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Surviving Control Freaks: Advice from OP reader

I’ve survived several control freak bosses and maybe this will work for other people too. Here are my thoughts…

1) You can run, but don’t ever run away. Always design a strategy to run TO, otherwise the control freak will think you couldn’t take the pressure. So, for example, I found a field I wanted to get into to get away from two of the control freaks.

2) For the time that you stay, don’t ever challenge the control freak’s control. Every time somebody wants you to take initiative that conflicts with something that the boss is supposed to control, refer that person to the boss. I was responsible for editing a job-related information sheet and somebody asked me to give it directly to them when I knew the boss didn’t want that. I not only made it clear to the boss that I was following directions and got the boss’s permission to disseminate the information that time, but also I got permission to disseminate it in future. However, I always gave the boss the chance to view the information and tell me when it was ready to go.

3) Meanwhile, there’s always the possibility that you will outlast the control freak. Every single one I have been around has succumbed to one of two things. Two controlled things so much that they lost track of the corporate aims and goals and became stumbling blocks. Two failed to control their own behavior and developed physical problems that made it impossible for them to perform.


  1. One Answer to “Surviving Control Freaks: Advice from OP reader”

  2. Submitted by codeguru1985

    Characters in IT Hell

    The geek – the geek knows everything there is to know about every single Windows patches ever come out. The geek is usually at the bottom of the hierarchy, not a lot of social skill, yet indispensable since he does all the real work around the place.

    Token female – the IT industry is 96.999% male, so there is a lot of political pressure from way up top to keep female employees. Some token females has a computing science degree, but they don’t really like computers nor understand them. Some of them get promoted up the chain, might have an accounting degree, might started off as a secretary. Since token females cannot write computer programs, they are usually promoted to project manager role. (There are lots of capable female IT professionals, token females is a subset of females in the IT industry)

    The trusted loyal guy – a token female needs a trusted techco of course, to do all the real technical work. The trusted loyal guy usually has good people skill, says all the right things, lends a ear when his manager wants to complain about some mean non-user friendly programmers or computer programs. Sometimes the trusted loyal guy do have technical skills and projects do work, sometimes, however, the trusted loyal guy know as much about coding or IT as the next guy who sells home computers.

    The “innovative” boss – he has lots of cash, and he thinks he can join the game by starting his own IT company. He usually hires the bullshit artist to manage his team.

    The bullshit artist – the bullshit artist knows about all the latest buzz words there are to know about in the IT industry and will let his boss knows that he has everything under control, e.g. “the company is making money, the project is going well”. When in fact, he knows as much about computers as a high school computer club drop out. The bullshit artist usually paints a rosy picture about the project he is running for as long as he can, or he blames the problems on someone/somthing else. The bullshit artist is skilled in the art of office politics and will go to more weddings than you visit your mother. Before you cross a bullshit artist, be sure you carry around a rear view mirror.

    The contractor – the contractor is the enlightened geek who realized that he lacks the “interpersonal skills” (brown nosing, backstabbing, drink beer, watch football…. Etc) to get anywhere in his job. So he quits his full time job, and gets paid more than the manager (the bullshit artist).

    The over complicator – ever walked into a project and wonder, why on earth are these people over complicating every thing… does one really have to solve triple integrals, and differential equations to get a dataset displayed on a data grid? Well, the over complications are there for a very good reason. The geek got fed up of the bullshit artist winning every turn in life, and he woke up one day and decided to put more logic in his code than a Mensa IQ test, so no one else (especially the bullshit artist) can understand it. Hence the over complicator becomes indispensable and got promoted!

    By Letter Writer on Mar 2, 2007

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