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For many years, I have managed my superior. She has a talent for angering clients. I have a talent for pleasing them. Every year or two, she angers a client and they go away. She used to do that to my clients too, until I began insisting that she stay away from them.

Unfortunately, I had to give her a client to handle, because I was double-booked, and the client insisted on a specific date. My superior failed to deliver the goods, and didn’t say anything to me about it. A month later, the client screamed to their consultants, our business partners, that my superior had failed. Now the business partner is planning to dump the partnership with my agency, because of my superior’s intractable refusal to provide the goods or a reliable ETA for them. She has promised the goods five times, and missed the deadline each time without explanation. She has a very bad coping mechanism for stress, which is to stop responding to anyone’s inquiries, and to simply hide.

I didn’t know about the problem with this specific client until last week. I had my tentacles full with my own work, thousands of kilometers away.

If she were my subordinate, I would have fired her by now. But she is my superior, and I cannot fire her. All I can do is apologize to the client and the business partner for her irrational behavior, and try to deliver the goods myself.

I’ve concluded that she has suffered a mental breakdown. This has happened before, in much milder ways, but this is the most severe incident I have seen.

She’s my superior, and I am used to her foibles. But this is the beginning of the end, I think. I will have to begin planning a graceful exit, which may turn into a graceless exit depending on how bad things get. I wish I could help her, but I cannot. I have to look out for myself, because no one else will.

  1. 2012-09-21T07:55:06-04:00 07:55

    Is there no one she herself reports to? It pisses me off when people in charge get away with murder, and worse, are usually lauded for it.


    • 2012-09-21T08:06:09-04:00 08:06

      Effectively, no. She is the captain, I am the lieutenant. That’s why it’s frustrating when my captain makes mistakes.


  2. 2012-09-20T09:48:47-04:00 09:48

    Sometimes there is no way around. Better to face the problem right on. The question is really what works for you, and how can you make it work. If that means a graceful exit, then you are probably right to at least consider it seriously. Good luck!


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