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my supervisor's rambling
2

my supervisor's rambling

my supervisor's rambling

(OP)

My supervisor is a really smart guy and pretty decent guy. However, he has a habit of starting conversations which go on far too long. And these conversations have NOTHING to do with my work.

He talks about reality television, current events, his college classes, entertainment, taxes, and politics. Many of his discussions are about how someone has done something wrong. He criticizes the people who designed the building where we work probably a dozen times. He talks about growing up in New York, his school days, his hometown, and restaurants that he has visited in the past.

Last night, we listened to one of his monologues for about 90 minutes. I usually sit and smile, totally faking it. He told us, for example, that Carl's Jr. is moving their corporate headquarters from California to Tennessee. This lead to talk about the economics of corporate moves and taxes. Then it went into a talk about how California is driving out business.

The bottom line is that I get more work when this guy isn't around.

His speech continued even though we got pages that servers were down. He told us to respond to them. We did. After we investigated the alerts, he went right back to his rambling.

What can I do? I'm starting to keep a log of his behavior. I'm sending an email to my home email every day which is basically a report.

Incidentally, our company does have leadership surveys. However, he has only two people working for him. While they may be "anonymous" in theory, they are not anonymous in reality.

RE: my supervisor's rambling

You are hosed. If you report, he will know. You might as well STOP the logging right now as only bad will come of it. Some people just don't know how to shut up and it's one of those personality traits (borderline disorders) where they can't sense that you are bored with the conversation or that they have just talked too long.

Many people would like to chew their arm off rather than get cornered by one of these people. Because he is your boss, you have few options. Another job is a possibility if you really have to take some action.

I had a boss like this but he would give you time to reply and talk as well. He was just bored and was trying to burn time during the day. I on the other hand had too many things to do to waste that time. I gave him the cold shoulder a few times and I could tell that he knew it and didn't like it. Your move.

"Living tomorrow is everyone's sorrow.
Modern man's daydreams have turned into nightmares."

RE: my supervisor's rambling

(OP)
I've given him the cold shoulder too many times. It's actually leading to other problems. It's not something I really thought of until now.

I'm actually not in a very good place right now anyway. I'm keeping the logs of emails just in case I do get fired from this job.

I may not have a leg to stand on then, but it's not like I'm the only one he does this stuff with. He does this stuff with everyone who has worked under him. Does he do with other people? I suspect, but they have a way out.

RE: my supervisor's rambling

Does anybody keep some official ‘minutes’ from your meetings? If so, it would be nice to have first 17 pages of “reality television, current events, college classes, entertainment, taxes, politics, how someone has done something wrong., people who designed the building, growing up in New York, school days, hometown, and restaurants” and go thru these minutes from last meeting before moving to current meeting’s agenda.
That will drive your boss nuts. And it should.

Have fun.

---- Andy

A bus station is where a bus stops. A train station is where a train stops. On my desk, I have a work station.

RE: my supervisor's rambling

You're creating your own problem if you get in trouble with him due to giving him the cold shoulder. Any amount of logs you have won't save you if you're fired. If you're an "at will" employee they can fire you any day for anything other than race, religion, etc. You have to get along with him even if it means wasting a lot of time.

The only other choice is to look for another job. It's always better to be proactive and LEAVE a bad situation rather than get booted out because you react to the bad situation and misbehave. I'm not saying this is EASY to do, but I think you really only have two avenues. You can't fight the system or so they say.

"Living tomorrow is everyone's sorrow.
Modern man's daydreams have turned into nightmares."

RE: my supervisor's rambling

(OP)
Thanks. The only solution I have is to leave.

Most of these conversations aren't official meetings. They are often impromptu meetings. He comes over to our desks and just starts rambling. We don't know how long they will last when they start.

And nothing seems to save us from these ramblings. They usually end if he gets pulled into something.

RE: my supervisor's rambling

Can you be called away for some (work related) reason when he comes to your office?

There are some (Web) ‘services’ for people who go on a (blind) date. They can set the time for a fake phone call informing them about something they need to attend right away. If the date is lousy, they need to leave. If the date is fun, they just ignore the call.

You can set something like that for your situation: call that you need to go right now and be back in an hour or so (or when it is safe to get back).

Have fun.

---- Andy

A bus station is where a bus stops. A train station is where a train stops. On my desk, I have a work station.

RE: my supervisor's rambling

Clever but how many times would that work before suspicion sets in!!!

I thought of a third option after "put up with it" and "leave the company". If you have enough guts, you could just talk to him about it and be honest. Of course, pointing out someone's negative personality traits can be quite dangerous. You might have to do it intervention style with the other person in your group. Highly dangerous for sure. Some people react like mountain lions when cornered.

"Living tomorrow is everyone's sorrow.
Modern man's daydreams have turned into nightmares."

RE: my supervisor's rambling

2
I had a boss like that. One thing I used to do that worked well is when he would start talking and I was working on something time critical, I would let him go for a few minutes, then just tell him, "Hey, can we talk about this later? I've got to finish this by 3pm or it'll impact the so-and-so project." Or, "Hey, can we talk in a bit? Mr. Smith is waiting for me to finish this for him." Or, "Can we talk about this later? I really need to focus on this or I might screw it up."

It throws him a bone that you don't mind talking to him, but also tells him exactly why you need to work on it now. Pretty much everything I do has people or projects waiting for me to finish, so telling him why, truthfully, usually ends the conversation. In fact it had the added benefit of him rating me as a very focused and dedicated worker.

The added benefit was that since I was always so busy, he started finding other people to chat with. Occasionally I'd spend a little time and talk with him, but I "trained" him that sometimes I'm busy with something and can't talk.

Final note, he's no longer with the company, I am. bigsmile

RE: my supervisor's rambling

In support of SamBones comment, no one will ever fault you for saying you have actual work to do, it's all about how you say it.

"As much as it pains me, I really think I need to get some productive work done before my phone rings with a million other things to do"

Non-specific enough to end the conversation without making up excuses about what you need to do.

**********************************************
What's most important is that you realise ... There is no spoon.

RE: my supervisor's rambling

The only problem with that advice is that a lot of the big talkers will get a negative feeling from you by doing this even though you do it nicely. Then your upward mobility or raises might be sacrificed. You still have to "make the boss happy" even if it has nothing to do with your ACTUAL work.

"Living tomorrow is everyone's sorrow.
Modern man's daydreams have turned into nightmares."

RE: my supervisor's rambling

Fortunately the boss I was describing was "everybody's buddy". He didn't seem to look down at something like that. I did find that going to lunch with him a couple times a month kept the relationship healthy. There we'd chat about all these things he liked to talk about. We did have a lot of common interests, so it was enjoyable. Plus, he dropped by a little less since we had already chatted about things he liked to talk about.

The bonus there was that we'd occasionally have a two hour lunch and he had no problem with it because he was with me. I just knew that if I had to keep it down to an hour, I'd let him know as we were leaving that I had a meeting I had to make. Then keep it moving by going some place quick and keep an eye on the clock.

RE: my supervisor's rambling

The question is, do management positions attract odd/bad-behaving people or create them?

RE: my supervisor's rambling

(OP)
Incidently, I just realized something interesting about his rambling. He hardly ever talks about his parents. What does that say about him?

RE: my supervisor's rambling

Doesn't say much about him to me. I don't think I have any coworkers that talk about their parents unless you actually ask them. I never talk about my parents unless it's something germane to the conversation.

RE: my supervisor's rambling

Wondering if the "crazy keyboard pounder" poster is the same person that started this thread under a different name.

"Living tomorrow is everyone's sorrow.
Modern man's daydreams have turned into nightmares."

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