Q AND A: 'Open door' doesn't mean 'venting'
Question: In my performance review, my supervisor wrote that I lack patience. She based this conclusion on some comments I made about our CEO during a recent project. The CEO would tell me to do things one way, then suddenly change his mind and a...
Question: In my performance review, my supervisor wrote that I lack patience. She based this conclusion on some comments I made about our CEO during a recent project. The CEO would tell me to do things one way, then suddenly change his mind and ask for something completely different. This was extremely frustrating, so I often wound up venting to my boss.
Although she seemed sympathetic, she now says that I was impatient. I reminded her that I was just using her open-door policy and that the real problem was the CEO's inconsistency. My overall review was good, but I am very upset about this comment.
Answer: I don't know how patient you are, but I do think you need to be more politically astute. "Venting" to your boss is seldom wise, even under aggravating circumstances. When talking with the person who evaluates your performance, you always want to appear professional and businesslike.
If you need to discuss a difficult issue, focus on strategizing, not complaining. For example: "I'm hoping you can help me understand the CEO's expectations about this project. He frequently shifts direction, so I'm not sure what he really wants. How should I handle this?"
Whenever management truly begins to drive you bonkers, feel free to rant and rave with family and friends. But at the office, keep your emotions in check. Politically intelligent people understand that "open-door policy" does not mean "come on in and say whatever you're thinking."
Q: Most people complain about being overworked, but I have the opposite problem. I am the only employee in this office, and I never have enough to do. My boss gives me a few simple tasks each week, but I usually finish them by Tuesday. My main function is to keep the office open, so working fewer hours is not an option.
If we had a faster Internet connection, I might be able to do some online training or research. However, my boss is an older gentleman who doesn't really understand computers, and he says we must continue using dial-up to save money.
In this economy, I should just be happy to have a job, but I'm so terribly bored that I'm ready to quit. Help!
A: Although stressed-out multi-taskers may not believe it, too little work can be worse than too much. Since you seem to have minimal job duties, present your boss with a plan for staying busy.
First, identify projects that could help to make office operations more effective, then ask permission to fill your extra hours with personal interests or self-improvement activities. If your manager's main goal is simply to keep the office covered, he may happily grant this request.
Finally, create a chart that summarizes options for switching to a faster Internet service. Your computer-illiterate boss may be surprised to learn that his outdated dial-up connection is not really all that cost-effective.