Ask Jack: Scary Bosses, Disturbing Co-Workers, Job of the Week

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Bear Raising Paw
Getty ImagesBosses are also like bears.


AOL Jobs reader Mary Cecilia Rogers asks:

What do you do when your boss scares the living poop out of you?

Boy, I am sure getting a lot of questions about poop, aren't I? Bosses can certainly be intimidating. They act all... bossy. They want you to know who's in charge (hint: not you). They have that pesky ability to deprive you of your livelihood. But... sometimes the trouble is on our side, too. A lot of us fear authority, or rebel against it, regardless of the situation. Here's the thing: Bosses are just people -- just like us. And, like bears, they're often "more afraid of you than you are of them." (Do they like me? Do they respect me? Do they think I'm cool? etc. etc.) So try to peek through to that humanity and just treat your boss with respect, treat them like a person, and with luck they'll return the favor. If all else fails, scare them off like you would with a bear: Yell and bang pots.

Yet another U.K.-based reader relays this concern:

I have to collect my printing from a shared office with about eight people working in it. There aren't really any partitions in this office, so everyone can see the door. When someone opens the door, everyone looks up. Should I offer a cheery "hello!" from the door to all and sundry or should I just nod politely and get my printing? I don't want to disturb anyone but I also feel that the office is too small to justify not acknowledging anyone in the way that you might if you walked into a big open plan office.

Ooh, it's just like that show Cheers when Norm would walk into the bar, and everyone would say, "Norm!" Tell them to start calling you Norm, and then you should have something witty to say every time you enter -- that would be fun for everybody! Well, it's hard to know what's going on in other people's heads, but you've possibly achieved a delicate balance between their annoyance with frequent interruptions and their appreciation for the brief distraction from the day's drudgery.

And everybody in that room has a different secret different wish of who will be on the other side of that opening door: Santa Claus, Kramer, Richard Gere in An Officer and a Gentleman, the Publishers Clearing House Prize Patrol, the Grim Reaper, and so on. I would recommend not addressing the room as a whole, but instead, try to make individual eye contact; a smile and a nod, quick wave, mouthing hello -- these tiny moments can actually brighten someone's day. And you won't be disturbing that one person in the corner who is almost certainly grumbling, "Why can't they have another printer outside this room, this is terrible feng shui, when are we finally getting that 'paperless society' anyway, I believe you have my stapler...."

Click here for last week's questions

Do you have a work-related question for Jack? Write it in the comments below (better answers to this week's questions are also welcome!) or tweet it @AOLJobs with the hashtag #AskJack.

Jack's Job of the Week

On AOL Jobs right now, there are countless openings in every field, in every part of the country. But only ONE of these listings includes the words "feng shui" -- and that is a sales position at the Rose Hills Memorial Park in Whittier, California. Snap it up, or search for other jobs you might be interested in. We'd do it for you, but we forgot your ZIP code.

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