Wednesday, November 14, 2007

The Boss's Rant

I'm going to do it today. . . write about work. I have tried to avoid doing it, but every now and then I need an outlet to vent about work frustrations that I am sure most people can relate to in one way or another.

I run an accounting department, and we are in the middle of closing our fiscal year. I have really bad timing with pregnancies because I have been out of the office for 2 of our last 3 fiscal year ends. When you are in charge of all of the work that is produced at this important time of year, it's a lot harder to be out of the office. In addition to having a lot of "accounting" work at this time of year, we (like most companies) have lot of year-end issues to deal with that produces a lot of work for me since I am involved in a lot of the decision-making.

It should go without saying then that over the last 8 years of working in an office and the last 5 years of running a department and helping to run a company, I have seen and dealt with a lot of different employees and learned a lot about people's work habits. Below is my list of office pet peeves about workers and working conditions from a boss's perspective. If you have ever worked in an office, you will at least be able to relate to most of these . . . and maybe even learn something about your boss.

1. IF YOU ARE OFF-TASK, YOUR BOSS USUALLY KNOWS ABOUT IT.
Whether or not you work on a computer, your body language and your work output normally tell your boss when you are off-task. My favorite employee tactic is the last second attempt to cover up the non-work papers on your desk by quickly sliding other papers on top of them to cover them up. Don't do this. It's obvious you're not on-task. I also enjoy the quick click off the website where you're looking up news, sports scores, or other non-work related information. What most workers don't think about or realize is that your productivity is directly related to the profitability of your company. When you waste time, you're wasting your own money.

2. TRYING TO ENSURE YOUR JOB SECURITY BY KEEPING WORK TASK INFORMATION TO YOURSELF DOES NOT REALLY IMPROVE YOUR JOB'S SECURITY.
I can think of countless examples when employees really thought that not sharing work information such as passwords or job task procedures with other co-workers would improve their job security. In my opinion, this tactic just makes workers look incompetent and insecure. I value most my employees that can teach ME and their co-workers something new rather than those that try to guard information.

3. YES, EVERY COMPANY HAS SOME INCOMPETENT MANAGERS.
How incompetent workers ever become managers is beyond me, but I am certain this is the case somewhere in just about every company. What's worse is that incompetent managers breed incompetent workers. I work at an engineering company, so many of the managers were mostly engineers or designers before becoming managers. Many have no other business background, and many times it shows in their management style. I don't have an extensive business background, but I have a good understanding of business operations. When I don't know enough about a certain aspect of management, I seek out references to learn more about it. I think this is part of trying to be a good manager. Unfortunately, too many managers are complacent about their management skills and make no effort to improve them.

4. IF YOU'RE NOT A GOOD WORKER, YOU'RE PROBABLY NOT GOING TO BE A GOOD ENTREPRENEUR.
It always strikes me as interesting how naive people can be about what it take to run a company. Employees always have opinions about how a company should be run or about how they would run their company differently, but most don't really know all of the issues you have to deal with when you are a business owner. Usually, you find it's your worst employees that have the most opinions but never really do anything about the problem. The best employees do their best to do something about it rather than just continually complaining about the problem.

5. COMPLACENT WORKERS ARE BAD WORKERS.
Employees that adopt the attitude that doing what they do everyday without ever making an effort to expand their horizons or improve their methods are, in my opinion, equivalent to lazy workers. So many employees are so scared of change that they never venture outside their small comfort zone. Resisting change is a disease of the American workforce. If we embraced change and chose to tackle problems head on, we would all work for better companies.

6. I WISH ALL WORKERS "GOT IT".
I can't tell you exactly what separates workers that "get it" from workers that don't (experience, intelligence, effort, skills, ability to learn quickly, probably a little bit of everything), but every boss wants the worker that "gets it". There's nothing more frustrating than teaching an employee how to do something, having them tell you they understand, and coming back later to realize they don't "get it". What's worse? Sometimes they don't even realize they don't get it.


I could go on, but I don't want to bore anyone that might be reading this anymore than necessary. I know how I must sound. . . typical boss . . . thinks she knows everything. . . undervalues her employees. Truth is, I think I have pretty good employees. They have their faults but so does every worker, including me. Remember, I work in an office, so I see the behaviors of a lot of workers, not just those that work for me. Being home on bed rest is an especially frustrating way to manage anything is you're a hands-on manager, so I just needed a moment to vent my frustrations. I know I still have a lot to learn, but I am always trying to learn from my mistakes and the mistakes of those around me.

1 comment:

Meagan said...

I am not a manager, but I have been working at jimmy johns for about 3 years and get so frustrated with some of the retards we have working there. I understand that being new you don't know how to do everything but you can tell which newbies are actually trying and which ones are not...so frustrating....i imagine your situation is a lot worse