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Nobody Can Believe This Manager

So there's this "Ask A Manager" Q&A that's gone viral, at least judging by my own newsfeed and the fact that Buzzfeed did a whole piece on it.

You can read the whole thing for yourself, because it's pretty interesting. But the bottom line is that this manager wouldn't let an employee take two hours off to attend her own college graduation (!).

Of course the employee quits on the spot, after effectively telling the manager off by providing her with a list of all the time she's covered for others.

The manager's question - seriously, she actually asked this - was whether she should do the former employee a favor and send her a letter chastising her.
"I want to reach out and tell her that quitting without notice because she didn’t get her way isn’t exactly professional."

There is more to the story, including the part where the manager implies that perhaps the employee doesn't know any better because she used to be homeless and a foster kid.

Of course by this point we are all enraged at the manager's lack of basic humanity-slash-common sense and the advice columnist (Alison Green) tells her off appropriately.
"If anything, you should consider reaching out to her, apologizing for how you handled the situation, and offering her the job back if she wants it."

Why did this Q&A hit home for so many of us who read it?

I can't speak for other people, but for me it was dismay that the title of "manager" is so easily bestowed on incompetent people.

In this case, the person asking the question clearly demonstrated an inability to do her job, or even perhaps to understand it:

  • She readily admitted to letting someone with concert tickets take off the time, because "there was cost involved" (by that logic, is a college graduation, and all that it represents, cost-free?)
  • She readily admitted to basing her decisions about involuntary overtime on seniority only, without using any discretion as to extenuating circumstances or other factors.
  • She put her employee, the lowest person on the totem pole, in the excruciatingly uncomfortable (and impossible) position of having to ask more senior people to cover for her on a day off.

Here's the thing: Management requires actual work. Not an abdication of your duties.

What that means is, you don't just decide on a set of across-the-board factors for making a decision and then impose them without using your brain.

It means that you don't put people in humiliating situations.

It means especially that when your least senior person is your best performer, you do everything in your power to develop them, all the way up the chain.

Sadly many people look at the management profession as little more than "herding sheep," "implementing leadership decisions," or "keeping the trains running on time."

But it is so much more than that.

It is ultimately about shepherding people, so that they get the most - and give the most - every moment they are employed with the organization.


All opinions my own.

A Sad Day In American History

As a private citizen I am raising my voice in protest at this travesty of justice. There is only one law of the land. Not two sets of laws, one for the powerful and one for everybody else. While I support her candidacy as versus Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton should be prosecuted for gross negligence for her use of a private email server as Secretary of State.

All opinions my own.

Will You Declare Independence This July 4?

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."
- The Declaration of Independence, by Thomas Jefferson, U.S. President (1801-1809)
There is explicit slavery and implicit slavery, and most of us are tied up in chains of some kind.
Often we do not see these chains. Maybe we've been trained not to see them. Or somebody said that they fully ought to exist.
The lesson of July 4 is that we have the right to live in freedom. It is not only a war fought and won nearly 250 years ago. It is an aspiration, it is a way of life, it is a global dream, and it is the ultimate American value. 
We must fight for our freedom, and for the freedom of other people, every single day. We understand instinctively, very early on, that no human can be our true Creator, our boss. In the words of women's rights activist Gloria Steinem, we realize exactly this:
"You're not the boss of me."
Here is what I personally believe. None of us came into this world at random. We have a purpose given to us by the One Above. Our life is dedicated to finding and serving it. And we will account for our deeds, including how close we got to the target, when we cross into the next Existence.
All of our efforts depend on cognition. The realization that we have stuff to do over here, and we have the right to choose to do it - or not. We can get lost in glamorous illusions like money, or addicted to pursuits that waste our time. 
But the only thing that has any meaning is carrying out our mission. And we cannot do that if we are, mentally or physically, or in any way, slaves to somebody else. We must be free.
Freedom always requires a declaration, even that battle cry is only a "still small voice," as Rabbi Nachman of Breslov put it, inside your head. 
You must see yourself as equal to all others in worth. Not inherently better, and not inherently worse. In the words of Aunt Eller from the classic musical Oklahoma
"I don't say I'm no better than anybody else, but I'll be danged if I ain't just as good!"
Freedom is the joy of watching the fireworks. It is the joy of the flame that dances inside of you, when you realize that nobody can truly own you unless you give them permission.
The precious and hard-won nature of freedom makes July 4th one of my favorite holidays. There are always those petty dictators, some of them well-known and others who will be known only to you.
Freedom is an inalienable right. Know that a human being who behaves like a tyrant has no business having authority over any of them. As the Declaration states:
"A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.
Wishing everyone a happy, safe, and meaningful holiday.
All opinions my own. Photo and transcript of the Declaration of Independence via the National Archives and Records Administration of the United States of America. Portrait of President Jefferson by Rembrandt Peale via Wikipedia. Fireworks photo via Wikipedia.