27 March 2009

I promise it's self-defense.

But I'm going to KILL. MY. BOSS.

I know everyone feels this way at one point or another, but really. I would be doing the world (okay, mostly me and my coworkers) a favor.

I work at a very small archaeological consulting firm. My boss has been (inexplicably) in business for a little over two decades. He has no idea how to run a business and he is possibly the worst communicator in the world.

Example: Part-time employees are only supposed to work 32 hours per week. This, you would think, would be a rather simple concept. But no. Because he won't actually tell anyone if he or she is full- or part-time. So no one knows. Or rather, some people don't. So one employee was confused (I mean, we all were, but one more than the rest, I suppose). And he kept working over 32 hours. So I told my boss that I thought that maybe this employee was unsure of his employment terms. I suggested he tell this employee that he needed to keep his hours at 32 or fewer. Here's a basic transcript of how that conversation went (and it's been a while, so I'm not exactly sure of the wording, but you'll get the gist):

Boss: You need to stop recording your hours for this week right now.
Employee: Um...okay. But I have to finish this map.
Boss: You're getting close to 40 hours for the week, so you need to go home. Now.
Employee: Um...okay, but I have to finish this map.
Boss: Someone else can finish the map. You need to work less hours.

Yeah. Seriously. At no point did he say, "You are a part-time employee here, so you're only supposed to work 32 hours per week."

So, naturally, this went on for several more weeks, until I had to be the bad guy and say, "Dude. You know you're not full-time, right? You need to keep your hours down. No more than 32 hours per week, unless you are expressly told to do so by a supervisor."

Using the word "supervisor" is just a joke, really. In a company with only seven employees...

Basically, my boss is completely incapable of even the most basic forms of communication. Unless he's being a condescending asshole. Then he's all over it. But it's rarely intentional. More in a Michael-Scott-from-The-Office kinda way.

We had a meeting a couple of months ago, in which he proceeded to go over what he considered each employee's "strength." The thing he would go to that employee about if he had a question. Now, keep in mind we're an office of archaeologists (well, except me...the Office Manager job pays better, so I do that). For most people, these strengths were archaeology-related. He's good at shells, she's good at ceramics, etc. Then he gets to the guy who's good at cars. Yeah, he has no strengths as an archaeologist, but if I had a question about cars, I'd ask him. Ouch. And another guy's strength was "the clarinet." I'm not even sure how that works...especially since he played the sax, which is infinitely cooler. What a jerk. (My "strength" was Quickbooks, so for the rest of that week, I refused to answer any questions that weren't about Quickbooks. Fuck that noise.)

As the Office Manager, it's my job to do...well, everything. But I have to deal with everyone's timesheets and expense reports (excel spreadsheets, this will be important in a minute). They are supposed to be filled out daily (we work on a lot of projects, so it's much more accurate if you're filling your timesheet out on a daily, or sometimes hourly, basis) on our server (which my boss may or may not think is the internet...). Then, when the pay period ends, I go on the server and clear them off. I put a fresh, clean, blank timesheet up for each employee and the process begins again.

Recently, my boss decided he was going to participate in the fun and fill out his timesheet and expense report on the server like everyone else. I should mention here that he used to print out blank ones and fill them in with a pencil. Until the day he noticed that no matter what he wrote on them, the cells with the formulas still indicated that he had "0" hours. Ahem. Think about that for a minute.

He was expecting that somehow Microsoft Excel could sense that he was filling out his timesheet by hand and magically make the correct numbers appear on his timesheet. On his desk. He actually asked me why there were still zeros in the boxes, when he had filled in other numbers. Really.

I've had to explain at least a dozen times that if he puts a zero for something that's getting multiplied by something else in a spreadsheet, the resulting product will always be zero. Always.

I'm just trying to paint the picture of idiocy that is my job.

This morning, when I got to work, there was a post-it note on my desk. Okay, let's be fair. There were 15 post-it notes on my desk, but I'm only going to talk to you about one of them.


I am sure I filled in time last week thru Monday this week, but there is nothing there. Where did it go? Any ideas?


Yes, I have an idea, you fucking moron. On Wednesday morning, when timesheets were due, I cleared them all off the server and put in a new one for you. Just like I do every other Wednesday.

I just got a call from him. It was one of the more confusing conversations we've ever had (although nothing compares to trying to explain headers and footers to him...which I do at least once a week).

Him: Rachel, did you get my note about my timesheet?
Me: Yeah. I cleared it off the server on Wednesday morning, like I always do.
Him: But I looked yesterday and there's nothing on it.
Me: That's because you haven't recorded any hours on it for this pay period.
Him: But my hours from last week are gone.
Me: No. I moved that timesheet off the server because that pay period has ended.
Him: But I recorded my hours and now they're gone.
Me: They're not gone. I just moved that old timesheet.
Him: No, Rachel. I know I recorded hours on there and now they're not there.
Me: You recorded hours on there since Wednesday?
Him: No. Last week. And they've disappeared.
Me: No. I moved that timesheet. This is a new one. For this pay period. I moved the old one like I always do because timesheets were due on Wednesday morning. Remember how you got all upset with me that one time when I forgot to put a clean timesheet up for you on Wednesday and you couldn't record your new hours*? I'm trying to avoid that.
Him: But my hours are gone.
Me: They are not gone. I have saved that timesheet elsewhere and you no longer need to concern yourself with it. If you missed some hours, I can put them on there to make sure it's current. The timesheet that is on the server is the one you need to fill out for this pay period.
Him: But it has the date for last pay period and all my hours are gone.
Me: (Huge sigh) Oh good grief. I just forgot to change the date. You can change the date by clicking in the box with the date and typing the correct date. You can also type your name in the box for your name if I forgot to do that for you.
Him: I just click in the box? What about the date that's already there?

And it went on like this for another five minutes. Don't even get me started on explaining what it means to "Save as..." I do that at least twice a week. And each time he says, "Wow. That's really handy." As though he's never heard any of it before.

You can see how this will be self-defense, right?

*Because he couldn't figure out how to just delete the stuff that was in the spreadsheet and start over. I'm not kidding.


txsand said...

I do know what you mean...

Kelly said...

I hate when bosses "participate in the fun" nothing good can come of that. Nothing.

shine (the artist formerly known as meshealle) said...

So true, Kelly. So true.

Losing It said...

This. Made. My. Morning.

shine (the artist formerly known as meshealle) said...

Haha. I'm glad it made someone's morning. I'll trade places with you any day. Well, unless your boss is worse. :-)

Antelope said...

I just had flashbacks to my old boss at a small nonprofit, who also didn't know the difference between the internet and our server, but gave me tips on how to make our donor graphs "less number-y." I threw up a whole whole lot.

Chris said...

This reminds me so much of my former company when I joined many years ago. Over the next dozen years or so the company grew several times over. Now imagine those same management skills in a company of 300 people. I finally had to leave, in spite of the daily entertainment.