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I am about to explode with my boss

(176 Posts)
FuckingWonderwoman Wed 14-Nov-12 19:58:30

I am feeling stabby and want to kill him. Several weeks ago, he asked me and a colleague to organise an awayday for our team. He said it should build on the last one. OK, we said, we can do that, but people will want some fun activities as well. He, and another colleague, have emailed us a vast list of "helpful" suggestions as to what we might do on the awayday. We realised there were some politics here, so said yes, how helpful, we will look at these and see what we can come up with.

We came up with several options for the day using the Shit Sandwich approach - a fun, team building warm up exercise, which will take around 45 minutes, then a quick coffee break, and onto the next exercise, which is his serious work one, finishing with a fun, but relevant activity after lunch.

He has vetoed every single fucking suggestion we have come up with, both for the fun activities and the serious bit in the middle. We are now a week away from the awayday, and I cannot tell you how much time we have wasted on this, as he won't consider ideas, but wants concrete plans, set out in writing.

We have come up with what we thought was a good plan, still using the Shit Sandwich approach. I have emailed him to tell him our latest suggestion which is exactly what he said he wanted for the serious bit. I have said that I don't want to divulge details of the two "fun" exercises, as it is important that everyone comes at these "blind" and doesn't have time to think about them.

I've just got an email (yes, sent this evening). He has vetoed our serious activity and has said we don't seem to have thought about Susan's suggestions. We did think about them, but Susan is as mad as a box of frogs and her suggestions were too. He has also vetoed our "fun" parts to the day, unless we can tell him concretely what they involve.

We have one week to go.

AIBU to tell him to shove the whole thing up his arse and he and Susan can come up with something between them.

And then to crack his fucking head open with an axe and leave the building?


FuckingWonderwoman Thu 15-Nov-12 19:24:53

Can I give you an example of one of his ideas for a fun exercise? And can anyone tell me what this means:

Everyone works in pairs to negotiate issues and seek win-wins that expand the pie.

Susan's ideas (Susan is quite new) mostly revolve around everyone telling her what they do so that she can understand better what they do. She hopes to reciprocate at the next one.

FuckingWonderwoman Thu 15-Nov-12 19:27:01

Susan wants us to discuss how we communicate horizontally.

Maybe she is shagging the boss? confused

FuckingWonderwoman Thu 15-Nov-12 19:28:57

And my email made him feel "hurt and not a little bruised."

Diddums. grin

picnicbasketcase Thu 15-Nov-12 19:29:02

Wow that really is wanky blue sky office vocab.

nailak Thu 15-Nov-12 19:44:42

what about that one where you drop an egg of a chair in to a basket of paper or whatever, is that negotiating issues, seeking win wins and expanding the pie?

SlightlySuperiorPeasant Thu 15-Nov-12 20:06:13

Watch an Anerican film set in some office somewhere as a culture guide to the way your boss talks.

ThinkAboutItTomorrow Thu 15-Nov-12 20:18:58

Everyone works in pairs to negotiate issues and seek win-wins that expand the pie.

Blimey. He knows how to have fuuun doesn't he? Jesus, What's the idea for the serious work exercise? Let's all stick pins in one another's eyes to demonstrate trust
I guess you could take a selection of the weird and wonderful scenarios from AIBU and get people to role play the negotiated solution? That might make it less suicidally boring more 'fun'
Expanding pie kind of has to be a work thing though. Unless you say you're trying to get everyone to 'think outside the box' (go management speak!) and the exercise is how would brand or product x 'expand their pie' and have the brands being things like Durex and KY jelly?! grin

ThinkAboutItTomorrow Thu 15-Nov-12 20:22:26

As a random aside the introduction of 3for2 offers on condoms actually grew the condom market (volume sales). No one has ever worked out if it successfully got the people of Britain shagging more, made sex safer or just added to landfill and student water balloon fights.

Full of useless info me.

ThinkAboutItTomorrow Thu 15-Nov-12 20:23:52

By the way, op you sound proper pissed off now. Sorry he is such a twat.

dikkertjedap Thu 15-Nov-12 20:26:56

If you want to stay there, just be careful with him. You cannot win.

Play his game, delegate upwards, don't get embroiled in arguments which you have no hope winning.

Also, I would be careful when writing internal emails to your colleague and vice versa - not sure how your organisations IT people work but I would proceed on the basis that nothing is confidential.

I worked in several organisations where bosses were able to read staff work and private emails and listen in to their phone conversations.

I don't want to worry you, but if you want to stay there, just be careful.

If it all goes belly-up he may look for a scape-goat, you don't want to be that person.

FuckingWonderwoman Thu 15-Nov-12 20:41:16

Dikkertjedap. Fear not, we have only discussed. Emails kept formal while we rant externally. And he has refused to extend my contract ("because he didn't have to") so I am leaving next year anyway.

Euphemia Thu 15-Nov-12 20:42:53

win-wins that expand the pie

That is HILARIOUS! I am so glad I don't work in that kind of environment any more!

mrscumberbatch Thu 15-Nov-12 20:50:24

Almost weeping at the walking on fire and dunking feet in toilets.

ThinkAboutItTomorrow Thu 15-Nov-12 20:50:41

At the risk of teaching you to suck eggs and bringing on the stabby even more....

He is being an inefficient twat as well as an annoying one because he is throwing ideas at you instead of a brief. It might help if you go back a step and clarify what he wants to acheive in the day and in each session. I always find it helps to do this in the context of the attendees. What does he want them to think and feel at the end of each session?

So instead of just:
Session 1: fun warm up
Session 1:
Outcome: audience feels relaxed and open to exploring new ideas and ways of doing things
Method: warm up excercise involving xyz

This might help to Make sure he stays focussed and doesn't try to get every session doing everything, why is what it sounds like he is doing.

ThinkAboutItTomorrow Thu 15-Nov-12 20:52:53

mrsC it was a major global corporation as well. Can't name names as there were law suits after so the whole thing became 'the awayday we do not mention' but i seem to recall The Sun got wind of it.

mrscumberbatch Thu 15-Nov-12 20:58:23

I am genuinely howling over here ThinkAboutIt.... you should pitch it to a sketch show grin

Worst away did that I ever did was a countryside conservation schtick, ended up stumbling across a mink trap where there was a mink eating a duckling......freaked out and tried to run back over to the group but slid in some sort of excrement and tumbled into a small pond full of frog spawn.

Never again.

FatimaLovesBread Fri 16-Nov-12 00:54:38

Was it this one? Thinkaboutit

ChippingInLovesAutumn Fri 16-Nov-12 02:19:19

My sides are aching... grin

Wonderwoman - Fucking hell - how on earth have you not burried him before now?????

garlicbaguette Fri 16-Nov-12 02:45:01

I just have to mark my place and hope this brilliant thread continues later! Night, and thanks everyone grin OP - yanbu, obv! I so want you to find a way of shafting him on the awayday wink

catsmother Fri 16-Nov-12 05:00:18

Is your boss called David Brent ?

FuckingWonderwoman Fri 16-Nov-12 06:07:58

We are having a meeting later to discuss the awayday, with Head Honcho, my boss, my lovely colleague who is tearing his hair out as well, and Susan. I will let you know if we manage to expand or contract the pie.

flow4 Fri 16-Nov-12 06:51:36

Do you know about this rather splendid site, Wonderwoman?

It has a whole section on team building activities

It sounds like your awayday definitely needs to include a game of Bullshit Bingo ! grin

More seriously, tell him about the fun activities. Bosses are paid to be control freaks and don't like surprises. I'm a manager and trainer and not too much of a control freak and I would not like not knowing... You can swear him to secrecy and give him a small but satisfying sense of power and thereby probably reassure him enough to get him to shut up about everything else.

And (though this bit of advice may be too late to be useful) since he's apparently a bit of a tosser, he will probably like things that look 'impressive' - style over substance. So use a session plan template like this to wow him... It's MUCH harder to argue with something like this than with ideas in an email... unless he's really putting effort into being difficult And then if he still doesn't like it, you can say sweetly "OK, that's fine. I'll leave it with you then. It'll be really easy for you to adjust that plan exactly as you like". And you can then leave him to sweat grin

ThinkAboutItTomorrow Fri 16-Nov-12 07:40:16

fatima no, ours was in the uk, but looks similarly stupid!

Hope your meeting goes well OP. come back to rant later and if you did want any serious ideas let us know. I'm sure the communal power of mn can please one boss, even an impossible one like yours.

It helps if you think of your job being to make him look good. Sometimes despite himself. That's the bit that they never put in the job description but every boss secretly expects.

Adversecamber Fri 16-Nov-12 08:43:42

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MulledWineOnTheBusLady Fri 16-Nov-12 09:00:36

I think it will come out at the meeting that he's passive-aggressively vetoing everything because he doesn't want the fun sandwiching the serious, and never did. And rather than just telling you this straight, he'll veto everything involving "fun exercises", even if it also involves stuff he's asked for, because he is a shit boss with the communication skills of a two-year-old.

But TBH although he is communicating it badly and appears to speak only in Wank I basically think he's right. Nobody's idea of "fun" is the same. I'd much rather just sit around and do a load of slightly boring wanky exercises and listen to slightly boring lectures with colleagues than be forced to do "fun" things with them. It's just incredibly awkward for everybody.

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