Off the list

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

Dear Molly,

Our district was recently assigned a new sales manager. He has told my colleague and me that we don't need offices and has made no effort to re-accommodate me in any way.

Is it standard policy for a company not to provide adequate working space for its employees? I asked our manager how I would make phone calls to prospect and conduct daily business. He told us to go out and just knock on doors.

I find this unprofessional, condescending and lacking sales management fundamentals. Can you offer any advice on how to move forward with this situation? --fran

In the first part of my answer to your question, published in the Oct. 16 issue of Alive, I said your circumstances could indicate you unknowingly reside on your boss' blacklist.

The blacklist has been a staple in the arsenal of the inept manager through the ages, and it remains active in today's corporate environment. But don't expect anyone to admit to having a blacklist.

The fact is, even if it's just compiled in their heads, many managers do indeed have some list of employees they don't respect, won't promote and maybe even would like to fire.

Employees on the blacklist are sure to experience wonderful benefits such as lack of managerial support, assurance they won't be promoted and assignment of the "choicest" projects. What a delight!

Instead of mentoring their ineffective employees, many overwrought (or under-informed, or just plain evil) managers will simply put people on that list with the intention of making it so bad for these employees that they'll just quit.

Savvy employees would do well to assume their boss has his or her own blacklist and do everything in their power to stay off it. We all know that to do well, we need to meet or exceed the expectations of our bosses, right? Doing this consistently will go a long way in keeping you off this list.

Additionally, try to avoid rocking the boat, offending your boss with inappropriate behavior, acting like a whiner or committing some other offense that your boss objects to.

Be careful about verbalizing any more concern about your recent office-booting. Play it cool, work within your unfortunate constraints and wow your superiors with your ability to adjust to change so effectively. Now would be the time to pull out all the stops and challenge yourself to dig deep and perform like you've never performed before.

Don't stop at meeting expectations -- exceed and excel. You'll feel great about yourself and could attract the attention of a manager from another area or other company. And who knows? Maybe you'll find yourself off the blacklist and back in your office.

Worst Boss in Columbus

Tired of working for an absolute tyrant? Get some revenge by spilling the beans -- enter Alive's Worst Boss in Columbus contest. You could win career coaching sessions from "Career Q&A" columnist Molly Luffy, which may just help you land a new job.

To share your workplace horror stories, click here. We'll keep your name confidential to protect the guilty (not that your boss deserves it).

Molly Luffy, MBA, is a local business coach who helps people shift from surviving to thriving at work. Send your work-related questions to