Want to know what’s on your boss’ mind? Below is a letter from a boss to his employee that was never sent.
Remember that project I assigned to you four months ago? Four. Months. Ago.
I remember the day we talked about this project very vividly. You looked very attentive, listened carefully, nodded your head as if you understood everything. You were even taking notes. I trusted you. For once, I put all my pre-conceived notions about you behind us, and I believed you.
Now I am feeling like a gullible idiot who thought you were going to jump on this project, and do it right. I should’ve known better, considering that people who are used to getting by on minimum, don’t change.
Remember, a few weeks later I followed up with you about the status of the project? When I asked you where we stood on it, you very animatedly explained to me how intensely and meticulously you were working on it.
If you are indeed working on it, what the hell is taking so long?
This is what I think is going on:
- You do, in fact, work on the project. When you feel like it. When you are bored. When you feel guilty for doing nothing. When you are done browsing the Internet. When there is no one around you who wants to discuss politics with you. When you are done with your morning coffee. When you are done screwing around.
- You find this project tedious and boring. I have to agree with this. It is not an exciting project. It is monotonous, and it requires a lot of attention to detail. We are not in the entertainment industry, or politics, or the news industry. We work on boring projects.
- You feel overwhelmed. It is a big project. It is not the first time you are doing it. Seriously, suck it up.
- You want to be somewhere else. Believe me, we all feel that way sometimes, but we still need to do our work.
This is how you make me feel:
- Angry at you, and furious at myself. I am angry at you for not working. I am furious at myself for letting you do this to me. I cannot believe I let it slide for four months.
- Guilty. I am overwhelmed myself: so much work to do, numerous reports to write, and some ugly issues to resolve.
- Ashamed. I’d rather deal with numbers than with you. It doesn’t make me a good boss.
Ten things I am going to do:
- To confront you head-on, and ask you why it is taking four months.
- To give you a firm deadline, and seek a confirmation from you that you get it, really get it.
- To tell you if you are stuck and need help let me know NOW.
- To tell you to report to me on the progress every week.
- To summarize or conversation in writing and let you sign it. So that we both know we discussed it.
- To make sure I am staying on top of things. Your things.
- To watch you very closely: what time you come, what time you go, how long your lunch is, how much time you spend on personal calls.
- To pay unexpected visits to your cubicle when you expect me to be there the least. It is going to be my way of making sure you are working.
- To assign more projects and shorter deadlines, and follow up on these projects daily. You have a lot of time on your hands, my friend.
- To make your life not miserable but intense, and busy.
I know you are not going to like it because my action plan is going to distract you from your daily, non-work, related activities. I am sure that very soon you will be looking over your shoulder, expecting to see me, smiling at you, one brow raised as if questioning your every move, and rightly so.
You will be feeling my cold breath on your neck. You will be afraid to answer your personal calls. You will start to panic every time I ask you “How are you today?” But guess what? You had four months of vacation already. It is time to start working.