I’m not sure you can address this situation, but if nothing else, it will make you laugh.
I work for a very large organization and I have many dealings with several departments outside of my own on a daily basis. One department in particular is making life miserable. The director of this department deserves an academy award for her manipulative tactics. She will never admit to making a mistake and she makes it her job to see that everyone takes responsibility for the problems that she and her staff create. The VP is even afraid of her!
If you raise an issue about what her staff members are doing (or not doing), the situation immediately gets turned around and we are asked: “Are you sure its not something WE are doing wrong?”
If you mention that a meeting is going to be set up to discuss these issues, we are told that they are very sensitive people and that we have to “dance” around the situation very carefully so that it doesn’t get back to her director and cause even more problems.
If she doesn’t get her way or you don’t tell her exactly what she wants to hear, she stomps her feet; her arms start flying all over the place; and she whines.
I have to prepare information for this person’s staff members on a regular basis … 3-4 times per week … which is ignored by her staff. When mistakes are made because the information was not utilized the way in which it was intended, I am expected to take the blame and tell the clients that I will work harder to see that it doesn’t happen again. I have a real problem with this because I have clients that have asked me if I am a moron and I have others that treat me as if I am mentally challenged. My manager and director aren’t even allowed to say anything about this department.
Any advice on dealing with this person? Everyone’s self-esteem is at an all-time low – especially mine. Thank you.
LOL. Today I had the opportunity to apologize yet-again for a mistake that was caused by this department. It was a BIG ONE – to the point of almost losing the client!
Unfortunately, it wasn’t the client who thinks I am mentally challenged (that would have been so much easier), so I really had to work hard to convince them that it would not happen again. I suppose it’s much easier to play the game than to resolve the problem, so now I am just going to make it a part of my daily routine. That would fall under the category “Other Duties As Assigned“. I don’t have a problem with “authority figures“.
What I DO have a problem with is women in Management who use their personal lives as a crutch and let’s face it, we all have pretty much the same crap going on in our lives. We all have our periods – but when this woman has hers, she makes it known and we have to treat her with kid gloves. If her husband says or does something that she doesn’t like, we all suffer for it. If she didn’t have time to do the cleaning or the ironing or the laundry, it becomes our problem. This kind of behavior does not belong in the workplace! Kind of hard to be compassionate about things such as these and even harder to have respect for a woman like this.
I’m not the type of person who looks for someone to blame – I look for ways to resolve the problem. You can’t fix it if you aren’t made aware of it and if you aren’t allowed to bring it to the table, you can’t fix it.
The solution: Take the blame for anything and everything that could possibly go wrong or that has already gone wrong and just laugh it off. Our sales rep was working on a proposal today for a new client – they (the potential client) had some questions as far as how we would handle certain situations, so she called me for my input. I told her to just tell them that we have a “dedicated moron who is mentally challenged” that would be responsible for managing their account on a daily basis.
We both laughed about it and went on with our work. What else can we do … our whole department is at the mercy of this one very arrogant, miserable woman! I’m either going to end up with a very serious complex or I am going to be the very best at admitting to being wrong – even if it’s not my fault. Looking on the bright side, at least I only have to apologize for 8-10 hours a day, 5 days a week!
Have A Great Day!
Under Bosszilla’s thumb
OFFICE-POLITICS REPLY BY FRANKE JAMES
Dear Under Bosszilla’s thumb,
The way I see it, you have six options:
1. Document her lunacy
Document her lunacy in anal-retentive detail and complain to a higher authority (not God). With luck, and some smarts, you might get her turfed out, and then who knows who might step in to her job… Are you ready?
2. Ridicule her behind her back
Ridicule her behind her back (as you and your team are already doing). It’s so much fun and it relieves pressure but you could get slapped with a disciplinary action (or worse) by her when she hears from a client that you called her a “dedicated moron who is mentally challenged”. Maybe slander is not a good career move? Nobody dissed her in writing did they?
3. Quit and run your own ship
Quit and run your own ship. You have a good sense of humor, drive and ambition — maybe you’re a ‘closet entrepreneur’ and this is your opportunity to step out and show people how to really run a business! Then if a manager-from-hell shows up you can fire them! But document first. Troublesome people can be very nasty to get rid of. Read Pink Slips Chronicle by employment lawyer Brian Grosman, Q.C. for some hair-raising great true-life stories. Very entertaining and educational.
4. Look for another job fast
Look for another job fast while you still have a good track record. Maybe you can write up a super reference letter and get Bosszilla to sign it blindfolded?
5. Go into therapy.
Let me know how it goes. Thanks for writing to Office-Politics.com.
Best of luck,
Franke James, MFA
Inventor, The Office-Politics® Game
Editor & Founder of OfficePolitics.com
Franke James, MFA is the Editor & Founder of OfficePolitics.com. She is also the Inventor of The Office-Politics® Game a dilemma-based social game that teaches you how to play, and laugh, at office politics. It’s used by HR departments, and corporate trainers worldwide. The Office-Politics Dilemmas have been inspired by the hundreds of letters submitted to Office-Politics.com.
Publication note: This letter was originally published in 2006. We are republishing the best letters from Office-Politics and integrating them with our blog format.