Monday, January 14, 2008

Got a Minute?

3 Words that send a shiver down my spine. Everyone has a phrase that gets them going. Mine is the "Got a Minute?" question that bosses and co-workers tend to ask. What is it about that phrase, you ask?

When I was 19 I worked for a guy who would ask that question, then I'd go into his office and he'd say the next phrase that took me years to get over, "Shut the door and have a seat." Then he would absolutely berate me for whatever his inadequacies were.

As we enter into that time of the ever popular "Performance Appraisals", I thought I'd give everyone something to think about. You see, I tend to have a sarcastic nature with everyone (is it a bad thing when you tell boss' boss to take their ADD medication?) and say what I think. Don't get me wrong...I'm way company oriented, a serious team player, and have jumped through many flaming hoops backwards on my head for many a client and co-worker. And I FULLY understand how my sarcasm will ultimately limit my potential for that "VP" title. However, I am of the belief that no one is "better" than anyone else, and sometimes people just have an elevated opinion and need a healthy dose of reality.

That said...I want you to think about this, the next time your boss asks you if you've "got a minute". What's the worse that can happen if you say, "I will in about 30 minutes, does that work for you?" You're not saying no, exactly. If they're will give them a chance to cool down. Let's face it, if they're that ticked, they'll let you know how many ways it doesn't work. But mostly, it will show a mutual respect of each other's time.

That has really helped for me because I do have a lot of different people I work with, and because I tend to be a "yes" person (see Cara's comments on previous post) it has helped. Since I've been back at work, it's slowly been getting away from me, but I need to focus on the fact that my time is important too.

Now...If only I could do something about the following phrase from my hubby, "Honey!! I've been THINKIN'!" It usually means he's found something he wants to buy. :)


Linda said...

Oh, reading that just makes me soooo happy that I left the corporate world! Ugh! I do remember once when I worked for 7 (yes 7) Vice Presidents - each one's ego more inflated than then next. I used to struggle with who's projects took precidence over the other's - until I decided to let them decide. I think that's a little like you telling your boss that yes, you will have some time to visit with them, in just about 30 minutes. I don't think that's snotty at all - I think it proves how seriously you take your work, and that finishing what you are doing at the moment is more professional and efficient than darting every which way when someone calls. OK, that's my 14 cents worth!

Mrs. G. said...

I can tell you right now that we would be happy working together. Good advice. The phrase that freaks me the most is, "we need to talk." Yikes!

Dens said...

Doesn't it seem that when the boss asks for "a minute" they take 45? Then you fall even futher behind for the day...which, in turn, leads to the boss asking for "another minute" the next day to talk about why you fell behind the day before...never ending cycle. It's not much different in the government world either...except the fact that instead of hearing it from one boss, you hear it from 5...sometimes more.

Karen H. said...

Good Morning Grandy,
I have heard that saying so many times in my past. I'm glad I am a Stay at Home Mom now. I am a red-head, so you know they say we are bad tempered. LOL. If things don't go my way, well let's just say it ain't a perty picture. LOL. No, I'm not that bad, but I don't let people take advantage of me tho. Some people just don't have Respect for some people. Take care my friend and have a great day. May God Bless You and Yours.

Karen H.

Tina Coruth said...


That's a very good suggestion. As you said, it gives the boss a chance to cool off. It seems to me that suggesting 30 minutes also lets the boss know that you are busy doing your job. What more could a boss want?!?!?


Melissa said...

Oh... do I love THIS part of what you wrote:

"However, I am of the belief that no one is "better" than anyone else, and sometimes people just have an elevated opinion and need a healthy dose of reality."

LOVE THIS! As a matter of fact, I've saved that to my hard drive!

storyteller said...

Reading this ... I'm sooooo glad to be happily retired and single (as in foot-loose and fancy free)! Life IS good indeed. I am sending good vibes your way Grandy, along with the usual ...
Hugs and blessings,

Grandy said...

Linda~ I can so relate because although I don't work FOR 10 people, I work WITH these 10 people who all have their own expectations. 14 cents well earned. ;)

Mrs. G~ I keep tellin ya we should go into business together. :)

Dens~ Welcome my good friend from High School everyone!! Yes...your government job is not any better, I can only imagine.

Karen~ Watch out for you, temper woman! LOL!!

Tina~ I'm afraid the boss can always WANT more.

Melissa~ Now what are you going to do with it there? Unless you plan to use it?? I think you MUST use it. ;)

storyteller~ Thanks for your support...AS ALWAYS!!

Kelly O said...

Nice post, and very good advice!

Mike Golch said...

I really enjoyed this one.
I once read a book called U-505,written by Daniel Gallery(hoped I spelled this right,if not go to my blog or google u-505 this will lead you to the musem of science and industry in chicago)
I worked for a real jerk at one place he had to make himself feel great by treating an employee as something that the cat forgot to bury.
I have asthma and missed a lot of work days and was eventually fired for being sick,and this is just one incident of power abuse that this person has done! Well I believe that what goes around comes around.

Mike Golch said...

let me add something tht I left oof in my last comment,Daniel Gallery is a retired naval parson,who wrote in his book how he juggled multiple bosses.

Grandy said...

Kelly~ always have very insightful advice, so I'm glad I can try to measure up.

Mike~ You're right...charma sucks!!

faboo said...

"Um, maybe...are you going to dump more pointless busy work on me or will you give me a raise to make this hellhole worthwhile?" That was my worse response ever to that question. My boss? VP of something useless at a major magazine. She said, "I can fire you you know? Give me another response like that..."

I laughed, "Fire me. I'd rather be at the museum or beach today or any day anyway. Know that." I was trying to get fired. I stayed on for another 8 months.

But when I worked at my last corporate job, I did exactly what you suggested and wow...I had one boss who was ridiculously insecure. That actually made her more mad. My other bosses were always fine with it and usually I wasn't in trouble anyway.