A couple of years ago, I was talking to a friend of mine who is also a business writer. I was telling her about the letters I continued to receive from readers of my syndicated workplace column who seemed to be having many of the same troubles over and over at work.
“I just don’t think they’re getting it,” I told her. “Maybe I need to sort of get in their faces with it, really put all the rules in one place and say, ‘listen up!'” She was very encouraging of that idea, so I decided to start collecting any information I could that showed people were just not getting it. I placed one of those plastic milk crates under my desk and began putting anything in there that showed me people were making some real basic mistakes at work. There was the guy who had an affair with an assistant and lost his job because of it. There were the co-workers who got into an argument because they made racial and sexist remarks to one another. There was the employee who got fired after criticizing her employer in her blog.
fter several weeks, the milk crate was overflowing with letters, newspaper articles, Web reports, books, research papers, etc. That’s when I knew it was a book I had to write. At the same time, I knew that readers needed to understand WHY the boss cared about these rules. It wasn’t because he was an ogre (although that might apply to some). Really, it boiled down to one basic fact: the boss cared about what employees did because it affected the bottom line. He cared that employees talked on their personal cell phones too much because if they were gabbing on the phone to friends or family, then they weren’t doing their jobs. He cared that employees couldn’t write well, because it made him look bad to his boss and to customers. He cared that employees had love affairs on the job because if the relationship went bad, then he was possibly left with quarreling ex-lovers at work, which could affect morale and productivity.
I also thought that while we spend a lot of time and effort understanding our personal relationships, we don’t give a lot of consideration to the relationships we have at work. Even though we spend a lot of time at work, we often don’t put much effort into understanding the people who work there, including the boss.
You know that book about how the guy just isn’t that into you? Well, this book is why the BOSS just isn’t that into you. So, “45 Things You Do That Drive Your Boss Crazy…and How to Avoid Them,” was born. It was very easy to write. Every day I sat down at my computer and envisioned the car mechanic, the schoolteacher, the lawyer, the receptionist — anyone I thought could benefit from this information. I didn’t try and come up with complex ideas. I just put the information out there in a very straightforward way and thought, “Ok. Now you have the information you need. Go do what needs to be done.”
I always say there is no holy grail of workplace advice. Everyone has their own situation at work, their own skills and abilities and personal strengths and weaknesses that make them unique. What I hope is that this book makes them a little wiser, a little smarter — and a lot more successful. I’ve given them the information, and as I say in the book, that little voice they hear in their heads will be me — cheering them on all the way.(As told to this scribe by Anita Bruzzese – the author of 45 Things You Do That Drive Your Boss Crazy…and How to Avoid Them.)