Ask Bing

Back off, boss!

Nosy Boss

Q: My boss manages two areas of our department and complains about being too busy/overworked because of this. In December I was reassigned to a position that is the next step up to managing one of these areas.

Before I was reassigned she would show me how to do some of her job and made me her back-up. Ever since I got reassigned to this job, she has not done that, but has actually taken away projects that our director said I should be working on, saying that she "would like to handle it before I do." Our director (her boss) has mentioned to me that he would like to see me take on one of those areas soon, and I know he has said that to her as well.

My question is - How do I work with her to show her that I am a) ready to take on this area and b) get her to back off?

A: Uh-oh. You have a jealous boss. That's bad. If you challenge her directly, she will kill you, especially since her boss seems to like you. Be very, very careful. Do the jobs that your direct boss wants you to do. If the big boss says, "Why aren't you on that project I suggested for you?" you can say, very respectfully, "Betty thought she should take it in hand, at least at this point," since that is the case. Do not complain. Nose that grindstone. And wait. Good things will happen. But not if you try to pop that zit too fast.

Q: I have a problem with one of the ladies I work with. She has some sort of chronic sinus problem and does not use Kleenex. She snorts and sniffles every day all day long. We share a cubicle wall - it's really irritating to have to listen to that on a constant basis. Any ideas on how to resolve this?

A: Tell her to use some Kleenex. Get her a box and put it on her desk. If she still doesn't use it, say "Please use the Kleenex" every time she snorts or sneezes. If she continues to not use Kleenex, begin to say things like, "Why won't you use the Kleenex, Doris?" if her name is indeed Doris. If that doesn't work, try singing out, "Doris is sniffling again!" Eventually, she will use the Kleenex, I think. If she doesn't, you might try picking up a disgusting habit of your own that annoys her and trade solutions.

Q: I'd like to become insanely rich by having someone discover my insanely funny blog. Suggestions?

A: Beyond giving people your address, you mean? Not really. But I am answering your question not for your benefit, Manny, but for my readers. See what a little bit of naked, unashamed ambitious chutzpah will get you? Thousands of people hitting your link! Whoever you may be, you could probably use a little more of whatever it is that's making Manny tick.

Q: Stanley, Love your blog! You seem to have the same politically incorrect sense of humor as me. I agree there are some jobs that are BS jobs, but there are plenty of "animals" out there who turn interesting jobs into BS generators. I have just written a book called "The Organizational Zoo", which is a tongue-in-cheek survival guide to workplace behavior using animal metaphors. I am sure you will enjoy it. Maybe we can meet sometime to chat? Check out the animal profiles on my Web site. Hope to hear from you, Arthur Shelly, author of "The Organizational Zoo,"

A: See!? Here's another one! Don't you want to be more like one of these guys than the way you are now? Even just a little bit? I'd say that people are turned off by self-promotion like this... except every successful person you can think of is pretty much a master of it when they have a chance. Think about it! Don't be an ostrich in Mr. Shelly's zoo!

Q: Hello Stanley, Greetings from India. I just came across your blog and I'm enjoying reading every post you've made so far. Yours is the first blog I've come across that has a different twist, compared to the other "suit blogs." Keep up the great posts!!

A: Thanks. In fact, quite a few of my readers are in India, Hong Kong, Shanghai. This makes me happy. If any of you would like to sponsor an all-expenses-paid tour of these and other locations in Asia, don't be shy! Get it touch! (See how that self-promotion thing works?)

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I was fan of Stanley long before the blog, his books line my shelf. While his advice may seem a little on edge to some - it works. At the end of the day his grasp on the corporate world is raw and real. I started working for an executive years ago that read Stanley's books and in fact he is the hero that introduced me to the world of Bing! That executive rocks, the most effective C level guy I've ever worked with. Is that due to Bing's advice? Who knows...but I can see how it resonates in the reality of office life...Stanley should have his own reality show - a cross between survivor island and the apprentice...where the winner gets to keep their paycheck.

Stanley, your are cordially invited to Bangalore. A man of your great insight will enjoy the mass confusion at the airport, the "you bet your life traffic", the five star hotels so overstaffed that you can't get served, and shall we say the local intestinal concerns that make toilet paper a brief case must. Don't worry not too many senior execs like you die here. Have a great trip and pay close attention to the signs "no spitting on stairs."