…Same As the Old Boss

Now I have no boss at all.

The place where I work has always been pretty loose. We are now part of a huge corporation, having been bought out a few years ago, but we get our part of the job done, so we have mostly been allowed to do it our own way. The main difference is we now have to report every breath we take on poorly-designed Microsoft Excel spreadsheet forms that we get from headquarters. It took them two years to figure out how to protect the cells with formulas in them. For all that time the spreadsheets came with warnings: “DO NOT TYPE IN THE CELLS WITH FORMULAS!!”

This laissez faire mindset has extended to the relationship between the worker bees and the local management. Basically, management is ignored, unless they threaten to fire you, and then you kiss enough ass to keep your job, and soon you can go back to ignoring them. In general, this suits the managers OK, since they don’t know anything about hiring, firing, training or motivating anyway, and being ignored relieves them of having to either learn something about managing or act like they know something about it, and gives them more time to check the horse racing results on the internet.

The good thing about a really big corporation (I think this is true, although this is my first experience with this sort of thing), is that nobody you meet in the halls knows exactly who you are, or, more importantly, who you know. You might be friends with the Regional Vice President. So if you maintain the right attitude and a certain swagger in walk and talk, most of the suits will leave you alone, because what if you’re important? At the same time, of course, I don’t get to browbeat anyone I meet in the halls, for much the same reason. So there’s good news and bad news, I guess.

Much of the way things work is like an army. No one knows what you’re doing, and you don’t know what they’re doing, and none of you have been told exactly why you’re doing it, and it has to be done that way because, goddamnit, that’s the way it has to be done. In an army, though, everyone wears uniforms and insignia, so you know who gets to boss whom, thus taking away the natural camouflage we in corporate life enjoy. We have the same confusion as they do in the army, but we also don’t know who’s in charge.

So now the Big Guy at our location has been moved Somewhere Else, and he has not been replaced. Essentially, there is no one at the helm. We don’t know when or if a new Big Guy will be appointed. We know that The Corporation has a penchant for hiring young, eager college grads for jobs that they might be ready for in ten years. We assume it’s because they cost less than people who actually know what they are doing. But we don’t even have a whiff of a taste of a water-cooler rumor as to what the fuck is going to happen.

So now, as might be expected when there is no leadership whatsoever, everybody is ignoring everybody else, no one knows if the new Big Guy is already among us, or even if it’s one of us, and the miracle is that the place still functions pretty much as it always has. But I actually have no one to report to. I have to think up work, assign it to myself, with a deadline, complain about the workload (to myself), miss the deadline, give myself some shit and promise it’ll never happen again.


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14 Replies to “…Same As the Old Boss”

  1. Nice on-the-job vacation! I hope, for your sake, they work with the same efficiency my big corporation does.

    When I was still working as a Social Worker, a US Senator lectured me about how Social Workers need to be more accountable with funding. He said we need to learn to operate with the efficiency of the business world. Now that I work for a big business, I’d like to have another sit-down with Senator Grassley and find out what the hell he was talking about.

  2. I believe the word for your, and a lot of other companies’ situation is “clusterfuck”.

    I may be a little too comfortable with my clusterfuck of a situation, but offers for alterior employment are being discussed. Just wondering if your rendition of The Who’s classic will hold true if I move. Probably.

  3. I was once left in similar circumstances with too many bosses, in charge of my own scheduling. Eventually, though, I crossed the line. A former boss had agreed to “flexible” hours for me and I ran it into the ground, coming in late and then staying late to make up for it. I was kind of glad to get called down for it since it returned me to a normal schedule and I didn’t have to look over my shoulder all the time. I’ve been in charge of myself when I was self-employed and that worked okay, but trying to do it in a company environment just got me fucked up.

  4. Um, Larry, if you need someone to haggle with you, harass you, give you more work than you can handle and then yell at you for not doing it all on time, and all that other stuff….just let me know. I’m up for the power struggle!

  5. It’s amazing how the corporate entity survives without any real leadership or motivation from anyone involved. It’s kind of like a self-evolving hydra that spouts another head when it gets one hacked off.

  6. I think the most prudent thing to do in your position, is to walk in that office stand on your desk and shout: “I am the king of this office…If you don’t like it, you can go fuck yourselves”. Great way to grab the attention of the big boys on top. Who knows? Promotion anyone?

    Let me know how that works out.

  7. Theresa – I think this is Senator-speak for “We don’t want to help n*ggers, and we know they are lying about their needs.”
    * or insert your favorite poor minority

    La Chevalier – Not everyone in The Corporation is alike. But they’re trying.

    Ron – You need to cultivate the swagger.

    She Hulk – Thanks, but I’m harrassing myself. Auto-harrassment.

    Steph – We don’t know what’s up with Piggy. He’s been in the computer equipment room all day. We’re afraid to kill him, because we think he may have changed the passwords.

    Brent – You’re right, except that heads keep growing without any of them being hacked off. (Haha – I said “hacked off.”)

    -G.D. – In my mind, I do this all day. In real life, I will only do it once. And I like the writing on your blog. Stay with me here. It gets better.

  8. I like the matter of fact tone to G.D.’s suggestion. s/he sounds like my kind of person. Life’s too short to wait around and see who’s coming to screw with your life next.

  9. tacit1 – Agreed. I like to get out and search for the next one to screw me.

    Rhodent – Is this the first time you have commented here? A big rev.99 welcome to you!
    The thing is, when I started my job there were 85 employees. Now there are fifty thousand. So it’s not my choice. Or my fault. There’s at least 40,000 of them that I wouldn’t have hired.

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