But at least we're not alone in our angst. It seems bosses are also a bit cross: they hate us, too. All of us. Even when we bring them coffee. And, according to Sandi Mann, senior lecturer in occupational psychology at the University of Central Lancashire, they may have a point. "A generation ago, people worked their way up the ladder, hierarchy was based on age and experience, and it was more respected," she says.
"Now, people may be brought in [as bosses] who are seen as the 'young whippersnappers' or 'from outside' so there is much more resentment than there used to be which makes it much more difficult to manage effectively."
And that's not all. In the days before open-plan offices and team-bonding days, managers were better protected from us oiks. "Managers used to be more remote, with their own staff rooms and canteens, and there used to be more middle management," Mann says.
"But now, they are expected to be the authority figure and 'one of the lads' as it were, and it's not always easy to get that balance right."
The result of all this is that while your boss might look like she's fine, inside she's seething. You think you hate your boss? Here are the top 10 things your boss hates about YOU.
Everyone has days when the bus breaks down, the washing machine packs up, or the alarm doesn't go off. The problem is that some people have those days Monday through Friday. But what really cheeses off your boss is your lame excuse.
2. Lack of initiative
"Don't ask me if you should buy lunch for the client, if the client is coming at noon," said one infuriated manager. "Call up the client and ask if they want lunch." Actually that's not quite what he said: there was a lot more swearing in the original version. Managers absolutely hate being bothered by stuff that really, if you thought about it for even a second, you could work out for yourself. They also hate constant updates and being CCd in on everything. They pay you to do a job get on with it...
3. Too much initiative
... unless you're an idiot. A marketing manager for a large educational charity reports that if there's one thing worse than lack of initiative, it's completely ignoring instructions to go off and do something else instead. She recently found herself on stage, ready to announce the winner of an award. When the person responsible for counting the votes turned up, he showed off a new, whizzy and completely redundant color-coded method for counting the votes.
4. Bitching and whining
So Julie from third floor might not have said hello to you this morning, and that might well be because she's an unfriendly cow, but in the context of say, the war in Iraq, does it really merit a four-hour disquisition? Your boss doesn't think so.
On the other hand, while bitching is bad, whining is worse. "What really annoys me is when we buy new equipment or take everyone out, and all I hear the next day is 'We should have bought a bigger TV' or 'We could have gone to a nicer restaurant'" says Halpern. "And that's when we've spent $5,000."
Although none of the managers came out and said that they hated their staff for talking over them in meetings, pointing out their errors in public, or preventing the bonus-related project coming in on time, Mann says it's a major issue.
"People used to close ranks, but it doesn't happen quite as much as it used to," she says. "Managers usually feel obliged to look after their staff, but if their staff don't feel the same way, the lack of loyalty is always a problem for the boss."
6. Lack of passion. Or interest
It might come as a surprise to you, but your boss has a life outside work. They too find it hard to get up in the morning. And they find the managing director's speeches as boring as you do. But they have to stay motivated, because they are the boss. So, when you fall asleep in meetings, can't remember the names of your accounts and tell them it doesn't matter whether the e-mail goes today or tomorrow, it reminds them that they don't really give a toss either, but that it's their job to make themselves, and you, care. Then they get really, really irritated.
7. Trying to be their best friend
They don't want to go down the pub with you, they don't want to hear about what you really think of their boss, and they most certainly don't want to know what happened between you and Andy in the loos last Friday. They like you, but they know from bitter experience that if they show too much interest, you'll start treating them like a friend and refuse to take orders.
8. Petty lying
Saying that you missed the call because your mobile has run out of power. That you didn't get the e-mail. That you've sent the report but there must be a technical glitch. That the meeting has run over and it's not worth your coming back to the office. That you have to go to a funeral, the dentist, the doctor, your mum's house, your best friend's cousin's wedding. Whatever. The biggest insult is that you think they believe you.
I'm paraphrasing, but the key message here is: "I'm not your mom. Don't e-mail me about the brand of toilet paper in the loo. Don't leave the kitchen in a mess. Don't ask me for a new biro. I'm not going to clean up after you and I don't care about this crap." You get the idea.
They spend all their time and energy trying to protect you from the higher-ups, you spend all your energy complaining about them. And then, on top of that, you want their job? Unforgivable.
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