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Fall Girl

August 9, 2011

I’ve been wondering about how scheming managers really are. I think I’ve wondered before whether management selects for assholes or whether as you move into it you just conform to the system as it is. It’s probably something in between.

I’ve dealt with managers of different types: the scream in your face person, the narcissistic manipulator, the narcissistic self-absorbed neglectful type, the borderline personality disorder, and the sweet to your face stab you in the back. I’ve seen one high level employee use me in his games as a possible source for blame. I’ve seen the board rigged so that a favorite friend will get the credit if a project succeeds but I’m still near enough I can go down with the ship if necessary. And I’ve seen others above me throw me under an oncoming bus for seemingly no reason. Presumably to blame your subordinates is to admit you lack management skills or can’t lead them yourself. It also says something about your own engineering weaknesses when you’ll allow an early career engineer to take the blame on a project you’re overseeing.

But are managers really this consciously devious? I mean I see it all happening, but then I’m a potential victim so I have an incentive to watch the game very closely and make sure that, pawn that I am, I’m not about to be sacrificed. Sometimes I’m not even sure the shmucks at the top realize what they are doing. It’s become so second nature to rig the game in such a way they don’t even realize how they’re lining me up to be their scapegoat or don’t consider whether they’re sacrificing their own credibility when they look to put the onus on someone they are supposed to be closely supervising. To give them clear motives almost gives them too much credit for their schemes.

(Photo from Flickr)


One Comment leave one →
  1. August 9, 2011 10:45 am

    Same with PIs. I’ve seen several types. One I had was a ‘Shaggy PI’ where he would morph into a lapdog when *anyone* was around. Another was a leech, where if he couldn’t get a bloodmeal from you he had absolutely no clue what to do with you other than ignore you and move on to someone he could suck the life out of. Mr. Too Big To Fail was another, he would shift all blame to subordinates because it could.not.possibly. be his fault.

    Good Boss, Bad Boss is a great book for explaining how good leaders lead and how to work around or get away from shitheads. I’ve learned to not let bad bosses get rewarded for their crap, so that my role wasn’t to feed the troll. That also means I didn’t get papers, but who in their right mind would want papers with those twits? Not me. When the game is rigged to favor only the uppers, then it’s a bad place. Keep your knives sharp, and cover your ass. The uppers are doing what they want, that’s the game. They do know what they are doing. What they don’t know are the consequences. Don’t be their cheerleader, quarterback, or any other player on their “team.” I found that pretending there’s no game also pisses them off, because they realize no one saw their touchdown. Awwww.

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