I’m working for a martyr and there are periods of time I can’t take it, and this is one of those times. I get it that the company is hers and she’s worked very hard to get it where it is today. She’s gotten us through some tough times when we were losing clients and new ones were nowhere in sight. What I can’t take is when she lets us know when she’s not getting a paycheck. I understand she wants us to know the sacrifices she’s made and willing to make, but it bugs me because of the things she does that don’t jive with these sacrifices. She just returned from a Caribbean cruise and bought a high-end Range Rover, and she’s going to Hawaii for two weeks before Labor Day. I know it’s her company and she can do whatever she wants, but it’s still hard to stomach these big ticket items when she thinks it’s necessary to remind us of the times she skips a paycheck. None of us who work for her could ever afford such trips or that kind of vehicle and she knows that. How should we deal with this?
Fed up with boss’s martyrdom
Dear Fed up with boss’s martyrdom:
I understand your frustration with your boss’s behavior. It is off-putting to say the least. She obviously does not see the incongruence between her words and her expensive trips and vehicle purchase. More strikingly, she does not seem to realize how this incongruence reflects poorly on her. My suggestion is to remain professional and ignore, as best as possible, her contradictory behavior. Also, keep in mind she may not need a regular paycheck because she has other financial resources.
Hang in there!
I’m so sick of the way my supervisor asks me and my colleagues for our opinions on various business matters but never takes them into consideration unless they fit with what she wants to do. I think she thinks it makes us feel good when she asks for our input, but that’s just not the case. All of us old timers are so fed up with it, so we just ask her what she thinks when she asks us and then we tell her that sounds “good” regardless of what we really think. What would you do if you were in my position
Dear Why bother?
Without question, this is a prickly situation. Your and your colleagues’ lack of interest in providing the boss with your true thoughts and opinions is justifiable, but I cannot say it is the smartest and/or the most effective way to handle this matter. So much depends upon the boss’s personality and ability to accept criticism. Also, I cannot discern from your email if there have been instances where the company would have been better off if the boss had taken the thoughts and opinions of others into consideration.
Because I do not believe in playing games, I would always give the boss honest, thoughtful responses when she asks for input; and I would maintain written documentation of these responses. If there were a considerable number of times where my approach to things would have been more beneficial to the company than the boss’s approach, AND if I had a good reputation and relationship with her and believed she would be receptive, I would consider having a one-on-one with her. During this conversation, I would let her know I respect her and her position but feel compelled to provide her with these instances in hopes that she would be more willing to consider thoughts and opinions different from hers in the future.
© 2013 Rozanne R. Worrell