Friday, August 25, 2006

Let's just call him Eeyore

I've had it with my manager. I use the term manager loosely, because to be honest he couldn't manage to order a cup of coffee without asking for someone's advice.

What kind of coffee should I get? Will I put milk in it?

If our relationship was purely a work-based one, it would be fine - I'd have complained about him and cited all the things that piss me off about him to one of the top boys, and they'd have beat the bastard shit out of him. (Discipline is of the old school variety in my company.)

Well, they would've had a word, at least. Things are never simple though, are they? Follow me, children, as I journey into the recent past....

A year ago, Eeyore and I were in different teams, at roughly equivalent levels in the company, with him being slightly senior due to the way management was laid out. Now, bear with me, because I know that straight away you're thinking "This is just a jealousy thing because he's now Kav's manager". I swear to you, that is not the issue. Well, sort of. You'll find out what the fuck I'm pissed off about in a couple of minutes.

Anyway, at this time, I had only been in the company for three months. As the new boy, I was flattered and chuffed that Eeyore asked my opinions on so many topics, even those that (I presumed) he was vastly more knowledgeable about.

We became friends - I enjoyed his humorous, highly cynical outlook on life, and he liked me because I talk loads of complete bullshit. I even became a bit of a handyman for him at his apartment, putting up coving, moving some sockets, and the like. We got on very well, had a great laugh, and therefore had a great relationship at work. The only aspect of his personality that bothered me was that he seemed incredibly indecisive, and sought advice from you on even the most basic issues.

For example: Joe Bloggs sends Eeyore an email saying that they need him to get Job X done by this evening. Eeyore starts freaking out, saying "Oh fuck, what am I going to do? I'm doing Job Y all day, and it has priority over Job X!" So I'm like "How about picking up the fucking phone and telling them that? What fucking use is it sitting there moaning about it?".

But rather than do that, he'll sit there for an hour worrying about it, therefore being completely unproductive, and pissing everyone else off with his huffing and puffing while he tries to figure out what to do. After half a day, and having consulted with some senior managers (who are wondering why the fuck he's bothering them with such insignificant shit), he responds to Joe Bloggs and says he won't be able to do it until tomorrow. Of course, Joe gets pissed off that Eeyore has taken so long to get back to him, and he says "Could you not have told me any sooner? This is now going to significantly delay the project, whereas if you had responded immediately, I could've had time to allocate another resource to get the work done."

Our working environment is very fast-moving, so indecision like this affects everybody.

OK, digression over.

In November last year, after a major change in the company's direction, the department was reorganised, and one of the top boys requested that our team report directly to him. This was obviously quite an honour - he wanted us as a direct report because our newly-established team had been performing so well, and he thought hmmm, I'll have some of that glory. We knew we had made a name for ourselves as being reliable and good at our work, so it was nice to have a positive affirmation of this, even if it meant little in terms of our day-to-day duties.



What this meant was that Eeyore and I were now on level footing in terms of status. (If you know the corporate world, you'll know how irritatingly hierarchical it is.) However, the work we did in no way overlapped, so we both plodded along happily for a few months.

Then, in March this year, my manager handed in her notice. Eeyore and myself (and one other guy in my team, but he was never a contender) went for the job. Eeyore got it, in spite of the fact that:
(a) he knows the bare minimum about the workings of what we do (which raised warning bells with me that I would have to carry him on alot of stuff, but more of that later)
(b) he is, literally, the most indecisive person I know. How they chose to cast him in a manager's role is beyond me.
(c) I am far more efficient, productive, and knowledgeable about what I do, than he is. This may sound arrogant, but fuck it, it's the truth. I hate slippage, and work fucking hard to ensure everything I deliver is on time.

The reason for Eeyore getting the role over me was, apparently, because he has previous management experience. Aside from the obvious issue of "Well, if nobody fucking gives me a chance, I'll NEVER get any management experience", I was extremely irritated by the fact that these guys who interviewed us are our managers - they know what he's like! They know how pedantic, indecisive, short-tempered, and stress-prone he is, and they still gave it to him.

It's all politics. You know how offices are. I'm pretty sure (though of course, this sounds arrogant, and besides, I can never prove it) that on paper, I was a better candidate, but the guys had to decide: Do we give it to Kav, who's new, and young, and is making a good impression, or do we give it to Eeyore, who's been here a while, puts in alot of effort (without necessarily achieving much), and is a little older? Basically, I think they weighed up which of the two of us would be more likely to leave if we ended up having to report to the other, and they decided that because I'm newer, I'd be more likely to be accepting of Eeyore as my manager than vice versa.

They were right. Me, I don't bear grudges, water under the bridge, yadda yadda yadda. I was genuinely ok with the fact that they gave him the job - in all fairness, he has been working there for longer than me, and he does have some skills, otherwise he would've been let go a long time ago. It's just that the skills he has, IMHO, are not those a manager needs.


It wasn't long before cracks started appearing in the team. Our annual plan went to shit, timelines for all the carefully scheduled work prepared by me at the beginning of the year started to slip. The sighing increased. I started getting dumped with loads of shit because he didn't have time. What he meant was, I can't prioritise to save my fucking life, and I panic if I have more than three things to do.

It's pathetic, but I was so pissed off, I started keeping a log of the things he did that got to me.

Things that no employee should do, let alone a fucking manager who is supposed to influence and motivate his staff.

Here's an extract. I am not fucking joking, most of these things happen on a daily basis:

  • He doesn't remember what I've been doing, despite me giving him weekly updates. Talking about a critical piece of work that I've spent ages on, he says things like "You had a meeting with him last week to sort that out, or did you? I really can't remember" even if I've briefed him in detail on the outcome of the meeting.
  • He moans constantly about the level of work and the pressure he's under - in terms of our work, pressure this year is far less than last year. Last year we had to cram 12 months of work into 7. This year we've got a full year and he's even managing to fuck that up.
  • The moaning thing again - he spends far more time complaining than he does actually acting to resolve his problems. He does this in his personal life too. It's distracting to everyone around.
  • I get constant requests to "do him a favour"...they're usually straightforward things, but that's not the point. The point is: manage your own shit. I manage mine. An example of how stressed he gets is, recently, he asked me to review some files for him - he gave me half a day to do it. I had it done in 40 minutes. Not because I'm a genius, far from it. I just did the fucking job and then moved on to the next thing.
  • He sighs heavily. All the bastard time.
  • He seeks validation by asking questions on things he should alread know. This is linked to his inability to make a decision. I mean, he's the manager, and he gets me to review his fucking work on an almost daily basis! It pisses me off so much that he's been given the reponsibility, but can't handle it, so he passes the burden on to me. Meanwhile, he claims all the credit for getting the job done, and I get fuck all. That's why I started keeping the log. It's one thing to just be annoying, but when you start to fuck me over, it gets serious. I'm ambitious, and I'll be damned if some other cunt is getting credit for stuff I did.
  • He rambles. He'll interrupt you and say "Have you got a minute? I need to ask your advice on (*insert whateverthefuck today's problem is*)". Fair enough...what irritates me is that he spends the next five minutes telling you the entire history of the fucking world before he gets to the fucking point. Usually it's just a yes/no answer and I didn't need to hear any of the other bastarding shite, but try telling him that.
  • The other morning, he asked me to review a document in my own time. For me, that would've meant "at some point today". Twenty minutes later, he's asking me for my fucking comments! I wanted to kick his fucking arse up and down the fucking corridor.
  • To add insult to injury, the above document states "Reviewed by: Eeyore" in it. Just another example of my graft and effort being stolen and zero fucking recognition given to me.
  • I know this is a long post, and probably nobody will read this far, but if you are here, you may remember up at the top, that I mentioned that I used to feel flattered when he asked for my advice and comments. Now I know better. On more than one occasion, I have sent him emails saying exactly what an issue is, what's needed to remediate it and so on. One day, when he was off, his manager forwarded me a mail asking me if I would have sufficient knowledge to deal with this issue. I opened the mail to find my recommendation, copied word for bastard word into this mail from Eeyore to his manager, giving the unmistakeable impression that he had come up with all this shit on his own. I was fucking RAGING that day. I don't know how many other times he has done this, but I'm retaining that mail as evidence for my year-end review. If I get any shit, I'm going to fuck him up.
  • He stresses about everything, and gets headaches because he can't handle even an ounce of pressure. Then he moans about his headaches. All day.
  • His reviews of work that took my former manager 2 hours take WEEKS. I am not exaggerating for the sake of making this more entertaining. He takes weeks. That's why our annual plan is so fucked up.
  • He is completely inappropriate in a professional environment. Here's an example comment from some kickass clients he was meeting with last week:
    Client: Have you got our business card?
    Eeyore: No, but give me one, they're brilliant for picking your teeth.
    He also brings sexual innuendo into almost every conversation. It sometimes makes me laugh, but it creeps out almost all the women I work with.
  • He has no confidence in me, even though I know my work better than he does. He always feels like he has to review it. I submitted two reports for him to review last week, and yesterday he still had not touched them. I told him I couldn't leave them any longer, and I just sent them out to the customer. He was like "Well, i suppose I can trust you, haha", which just pissed me off even more. I had to send an apology to the customer for the delay, when what I wanted to write was "It's not my fucking fault! I had them ready on time but my fucking manager couldn't organise a piss-up in a brewery and the reports were sitting on his desk for a WEEK doing nothing before I decided enough was enough, because if I didn't send them now, who the fuck knows when you'd have got them?!?"

So, I've ranted. But here's the kicker: I like him. I like Eeyore a lot. And that's what's stopped me from complaining so far.

I think my head's gonna explode soon if I don't do something about this situation.


freshairlover blathered this crap:

You're in a rough situation. You don't want to lose his friendship, yet working with him causes blood vessels to explode in your head.

Are you close enough to talk to him about it or would he take it the wrong way?

DrM2B blathered this crap:

dude!.....U know the answer....He is in the way...steals your ideas, depends on U for his bread and butter (without any ackowledgement)! IF ,,,,(and we both know there isnt) ther is any way to blind copy his boss... on a project coming up that U KNOW he will plagerize (sp? ) from your recommendation to him...tehn do it...blow his fucking cover.....HE KNOWS deep down he is doing this and also thinks he know U.....that U will continue to let him get a way with it........
The corporate world is UGLY...we know that....get what you can ....and if you cant ....MOVE ON....U are obviously talented in your (our )field....( co is aways hiring and they have a tech center over there.........
anywho...bottom line?...U have a wife and two beautiful children who depend on u.....this shite Im sure is taken home in some form or another ! .....dont let him get the best of U.....Ive let and returned 3 times ,.,.,,now contracting ....due to similar reasons....its always worked out for the best the end...they respected me for my decisions.......

duckie blathered this crap:

if you tell him even half this shit, he will not take it well. That's just my guess. I don't know many people that would take it well.

If you want his job you really can't be his friend because that will just get in the way.

Bottom line is that this guy is making your work-life unpleasant. You spend more time at work than you do with your family (sad, ain't it?) so you can't afford to let him ruin it for you.

He may be a very nice guy but I'll bet you he's a user. He saw that you were smart and energetic and helpful and that's why he went to you. Sounds like he's even used you to get some work done around his house that he couldn't do either.

Don't let him use you to get ahead while making your life harder.

Fuck that guy.

Steph blathered this crap:

People like him always get found out in the long run.
Just bide your time,BUT make his stuff ups and mistakes known to others.
He shouldn't hold the position that he does.

Kav blathered this crap:

Debbie: Nail on the head my friend, nail on the head. I can't talk to him about it because he's extremely sensitive about things - his confidence would be completely dashed if I told him this stuff.

drm2b: You're right, I should just move on, but I like my current job too much for that. I'm going to wait til the end of this financial year (next March), then start looking.

duckie: Absolutely mate, it would go down like a lead balloon. I don't necessarily want his job - I just don't want him as my manager. There's a distinction there somewhere, honest! Oh, and he's made things harder - I'll post more on that later.

steph: I hope so. That's kind of why I've started taking notes when he annoys me - not so much to land him on trouble, but more to back me up in the event that I get given any shit as a result of something he does.