5 things your boss won’t tell you

Ever wonder what your boss knows but might not be telling you?

No matter how chatty your boss might be, chances are good that she’s not telling you everything — because most companies require managers to keep certain types of information confidential. Over at U.S. News & World Report today, I talk about five common things that your manager generally won’t tell you about — from impending layoffs to the fact that you could get a raise if you asked for one, and more. You can read it here.

{ 16 comments… read them below }

  1. Tiff

    #6: Sometimes she has no more power to make a change than you do.

    Especially if you work in a process-heavy beaurocratic environment. She can advocate and suggest, but unless your boss is a senior level executive or the business is structured in a way that offers managers a lot of freedom, she can’t just make the decision.

  2. ChristineH

    #3 – Computer use being monitored

    Ugh, I think many people forget this. Even I was guilty of this at a previous job when I complained about things to other coworkers via email. I used to think only Internet surfing was monitored. Now I know better.

    1. class factotum

      Yes – please do not write emails from your work address to your soon-to-be-ex fiance complaining about her drug use and mental problems. When I am hired to sort through your emails once you are no longer working so I can save the ones related to federal contracts and delete everything else, I am going to learn way more about you than I wanted to.

      1. some1

        & delete the emails between you and the COO about you too want to put on the next layoff list before your last day.

    2. Jamie

      Yes – and when someone leaves and IT is going through their emails, it can be awkward for those still working there when the back and forth about how the IT’s promotion to Director was bullshit and didn’t mean anything…was just done to placate her, because all they care about is making her happy. And how she’s thinks she’s so smart, but if she was as smart as she thinks she is she wouldn’t have to work “the hours of a psychopath – she could get everything done in a couple hours a week like we do, ha ha.”

      Not that I have personal experience with the above scenario. Ahem.

      Although I did learn something from that exchange – I had no idea prior to that that psychopaths were known for their work ethic. If only they’d use this energy for good.

  3. twentymilehike

    When I am hired to sort through your emails once you are no longer working so I can save the ones related to federal contracts and delete everything else, I am going to learn way more about you than I wanted to.

    I don’t know … I rather enjoyed going through my old coworkers personal photos from parties and emails to friends in her sent folder. There are really only two of us here that are very computer literate, and it’s really quite a fun little treasure hunt to see what people save on the server! Would anyone like to see my boss’s naked ex-girlfriend? LOL

  4. Blinx

    The thing is, we know that the bosses have info that they are not privy to tell us, but I wish they would just admit it. When asked point blank about impending layoffs, instead of saying “I don’t know anything”, just be up front about it and say “I’m not at liberty to say anything.”

    1. Ask a Manager Post author

      Most people will take “I’m not at liberty to say” as “there’s something to say here, but I can’t say it.” Which companies obviously don’t want.

  5. some1

    related to #2: Some employees are protected on-high for some office political thing that you don’t know about. It’s incredibly unfair, but it happens.

  6. KS

    At my last job, my boss shared that 2 coworkers were going to be fired after tax season. It was really unsettling to me when working closely with these 2.

    My level was a senior accountant and my boss was a partner. It wasn’t the type of thing a partner needed to share with someone at my level and I was very uncomfortable knowing what was going to happen to them.

  7. Vicki

    #6. He’s about to resign.

    Like everyone else, your boss won’t tell you he’s leaving until he’s given his two-week’s notice to his boss. And sometimes, he’ll wait a while after that to tell you, or let the higher-up boss spread the news. Sometimes, his boss will say that two weeks aren’t required. and he’s out the door. That leaves precious little time (if any) to scramble you into a new position. Sometimes, the result is that you don’t _have_ a new position.

    “Plan” accordingly.

  8. Editor

    That happened to me at one of my previous jobs. (The boss leaving without saying anything. Surprise!) That was still easier to deal with than finding out my mentor committed suicide.

    Another thing your boss often can’t tell you is how things are imploding politically and financially at higher levels in the business — so, like in the case Vicki mentions, you don’t know you should be shopping your resume around. You may not have heard the company didn’t get an RFP to renew a contract that is a significant part of the business, but which won’t expire for another 18 months, for instance, even though the fallout has already started.

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