Hi Aunty B,
Long time reader, first time writer. I will try and keep it short and sweet.
I am looking for some advice. I am a Gen-X executive level exec assistant (with 15 years experience) who has always had baby boomer or Gen-X bosses, and we have always got along great. But I just started in my new position and my new boss is a Gen-Y entrepreneur with a fledgling organisation.
I hate to stereotype, but he is the typical bad Gen-Y persona; selfish, self-centred, all-knowing and hates to be corrected; unfortunately he is the boss. He continuously runs late for meetings, but if you are late, and make contact to say so, he gives you the cold shoulder for days; he expects me to read his mind (such as forwarding emails without any instructions).
If I get things wrong, he sees this as my flaw rather than a breakdown in our communication. He said to me at my performance review last week that he has vision of the future of our working relationship, but failed to explicitly say what that plan is; except to say that “we will work to get there” even when I pressed him for further information.
I do a lot of after-hours work for him and running around for his personal stuff, which I acknowledge is part of the job, but I think that he takes advantage of my flexibility. I have never had this problem before. All of my other bosses, when they moved on, have offered me a position with them, and I am delivering the same level of service and efficiency that I gave to them.
I really like the company, its direction and the other employees; I don’t really want to bale out after only a few months, but I don’t know what else to do. I can see myself growing in the company with support, but feel that there will be none as there is very little forthcoming, just critique.
Thanks Aunty B,
Sunny from Sunny Queensland
Let’s sort out a few issues here. You are actually dealing with an immature brat, not a typical Gen-Y. In fact the behaviour you describe could be better attributed to many men in their 60s and 70s!
Let’s look at some of his flaws and figure out what they mean:
- He runs late for meetings (rude and disorganised).
- He is critical and plays cold shoulder (immature with psychopathic tendencies).
- He expects you to read his mind (so do babies!).
- He is vague in giving feedback at performance review (very poor leadership skills).
- He is poor at giving feedback: (insecure and needy).
- He expects you to wipe his bottom (Yuk!).
Not a lot to recommend him, is there?
You have two options. You either train him; or you dump him. If you decide to train him, you have to stop being a door mat. You set the rules.
These are the types of things you will tell him over the next few weeks:
- “I can’t read your mind. What do you want me to do?
- “I will do that first thing tomorrow morning as I am leaving now.”
- “Is there a problem because you appear to be giving me the cold shoulder.”
Can’t imagine doing that? Can’t imagine him maturing? Then hand in your resignation. And if anyone wants Sunny from Queensland as a PA, email me and I’ll pass on your details.
And Sunny… you say you like the company, its directions and employees – but this guy can’t lead. It makes me wonder how successful it will be further down the track.
And one more thing; life is too short to work for arseholes, especially when there are so many great bosses around.
Your Aunty B.