Mini-Me's of the World, Unite, Redux

Wednesday - 5/27/2009, 4:00am EDT

Editor's note: Mr. Causey is under the weather. The following is mostly from a column originally published on April 16, 2009. If April showers bring May flowers, Mayflowers bring pilgrims and post-nasal drip. Get well soon Mike! sk

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery! That said...

Imagine if just about everybody, male or female, in your office looked and acted like the boss.

Imagine a bureau or section where everyone bore a strange resemblance to the bureau head or section chief. Expand that to an agency staffed in large part by boss-like clones!

How about being denied leave to attend your brother's funeral because you two "weren't close."

Picture yourself as a field or "remote" employee in an agency where headquarters picked your brain, took credit for your ideas but blamed you for not completing work assigned from Washington days, weeks or months after the original deadline.

How about getting chewed out on a regular basis for failing to have a hot breakfast waiting for the boss?

All of the above, and more, came bubbling up after a previous column about problem employees and problematic bosses. But the traffic was all one-sided! Lots of complaints about middle and top management, but none, so far, about the employee-from-hell or the weird guy in the next cubicle. At least so far.

And the worst, at least so far, came from feds based on their private sector experience or, would you believe it, time served on Capitol Hill as a congressional staffer.

Examples:

  • "During the Clinton years we noticed that virtually all of the young men started walking, talking and dressing like one of the political appointees whom we called, by the way, 'the Christmas help.' Then about six years ago, same department, it started up again as the slightly older crowd of career gents started imitating W, down to the blue neckties. Those of us of lesser rank find it amusing, and just a little sad." The Observer

  • "I worked for a boss that didn't dress as a Nazi (as referenced in your column), she WAS a Nazi who practiced an interesting strategy. As she denied annual leave, nit picked through case files and generally made life miserable, she always managed to remind us that we caused her to act the way she did. Like a spouse-beater, it was OUR fault she was so horrible. But the really horrible thing was that upper management encouraged her sociopathic behavior." No Name

  • Another worker complained of " Headquarters Myopia" which he blamed on bosses, in Washington and Atlanta, "who surround themselves with boss-clones" who don't have the skills or knowledge of workers in the field. "...(W)hen headquarters need help on getting something done, they assign it to a remote employee the day AFTER it is due then blame the remote employee for not getting it done..." Field Soldier

  • "I spent three horrible years working for a very demanding member of Congress. She assigned top professional staff to all sorts of unrelated chores - like picking her up at the airport, having a hot breakfast awaiting her in the Rayburn building, getting her dry-cleaning (and sometimes not reimbursing us for weeks at a time). Our 'reward', I suppose, was in serving her. My husband says I still talk about it in my sleep." J.

  • "At one point, our boss (a GS 14 or 15) decided that we should all call him 'chief.' It was funny at first until it got old when (he) would reprimand people if they forgot to use his so-called title. Then one day we got a new employee. When told she was to address him as 'chief' she said she was Native American and found that offensive. The practice ceased. The kicker is that she was Italian-American on both side of the family." JoAnn

  • Finally, there is the fed who said her former boss, in the private sector, wins the wacky weirdness award. "My former employer, who had a fairly liberal leave policy, denied me time to attend my brother's funeral because 'he wasn't close family' (didn't live with me)." This in spite of the fact that an earlier boss gave her time off and sent flowers to her sister's funeral, and in spite of the fact that the employee had hundreds of hours of documented uncompensated work time. "The resentment was a strong factor in moving on." NIH

From Bad Bosses to Long Term Care Insurance

Today's Your Turn with Mike Causey radio show (10 a.m. EDT right here on federalnewsradio.com) covers the waterfront. We'll start out talking to Andrew Case, an authority on office politics. He'll reveal the secrets of (legally) disposing of your boss.

After that, financial planner Ed Zurndorfer talks about LTC in general and then the premiums, benefits and changes coming in the federal LTC program.

If you've got questions or comments for either guest, email them to me at: mcausey@federalnewsradio.com

Nearly Useless Factoid
by Suzanne Kubota

LiveScience reports a new study from the University of Kansas and Gallup suggests that human beings "are optimistic by nature." So we got that goin' for us, which is nice.

To reach me: mcausey@federalnewsradio.com