Author Topic: Manager is MIA  (Read 1045 times)

stratozyck

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Manager is MIA
« on: March 14, 2017, 07:28:04 AM »
I am interested in others' stories with their managers. I work in an office setting and we do credit score models. I took this job about 5 months ago knowing a little about what I was going into. I worked in another department in the same company before and had worked with this manager before.

But man... this is driving me up the wall. I've had many types of managers and I accept there are pluses/minuses to each type. I've had the "you must be here until my boss leaves even if there is nothing to do" type - those are the worst, I quit that job after 3 months. Before this I had a manager that was too nice and we had a few teammates really slack off and the rest of us had to pick up the work. What drove me to leave that team was we had a senior staff member (getting paid like 30% more than me) that I had to take up their work because it was excuse after excuse. That person didn't do squat for a solid year and a half and somehow only recently got fired.

This team's work is more what I wanted to do but... now I have this new type of manager. I like the guy personally but he should have been demoted or transferred by now. He is usually in at 10:30 and out by 4. I've realized that after this long on the job, the main impediment to my productivity is him.

I think he is threatened that I am more educated and harder working than he is. I think his boss is aware that I am right a lot about our project and he feels pressured to get his ideas accepted. It isn't that he is stupid - its that in our field it is very vital you double, triple, and quadruple check your statements before presenting them as conclusions to anyone.

For example, I am an economist with a PhD. He is not an economist and is more of a pure stats person with a masters. That is all ok. But in our project, there was one part that was right up my expertise and he kept insisting we do it one way that pretty much every academic paper says is the wrong way to do it. I analyzed the data and after a week came up with a suggested method that best adhered to theory, statistics, and business purpose. I told him his method, even if it "worked" statistically, would be invalid. Still, I am a sport so I spent a week investigating the possibility of his suggested method.

I did the method correctly (statistically correct that is) and told him that regardless of theoretical reasons, the statistics do not support the usage of that method. To put it in simple terms, there was no statistical correlation. In fact, theory correctly predicted that there should be no statistical correlation.

So, after I presented this, he got a little peeved and went to his desk and quickly pulled up MS Excel (we do our work in SAS so already I am like, oh no here we go with another quickie wrong analysis). In 30 minutes he calls me over and goes, "see, there is a correlation, do this method. It works."

I was shocked because like I said, his work being in MS excel it is not easy to check to see what they did to arrive at that. With SAS code I can look at the logic step by step. After about 10 minutes of trying to figure out what he did, I realized the way he did it was not just wrong, but OH MY GOD HOW DID YOU GET TO THIS LEVEL OF YOUR CAREER type wrong.

Now again, I calmed down and knew that if he actually spent time looking at it he probably wouldn't have told me these results. I told him politely yesterday (he did this at end of day Friday) that unfortunately, the regression he did was "spurious" (a nice way of saying useless). He did admit but then still dug in and said I should look "deeper." I finally said, "look, no. I will not stand by this work if we do it this way. If I were a reviewer I would fail this immediately." We have to submit our work for review and my last job was working in review. If someone sent me the method he was trying to do, I would fail it in about 10 minutes.

Then there's the big issue. Man, the lack of direction. Lets divide this project into three parts, 1, 2, 3, numbered because they logically, in my mind, should be in that order. On first meeting they (my boss and his boss) decided the numbering should be 3,2,1. By that point, I had come in with a draft of item #1 and they ignored it and went straight to #3. Fine, ok. But then last week's meeting they (my boss and his boss) in a panic decided the numbering should be 1,2,3. There is a presentation to their big boss this week and they realized that 1, 2, 3 allowed the best way to show (and make) real progress.

So they freak out and are suddenly acting like they are about to be fired or something. I quietly told my boss Friday not to panic that I had already presented item #1 like two months ago to them and I can literally re run the SAS code and get updated results and add some more if necessary.

Anyways, I could go on but let me summarize....

I have a boss that is intellectually very lazy. He constantly tells me not to worry about certain things only to reverse it when his bosses (rightly) tell him to worry about it. Despite having a stay at home wife, he is constantly late because he has to "take them to day care." Oh yeah, today is that big meeting and he can't review the power point beforehand because he has to be at home because they have a contractor.

I have met a few times with the guy I replaced (he is still with the company) and we have begun monthly coffee meetings and he has  been helping me survive it. He told me to not let it get to me and trust my instincts on what needs to be done. He also said that he could not stand it and it was the reason he left. I told him I was worried that I would be judged poorly by working for him and he insisted that its a well known issue in the company and that no one would judge me for it.

Any thoughts? I oscillate between "once this project is done, I am looking for another job" to "eh I should just deal with it." There are benefits. There are long stretches of time where I could literally pull out my personal laptop and play video games (I don't). He's not a bad guy but his personality quirk is when his superiors crap on him he tends to snap at us and do things like quickie bad analysis to try to "one up" us and show he can do it faster and better. He was particularly short with us a few weeks ago (my team) when shockingly, his boss realized he did not have access to our project's shared drive folder. For 3 months we were doing this project and he didn't even request access to it.

2Cent

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Re: Manager is MIA
« Reply #1 on: March 14, 2017, 09:43:52 AM »
There are several ways you can deal with this to your benefit. The best thing is to keep him in the dark on work details so he will not be tempted to interfere and be completely reliant on you. Given his lazy nature this should not be hard. He will start depending on you to basically do your own evaluation because he doesn't want to admit he doesn't know what happened. You just need to feed the right headlines at the right time.

Once he is dependent on you, you can also use his fear of being discovered by management to make him push you forward for presentations as The Expert. These kinds of managers can become your biggest cheerleader. Because it is not him who is dim, it is you who is exceptionally smart.

The main tactic is not to wait until he asks for things, but anticipate and inform him beforehand with just enough information to pass on to higher management.


stratozyck

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Re: Manager is MIA
« Reply #2 on: March 15, 2017, 08:58:10 AM »
Thanks - I am debating whether or not I can optimize this situation. I don't think I am "exceptionally smart," but thanks! I am smart enough but I also read a lot and keep my skills current. On my desk I have textbooks related to our field and I go to those first on any new project.

He's very intelligent as well but I have begun to believe he may have some minor mental illness. Its about once a week where we get an e mail with some obviously bogus excuse as to why he won't be in. His e mails like this read like Oregon Trail story lines... "My kid broke his arm. We all have the flu. My car is broke (I know he lives near public transit)"

I think you are right - I am new and I have yet to prove myself to his boss. Still, my big fear from him was him throwing me under the bus. When we worked in different departments he tried to do that once but in all honesty in our line of work the departments are adversarial so I did not take this personally.

My fear did not materialize yesterday in our big presentation with another group. I worked a lot of hours to make our presentation look good and because of it our group won some "business" with another group within the company.

I am leaning towards "figure this out and find out how to thrive and stay." Last week I was "I need to leave ASAP."

stratozyck

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Re: Manager is MIA
« Reply #3 on: March 15, 2017, 12:11:47 PM »
Final update! My bosses boss has effectively taken control of my project and we had an awesome meeting today!!

gooki

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Re: Manager is MIA
« Reply #4 on: March 17, 2017, 05:48:27 AM »
He's very intelligent as well but I have begun to believe he may have some minor mental illness. Its about once a week where we get an e mail with some obviously bogus excuse as to why he won't be in. His e mails like this read like Oregon Trail story lines... "My kid broke his arm. We all have the flu. My car is broke (I know he lives near public transit)"

I doubt it's mental illness. Sounds like your boss just isn't that into work, and doesn't really give a fuck. It also appears he isn't from a management background, which means he may not be well trained on getting the best out of a team. The again he did get you to bust your balls for the presentation without asking you to put in overtime.

I wouldn't sweat it, do a great job, don't belittle him, make him look good by effectively self managing yourself.
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hoping2retire35

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Re: Manager is MIA
« Reply #5 on: March 17, 2017, 12:16:07 PM »
There are several ways you can deal with this to your benefit. The best thing is to keep him in the dark on work details so he will not be tempted to interfere and be completely reliant on you. Given his lazy nature this should not be hard. He will start depending on you to basically do your own evaluation because he doesn't want to admit he doesn't know what happened. You just need to feed the right headlines at the right time.

Once he is dependent on you, you can also use his fear of being discovered by management to make him push you forward for presentations as The Expert. These kinds of managers can become your biggest cheerleader. Because it is not him who is dim, it is you who is exceptionally smart.

The main tactic is not to wait until he asks for things, but anticipate and inform him beforehand with just enough information to pass on to higher management.

I loved all of this.

Sometimes it just takes a while to understand a supervisor and how you have to adjust to them. Sounds like you have done that.

Also, not sure about his home life. I know for me after our twins were born work/home life was just hectic. Seems like I was out a day almost every other month, that was with a four day work schedule already!