Thursday, April 20, 2017

When the boss is sabotaging you

This is an e-mail I received:

"Hi Max,

My name is Tom. I am an Executive Director of Information Technology at a known brand company, have been in this position for about three years. I am asking for your opinion on a touchy work issue that has me upset. I sleep poorly and have started having trouble with my health-my asthma. I feel trapped. My department head, the CTO, is a woman who detracts my work consistently; everything she does is office politics and somehow I don't fit in. She knows close to nothing about IT architecture and procedural improvements, yet she has built a reputation on the results of people such as myself. She recently hired a friend of hers from her college days and is trying to get her my job. Pretty soon everyone around her is going to be a friend of hers. Recently she embraced the adjective of "efficiency guru" but the laurels rest on people like myself. She's not giving the credits to those that deserve it.

It is our company policy not to discuss compensation at work. Despite my high quality work I haven't been given a raise in the last three years while my peers have gotten raises ! I am afraid of touching the subject with her, because she is looking for ways to remove and replace me."


I understand she has been digging your hole for three years. You shouldn't have given that much time for the situation to deteriorate.

I've heard about those "efficiency gurus" that are praised in Silicon Valley: for the most they are bull***t artists. For those that don't know, "efficiency gurus" are people who claim to take a company 10X [or 14X or whatever] in a relatively short period of time. Efficiency gurus have a 90% failure rate coming in a new industry, and for those that do succeed the results are independent of their making. I call efficiency gurus "moon kangaroos" [the moon landscape is similar to Australia's deserts and you could make high jumps because of low gravity on the Moon, there are no kangaroos on the Moon, anyone can jump high].

Bosses that want the workplace filled with "buddies" are not new.

What you can do:

1. Face your worst fear and face her. Call her out. Have a private meeting where you confront her. The outcome: she either fires you or you[r situation] will improve in some way. Transfer to another city if you can. The confrontation, however, would be coming in late and the odds are not in your favor.

2. Report her to her superiors, but make sure you collect evidence. You can't do anything without evidence to back your claims.

3. Protect yourself by following the company's codes of conduct to the letter. Under no circumstances you should make sexist remarks, because a woman will unscrupulously turn this against you and accuse you of sexism. Women often paint themselves being the victims to the default -female- sexual harassment standard.

4. Since your work is high value, there is a good chance she's sabotaging you in fear of you getting her job. So she is a power hungry slime-ball in fear of her own seat. If your intention is not to get her job, make that clear, there is so much misunderstanding in the workplace for lack of clear communication. Say it to her face [if it holds true] "Listen, I don't want your job !"

5. If "everything is office politics", then you've failed to pay attention to it. I will address office politics in a future post for your benefit and for the benefit of other readers.

Let me know how that went. Just get out of the uncertainty and misery. -Max

More fan mail coming...


  1. I hung a picture of eyes wide open up on the wall in my office. Never thought of that before. I like to keep people accountable.


    1. And with that you got them to be more honest ? Accountable ?

      I have machete on my desk, visible to any visitor. Would that scare them or make them come clean ?

      Do they respect or reject me for that ?


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