Laughing Helps Us Process Very Bad Boss Experiences

Do you have a special person in your life that no matter what is going on, no matter if it may actually be really rotten, you and that person laugh uproariously together about it? I know I do: “M.” For over 25 years, “M” has been a key member of my Manchu, my chosen family. Despite the fact that we’ve gotten ourselves into quite a few pickles together and separately over the years, there’s something about our friemistry (friend+chemistry) that causes us to burst-out laughing together. Once we nearly died on the Icicle River in Washington State. When we learned that tubing companies refused to go out on the river due to conditions, we found one that did and promptly (okay, crazily) went out on the freezing river. I won’t go into detail but suffice to say, we still laugh-til-we-cry about that hypothermia-get-the-fire-crew-rescue-other-tubers-lose-our-shoes-and-nearly-drown experience. We shivered for several days after this death-defying but laughing sure did help warm us up. Well, thank goodness for M because we also shared a very bad boss once. A very sad, very bad boss story Our shared boss was repeatedly informed about employees’ safety concerns. He authorized no … [Read more...]

10 Things We Wish Very Bad Bosses Would Say

We've been asking, “Ever had a bad boss experience?” to gather stories for our new book Very Bad Bosses: Never Get in a Pissing Match with a Skunk (& Other Sage Advice for Surviving Workplace Villains). We've received some awesome responses... “LOL. Is the Pope Catholic?” Margaret jokes. Kahina writes, “I think the question is... Has anyone ever NOT experienced a bad boss? And, Ron says his “worst boss was the one who would tell me one thing and tell those to whom I had a functional relationship something else. He would go behind my back and make corporate decisions on my behalf that he wouldn’t tell me about.” We’re curious beyond words. With a wealth of literature on what good leadership is, what employees and businesses need to succeed, why do there continue to be so many very bad bosses? In his recent Inc. article, 10 Things Great Leaders Say Every Week, Bill Murphy, Jr. offers these 10 things … 1. Congratulations. 2. Here's what happened. 3. Here are our challenges. 4. Here are our objectives. 5. Here's what I'm hearing. 6. Here's what I'm thinking. 7. Thank you. 8. Why don't you tell us...? 9. Let me introduce... 10. Here's how we compare. Do … [Read more...]

Why Examining Very Bad Bosses is So Very Good for Us

I seriously thought I was losing my mind. I’d write a lengthy report and magically it would disappear. Important documents would come in by mail, I’d put them on my desk for review and whoosh, gone. I’d ask colleagues, “Do you have…? Did you see…?” and they would shake their heads and wonder why I was asking. It must be me, I thought, I’m having some kind of breakdown at the age of 25. This was my first “big” job after undergraduate school. Heeding my parents’ advice about not going into education, their profession, (they wanted me to earn a decent living), I promptly became a social worker to really get rich. And, this gave me my first very bad boss story. Turns out, my direct boss was taking things from my desk and hiding them in her office. How did I find out? She went on vacation. During my boss’ absence, I temporarily reported up-the-chain to her boss. After expressing that I was somewhat concerned about clinical burnout, the symptoms being that I was constantly misplacing important things, my boss’ boss led me to my direct supervisor’s office and said, “Start looking.” What we discovered—under my boss’ desk mat, hidden in pages of books, at the bottom of her … [Read more...]

Got A Very Bad Boss Story? We Want YOU!

Imagine, you are 29-years old, you graduated top of your class from a prestigious university. Your family is super proud that you got that coveted job at a well-established company. Today, you're standing outside your office at a busy city crosswalk, head hanging down with a sign around your neck reading, "I screwed up at work." Your boss ordered you to stand there all day. Living in Tokyo for about 5 years, I often saw this kind of work punishment doled out. As a Westerner, this kind of shaming seemed so foreign, so, well, wrong. How humiliating. Talk about a very bad boss! That kind of behavior would never be allowed elsewhere... Or would it? 1 in 5 Americans Have a Bad Boss We may not be standing on a Tokyo street corner with a sign around our neck, but most of us have experienced or will experience a very bad boss at some point in our working lives. According to a 2013 Harris Interactive study, one in five Americans say they have a bad boss. That’s nearly 24 million people. Today, 1 in 9 Americans are self-employed and many report that they left corporations and other organizations specifically to escape bad bosses. Similarly in the United Kingdom, a study by the … [Read more...]

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