Caught in the Middle when My Boss’ Boss Asks My Opinion In the last post, we covered what can happen if your boss’ boss asks you for work when your boss is out of the office. As we saw, if your boss (Trevor) is in dinosaur training school, he won’t be pleased. But it can get worse. You could be caught in the middle. What if Trevor’s boss (Jennifer) starts sending work directly, without going through Trevor at all? About a week after the l...

Hey, My Boss’ Boss is Asking My Opinion! You have been beavering away in the bowels of your company, feeling as if you’ll be stuck in this job forever. Your boss (let’s call him Trevor) is something of a stick-in-the-mud who wants to do things as they’ve always been done. Then one morning, out of the blue, your boss’ boss (Jennifer), appears at your cubicle. Jennifer: Hi, Matt, have you seen Trevor? You: He’ll be in later—something ...

Making Yourself Less Threatening to the Boss In the previous post, I suggested ways to lower your boss’ threat level. In this, you need to recognize work really is different from home. At work, there is a hierarchy of more power and less. You have less. Your boss has more. Therefore, what he wants will often take precedence over your wishes. I’m not saying it’s fair; it just is. This post is about making yourself less threatening to your bo...

How Not to Annoy or Pose a Threat to Your Boss In the previous post, we identified how you might inadvertently convert a personal attribute into a threat to your boss. I’ll take each attribute and suggest how you might lower the threat level if you think it exists. You are: So you: Smarter Correct your boss frequently (or infrequently), especially in front of others In front of others, in a meeting—not good venues. If the correction must come...

Do You Annoy/ Threaten Your Boss? The automatic response is ‘of course not. It’s all his/her fault.’ But here’s how you might have a hand in the situation. Taking the list from the last post on how you might threaten your boss, I’ll elaborate on how you might be making the situation worse. You are: So you: Smarter Correct your boss frequently (or even infrequently), especially in front of others More articulate Interrupt/take over the c...

Fake It Until You Make It: Benefiting from Being In

Fake It Until You Make It: Benefiting from Being In So you’re in the in-group. You’re invited to the TGIFs and the bull session isn’t complete without you. Congratulations. However, a seat at the table is not enough. If all you do is laugh at their jokes and nod vigorously, you’ll gradually but surely slip out of the in-group. To stay in, you need a presence. How? This post will discuss what you need and how you should fake it u...

Is It Worth Being In the Gang?

Is It Worth Being In the Gang? It’s a lot of work to manage your position in the group. And sometimes sacrifice. So do you even want to be in the gang? The answer is usually yes Generally speaking, the in-crowd gets the most perks, the best assignments, the most forgiveness for screw-ups. There are more chances to strut your stuff and line up the next promotion. So, lots of good career reasons why it’s better to be in. But that isn...

Getting into the In-group Clique

Getting into the In-group Clique Okay, you’ve decided that you want into the in-group clique. How? Working hard? Taking one for the team? If the world were fair, that would do it. But plenty of hard-working, dedicated, and decent guys are thanked for their contribution but never invited in. Hard work is a given. In-groupedness seems something else. First, don’t make it obvious Don’t look desperate to get in. Remember the cartoon w...

Preventing the Slide into the Out-Group

Preventing the Slide into the Out-Group In the last post, we discussed whether you were being ousted from your work’s in-group. This post is about how to prevent the slide if you can. Verifying your status Before you panic, you need to confirm that you are actually on the way out. Don’t talk to your boss. I know it’s the most direct route—he’s the one who creates the in-group. But think a moment. Suppose you say: “Hey, boss,...

Are You in the Out-Group or Going Out?

Are You in the Out-Group or Going Out? If there is an in-group, it’s only logical there is an out-group, or at very least people who aren’t part of the in-group. And, as I outlined previously, whether you are in or out can materially affect the progress of your career. Even if you’d rather not play this game, you at least need to know the signals so you can decide whether or when you want to pay attention. How to know if you are o...