Weekly Brief – Lessons from Sub-Par Supervisors



Angry supervisor? Not really. We were just goofing off for friends. Many (many) years later, he still makes me laugh!

By garnering the leftover negative energy from doing my taxes, I was able to apply that energy toward documenting irritating supervisor behaviors to share with you.

Long Meetings

In one of my first jobs, I had a supervisor who held marathon staff meetings. We would be expected to arrive at lunchtime, bag lunches in hand, and we would often stay until the workday ended. Doing what?

To this day, I cannot answer this question because I zoned out around the tenth minute as I worried about all of the work I was not getting done.

Lesson learned: Have an agenda, stick to the agenda, and what cannot be accomplished in 60 minutes should be rescheduled. Working meetings can go 90 minutes, but focus should be maintained.

Long Days

Same job, same supervisor: he had no boundaries when it came to work hours and work days. It made me wonder, was his home life that bad that it was better to spend days and nights in a decrepit inner-city building? I’ll tell you this, it wasn’t the pay. Unfortunately, I like my home and social life. It was a definite employee-supervisor mismatch. Many meetings, long meetings, and chatting it up, showed a blatant disrespect for my time. And in the end, isn’t time all that we really have?

Lesson learned: If I want to be a workaholic supervisor, that’s my right. Out of respect for my employees though, I must use their time wisely. We’ll all be more efficient that way.


My employer ‘offered the opportunity’ for a payroll deduction to go to a charitable organization of their choice. All employees were expected to give. I reviewed my budget and decided what I could afford. I was told it was too little, and that my performance review might reflect my lack of commitment. I resigned within one month and have been living happily-ever-after since.

Lesson learned: No lesson was learned here. This was immoral and possible illegal. I didn’t need to learn that it was completely inappropriate.

Supervisor-Assigned Nicknames

One of my supervisors would call me Missy. I do not answer to Missy, Honey, Sweetie, or any of those patronizing, demeaning nicknames.

Lesson learned: Be careful about establishing a nickname for an employee. A seething employee does not make for a pleasant workplace.

There are so many more Lessons Learned, but this is a weekly brief, so I must stop here.  However, the next time I feel annoyance  and self-pity taking hold, I have a whole slew of these lovely lessons to share.  But now, the sun is shining, tufts of grass are showing through the soot-covered snow, and well, I feel much better having unloaded for a few minutes.

What supervisor gaffes have made you cringe, shriek, or shrug in confusion?  Please, do share!

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About Barbara Rath

Enjoy reading, writing, hiking, hangin' with family, friends and my dogs, watching soccer (Go Breakers), baseball, football. Favorite foods are coffee, chocolate, and artichokes. Always thinking of new stuff to do and then not doing it.
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