no plan. He has discussed nothing with them.

I have no authority over them. I feel like I spend a portion of every workday trying to get things worked out with a resistant account team and I am tired. I have asked my boss to do it. He has not.

"So we're supposed to meet with the account team without Phil?" I ask, calling out to my boss on my way into the ladies room. It's obvious he hasn't seen the meeting invitation and knows nothing about it. Good, fine. So glad he's on it. So glad he's handling it. So glad he's doing his job?

I slip into the conference room and hear him telling the rest of the team that I am "starting the Chicken Little shit already." He did seem startled to hear my voice over his shoulder, "And here she is, Chicken Little herself."

What I really wanted to say was, "Fuck you."

Neither he nor I acknowledged the embarrassing moment and dove into the work. But I can't tell you how disheartened and pissed I am that HE was angry at ME. For not doing his job to his standards, I guess.

All of us wanted to get out of the office by 5:00 yesterday because it's the beginning of the long MLK weekend. My boss caught his early train by leaving at 4:30. I was on the 6:40. He didn't even review the work with me before he left, so he won't have a chance to compare notes with me before I present it at 1:00 on Tuesday afternoon, down at the clients' office.

Yes, he knows I can handle it all. Yes, he knows I can get it all done. Yes, he knows I'll sell the crap out of the work, even if I'm not 110% confident in it.

But the way I get it all accomplished, I guess, is by riding people and expecting a lot from them and "starting the Chicken Little shit" from word go.

If he doesn't like it, perhaps he should take over from me a bit.

* I was a boss at a previous agency. I hated it so much that I took a $30,000 pay cut to move one rung down the ladder when I took this job. I miss the money but I DO NOT WANT TO BE A BOSS. And if I'm not being compensated for it, I resent having the responsibility.


  1. Gah. Politics and inefficiency.

  2. I am offended on your behalf by that "Chicken Little" comment. How dare he belittle you like that when you're busy pulling his ass out of the fire? Goofball.

    Sometimes, I have to ask myself "What is MINE to do in this situation?" and then do just that. As you overfunction for him, he underfunctions and it's just a big pain in the ass. I know this economy is not the time to let him (and the firm) fall but maybe each time do one little thing less so that the effect is just very slight and before you know it, the ball is back on his side of the court.

    Just a thought. Chicken little my ass. Honestly!

  3. My old boss was constantly putting her work on other people, me included. I liked my job so I didn't complain about it or ask to transfer (though, I was very tempted to many times) but it made going into work a struggle very often.


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