Dear all,

I'm facing a typical situation at my workplace that has been bothering me very often and not allowing me to get any job satisfaction or fulfilment.

I joined my current organisation in April 2012 in office administration as a senior executive. This is a big Indian MNC and a company of good repute. But, now having worked here for a year I have taken note that the working atmosphere here is full of office politics, and is a poor story of ego clashes, poor management, lack of transparency, ambiguity in policies and procedures, and other similar ills.

My most important area of concern is the selfish behaviour of my immediate boss. He does all the work, important and the not-so-important jobs also, and makes me sit idle most of the times. He wants to keep complete control over all the facility, tasks, et al. There is no information sharing from his side but he wants daily updates from us, so information only flows in one direction, from us to the boss. He always motivates me to not care much about others, to offer negligible support to all others, and to offer delayed support where needed. This is his style of avoiding too much work pressure and delaying few things to such extent that instead of taking support from Admin the employee thinks it better to first seek self-help and solve the issue at hand. He is diplomatic, knows well how to manage situations, by hook or by crook. He also doesn't care much about junior subordinates (specially, the lower grade outsourced staff) and feels that they should be taken to task even on trifle mistakes, though his behaviour with me is fine.

He is a pro at office politics and wants me also to indulge in the same practices.

I was earlier managing complete small office independently and have around 8 years of experience in office administration, but here I have got demoted (in terms of job profile, though, salary is fine) and become an idle person who is totally dependent on boss and cannot take even a small action independently. I have to spend 10 hours in office many a times just sitting idle most of the time with no work to look forward to. I get scolding if I take any initiative and try to help or support any other person. My boss's ideology is to act smart, play politics, do manoeuvring, pretend well to be supportive but support the least to anybody, provide delayed support, if any, yet escape through diplomatic answers. He always motivates me to tell lie indirectly, be diplomatic, act as per situation, and never ever give fast, direct & prompt support to anyone, except a few selected top management people.

I'm now fed up with this work culture and want a change, though I still want to continue working with this company as it's a reputed company and also office is close to my residence.

I have spoken to my boss few times but his approach itself suggests that he cares only about his own professional growth and is not interested to see me take up any responsibilities. That's why he always keeps me in the dark reg most admin tasks and takes care of the same himself only.

I also thought of talking to my boss's boss, the Admin Head here, but there's a risk that this can boomerang as super boss can share my conversation with my boss and then the boss will see to it that I am taken to task. I even thought of talking to HR but am not sure how HR will take this up, because even single damage to my boss's ego can make him very offensive towards me.

I actually want to continue with this company and ideal situation can be if my branch location, project, or current boss is changed. How this can happen is yet to be imagined. With my current boss I doubt if things can change because he is not going to change himself for me.

Seek guidance of all HR and admin experts, or people who have faced similar situation so that I can prepare my strategy for further action and act accordingly.

I have made this write-up long so as to give clear understanding of my situation and hope to get reasonable solutions. Pl feel free to ask me if you need any further clarifications reg my situation.

Thanks in advance.

From Hong Kong
Hello Isarahmed,

A very clear & well laid-out description of the situation.

Firstly, where are you located--Hong Kong?

Next, You seem to be in a dilemma--you want to work in this company YET unable to take things lying down any longer.

Rather than focusing on the 'how' OR 'why' OR 'what' of your situation, let's focus on what you mentioned as the POSSIBLE solutions: '.....ideal situation can be if my branch location, project, or current boss is changed'.

To consider the Last one First [changing your current boss], that seems to be wishful thinking, based on what you mentioned. So forget about it.

Coming to 'changing branch location or project', what's YOUR perception about the possibility of either of these happening? IF you think it's possible, BUT needs to be probed further to check-out the probability, suggest focus in that direction.

WITHOUT getting too involved or exposed, make 'discrete' enquiries about both the options--'discrete' for obvious reasons. Your next steps [what to do AND how to go about it AND when] will depend on the result of this. IF you have already checked this angle out, pl give the details.

Coming to changing this job for another one, suggest think of it as the Worst-case-Scenario [Last resort].

All the Best.



From India, Hyderabad
I’m based at Delhi. Don’t know how this 'Hong Kong' thing came in.
From Hong Kong
Hi Isarahmed,

It seems to me that your boss nothing but a control freak!!

As he cannot give up any sort of control and cannot delegate.

Please consider:

Is he a Perfectionist? As he cannot even give up minor tasks, he may be thinking that work by others may not be up to his standard.

Does he feel he threatened by you (or others), hence his behaviors?

I believe that it is time to have a heart to heart chat with him, (I know you have had several chats); but try this tack:

Take him out for a coffee/drink, so that the ambiance is relaxed and not distracted by the office. Tell him that your first and foremost concern is that he could be facing "burnout", due to all his hard work, and that you are here to support and relieve him of his pressures. Make this conversation all about him and slightly massage his ego. Do NOT talk about office politics, his attitude, lack of support, pretensions etc. These will be dealt with later, though you may have to agree with him regarding all that you find abhorrent (for the time being). The idea behind this is for you to convince him that you are on HIS side and that he can trust you.

Once you have managed this then tackle the other issues one by one and step by step, there is no quick fix, it will take time. I suggest this only because it seems to me that you really wish to continue with the company.

You should only approach the super boss as a last resort, because he is probably quite close to him and there will be repercussions as the super boss will be obliged to talk to your boss and he may not put his point across effectively.

There is a danger if you go to HR. Whilst HR is there to resolve workplace issues, they are ultimately there to manage the human RESOURCE, and if they think that the boss is able to manage the workload and is coping with it, they will have to consider if keeping you is cost they can do without, you might just be giving them ammunition to resolve an issue. Instead put suggestions forward to HR to improve the office. Coming from HR will be more effective than coming from you.

Apart from that i agree with TS.

I wish you well, in this difficult situation, particularly as you yourself are a senior executive.



From United Kingdom, Barrow
Dear Sir, Can understand what you are going through. Would suggest two things first: 1. make a list. What are the things that are in your control? and What are the things not in your control in this problematic scenario. 2. Do you want to change this job given its positives (closeness to home etc.)?
what would be your top concerns? The way i see it: 1. waste of time due to no work given 2. office politics 3. his rude behaviour. Sir, you cannot change No2 and No3. :his behaviour and attitude. The only person you can change, is yourself. You could just try smiling when he suggests you behave wrongly and over time he will get the point. Time is getting wasted: not only because he is not giving you work (which you have no control over) but your time utilisation is also in your hands, isnt it?? Having said that, do you think you could relook this same situation as getting a \"learning leave\"? a paid holiday for one year?!!! Why not utilise this time to build yourself? rather than lament

From India, Coimbatore
In this company we have several branches in Delhi/NCR and senior management takes a call on where to place whom, based on work requirements. I mean to say that there IS a possibility to move to some other branch/project under some other manager. But, it's a management decision based on their understanding of the situation/needs. Don't know how it will be possible for me to peep into that and secondly whom to and how to approach anybody reg. this. I thank you both, TS & Harish for your wonderful suggestions. I have already started thinking on this line and am trying to fugure out how to dig out this information, please see if anybody can help me with tips on this aspect.

Reg. talking heart-to-heart with boss, yes, that's also a wonderful idea. Will do this also soon.

I welcome any more suggestions from other seniors. And, not to mention, my sincere thanks to TS & Harish on their valuable sugegstions provided with ample details with specifics on action points as well. I really appreciate and am grateful to you.

From Hong Kong
Hello Isarahmed,

Reg changing to another department/division/branch, since you say that there are many branches all over Delhi/NCR, suggest adopt the following strategy.

You are right that such shifts/transfers is a management decision.

Since you have been in this company for >1 yr, you must be aware, to an extent at least, about the bosses in the various branches. identify the one(s) whom YOU think will invite you IF the transfer does take place.

And IF such person(s) don't really get along with your boss, all the better [sometimes, 'your enemy's enemy is your friend' does work out well, even outside politics].

Now INSTEAD OF moving your interest to get the transfer/shift FROM YOUR END thru your boss/HR, suggest speak confidentially to the Boss of the branch where you feel you would be welcome--that you are keen to work under him/her. Many times, those in positions of power take it upon themselves to initiate action to get those in whom they are interested under their fold. Obviously, your boss will get to know of it, since he will need to be consulted & give his approval @ some stage in the whole process. You can then take a stand on it that you are OK with it.

Hope you get the point.

All the Best.



From India, Hyderabad
Hi Padma,
Thanks a lot for your sugegstions, but it's not purely learning that I'm having to do. In office situations it's not possible to be n complete learning mode. And, whatever learning I could possibly do online I have already been doing since last one year. Now I need to take up responsibilities to keep myself in business.

From Hong Kong
Hi TS, I appreciate your logical suggestions, and will try to be on the lookout for such opportunities. I did get your point :-)
From Hong Kong

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