I suppose if you’re an egomaniac, it’s easy enough to confuse your way of doing something with the only actual way of doing that thing. Usually when the boss is out trying to manage by walking around, I make a concerted effort to be on my own walkabout and thereby avoid the three or four random tasks that he wants to focus on that day. Sometimes, though, he’s on me before I can make a clean getaway. Yesterday was one of those days… and led to this exchange:
Boss: What are you doing?
Jeff: I’m reviewing the last twelve monthly reports from human resources to validate year-over-year workload and staffing requirements.
Boss: There’s nothing on your desk.
Jeff: Everything is on the network drive. I’ve got all the data I need on the computer. *gesturing weakly towards my monitors*
Boss: If there isn’t paper on your desk, you’re not doing anything. You’ve seen my desk, right?
Jeff: Uhhh… Yes. I’ve seen your desk.
Boss: Good, then. Make an appointment to talk to me about some-random-other-issue.
Jeff: *Bangs head on desk as boss walks away.*
I’ve increasingly come to suspect that the reason that an employee “goes postal” from time to time just might not be a defect in the employee.
Editorial Note: This part of a continuing series of posts previously available on a now defunct website. They are appearing on http://www.jeffreytharp.com for the first time. This post has been time stamped to correspond to its original publication date.