Getting Through the Week: With a New Boss
In this broken world, change is inevitable. But that’s not a bad thing. Change is actually dope because new is always better. HIMYM reference. Life is pretty boring to begin with so it’s nice to mix things up here and there. Once place where change is constant is corporate America aka white-collar slavery (too soon?)
Every year, around this time, there’s promotions and firings and people move around to different teams. And everyone goes NUTS. I gotta say, I am part of that group. Love workplace chaos. It is so fun to have something to talk about at work that has nothing to do with work itself. Honestly, it’s not a big deal and things go back to normal pretty quickly. But, chances are, you’ll have a new boss. I’ve had like 6 bosses and I’ve only worked 3 years. Some good, some bad, one who didn’t drink coffee or alcohol. But you could say I’m an old hat at the new boss game.
If you had a bad boss, a change of scenery can be a breath of fresh air, freeing you from the shackles of micromanagement. You’re like someone who left an abusive relationship, gets a great new boyfriend and had no idea they were allowed to be treated that well. Other times, when you have a boss you like, you feel like Harry Potter in the Order of the Phoenix when Dumbledore gets fired. First you lose your friend and now you got this Professor Umbridge coming in, making rules and being the biggest dick of all time. Fucking sucks. But what are you going to do? You don’t make the decisions around here. If you did, why in the hell are you reading this smut blog? Go read some books about leadership or watch your 401k grow or something. Loser.
Point is, this is mainly out of your control. But what CAN you control? Your attitude and your response to the situation. You know, winner shit. And as we know, this blog is for winners, not whiners. Yes I just made that up on the spot. Anyways, where others see chaos, you see opportunity. Here’s how you take advantage of the situation and get that paper.
Pro Tip 1: Gossip Is a Deadly Beast
It should not come as a surprise that WRD is a no snitches blog. But that doesn’t mean we don’t participate in a little workplace gossip. Do I want to hear what Sarah told Justin about Jason’s management style when they had their one on one? I mean yeah, obviously. However, you need to be careful. It’s ok to share a little bit so people will tell you stuff. But NOTHING should ever get back to you. Plus, it’s just not really nice. No one ever gets ahead by trashing other people and it kind of makes you look bad if you do it too much.
One thing that should go without saying is never trash your old boss. This is an ally of yours that you don’t want to lose. And if your new boss is fishing for some dirt on the old boss, don’t give in. If you start bad mouthing your old boss, your new one eventually will realize that they can’t trust that you won’t do the same thing to them. It’s kind of like dating a girl who cheated on their boyfriend with you. If she’ll cheat on them, she’ll cheat on you.
*Disclaimer: this only applies to work. Talking shit on people you hate with your friends is the best thing ever.
Pro Tip 2: Focus On Communicatin’
Yes that’s a reference to “Location.” Amazing song. You’re welcome for all the clicks Khalid, you prick. Anyways, a good working relationship is like good sex. You need to be constantly communicating and strike the right balance of emotional distance. You should be at the point where you care enough that you don’t want to hurt their feelings, but not enough that you’re afraid to go for what you want. How will you know all the weird shit your lover is into if you don’t ask them what they like? How will you know how much your boss you to update them on project status if you don’t ask them? See…I’m a genius.
Don’t be afraid to ask your boss directly how they like to work and how they want you to work. Maybe they want you to respond to emails right away. Maybe they don’t give a shit. Maybe they want to micromanage you. Maybe they just want you to take care of things and report back when you’re done. Point is, you don’t know how to give them what they want if you don’t ask. And plus, they will think you are a pro-active motherfucker.
Pro Tip 3: The Next 2 Weeks Decide The Rest of Your Life
First impressions matter you fucking idiot. I shouldn’t have to tell you that. But I cannot stress how important the first 2 weeks are. What kind of worker do you want your boss to think you are? Personally, I like the strike the balance between promotable and a try-hard. Yes I want to advance and make more money. However, I’m not here to bust my ass non-stop just so my manager can take all the credit and get a bonus. Also, the jobs I get are pretty stupid. Why kill myself over it? Ya feel? So for me, the best thing to do is to set the bar a little low, but then clear it so often that the higher-ups are like ya know what? This kid is pretty cool. But this part is up to you.
Here’s a few places you can leave your mark.
• Arrival and Departure Time
- You want to be middle of the pack here. No one should notice your comings and goings. If you’re going to pick between coming early and staying late, I’d pick the latter. People notice when you’re still there when they leave.
• Meeting Participation
- Don’t talk just to talk. Hate those fucking people. But don’t be meek. Get a few comments in early. Nothing worse than your work rival saying what you were just about to say because you were too scared to speak up.
- Monitor how prompt you respond to emails and at what hours. If you send emails too early in the morning or late at night people will think you’re a psychopath and your boss will start to expect that of you.
• Actual Work (decks, Excel, presentations)
- These should all be surprisingly good. You gotta think that your boss is going to be presenting the bitch work you do to someone else. You want that someone else to be like “wow holy shit who made this deck.” I did that’s who.
- Always err on the side of professional when you start, but don’t be a little pussy. No one likes a suck up or a robot. But feel free to be yourself after a month or so. Your boss will appreciate that.
Pro Tip 4: Get drunk with them as soon as possible
Here at WRD we’re not technically that skilled. We’re not numbers guys. We’re not details guys. We’re relationship guys. And the best way to get ahead without really working that hard is to get to know your boss on a more personal level. Have them divulge details about their home life. Get them to spill secrets and gossip about power struggles among the other manages. Have them cry on your shoulder about their crippling anxieties and existential fears as you sit their silently recording everything they say on your iPhone. What’s the only way to do this? Get drunk with them as soon as possible.
Sometimes this can happen naturally. Maybe you’re travelling together for work or there’s a company holiday party or something. Perfect. Stick to them but don’t be clingy. If not, try to push them to organize a team bonding and get drunk there. But always remember. 2-3 drinks behind them. Don’t unleash your inner self on them. Ever.
Pro Tip 5. Stay in touch with your old boss
In all the hubbub of your new master coming in, it’s easy to forget about your old manager. It completely slips your mind that this is, ya know, an actual person. They’re going through some changes in their life and it’s nice to check in. But also, let’s be honest, this is all about career advancement with you.
There are 2 basic ways your lose your boss.
- Left The Company
- Whether they got fired or they left on their own doesn’t really matter. Go add them on LinkedIn (don’t add them while you’re actually working together. That feels kind of weird for some reason). Reach out and let them know you were sorry to see them go, wish them good luck with their next move and that you hope your paths cross again. They’ll appreciate it and chances are they’ll land on their feet, in a similar industry. Guess who can write you a recommendation or get you a new job at their company?
- Internal Move/Promotion
- This one is important. If you had a good relationship, this is someone who can fight for you internally. They may even try to pull you to their team. But you want to stay close to this person. Get coffee with them oncce a month or something like that. When it’s promotion season, people will be asking for feedback on you and the first person they’ll go to is your old boss. This is why I told you in Pro Tip 1 not to talk shit about them. No doiiiiii.
Well there you have it. Good luck navigating the complex world of corporate restructuring. It’s a goddam thrill ride.