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Old 01-05-2010, 08:50 PM   #121
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Our company had for many years a real tyrant as a director. Everybody was afraid of him. He imposed himself on several subordinates in order to play with them at tennis, golf, soccer on the weekends. Everybody let him win.
After having socialized with them on the weekend he, nevertheless, chewed them off on Monday....
Well, we are all retired now, him too. I would have thoght that his ex-subordinates would turn their back on him or, otherwise, shun or steer away from him....But no. Many of them continue to be submissive and suffer his heavy-handedness.
And the effect on the tyrant as regards those few who now can afford to ignore him? None, he couldn´t care less.
I bet that a lot of his mistreated subordinates will attend his funeral.
Such is the nature of people.
I´m sure I´m wrong, but sometimes I think we get the bosses we deserve or that the only way to teach them an effective lesson is to behave towards them in the same way.

These people deserve the bosses that they get. My dad is like this guy you described not just to the kids to anyone he considers his subordinate. He used to drag his technicians to our house on weekends to help him dig ditches for his vegetable garden. Man, talk about stepping over the line.

I, of course, played the perfect son and got a smaller fan blast of his horrendous sh1t, but the first chance I got, I ex-communicated him. LOL. I do the same with the select few idiots I have worked for and with. I do the minimum necessary and put up a civil face, but the first chance I get to never to talk to them again, I won't ever talk to them again.
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Old 01-05-2010, 09:11 PM   #122
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Good thoughts coming your way Brewer, hope this situation works out the best for you and your coworkers who have to put up with the egotist. Will be interesting to see if management are able to grow a set to enable them to deal with the real issue or whether they will just reallocate it elsewhere.
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Old 01-07-2010, 07:21 AM   #123
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Well, latest intelligence is that the uber bosses have been debriefed by HR and it was "very informative." Apparently they will expand the interviews from a subset to the whole group, and after that probably have a group kumbaya session and some minor operational tweaks.

They clearly have no intention of fixing the problem, as I expected from the start. In the fine traditions of the organization, it appears they are spreading the blame as thinly as possible. Likely I will be forced to attend an airing of grievances (which is beneath my dignity) and be put on assignments with people I hate. OTOH, I appear to be in no immediate jeopardy. Sadly, it is the best outcome I could reasonably have hoped for.

This does not change my ultimate game plan of watching for a new opportunity and getting out of the mess, tho.
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Old 01-07-2010, 08:25 AM   #124
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The eye of the storm.

If senior mgm’t were truly interested it would be quite evident. Said differently, the only problem senior mgm’t wants to solve is the one that distracts people from working.

My experience - The HR folks to senior exec briefings have described “a problem” and two individuals are identified - the troublemaker and the helpful insider. After the dust settles the troublemaker is reassigned elsewhere and the helpful insider is pushed out. The troublemaker has skills the organization needs and just needs refocusing while the helpful insider is clearly not a team player and not to be trusted.

Not saying it's your situation Brewer, but I have seen this multiple times, and I think your gameplan is quite appropriate and you are executing well.

I always found the group kumbaya sessions to be good opportunities to catch up on less important stuff that never made it high enough on my pending stuff list. As for change of venue – it may work. Some luck involved. Still, skilled disciplined professionals seem to have better luck at this.

I have to admit that this thread has really brought back some memories...
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Old 01-07-2010, 09:06 AM   #125
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What do you think of the kumbaya? I loathe these sorts of things and I don't think I could make myself play pattycake with the worst offenders. In fact, I would be heavily tempted to call in sick that day just to not to have to deal with it. What is the best way to use the event, or can I get away with just keeping my mouth shut?
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Old 01-07-2010, 11:12 AM   #126
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If you've got a better poker face than me, go and keep your mouth shut. Otherwise a stomach flu would be my choice.
God help me if I ever get in an office like yours. You have my sincerest sympathies. I hated with a passion bordering on mania the pow/wow sessions I had to endure at Habitat.

My boss was a loathsome, intolerant, and horrendous troll of a man and we once had to listen to him break down in the middle of a second (or hell, maybe even third) hand story about some cold child in a parking lot who needed a coat. He actually started crying, like the **** happened to him and how it was so moving.
I thought I might actually die there on the spot. It was a disgusting and meaningless emotional ploy and I'm still grossed out by thinking about him.

Ugh--yeah, Kumbaya...not so much.
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Can’t we all just get along and be nice with each other?
Old 01-07-2010, 11:30 AM   #127
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Can’t we all just get along and be nice with each other?

The worst of these meetings is they usually make you want to spew ruin your appetite. There are two risks: if an HR type leads and, not understanding his/her role, actually try to solve the problem at hand; or if you are directly challenged by someone intent on your participation. Troublemaking or devious co-workers immediately come to mind. This last risk can be a real disaster.

A tactic I have seen used well is to create a mid-session excuse to leave but book it ahead of time. For example, something medical or dental, children at school, catch a flight, meeting with xxx. The key is to be there at the kick-off, have your attendance noted, then scoot.

I didn't do well in
kumbayas. When I did attend I was usually in a bad way due to the waste of time and unable to resist the provocations by those passive-aggressive types that were always around when there was trouble.
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Old 01-07-2010, 11:32 AM   #128
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If you've got a better poker face than me, go and keep your mouth shut. Otherwise a stomach flu would be my choice.
God help me if I ever get in an office like yours. You have my sincerest sympathies. I hated with a passion bordering on mania the pow/wow sessions I had to endure at Habitat.

My boss was a loathsome, intolerant, and horrendous troll of a man and we once had to listen to him break down in the middle of a second (or hell, maybe even third) hand story about some cold child in a parking lot who needed a coat. He actually started crying, like the **** happened to him and how it was so moving.
I thought I might actually die there on the spot. It was a disgusting and meaningless emotional ploy and I'm still grossed out by thinking about him.

Ugh--yeah, Kumbaya...not so much.
Jeez - don't hold back. Tell us what you really think
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Old 01-07-2010, 11:38 AM   #129
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...A tactic I have seen used well is to create a mid-session excuse to leave but book it ahead of time. For example, something medical or dental, children at school, catch a flight, meeting with xxx. The key is to be there at the kick-off, have your attendance noted, then scoot.
Hey, who stole my playbook?

I will heartily second this one.
A prior professional commitment is best, like a customer calling you for assistance or something involving big funding, like a "use it or lose it" scenario. Equipment failure was always my favorite.
A personal..ahem...emergency...is second choice, but it better be a really good "reason". Save this powder for another time if you can.
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Old 01-07-2010, 11:59 AM   #130
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Whatever you do, do not speak out against the actions being taken, as it appears it's just a typical HR feel good event so they can pat themselves on the back for a job well done.

If I were you I would engineer not being present when group hugs are going around to avoid puking on any of the offenders. However, to me it might look suspicious if you take just that day off. Can you have a family emergency that would require your absence that day and a couple of days around it so you don't have to participate in the build-up or the post mortem? You could use that time to polish your resume with the aim of getting the hell out of there asap.
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Old 01-07-2010, 12:11 PM   #131
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Sometimes attendance is noted at these meetings, especially when an action plan calls for division or unit-wide awareness programs. Showing up, staying for an hour, then leaving complies with the objective as long as the reason to leave is legit (to your approving manager). Whatever works.
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Old 01-07-2010, 12:29 PM   #132
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Old 01-07-2010, 12:51 PM   #133
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Whatever you do, do not speak out against the actions being taken, as it appears it's just a typical HR feel good event so they can pat themselves on the back for a job well done.

If I were you I would engineer not being present when group hugs are going around to avoid puking on any of the offenders. However, to me it might look suspicious if you take just that day off. Can you have a family emergency that would require your absence that day and a couple of days around it so you don't have to participate in the build-up or the post mortem? You could use that time to polish your resume with the aim of getting the hell out of there asap.
I will be travelling for pretty much the entire month of Feb. If I am REALLY lucky, they will schedule it for next month.
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Old 01-07-2010, 05:29 PM   #134
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I will be travelling for pretty much the entire month of Feb. If I am REALLY lucky, they will schedule it for next month.
And if it's for a day you are expected to be in the office, the cabdriver could "have a mechanical failure" forcing you to miss the last flight home.
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Old 01-07-2010, 05:32 PM   #135
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I like your thinking. "Sorry, I got bumped from the last flight home. Whoops."
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Old 01-07-2010, 05:33 PM   #136
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Well, all signs are that the hammer will be dropped very soon, based on frenzied manager meetings and some inside dope. I do not think that the culture will result in an outright witch hunt, and this is clearly more about checking the box than solving problems. But not much comfort there...
Oh man! Nothing worse than frenzied manager meetings!!!!

This has been like watching a slo-mo train wreck!

Hoping for the best for you. Maybe there will be a positive outcome - at least to the extent that some pressure is released and you can go back to doing your job.

Ooops - nevermind! That kumbaya sessions sounds waaaay to icky!!!

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Old 01-07-2010, 05:43 PM   #137
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Yeah, that would be nice. I was supposed to be kept in house for the month of January to work on some long neglected long term projects. Apparently that is out the window and I am the reserve unit being sent out to mop up all sorts of stuff. Sent out for at least a week on a job now (and boy is the "client" unhappy to see me since I just finished kicking them in the crotch last month), have another one percolating for week after next, juggling some other firedrills and appearing on a panel/talk next week.
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Old 01-07-2010, 05:43 PM   #138
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Likely I will be forced to attend an airing of grievances (which is beneath my dignity) .
Brewer, you are in a mess, and I hope you can get out -

but the part above made me laugh, soorry!!! It made me think of Festivus!

Festivus - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Perhaps you can have 'feats of strength' to go with the 'airing of grievencies'

ta,
and good luck!
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Old 01-07-2010, 07:41 PM   #139
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Brewer, you are in a mess, and I hope you can get out -

but the part above made me laugh, soorry!!! It made me think of Festivus!

Festivus - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Perhaps you can have 'feats of strength' to go with the 'airing of grievencies'

ta,
and good luck!
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Old 01-09-2010, 09:30 AM   #140
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I'm late to this thread, but it reminded me of Berkun's "bad boss" essay:
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The best advice for having a bad manager is to seek other employment. Don’t undervalue your happiness: it’s impossible to be happy if you work directly for someone you can’t stand.
#43 – How to survive a bad manager « Scott Berkun

I guess this is why you're aggressively saving & investing for ER instead of angling to take over Byron Trott's old job at Goldman. Or raising your own funds to compete against him for "Masters of the Universe" privileges.

You already know what to do; it's just a matter of keeping the timing in your hands.

It's like shorting the market-- you know you're right, it's just an issue of whether you can afford to stay with your convictions long enough to be vindicated. The advantage is that you already know how to change jobs and you do it well in an industry/location where frequent job changes seem to be accepted, even encouraged. The hassle is that it must seem like you just got there, and now you're starting all over again. At least Berkun's essay can help you sort out your pro/con list and decide on the timing of your strategy.

One other option would be whether you can minimize your "directly" presence. Is there some way you could reduce contact by doing most of your work in another space, communicating only by e-mail and putting in appearances only when mandated? I doubt it, but if you were able to separate yourself physically then it would somewhat reduce the stress. Your boss could possibly be just as tired of dealing with you as you are of dealing with their boss-ness.

Another reason to leave would be that your boss's management has done a terrible job of managing the situation. If you can't count on them to take care of you in a clear problem like this one, let alone to properly care for a valuable employee, then there's no reason to have any faith in them for the day when you'd really need their support.
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