Friday, July 6, 2012

Was My Manager a Jerk?

       I recently came across an article in a management blog by Jeff Haden  about Bad Bosses titled "Why Your Employees Think Your'e a Jerk?" In that article, Jeff Haden identifies seven reasons for considering a manager a jerk.

       Jerk:  Noun:  An idiot or stupid person. An insensitive, selfish, ignorant, cocky person who is inconsiderate and does stupid things.

       A man who takes unfair advantage of, deceive, or manipulate people.

       Slang:   A foolish, rude, or contemptible person.

       The first of the seven reasons for considering a man as a Jerk is, I am quoting him:

      "You're a Bill Clinton.  Politicians have to be political. (Wow, that was obvious.) Business owners don't; in fact, engaging in petty political games is probably the worset thing you can do.  Any business with three or more people has a little politics going on - since all you need is two people to gang up on the third - but when you as the boss get involved, the politics run wild.  Then a few people are "in."  They don't have to work hard, because they're are already in.  The rest are "out."  They don't want to work hard, because nothing they do really matters."  Read more here.

       I am going to relate in this post two incidents that happened during my work there as dispatch contractor, and you will be able to decide from that whether he can be called a Jerk or not.  I had observed many incidents in the office in which the manager was playing politics which perfectly fit in this category, but I will confine my post only to the dispatch work and my work there as dispatch contractor.

       Before writing further, I would like to write about the circumstances under which I took over the dispatch work.  I had a friend who was an agent of The Hindu in Coimbatore, and through him I came to accept the work as dispatch contractor.  I thought that he was helping me in appreciation for what I had done for him, but he acted as a tool of the branch manager to trap me into this work with the bait of an agency to me for the newspaper, and this turned out to be the most terrible mistake in my whole life.

       To understand my relationship with him, I have to write at least two to three posts, which I will defer to the future.  He seemed to have had some sort of a secret understanding with the branch manager for getting me to accept the dispatch work, which I did not realize at that time but came to realize only much later, about which I will write in my future posts.  For now, it is suffice to say that he was helping me by looking after the dispatch work one day a week to let me have a day off every week.

       Packing and dispatch work was a very demanding type of work.  I must be present in the dispatch section at 9 p.m. everyday for 361 days of a year (there were only four days in a year that The Hindu was not being  printed), and my work will be finished only at about 5 to 5:30 a.m.  On the days when I was indisposed or when I had some other work to do at home, he was looking after the dispatch work in my absence, though I avoided such situations as much as possible.

       In the packing and dispatch work, picking the labels and marking the number of copies to be sent to the agents needed workers who are at least literates in English - if not educated - to the smooth functioning of the dispatch work.  At any time, I had three persons who could do the work.  Even then, I had to do the work myself some days when all of them were absent on some days, and I had to come to the dispatch work before 9 a.m. in those days.  At one time, I had two brothers, one a graduate - the elder one - and another a diploma holder, to do this work.

       The dispatch worker - the diploma holder - one day informed me that The Hindu was recruiting diploma holders for working in the press, and he asked me to recommend him to the branch manager for the work of printing press operator trainee.  I promised him that I would ask the branch manager in this regard and inform him about this as he had been working in the dispatch section for nearly two years.

       I met the manager the next day, and I told him about his request and asked him to recommend him for the job of a trainee in the press.  He told me that that person was a trouble maker and that he could not recommend such a person and put his colleagues in the press in trouble.  I told him that he was a good worker and that he had work experience in an industry in his field and that he was just the kind who speaks loudly and that made him look like a trouble maker, but actually he was a good worker.  But the branch manager was not willing to recommend him for the job.

       I then told the diploma holder what the branch manager told me about him and that I cannot help him to get the job of a trainee in The Hindu, and I expressed my sincere regret for my inability and I advised him to be not to be visible other than in his work wherever he works in the future. He and his brothers were very disappointed, but they understood my position.  After sometime, both of them left the dispatch work, and they informed me about getting some other job outside of Coimbatore.

       After sometime, I had seen the elder brother somewhere in Coimbatore, and I later asked the dispatch workers about him.  The workers told me that they were disappointed with me for not having made enough effort to get the trainee job for him.  I thought that they knew about me and the branch manager well and that I was sincere in trying to help him to get the job but the branch manager was not willing to recommend him for the job.

       I forgot the incident for about one year until I met the elder brother again by chance once again.  He told me that my friend, who was helping me in running the dispatch work by coming once a week, told him that I had not recommended him strongly for the job to the branch manager and that he could not recommend to the company if I, as the head of dispatch section, suggest him very strongly for the job.  I knew even before that something happened in the dispatch section regarding his job request that made them leave the dispatch.

       I told him that he knew both me and the branch manager very well and that the branch manager was a man who played politics well and I also reminded him about the approach of branch manager and what he did regarding the request for an increase in wages for the dispatch workers earlier.  He told me that he understood well and he knew that the branch manager was the reason for his brother not getting the job but his brother would not understand those things and he was very disappointed with me.  At that time, he also informed me about some incidents that occurred in the dispatch section while my friend was attending the dispatch work and he warned me that my friend was not exactly helping him in the smooth running of the dispatch work and that some mischief was being perpetuated in the dispatch section by him.  I knew that well and I only did not know in what form it would unfold.

       I wanted to narrate another incident of playing politics by the branch manager, but this post is growing to be too long, and it would bore you to bring that as well into this post, so I will defer that to another post.

       But, I want to write in this post briefly about what I did before starting this blog. I took one year before starting this blog to contact various persons in a variety of fields and sought their opinion and advice about the problems that I may to have to face if and when this blog becomes famous or somewhat visible in the Net, and I had taken some precautionary measures with their advice to face such problems, if and when they happen.

       I will write about that later in a more detailed way.  In the next blog, I will write about another incident of playing politics by the branch manager - this was intended to do much more serious harm to me than the above incident - and you can then decide yourself whether the branch manager was a Jerk or not.


jenny abraham said...

WOW ..what an article ,,, great ming ..hann...was interesting to read // :-)

Munir said...

I think that religion and politics are two subjects that have no place in work place. Office politics however are inevitable unless every one is linear.

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Hope things will improve with time