Friday, July 29, 2011

"Would you talk candidly about your boss's management style?"

It is my last day at work, and in an attempt to keep myself here until my two week's was officially up, I volunteered to do two presentations. Today.  Simple things, but requiring two full hours.  One down, one to go, and the only people who came to the morning session were those that obviously wanted my position.  It was hilarious when I realized their interested faces were more like hungry hyena smiles.  I took the time to answer lots of questions.  But then came what I had been dreading: tell us what your boss is really like.

I don't write about it much in case this blog was ever linked to the real me, but our working relationship has been rather toxic.  We get things done, but I wouldn't say things ever worked well.  So, here I am on my last day, in a big open room with my boss across the hall, and someone asks me to describe her management style, candidly, and gives me a knowing smile. WTF, lady? I said, "You know, this may be my last day, but I still work here."  Despite myself, I described my boss's style in very professional terms and listed her visible cons in a more positive light than I've ever been able to talk about them.  Because that's what you do.  I didn't say, "Oh, she's great!" I said she was difficult, but got a lot done and there were lots of opportunities to excel.  Not to expect praise, even think you may be doing things wrong until you get a GREAT eval-- because she will tell you when you're effing up, but not when you're doing something right.  These are things that would have been great to know when I started, so I think I did the right thing.

The same woman emailed me later to wheedle out more details, but I will not oblige.  I don't really know her, and wouldn't want anything more candid coming back to my boss.

I think Allison Green would be proud of how I'm leaving my job: clean office, tour of the files, handbook, farewell email to all staff and patrons I've dealt with.  Tied up all loose ends, fixed things that needed fixing.  People are finally telling me what I needed to hear all along: you did a great job.  Why can't they tell you that before you leave?

Bonus: told to me by my boss, a faculty member worriedly asked her what was happening now that I was leaving, and asked, "Are you the new her?"

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