What Your Boss Is Dying To Tell You

By Rogan Smith |
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Your boss told me to tell you that he hates you. Ok, let me explain.

Not since I told Bahamians about their bad breath have I seen such a strong reaction to my column. Two weeks ago, I published a piece called, “I don’t get paid enough to put up with this,” where I highlighted all of the drama that employees go through that make their 9 to 5 particularly grueling. Well, some of your bosses weren’t having it and they let loose.

Many of them confided that they’ve fantasized about giving their subordinates a piece of their minds. But, labour laws, strict company policies and political correctness have placed a collective muzzle on them. So, being the good citizen that I am, I have decided to let you in on all they’ve been dying to tell you.

If you hate being here so much, just leave. A friend of mine once famously reminded a complaining subordinate that her ass wasn’t stapled to the chair. Those were her exact words and I never forgot it. What she was saying was, you’re free to leave when you want. No employer wants to overhear an employee constantly badmouthing the organization responsible for his or her livelihood. It reeks of ingratitude. It’s even more egregious when those complaints are declared loudly and boldly. How quickly we forget how badly we wanted that job when we were unemployed.

I’m secretly scouting for your replacement. Your relationship with your boss is like a marriage. Imagine constantly telling your wife that she needs to make love to you more often and she doesn’t listen. Eventually, those requests will subside and you’ll start looking for someone willing to fulfill your needs. The employer-employee relationship is similar, except there’s less patience and commitment because, well, they didn’t take vows before God to be with you. If your boss starts stripping you of tasks or not following up on assignments, it could be time to search for a new job. If your boss used to get annoyed at the things you did and all of a sudden, she doesn’t seem to be bothered by your deficiencies, trust that she is looking for your replacement.

The company won’t fall apart if you leave. I have never been on a job where I felt I was irreplaceable. I think that has kept me disciplined and down to Earth. But, somewhere, somehow superstar performers start to believe their own hype – that their boss cannot afford to let them go and so they can act a fool without repercussions. It doesn’t matter if you’re bringing in big ads or wealthy clients, a company will make an example of you if you get out of line. The firm may take an immediate hit, but it will eventually rebound without you.

It’s either your family or your job. A senior bank official once confided in me that he intentionally hired women who don’t have children. He reasoned that they rarely called in sick, were willing to work odd hours with little notice and didn’t guilt trip the company when their child needed them to attend their spelling bee. It’s not that your boss hates children, it’s that they need a reliable employee, one who has the flexibility to work in the evening, weekends or holidays and they don’t want to be reminded every day that you’re a mother and that your kids come first. If your kids come first, let them pay you.

You ain’t sick. Bahamians really should be studied. They have this incredible ability to fall violently ill and recuperate fully within 24 hours without medical intervention. Your boss wants you to know that he sees you meticulously laying the groundwork for your next day absence, replete with a sudden onset of the whooping cough. Just a tip, it’s probably not a good idea to take call in sick before or after a holiday, on your birthday or right after vacation. And if you must call in sick, there’s really no need to sound sick. You said you have the cold, so there’s no need to sound like you suffered straight kidney failure.

Your high school diploma ain’t gonna cut it. Back in the day, you were saying something if you had an Associate’s degree. Then, as more people got them, obtaining a Bachelor’s became the degree du jour. Today, a Bachelor’s is like having an Associate’s. That may sound extreme, but we live in a world of graduate degrees and certifications. So, a high school diploma doesn’t count anymore, unless of course you just graduated from high school. But, if you want to climb the company ladder, you’re going to have to make a greater investment in your education. (FYI, I only have a Bachelor’s, so I’m in the Associate’s category, too).

You don’t deserve a raise. Being on the job longer than everyone else does not automatically qualify you for a raise. If you can’t show how you’ve upgraded your professional skills, made or saved the company more money, then don’t bother. I don’t care how badly a company is performing; it will find money to keep a great employee who is threatening to leave. Even if it means firing you to free up that money.

Your bad hygiene is holding you back from that promotion. A couple of weeks ago I wrote a 1,000-word piece on Nassau’s bad breath epidemic. You would not believe the amount of feedback I got from that column. We have a serious problem. But, poor hygiene extends beyond bad breath. No boss wants to have a conversation with you about your hairstyle, body odor or bad, tartar-stained teeth. They also won’t promote you to a position that requires you to be the face of the company.

Your lunch is stinking up the joint. This is especially egregious if you work in close quarters. Certain foods are acceptable – usually the fast foods laden with grease, ketchup and hot sauce. Not acceptable: boiled eggs, cabbage, fish or boiled crabs, especially if you don’t know how to properly clean said crabs. It’s a sensitive thing to talk about someone’s food, so make it a habit to eat those items at home or in open spaces.

Stop bothering me. Don’t continuously interrupt your boss throughout the day to ask simple questions you can figure out on your own or ask of your colleagues. During the interview process, you said you were an independent thinker, so do what you said you could do – think independently! Stopping in their office every minute to ask basic questions doesn’t show that you’re inquisitive, it shows that you’re annoying and can’t think for yourself.

I regret hiring you. There’s nothing worse than making a bad hiring decision and then being stuck with that bad hire because you don’t want others to know that you messed-up.

I’m glad you don’t know the law. An employee who is well versed in labour laws is indeed a dangerous worker. Very few workers have actually read the Employment Act to know their rights. If you don’t know your rights, you won’t know when you’re being taken advantage of.

I said all of this to say, yeah . . . your boss hates you.

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