This started out as ‘I Hate My New Boss’, but that probably isn’t a very good confession.
First of all: lots of people hate their new boss.
Second: I have already told SO MANY people how much my new boss is driving me up the wall, this is less a ‘confession’ than a ‘maybe if the internet knows, I can stop grinding my teeth every time I have to work with her’.
The real problem is that, despite not having any formal training and having only taken the senior role for a few weeks, I really think I was doing a better job than she is managing (hah!) to do.
I’ve only been in my job for just under two years, and have jumped around from casual to part time to fixed-term full time, junior to assistant manager to manager, and back again. I’ve had fifteen different co-workers and four different bosses. My job is actually pretty good and I love most of my team.
I don’t like to dwell on just bringing people down, though, so I’m going to use this as an opportunity to Give Managerial Advice to a New Manager Who Isn’t Very Good At Being A Manager Yet.
If you are a NMWIVGABAMY, please know that this comes from a place of frustrated generosity. (I don’t hate you! I hate the way you are Bossing me and that is at least partly because I am A Fucking Asshole Who Doesn’t Like Being Bossed!)
If you are working with a NMWIVGABAMY, you can share this subtly on Facebook or whatever, and know that you are not alone.
- Please do not try to put your own stamp on things until you’ve been in the role for a couple of months at least. The rest of us have been trained within this particular set-up, and anything you change is likely to make our lives more difficult, at least in the short term. Being a manager means consulting with your team about changes, and sure, it’s not a big deal if you would like the rubber bands to be in the top drawer instead of the bottom, but changing every little thing that bothers you within the first few weeks is a) a waste of the time you could be using to settle in and b) a great way of subtly confusing all of your new co-workers.
- On a related note: doing things without asking only implies that you don’t give a shit about other people’s opinions. Which is great and cool if you’re just a rebel with no ties to nobody livin’ out on the wide open road, but less cool if you work in a team.
- If you’re not sure about something, please fucking ask! I don’t mean emailing your manager complaining about things! I mean, please fucking ask me questions! The person who is actually there doing the same job in the same place! I am not even an expert but I have been here longer than you! I’m here four days a week! I can tell you where stuff is! I can tell you why we do certain things! There are reasons and processes and I can help you with them!
- Listen when someone tells you something! That way you might actually remember what they’ve said! Write things down! Even if you’re not a read-write learner, you will have a concrete record of information and will fool everyone into thinking you care even though it seems totally obvious that you have zero regard for acquiring new skills and knowledge!
- Also, believe it or not, if I write something down for you, it’s because I’ve actually given it some consideration and expect you to do the same. I do not write notes because I enjoy being summarily ignored. I know, right?! Sounds fake! But seriously, if we only work together once or twice a week, you need to treat these notes like they’re a form of a progress report. (Likewise, if we talk about something that needs doing, the expectation should be that we both work on it–not that I work on it and you ignore it.)
- Please prioritise gaining new skills and knowledge! I get it, you have other stuff in your life apart from this pretty shittily-paid annoying job. We all do–we’ve got our kids and our commute and our freelance graphic design work and our elderly mother and our carpal tunnel. And I am not suggesting that this job should be more important than any of those things but it is also not fucking rocket science so if you can’t take some time in the first couple of weeks to sit down with your notes (see above) and think through this new job you’ve been given, maybe you’re not in a good position to tell us how to do our jobs!
- Actually, scratch that. Above and beyond prioritising anything else, prioritise the people you are working with. This is a customer service role and we are constantly told to put the customer first but you know what? It’s the way you behave towards us that makes the difference between a tolerable job and a good job. Give a shit about how you roster shifts–who works when and with who actually matters in a small team! Give people feedback on their strengths–not the team’s strengths, but specific things that each person does. Act like a fucking human person who wants the other human people around them to be comfortable, instead of coming in and being The Little Dictator!
- You do not need to fix everything. Hell, you might not need to fix anything, but let’s be real, there will be problems and redundancies and crossed wires in any new workplace. But! You can’t fix everything at once! You probably can’t fix everything even if you live for a thousand years and invent a time machine so you can keep sending a more capable version of yourself back to this one specific point in time to fix more and more of the myriad tiny problems that infect any workplace! You want to fix everything at once because this is a new and confusing environment for you and you also have an ego and want to prove that you deserve this job! It’s OK! Fixing one thing at a time and fixing it well is a better and nobler aim! And, bonus points: if you can get us all to understand what we’re trying to improve and why, we can all work on it and maybe actually achieve something, instead of getting confused about what to do because you want everything done at once!!