Last Updated on December 12, 2023
Are all bosses terrible? If you spend a little time on LinkedIn these days, a crop of ‘anti-manager’ posts might convince you they are.
I recently unfollowed someone on LinkedIn that I originally followed because of what he had to say about the workplace. He posted what sounded, on the surface, like reasonable motivational statements. But over a period of a couple of weeks, I saw a pattern: He was highly “anti-manager” and “anti-workplace.” He clearly valued working from home and working for yourself.
All bosses, he seemed to indicate, were lousy. They don’t care about their employees at all. The employees, according to his point of view, do no wrong, but it’s their bosses who do no right.
I remember an episode of All in the Family in which Archie Bunker argues with his wife, Edith, over how she cooked steaks. Archie pushes his plate away, saying the meat isn’t done enough. He likes it “well done. Well well.”
Edith says Peg Bracken says that cooking meat well done destroys the flavor. If you don’t know the name, Archie’s response doesn’t carry the laughs it should. Bracken was an author who wrote, among other titles, the I Hate to Cook Cookbook.
“Peg Bracken?!? Ain’t that the dame who don’t even like to cook?” Archie answers.
He makes a good point: Why are you taking advice on cooking from someone who hates doing it to begin with?
There are bad bosses. I wouldn’t pretend otherwise. But there are also bad employees who end up either leaving their companies or being shown the door despite their bosses’ best efforts to prevent that.
Some anti-manager posts on LinkedIn feel like Archie Bunker’s Peg Bracken joke
I’ve seen gems like, “No manager will take care of an employee as well as the employee” and “people don’t leave bad jobs, they leave bad managers.”
As John, a colleague of mine, recently said when he tackled this subject, everyone who’s in a leadership role may occasionally post something they’ve learned in their time, hoping for, perhaps, a little acknowledgment. He insists he’s not talking about that type of person:
I’m instead talking about the people with massive followings here who get massive engagement by posting obvious things like “Somewhere there’s a happy worker whose previous boss didn’t appreciate him.”
Come on, man.
Come on, man, indeed.
Why is it so easy to take advice on surviving in the workplace from these “gurus” who aren’t even part of it anymore?
One of the worst words in our language, I think, is entrepreneur. There are some clever, creative, successful entrepreneurs out there. Then there are the majority of them: people who take a job on the side to make a little extra money and suddenly decide, by having a side hustle at Wendy’s or by selling subscriptions online around their day job, they’ve suddenly “diversified” their income enough to qualify for the title.
When you look closely at a resumé, you realize they might not be successful enough to warrant such a 50¢ word as a title.
It’s not that they always post bad advice
It’s true, certainly, that your boss won’t look out for your best interests as well as you will yourself. Your boss’s boss won’t look out for your boss’s best interests as well as your boss will. Follow that thought right up the executive flow chart. No one, with the possible exception of a parent or spouse, perhaps a physician — or in a rare case, your sibling or your child — will look out for your best interest as thoroughly as you will.
There are people who leave a job because of the boss, not the job itself. That happens every day. I don’t need to read a stack of exit interviews in any field to be able to say that with certainty.
Does saying something so obvious really deserve a like? Much less a follow? I don’t think so.
When I see these “workplace=bad, work for yourself=good” posts, I’ve started dismissing them rather than applauding them.
That is to say, I’ve taken a different piece of advice to heart in such cases: Consider the source.
The people who write those posts often — when you stop and look at the pattern in their posts — sound like really, really disgruntled people. They must be fun at parties.
I bet their bosses are glad they decided to leave the workplace for their presumed “entrepreneurship.” If they’re that bitter about their working lives, they couldn’t have been that much fun to have as an employee to begin with.