You and Your Boss Really Are Different

Recently I was digging through some of my “digital clutter” (hard to believe that term didn’t exist a couple of decades ago!) when I came across this gem: “Differences Between You and Your Boss”. I have no idea who was the original source for this, but if your boss or supervisor or other superiors at your workplace are driving you crazy and you can’t figure out exactly why, maybe it has something to do with the workplace culture we find ourselves in – not all of us are held to the same standard! It turns out you and your boss really are different.

You and Your Boss Really Are Different
You and Your Boss Really Are Different

As some of you probably already suspect, what might be OK for your boss is definitely not OK for you!

Differences Between You and Your Boss

Have you ever noticed any of these “differences”?

  • When you take a long time to do a job, you’re slow. If your boss takes a long time, he’s thorough.
  • If you don’t get something done, you’re lazy. When your boss doesn’t get something done, he’s too busy.
  • When you make a mistake, you’re an idiot.
  • If your boss makes a mistake, he’s only human.

  • If you do it your own way, you don’t do what you’re told. When your boss does it, he’s showing creativity.
  • When you do it on your own, you’re overstepping your bounds. If your boss does it, he’s demonstrating initiative, or leadership.
  • If you take a stand, you’re being bull-headed (or you have a bad attitude). When your boss takes a stand, he’s being firm.
  • When you violate a rule, you’re self-centered. If your boss skips a few rules, he’s being original.
  • If you please your boss, you’re brown-nosing. When your boss pleases his boss, he’s being co-operative.

And Still More Apparent Contradictions…

  • When you help a peer, you’re not busy enough. If your boss does it, he’s a team player.
  • If someone else does your work, you’re passing the buck. When someone else does his work, he’s assigning responsibility. (Or the more du jour business buzzword, delegating.)
  • When you’re out of the office, you’re wandering around. If your boss is out of the office, he’s “on business”.
  • If you call out sick, it’s assumed you’re out golfing. When your boss calls out sick, he must be very ill.
  • When you apply for leave, you must be going for a job interview. If your boss applies for leave, it’s because he’s overworked.
  • If you’re seen shopping during work hours, you’re a slacker. When your boss is doing the same, he’s picking up office supplies.
  • When you get a raise, you’re lucky. If he gets one, he really earned it.
  • If you do a good job, you get a pat on the back. When he does a good job, he gets a bonus.

These are just examples of what I’ve seen in my own work life. We haven’t even touched on the boss’s favorites, i.e., his or her clique. That’s a whole other story, and an article all by itself.

Do you see the pattern here? Are you, or have you, experienced a similar trend in your own work life? Don’t hold back — this is the time and place to vent!

( Photo by DonkeyHotey )

8 Responses to You and Your Boss Really Are Different

  1. I’m crazy glad I never had a boss like that! But I know they exist. I got tired of being held accountable for things I could not control, like acts of nature but I was never held to a tighter standard than my boss was. Usually if something unfair was happening it happened to my boss first and we were kind of in the same boat. I generally felt just as sorry for him as for myself. But the nice thing about FI is I didn’t have to put up with much of that, I just said Bye Bye and hello to early retirement!

  2. Hi Steve – What’s “FI”??? You’re lucky that you never had one of those bosses, because they’re out there. In fact, some years ago I read an article in the Wall Street Journal that said that 80% of managers aren’t really qualified for the job they hold (the “Peter principle” we can suppose). I’ve had good bosses and some really bad ones. Most were somewhere in between. But nothing beats being your own boss!

  3. All those traits can be applied to any work situation ( bosses and co-workers) when one’s work ethnic is not part of the crowd mode. I have a list like that on my fridge from the days of working with intolerant people who felt it was more productive to make fun and take advantage of the one doing the work that everyone is supposed to be doing. I titled my list traits of the unsuccessful because those who behave and think this way will never be happy in any job and it’s not my job to make their life better. I got my paycheck either way dispite attitudes like this. Eventually I got promoted based on performance-achievement and was well compensated. You have to ride the waves.

  4. That’s true Maria (riding the waves). But working with a cranky boss (and I’ve had a couple) is like being stuck in a classroom with the school bully. There’s nowhere to run, and you’re subject to the various eruptions. It gets old after a while.

  5. Maybe being a stubborn Taurean (born under the sign of the Bull) helped me overcome dealing with the bullies as I would mentally picture a massive bull facing them and learned to outlast them. Plus when these know it alls fall from grace they fall down hard and being there when they fall is satisfying.
    Besides if you read or heard the tale of Fernando , no one messes up a calm Bull.

  6. I can’t say the work bully thing played out like that in my experience. Usually someone was a bully because they had definite advantages or protections. The bullies usually outlasted the productive people. It was as if a connection to someone higher up the chain of command enabled them to run the place as if it was their own home. Some were even reckless. Every now and again you see them in the crosshairs of a lawsuit. That doesn’t usually happen until they get away with so much for so long that they get arrogant and careless. But the consequences never seem to scare away other would-be bullies.

    Anytime you have a group of people, you have politics. Some will rise up on merit, others become followers, and some rise up by manipulation. I’ve seen it time and again.

    All that aside, Steve W’s point in the article about the double standard with the boss is spot on.

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