Aimee Graham, Head Editor, INALJ New York State
Micro-managers and How to Deal
Let’s face it, regardless of what sector of employment you may find yourself, there is the potential to work with less than agreeable coworkers and supervisors. As an individual it can be degrading, having your every strength criticized and the experience in general can be demoralizing. Particularly if you are in your first year outside of graduate school, going through personal hardships, or just cannot seem to find a break in new employment, the residual effects of working under a micromanager could leave you feeling disenfranchised and hopeless.
But I promise you, there is hope! Current statistics show that the days of working 50 years for one company and receiving that golden pen are disappearing, and holding 5-6 jobs over the course of one’s lifetime is becoming the social norm. So while waiting for time to pass and either the dynamics of your employment to change or waiting for your ship to come in, here are some helpful tips to help you ease your blood pressure and give mental clarity during a difficult time.
• Give Yourself a Self-Assessment: Quite a juxtaposition, considering it is your overly-demanding employer is the one we’re trying to deal with but for the sake of clarity, make sure there that there is nothing wrong with the way you are doing your job; do you arrive to work on time? Is your area neat and tidy? How is your repertoire with other employees and patrons? Ask these things to yourself and answer truthfully; if you answer anything that does not reflect perfection, try to resolve the issues.
• Work It Out: I’m not talking about working out the issues you may have with your employer (if you’re shaking your head in agreement because you’re currently dealing with one, more than likely any advice or communication will go in one ear and out the other, this not being their first rodeo). I’m talking about physically working the negativity and stress out of your system. Short walks (if allowed) sporadically throughout the day can greatly increase your mood, and the time outside will not only give you clarity but also a nice color to your skin (and of course, make sure your skin is protected with at least SPF 15 or higher). If you work in academics, many institutions let faculty and staff use the fitness centers so take advantage of what they have to offer! Getting rid of the bad juju will not only help you in keep a clear head in the pending job search, it also has the numerous health benefits that we need to counteract all of the stress we endure during daily life.
• Beat them to the Punch: If your employer is a stickler for reports and statistics, make sure to keep accurate track BEFORE they ask you for a monthly account. Reference questions, technology issues….. anything that you feel your boss would want to know, write it down and give them a report precisely at the end of a determined period. The worst that could happen is they act uninterested and shrug it off, the best being they see you are reliable and accountable, therefore possibly lightening up a little.
• Keep Your Eye on the Prize: We’ve covered that this can be a difficult situation, one that virtually everyone will face at one point or another. A good rule of thumb is to set individual goals for yourself, long and short term, and keep them in your sites; will dealing with this employer give you the skills and attributes needed for a better position further down the road? What DO you want out of your job/employer? Keep questions like this in mind.
My biggest recommendation is to take it all as a learning experience; during your time working under stressful conditions, take mental and physical notes on what you don’t like about your employers management skills. If you aspire for management, use them as a guideline of what NOT to do once you’re in a supervisory position. But for the meantime, hold faith and your sanity, better things are on the horizon.