Raise your hand if you want your boss to be so far up in your business she wants to tell you how to wipe your bits in the bathroom. I’m not seeing any hands, am I?
Of course not! The fact is that no one wants that boss, but Cyn K ended up with one and here’s her story.
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“While we were very impressed with your interview, the committee has decided to offer the position to another candidate.”
I deleted the email and quickly got up from my desk. I didn’t want my boss to see me cry. More accurately, I didn’t want her to ask why I was crying.
Because I can’t get away from you.
Fresh out of college, I cockily turned down two jobs before accepting a teaching position I grew to love. When I decided to move back to my home state, I also opted to leave teaching. After a year of national service, I again had the luxury of choosing between jobs.
I may have chosen poorly.
I had been spoiled with great bosses up to that point and was completely unprepared to be micromanaged. I was used to autonomy. Hell, I had been entrusted with the minds of young children. I was used to thinking on my feet and using my best judgment. I prided myself on being self-motivated, acting professionally, making many decisions throughout the day and taking action immediately.
My new boss didn’t believe in this.
Suddenly, I had to submit letters and memos for her proofreading and approval. Without fail, she left a red mark on at least one page. She did this even on documents that I recycled from the previous year, ones she had proofed and corrected herself. She always had to change something, just to show that she could.
She wanted to be copied on emails. Despite managing a staff of three, each of whom composed multiple emails a day, she asked to “be kept in the loop.” She almost always replied to these messages to correct what she perceived as our errors or to simply repeat what we wrote in her own words just to show she was involved.
Heaven forbid I should talk on the phone when she was in earshot. She would hover in the doorway, shaking her head in disapproval over how I was answering a question. Of course, head shaking was always preferred to her talking at me, telling me what I should be saying while I’m trying to listen to the person on the line. If the client was physically present in the office, she felt free to take over if she didn’t like the way I was handling the situation.
My office mates and I had the sympathy of other staff. Even though we were her only direct reports, she didn’t let that stop her from telling other people what they should do and how they should do it.
I needed to get the hell out of there.
Since my boss liked to control everything and had never heard of delegation, I actually had a lot of free time at work. I used the time I wasn’t trusted to complete tasks to look for a new job. I made it part of my routine to look at job sites every day. I submitted applications, rewrote my cover letter and tweaked my resume on company time. I was applying for so many jobs that I had to create a spreadsheet to track my efforts.
Unfortunately, the job market had changed since the time I had been hired. I began getting form letters announcing that positions were filled without a call or interview. I had phone interviews that went nowhere. I had multiple interviews for jobs and got my hopes up only to get rejection notices via phone, letter and email.
When I did have interviews, I worried the most about the “why” question. Why do you want to work for us? Why are you leaving your current job? I always lied. My answer wasn’t completely false, but it certainly wasn’t the truth.
Oh, you’re company has such a great image . . .
I’m so impressed with the history of this place . . .
I’m looking for advancement opportunities . . .
I’d like to explore my other skills . . .
Maybe I never got those other jobs because I didn’t tell the truth.
Why did I want to work for them? Because after four years of being micromanaged, constantly corrected, and treated like I could not be trusted to make any decision, no matter how small, my boss said this during a staff meeting:
Sometimes, I think you forget that I’m in charge.
I may have made a lot of mistakes in that job, but that certainly wasn’t one of them.
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Cyn K grew up in rural Ohio, spending her time doing chores on her family’s hobby farm, reading, writing and overdosing on network television. Her first job was the extremely glamorous position of “Production Specialist” at her local Pizza Hut. After teaching elementary music and movement in New Mexico for six years, she settled back in Ohio. Having survived the boss from hell described in this post, she found a nice, boring job that allows her plenty of time to take care of her antisocial husband, autistic son, and adorable dog. The current job also gives her time to tweet as @cynkingfeeling and blog over at that cynking feeling.