Hello, Cruella. Telling Sadistic Bosses what they want to hear, like
“…ouch,” will only get them charged up to lay on more punishment—
sometimes overt and sometimes subtle. Take for example the practical
joker Sadistic Bosses that put up signs reading,
opinion, I’ll give it to you.” Ha-ha. What these morons apparently
don’t realize is people see through the pseudo-humor for what it is—
a reminder of who has the power.
If it’s so funny, why isn’t anyone laughing except the boss? There’s
always the suggestion box with no bottom placed strategically over a
wastebasket. Do you hear anyone laughing? I’ll never understand why
people think making light of power disparity in the workplace is supposed
to make it okay.
Like the mouse that has been caught, but not killed, the Sadistic
Boss won’t let you get away. She will keep you alive to torture you. If
you try to transfer out of her department, she will show up at your
door holding your transfer request with REJECTED written
across it in big red letters. You’ll pinch yourself to wake from the
nightmare only to find that you’re just pinching yourself and she is
still standing there—with an evil smile. If you try to go around her or
above her head, she will go to the Pope if necessary to get your transfer
Working for a Sadistic Boss is the closest thing to hell I can think
of. Forget about working your way out of the problem. The harder
you work, the more she’ll pile on you. Forget about insubordinating
your way out of the problem. The more you goof off, the more justification
you give her to beat you. Forget about bleeding your way out of
the problem. Injuring yourself is a waste of time, not to mention painful.
Pain is like catnip for a sadist.
Working yourself to near death, goofing off, or self-inflicting
wounds only play into the Sadistic Boss’s game. But it’s not hopeless.
Try pretending you’re a masochist. If your performance is convincing
and the sadist thinks you’re enjoying the pain, you’ll be out in a flash.
Only the pain and suffering of others will charge a sadist’s batteries.
Take a cue from Brer Rabbit. He put the fox in a paradoxical bind
when he pleaded for the solution he wanted as if it were punishment
by saying, “Please don’t throw me in the brier patch.” Of course, the
brier patch is where Brer wanted to be. In laymen’s terms, a paradoxical
bind simply means damned if you do and damned if you don’t. It
worked for Brer Rabbit and you just might be hippity hopping to
freedom before you know it.
There are ways to deal with Sadistic Bosses to improve your working
environment. As always, knowing what you’re up against helps.
The maxim, “Keep your friends close and your enemies closer,” doesn’t
apply here. You need to keep as much distance as possible without
provoking the sadist to jerk your choke collar.
■ Develop ways to assure your Sadistic Boss that her
workload is indeed oppressive, even if it’s not. In real
terms, if she thinks you’re skating through anything, she’ll
associate that with failure to sufficiently burden you. It
sounds silly, but there are many bosses who truly believe
any happiness or frivolity around the office can only mean
one thing: jailbreak. Jail keepers deal with jailbreaks in
one way: lockdown.
■ When a Sadistic Boss calls, come. Disobeying a Sadistic
Boss, or even delaying your responses, gives her an excuse
to lash out. She has enough motivation to cause pain
without you adding more. Understand that, to a sadist,
pain is power. Your pain—her power. Fighting her power
plays into her game. Always be ready to respond quickly,
although not merrily, to a Sadistic Boss. You will get
through the day more painlessly.
■ Assure her that pain is a good motivator. Many employees
think it’s a mission from God to convince the Sadistic
Boss that her methods are unsound. Not only will you
lose that argument every time, you have just given her a
reason to prove all over again how powerful she is. Smart
workers will hand in their work with an acknowledgement
that the pressure she exerted accelerated the process.
Refer in your e-mails and other correspondences to the
fact that workloads are weighty, but you’re continuing
■ Don’t organize activities in a Sadistic Boss’s department.
Keep them underground and ad hoc. Organizing a sports
activity or a party is like serving her a punishment opportunity
on a silver platter. This means, don’t dress up
in your softball uniform before leaving the office. If your
Sadistic Boss sees you’re on your way out to have fun,
you’ll wind up working late and missing the game.
■ Act busy. Idleness invites punishment in the form of exaggerated
workloads. I’m not saying fake working. To
create a better working environment for yourself, you
want to work on important and personally rewarding activities.
In a sadistic environment, just make your work
appear excessively burdensome. If you’ve ever tried to
kick back and lighten things up around a Sadistic Boss, I
don’t need to remind you what happens.
■ Watch her eyes. Pain begets pain. The Sadistic Boss is
probably the victim of pain imposed by another sadist,
either in her family or elsewhere. This is not a happy
person thumping on you for no reason. Whatever pain
she dishes out, she has felt it before from someone more
powerful. For whatever reason, pain has become a way
of life. Sometimes, making eye contact will open an unspoken
corridor between you and she’ll back off a little.
If making eye contact only makes her rage out at you,
You are best served in a Sadistic Boss’s department to appear
busy and focused without good cheer, not that a serious attitude will
be hard to come by. This doesn’t mean you can’t be upbeat and positive
when you’re outside of the sadist’s orbit. Being positive and upbeat
will enhance the possibility that someone might recruit you away
from your Sadistic Boss.
The fact that your boss is a sadist is probably not news to anyone,
inside or outside of your department. People up the food chain know
more than you might think, despite the fact they don’t acknowledge it
when you’re around. If you are sour and dour everywhere with everyone,
they won’t know if the problem is you or your boss.
Never talk your Sadistic Boss down in front of her superiors. If
others see you being positive when away from your boss, they’ll feel
sorry for your situation and might even admire your tenacity for keeping
a stiff upper lip in the face of such negativity. With a Sadistic
Boss, play it smart, but play it nonetheless.
HOW TO WORK FOR AN IDIOT SURVIVE & THRIVE… WITHOUT KILLING YOUR Boss Cap II: Chapter 2: Will the Real Idiot Please Stand Up? (By John Hoover) Part8