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Micromanagers Who Don’t Manage

, , , , | Working | December 24, 2021

We have a manager who is a bit of a nut. She used to manage me and would have me micromanage all her other employees because A) she had the attention span of a fish and the memory to match and B) she doesn’t like to be seen as the bad guy. Eventually, I change managers, though, and end up much happier. When under her, though, I used to manage her interns for her — a task she seems to remember well.

Fast forward to February, where she informs me in no uncertain terms that I am not managing her interns this summer. “Wonderful!” I think. “I can do my own work on time!”

By the end of March, she doesn’t have a plan in place and her boss gets frustrated, so he has me do it for her. Fast forward to May: she is not prepared, despite already having this plan with a budget, so I end up having to save the day after she goes on vacation the day her interns start — in part, in some strange attempt to show we cannot function without her. 

Her interns end up coming to me for help as she is clueless, useless, and frankly a hazard, providing misinformation and oversharing sensitive client info while telling them that they shouldn’t know. I help because I don’t want their internship to be too awful. Each time, she gets annoyed and reminds me that I am not in charge of them, but then she expects me to know exactly what they are doing, where they are, and when they will be in. She is not pleased when I hold firm and tell her to ask her own interns as I don’t know. I don’t even make the assignments.

It has led to some very repetitive conversations and some very silly questions, though. 

FAQ #1: “When is [Intern] going to be in?”

Answer #1: “I don’t know. Did you not talk to them about their schedule?”

FAQ #2: “What is [Intern] working on today?”

Answer #2: “I don’t know. What did you assign them yesterday, and did they complete it?”

FAQ #3: “What do we hope to accomplish by assigning [Intern] this task?” 

Answer #3: “Well, you are going to have to ask the person who assigned them that task as I have no control over assignments.”

It’s her. She is the taskmaster.

FAQ #4: “When do you think [Intern] will be completed with [task just learned about]?” *Or, alternatively* “What do you think the timeline is for completing [task I just learned about]?”

Answer #4: “I am unsure, as I have just heard about this task right now. Can you share more details?”

Spoiler: She tells me she will get back to me and never does.

FAQ #5: “Do you think we will be done by [arbitrary deadline]?”

Answer #5: “With what? I am going to need more context on what you are hoping to accomplish by then. Do you have a list of tasks?”

The answer is “everything”.

Of course, she gets mad with how “unhelpful” I am.