Dutifully Praising Your Sense Of Duty

, , , , | Working | October 23, 2017

(I’ve recently taken a job as a secretary after the person who previously held the position was let go for less than stellar performance. My new boss seems like a demanding person, but I quickly come to realize that his expectations are low. It leads to several conversations like this one:)

Boss: “[My Name], I wanted to let you know I was very impressed with how you handled things while I was traveling.”

Me: *confused because it was very quiet while he was gone* “Uh, thank you?”

Boss: “That email you sent out, you know, when you rearranged a phone call. That was excellent!”

(A task like that would be very basic for someone new to the job. Having several years of experience, I’m completely baffled that someone would bring it up at all.)

Me: “I… You know that’s routine, right? Thank you, but it was just an email.”

Boss: “No, seriously, the way you handled that was very professional. And… Now you’re looking at me like I’m crazy because I’m praising you for something you think should go without saying.”

Me: “Sorry! I love positive feedback; who doesn’t? I’m just confused.”

Boss: “Just let me enjoy this for a bit.”

(Later, he walks by my office as I’m about to finish my last task for the day.)

Boss: “[My Name], what are you still doing here? Shouldn’t you be going home?”

Me: “My shift ended two minutes ago. It’s fine; I’m just sending out that request for information before I leave.”

Boss: “But you could leave that until tomorrow morning.”

Me: “Sure, but you said we need the reply by tomorrow afternoon. If I send it out tomorrow, how much do you want to bet that there will be someone who complains because half a day isn’t enough time to send us a yes or no reply?”

(I’m looking at my screen as I say this, but my boss goes so quiet that I look up and see him staring at me.)

Me: “Everything all right?”

Boss: “I’m not going to say anything, because then you’ll get that expression again as if you’re wondering if I’ve lost my mind. Just… That’s why I hired you. Please stay.”

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