Memo from Boss to Staff: I Really Really REALLY Hate Managing You!

I recently got a great comment from Angela on my I Hate Being a Boss post.  She’d had it up to HERE with being a manager – and she wasn’t going to take it any more!

While browsing my stats, I often see search terms like “I hate my employees” “I hate being boss” and “I hate being manager.” And it makes me realize just how many people out there – maybe even your own boss – really hate managing people and don’t even want to be a boss!

Here’s some of what what Angela shared with us in her comment:

…the relentless hounding by 50 staff to fix endless problems and mistakes, dealing with staff shortages with ever increasing targets, performance managing lazy or incompetent people (hired inappropriately as a “quick-fix” to the staff shortages), training up staff for other sites or training those who just never stayed (there is a 40% drop-off rate in the first 12 months!)

So did even more staff make being a boss better for Angela?

Of course not. Here’s more of what she shared with us:

…After all that, when the stress was more manageable, I discovered that I could do the job, but I just didn’t want to. Everyone was shocked when I asked to be demoted and said they thought I had been doing a great job – but at what price? I don’t want this experience to make me feel incapable of taking responsibility again, I hope that it was just this particular job. But the day I resigned from that position was the happiest day I’ve had for a long time.

Congratulations to Angela on making a smart move. If it makes you happier, taking a demotion the way Angela did (or not accepting the promotion to begin with) makes total sense. We not only have to know when to hold ‘em and when to fold ‘em…we have to know who we are and who we aren’t. While career-wise being a boss is considered something good to aim for…some of us simply don’t enjoy being boss. And if that’s really the case, it’s a good thing to discover that about ourselves.

Being the boss is not the same in all circumstances

Then again…although there are folks who truly don’t enjoy any part of managing others, for some of us it’s about finding the right situation. For those who share Angela’s feelings, maybe having a smaller staff in an organization that values its people more or where we have more control over our circumstances could also be an answer. Or maybe if the work is something we have passion for, the downside of being a manager doesn’t feel quite so down. Or maybe the answer is project-based work where at most you have a few colleagues to manage.

But not everyone has to be the big boss to be successful in their careers. There are also specialized non-managerial career paths that can provide ample personal satisfaction AND money. It’s one of the reasons I consult. ;-)

So what about you? Do you enjoy being a boss? Have any of you found ways to get around your dislike of managing people? Any tips for folks in Angela’s shoes?

To read the original article…

I Hate Being a Boss

Stuff About You & Your Job

Your Attitude at Work: Know Your Own Triggers

Is It Your Job or YOU That’s Driving You Crazy?

We’re Responsible for Our Own Work Relationships

7 Ways You Can Put Emotional Intelligence to Work

More about bosses

My Boss Makes Me So Mad!

My Boss Blows His Stack Like Mount St. Helens!

Bosses from Hell: The Controlinator

My Boss Screams at Me: Is That OK?

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About the author…

Ronnie Ann, founder of Work Coach Cafe, bases her real-world advice on her many years as an organizational consultant where she helped interview and hire people, added to a certificate from NYU in Career Planning & Development and her own adventures as a serial job seeker. She can also be found on her new blog, and on Google+.

Comments

  1. I totally understand not wanting to be a boss, at least not in a corporate environment. I’m a terrible supervisor because I don’t like telling or asking people to do things. My solution is to work for myself. I can give myself a long to-do list and feel just fine about it.

    For those of you who want to be employed but don’t want to supervise anyone, I recommend being very careful not use the word “supervise” (or any similar keyword) on your resume, if at all possible. Even if you managed a million people. Even if you’re really good at managing people (but hated doing it). You may have to list it as a job title, but don’t elaborate on your supervisory role. Doing so will market you for another job with supervisory responsibilities, which you don’t want and probably won’t be happy in.

    Here’s a principle I like: Don’t put anything on your resume that you don’t want to do again.

    It’s a version of: Be careful what you ask for.

  2. Ronnie Ann, I can relate to this, personally. Although I have the capabilities to be a good manager, it’s not something I’ve ever aspired to be for all of the reasons Angela mentioned. I love my work as a career counselor and want to focus on that rather than supervising others doing the work I love. Like Susan, self-employment works well for me. As you know, I recently wrote an article called, Finding Your Career Fit, that addresses reasons why jobs don’t work out and people are unhappy. One of the reasons is “When you’re in the wrong role, and you’re heading in the wrong direction” such as moving up the management ranks but wanting to be an individual contributor. The article can be found here: Career Fit

  3. :) I remember *sigh* when the word Boss had a different meaning.

    http://onlineslangdictionary.com/definition+of/boss

    Happy dancing to see you’re still here, rockin’ the work coach world, boss lady.

  4. I’ve moved. Ch-ch-changes. Turn, turn, turn. Keep on coachin’…I’ll be around to sit, relax, and stay awhile, with fresh mocha frappechinos for two.

  5. Great post, work coach! True, being responsible for the bottom line and all the difficult (unpopular) decisions can be tough and rough on mind, body, and spirit.

    As you pointed out, there are alternative routes to a rewarding and lucrative career.

    Psst… seems my WP “gravatar” shows up for my ex-Blogger account and not my WP account. ? A mystery to me. ? Hope it resolves itself.

  6. I am in complete agreement with you, Ronnie Ann! Not everyone wants to manage, and yet it is so often revered as a sign of success.

    Angela is a very self-aware person to make the decision she did. It’s so easy for us to let societal norms sway us one way or another, which can lead to making choices that don’t resonate with who we are. It would be so great if more people stood their ground on what is right for them…

  7. Thanks so much for your terrific comments and advice everyone!

    Nice tip about resume word choice Susan. As the old song says, accentuate the positive and eliminate the negative. (Or at least really downplay what you don’t want to do.)

    I enjoyed your article Markell. Thanks for the link on Career Fit. A topic so many of us struggle with.

    Nice to see you Melissa! I second your sentiments on standing one’s ground…most of all to ourselves!

    And hellooooooo Eema/Tear Drop!!! Great to see you again. It’s been way too long. And yes…weird about the gravatar, Eema/Tear Drop. I’ve had that same problem and had to go in somewhere and do something. Hope that helps! ;-) BTW…Had just this past week been wondering about how you’re doing, and then poof! you show up. Nice magic. Oh…and thanks for the alternative boss definition. How well I remember.

    Cheers all! ~ Ronnie Ann

  8. Twice I have been put into a mid level managing position and twice it has been a diaster. Basically I am a teacher who is really good in the classroom. This has always made me a target for someone “move up.” Even when I would tell my principals That I did not want to be a principal, they don’t believe it until they see it for themselves. I think it may be because I am an introvert who likes to focus on very specific tasks and goals. However, I am feeling pretty bad about how things have turned out. I am tryng to figure out what to tell myself so that I don’t feel like I have failed. One thing I say is that it probably makes sense that I have failed at something I don’t really want to do. PS this blog has been very helpful.

  9. Sorry for the spelling mistakes above :(

  10. Sorry nia for taking so long to get back to you. I’m glad this blog has been helpful, but so sorry you’ve been put into situations you know aren’t YOU.

    To me it sounds like you are starting to look at your career – including what you want and don’t want. That’s great – even if it brings up all kinds of uncomfortable feelings for the moment; we rarely look for change that might bring even better things our way if everything is perfect.

    PLEASE don’t think of yourself as a failure on any level. Maybe the word “researcher” is better. ;-) In fact, that’s the basis of true success and learning. People who NEVER look at their circumstances and never use feedback to try to come up with ways to make things better are much more likely to fail at finally getting to something they feel good about. So you’re doing the exact right thing by starting to question. Only smart people do that!

    A friend of mine has a website with a free eBook called The Career Explorer’s Journal. Maybe it could give you some ideas and further insight as you explore your next steps?

    While I can’t offer you better insight than you yourself will come up with, I do want to wish you MUCH luck figuring out what it is you really need. I also wish you strength in learning to believe in yourself and in finding your true voice! Funny thing is…sometimes what we find for ourselves, we get to give back as we teach the same to others. I speak from personal experience.

    Sending you a big hug, nia. I have every faith that you have what is needed inside…but a hug can’t hurt. ;-)

    ~ Ronnie Ann

  11. logic001 says:

    What a great site, I stumbled across it as I Googled (for venting) on “I hate being a manager.” It is indeed odd how being a manager is so revered. I have a theory, built up over the years working in the U.S. and Northern Europe, that this idolation of “management” is an unfortunate part of our English legacy in the U.S.

    What I’ve seen in non-English speaking countries is that there is plenty of admiration (and pay) for those who evolve into ever more expert individual contributors. Whereas I think what’s happened in the Anglo-Saxon countries is there’s been a tradition that “the work” was always something that unlucky conquered people had to do. The Normans made the Saxons take out the trash, the English made the Welsh take out the trash, and on and on. There’s always been some subjugated group of cheap labor to be told what to do. Being the manager, the order giver, has been the ideal in Anglo Saxon culture for centuries.

    I think this won’t last much longer though. Software has evolved to where skilled individuals can work as a group pretty easily, there just isn’t much time required to coordinate the group. Hopefully we’ll see more of a “team lead” approach, where one individual functions as a tie-breaker if the group can’t resolve a deadlock. This seems to be very popular in the Silicon Valley.

    • I love your theory, logic001! Thinking about it, makes sense culturally. And also makes sense that technology may well be the grand equalizer. Thanks for a thought-provoking comment!

  12. So glad not to be alone! I manage nurses, and have done so for 10 years now. Granted, I have done so in 3 different organizations, but I haven’t seen the slightest bit of improvement in any of them! The HR problems drive me up the wall–drama, whining, horrible adolescent behaviors, and I keep seeing them over and over. It seems that nurses are, for the most part, high school students with big paychecks!

    And it’s the same issues regardless of the people–faces and names change, but the games remain. Hospital HR septa are notoriously understaffed and full of people who end up there because they are ineffective elsewhere, and on top of it all most nurses are unionized so their behaviors must be tolerated because they are protected.

    I spend hours every week dealing with tantrums, and when I don’t deal with them, my superiors want to know why.

    I’m actively looking for something else. But it feels sooooo good to vent!

    • You have made my day! I have been a nursing supervisor for over 10 years and today I decided I’ve had enough. I will resign tomorrow as a supervisor and keep working on the staff till I can find another job. It is the same everywhere. The nurses are incompetent and the managers won’t listen to the supervisors. Thanks for the article. Now I know that I wasn’t the only one going through this.

  13. Glad we could help provide some venting room. Sounds incredibly frustrating.

    I wish you much luck, NLC, finding a type of job you might at actually enjoy…at least most of the time. ;-)

  14. christina says:

    I hate being a boss. My employees complain endlessly about shit they know I’m trying to fix. They have horrid entitlement problems. The employee I hired to manage things whines. And she hired a friend. And she also hired someone else she knew. I hate managing people.

  15. Christina…I’m so sorry to read this. I hope you think about jobs where you don’t have to manage. If you need new skills…maybe you can get them in the meantime. Some people just hate managing. it’s why I consult. ;-) I wish you all the best whatever you decide!

  16. willi6da says:

    Hi…I have never posted on any website, but I just had to after coming across this site. I hate being a boss too. For the longest i thought it was just me, but after 10 years of managing, I realize it’s time to face the truth. The funny thing is, those around me on the job are always telling me how I was built for management. I truly have many people fooled on the job. I just don’t think my boss is paying attention. At this job, I started in an IT position and quickly worked my way up. It seems that every three years I was being offered a promotion. I figured it was a blessing since my young family was starting to grow and more money was needed.

    About two years ago I accepted yet another promotion (like a crazy person) which offered me more money. This job however was in a totally different field. I thought to myself, why not try to grow and do something different. I thought this is great. My family is continuing to grow and I need the money. However, deep in my soul I heard a voice telling me not to do it. Why don’t we listen to that inner voice. In an attempt to grow myself by doing something different, I have placed myself in a bad place.

    Now I want out. I feel trapped and confused. On top of that, I feel like many people on the job will be happy to see me fall. Especially since I moved up so fast. I was so much happier when I was responsible for my own work. Of course the money was not as much as I am making now, but I was happier. I don’t mean to sound like I am whining. I realize there are many people looking for a job and that I am blessed.

    It takes everything in me to make it through every day. When I get home, I am exhausted from wearing a mask that I don’t even want to interact with my family. I just don’t know how to turn things around or at least make myself enjoy the job.

    At any rate, I am so thankful for this website and I appreciate all of your for being honest. I thought it was something wrong with me.

    Again, I am very thankful to have a job. I just wished that I had listened to my inner voice.

    • Hi willli6da,

      Well, we often have conflicting inner voices, don’t we? The one that says – “I’m not sure this is a good idea.” And, the one that says – “MORE MONEY, YEA!” It’s hard to know which one is right in every situation.

      I see 2 very good things about this situation:

      1.) You have learned a lot about what you enjoy doing and what you do NOT enjoy doing. That’s very important! Knowing what you do NOT want to do is often more important than knowing what you do want to do, in my opinion.

      2.) People “higher up” have confidence in you, so you are probably much better at this job than you think you are, even if you don’t like it.

      So, stop beating yourself up about this, and start developing your exit strategy.

      * Whenever I’ve been at a career crossroad (laid off twice), I always read “What Color Is Your Parachute?” It helps me figure out what kind of job to look for next. You could also look for a career coach – there are many professionals in the field who could help you develop your exit strategy. Ask for references, and do your “due diligence” to figure out who would be most appropriate for you.

      * Figure out where you want to work next – this employer or a different one? If this employer, what department/division/group? If a different employer, put together a list of 10 or 20 potential targets. Then, start learning more about them and connecting with them…

      * Light up your LinkedIn Profile – get more active on LinkedIn (carefully, so no one notices at your current job!).

      * Do more professional networking in the appropriate venues. Maybe speak at a few conferences if that interests you or write a Kindle book on “your” topic (relevant to that next job).

      Even consider starting your own business, if that interests you.

      Go for it!

      Good luck!
      Susan

    • I am going on my 12th year of supervising / managing and I would do anything to get away from it! I love this site since all other “job rant” sites focus on employees unhappy with their managers / supervisors. Well, we have complaints, too. I’m sick and tired of the corporate “coddling” that emphasizes the feelings of the common employee yet disregards the stresses and headaches of management. Anytime one of your people screws something up, it’s your fault. There’s an investigation, fact-finding, training, etc. But when they do something “good” (usually meaning they did their job correctly) you must go out of your way to give them a pat on the back. Meanwhile, here are us mid-managers, getting pulled from both sides like a rope in a brutal tug-of-war.

      Now, I don’t need to be patted on the back or honored for everything I do. Or anything I do, for that matter. What I would like (and think we all deserve) is simple acknowledgement from OUR bosses that dealing with / managing / ordering people around on a day-to-day basis takes it’s toll on people. We are not superheroes, and we can’t change people’s attitudes overnight. In an ideal world, we’d be able to successfully implement all of these “top-down” policies flawlessly, but when you’re dealing with a bunch of whiners and blockheads it’s easier said than done.

      The average worker bee has no concern for anything aside from his / her own schedule. They are not the ones who have to worry about keeping production going when someone calls in sick or decides to leave in the middle of the day. They are not the ones who have to explain to irate customers why their orders were incorrect.

      I am always amazed that these people can’t remember the steps to their simple daily tasks, yet they all have magical internal clocks that alarm them when it’s time to ask for their break.

      I think we can all acknowledge that, yes, we as managers / supervisors get paid more, supposedly to deal with these headaches, but the question we all ask ourselves is: “Is it worth it?” It’s even more a slap in the face when we’re making a hair over what our workers do.

      The more I am in this line of work, the more my answer becomes a resounding “No.” Rarely do I ever experience any sense of accomplishment as a manager anymore. Rather, I’m just mentally exhausted and dreading the next headache I’ll have to deal with.

      • chandlee says:

        Hi Hugo,

        It sounds like you are perhaps feeling a bit of burnout and frustration with your current role. Hats off to you for sounding off on our site – instead of at work.

        One of my favorite sayings about work — and I’ve worked in the careers industry for over 15 years — is that your career doesn’t have to be a ladder.

        In other words, if you don’t enjoy managing — you can (and should) — look for work in an alternative role that doesn’t involve employee supervision. It may pay less, it may not have as high of a status in terms of title. But if the job makes you happy and feels fulfilling, that is what counts.

        Good luck.

        Best,
        Chandlee

      • I love your comment. I have been managing for about 6 years now, but am currently switching positions because I hate my job. I am so sick of my employees that I actually think I hate them. They are the worst. All they do is complain about their jobs and coworkers. Apparently they have never been taught how to resolve conflicts on their own. Not to mention their attendance sucks and their job performance and attitudes are subpar. The immaturity and LACK of responsibility amazes me in grown adults. I sometimes fantasize about cloning myself so I could fire all of them and just do all their jobs. I know I couldnt, but if I could just one by one take them in my office and fire them, it would be the best day of my life. They have NO CLUE how good they have it. Most of them are slightly overpaid, so I would like to see them try and find another job on the same paying level. Bottom line: if I never had to see any of their faces again I would be beyond happy. They have no clue what it takes to manage. Being responsible for their shortcomings, which are many, dealing with every stupid little issue or problem, answering the same questions over and over and over and over again. And what you say about them being patted on the back when they are doing something well, which is usually just what they are supposed to be doing, is so dead on. And then when you fire one these, excuse me for saying this, dummies, you are rewarded with interviewing 15-20 people who are just as dumb or dumber. Honestly, I can understand why so many people are unemployed. I begged for a different position, because I dread coming here every day so I am currently going into sales, which is a better financial oppurtunity, for the same company and they are hiring an outside manager. I hope she is evil and horridly mean; that’s what these people deserve. I have done so much, probably too much, to help these unprofessional irresponsible immature ungrateful people succeed at this company and at their jobs. I cant wait for all of this crap not to be my problem anymore. I can tell you I will be sorely missed in the office. No one is going to do all I did for everyone or care about it the way I have. It’s totally not worth it. If not given a different position I was going to quit and go back to school to become a Veteranarian. I guess some managers deal with it better, but I think it would take its toll on anyone. I couldnt imagine doing this for 20 years of my life.

        • Taryn,

          Did we work at the same place and just never cross paths?!? Thanks for your truthful (and entertaining) reply. I share many of the same sentiments as you, obviously. What you said about starting to hate your people – I’m definitely there with you. Strangely enough, it makes me feel like a bad person for thinking so lowly of other human beings, but they really give me no choice. I have literally become a dumber person just from being around them and having to fix their mistakes and listen to their whining. I honestly have a lower opinion of humanity from being around these people for so long.

          The biggest misconception that these people have is that management is easy, that they are doing the “real work,” etc. I’m sick of hearing them say, “the company makes money because of what we do.” Well listen up, dummy – you wouldn’t have a job if it weren’t for the company! Ha! What I wouldn’t do just to be a cog in the wheel or responsible for my work and my work only! You are so right – these people don’t know how good they have it sometimes. Punch the clock, do your job, go home. That’s it. All they have to do is show up, do their job correctly, and go home. No dealing with conflict, schedules, sick people, people with sick kids, people who can’t get along with one another, angry customers, high demand customers, after hours calls, incorrect work, and overall incompetency.

          As a manager, your day is rarely, if ever, easy. Employees on the other hand deal with basically the same things day after day after day. If you have a day when your employees are behaving, the customers are on your case. When the customers are quiet, the employees are doing stupid things. When both of them are quiet, then you’re dealing with some corporate time-filler bs.

          I can’t wait to find something where I am responsible for my own personal work. Maybe managing wouldn’t be so bad with a group of self-sufficient, intelligent people. But, I really don’t have any desire to find out. My next line of work will not include supervising people.

          Good luck with your sales job – I’m sure it’ll be different, but hopefully the break you’ve been looking for. Thanks again for replying.

          • chandlee says:

            Hugo,

            Perhaps we should write another piece and call it “How to trade your Manager’s job for another position?” Let me know your thoughts on pieces you’d like to see on Work Coach Cafe.

            All the Best,
            Chandlee

          • Chandlee,

            A new piece may help out us frustrated managers who have many years of supervision / managing on our resumes and feel stuck in this line of work. It would be helpful to know what we can do to “translate” those management skills on a resume and in interviews and allow us to broaden our job searches beyond management. Thank you.

          • chandlee says:

            Hi Hugo,

            That is a great suggestion for a piece, and I will pass it along to my colleague Susan Joyce as we chart out future posts. In the interim, here’s a suggestion — include a summary on the top of your resume which emphasizes the scope of projects you have overseen employees for.

            Read the resumes of project managers — and emphasize the budgets for projects you’ve worked on, the P & L responsibility, and how your work and that of the employees has been used by the company.

            Example:

            Oversaw execution of marketing strategic plan which contributed to 20% increase in company revenue during Q4 2012.

            Good luck!

            Best,
            Chandlee

  17. S Chalmers says:

    Amazingly, I’m on the search for what makes me happy, what makes me tick, what do I do well. Realizing that I can be a good leader, but not in all things. I absolutely don’t want to manage, I want to lead in my mind those are two different strides. Let me explain (in my opinion).

    Managing is just that, going over what your employees did to make sure they did it right. Pointing out issues, demanding the work be better, longer hours etc. Ugh, all that makes me scream (at least inside my head).

    Leading, is guidance, challenging and rewarding for all involved. It is comprised of the same stuff but not about the hours as much as the accomplishment, the drive to rise to the challenge and overcome. Leading people through the war and being there for congratulations, hugs and even tears when we survive and conquer. Business is real, it needs real people to lead. Unfortunately, I think due to so many litigation factors of possible offense we have lost some of these abilities to do what leaders once did.

    I hate managing, I love leading.

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