Dealing With IT Ogres

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Simply put, the boss is a jerk.

He’s loud, demanding, irrational and more wrong than right. He’s a stuffed shirt and an empty suit, a vacuous moron who wouldn’t recognize a good idea even if it shared a daily mimosa with him en route to work in his gas-guzzling limousine.

She is, in other words, behind the times, beneath contempt and, above all, the boss.

OK, I’m exaggerating quite a bit here: Being a supervisor doesn’t make someone automatically evil (just ask my staff, but only when they’re not chained to their computers). I could share stories of great bosses who’ve been phenomenal leaders, tireless champions for employees and fair-minded, hard-working individuals who roll their sleeves up and pitch right in. I’m sure each of you could, as well.

Personally, I’ve enjoyed the glass-half-full side of a recent study from Age Wave, The Concours Group and Harris Interactive, and I hope you have too. According to that study, more than half of American workers question the morality of their organizations’ top leaders and say managers do not treat them fairly.

It gets worse. Only 36 percent of American workers feel their bosses act with honesty and integrity. Only 29 percent care about advancing the skills of employees, a fact that contributes to one-third of respondents thinking they’ve hit a dead end in their careers. Only 20 percent of respondents feel passionate about their work, and only 31 percent find their bosses inspirational.

These are not happy numbers.

Reading this survey, I couldn’t help but think that as IT professionals, you deal with more bosses than the typical employee. IT, of course, is a mission-critical service department for every arm of the organization. More responsibility almost always means more overseers, which increases the chances for personality clashes and bad chemistry. Like recertification requirements, the demanding client and bad boss are crosses you occasionally have to bear.

Solving the problem is more challenging. A pay raise can improve morale, but not if it’s the carrot arriving just ahead of the stick. Quitting is always possible, but sometimes the devil you do know is better than the devil you don’t. Grin and bear it is a popular remedy, but stomach ulcers are a common side effect.

I’m all out of ideas; like I said, I’ve been lucky in the boss department. How about you? I’d love to share some IT department horror stories with other readers, and hear about the creative solutions you found to deal with demands while staying engaged (and employed). Keep specific company names and bosses confidential, but do share your solutions with us at

Can you believe this? I’ve presented a serious problem, offered no meaningful solution and gave you an after-hours assignment to fix it. Who do I think I am, your boss?

Tim Sosbe
Editorial Director


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