Wedding Woes

Your friends are wrong. It's hostile and total BS.

Dear Prudence,

About a year ago I started a new job. The pay is fair, benefits are phenomenal, and the pace is just my speed. The problem is that my boss has a tendency to ask our team for “honest” feedback, then lashes out at us when we do. Sometimes she’s shot down my input, then a few days later repeated what I said and passed it off as her own idea. I’ve tried offering my feedback more gently, declining to offer input at all, and saying, “I’ll defer to you,” but that just seemed to upset her, because she had no cues on how to approach the problem. It also frustrated me, because I thrive when I’m able to think critically and offer suggestions.

I know she’s the boss and I’m not. I’m not trying to undermine or steamroll her. And I’m fine having my ideas rejected! What bugs me is that she’s always seeking guidance but often rebuffs any input and appears offended when someone confidently offers a viable solution. My friends have told me to accept the behavior because it’s the norm at any corporate job. So should I suck it up or start looking for an exit strategy?

—Navigating the Land Mines of Work

Re: Your friends are wrong. It's hostile and total BS.

  • kimmiinthemittenkimmiinthemitten Detroit, MI member
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its Third Anniversary 5 Answers
    I read something about how the women in Obama’s administration handled stuff like this. They would start reiterating each other’s points if they felt ignored. For example:

    Susan:  I think xyz
    Jody:  to further Susan’s point about xyz

    I thought it was genius!
  • Ro041Ro041 member
    Seventh Anniversary 1000 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
    I wish all employers would let you appraise your boss.

  • If this is how the boss treats everyone, then you all need a strategy like @kimmiinthemitten suggested. But also, schedule a one-on-one with your boss; come with specifics of times that you've offered suggestions, specifics about why they were rejected, and the details of how they were used. As for feedback on how you can improve. Do you not have performance evals? Maybe there is something you're doing that she doesn't like, maybe she's just not a great supervisor.

    But take some responsibility for your career; I get that not all supervisors are great, but you have to work with her and from the letter that relationship isn't great. If you want a reference, or promotion in the company, you're going to need to find a way to work with her. 
  • It sounds like she is happy with her job, overall.  I personally would take an approach of doing my job.  If my job does not involve giving her solutions for her problems, I would say something general or parrot back whatever she has previously said.  If my job does involve solutions for dept. problems, I would give my best advice with an expectation that it will be shot down and/or stolen.  When possible, I would offer the advice via e-mail so there is a record that it was my idea.  I would never constructively criticize her, even if she asks for that.

    It might be different in LW's job or industry, but it has been my experience that a person's direct boss is usually the one primarily responsible for raises and promotions.  So, while it is a huge side-eye when the boss steals ideas, it also probably doesn't matter much for LW's career. 

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  • I keep confusing this and the one about writing the exit letter so it has been interesting reading PP thoughts as I see similarities between the two letters.
  • MesmrEweMesmrEwe member
    Knottie Warrior 2500 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    edited March 2018
    LW needs to read the books "The Peter Principle" and "The Peter Prescription" then follow that up with "TAKE THE DOORMAT SHIRT OFF!", dust off the resume, and find someplace else to work where those leadership qualities and skills are utilized and acknowledged.  (it's the lack of recognition that the idea was LW's that's the issue...  that stuff will fester to a breaking point, better to nip in the bud..)
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