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Sam

I am not really sure whether this is a very useful exercise. Some of the examples that you cite are only funny when they happen in the context of an authority figure making them.

For example, an older employee may exhibit the bathroom behavior because of slow loss of memory. Continuous talking or loud talking on phones is not exclusive to managers - many, many people do the same.

I guess the situation where a boss does these things purposely in order to exert their power is more meaningful, but that is tragedy, not humor. I remember a long time ago working under a boss who had no clue about the work we did and would make outrageous suggestions. We did laugh at him behind his back. But ultimately, laughing didn't compensate for the longer periods of pure frustration and I was truly happy only after I left the place.

And when I did that, the jokes about my previous boss ceased to be funny. I didn't even care to repeat them to someone. I realized that the jokes, by making my job less unpleasant, prevented me from looking outside for a better opportunity. That is the trap of boss jokes.

Ruby Curran

Hi Dr. Sutton:

I'm a small business coach and I seem to attract more than my share of bad bosses looking for something from me. I suspect they're hoping I'll be able to tell them all the difficulties they experience are someone else's fault, not theirs.

One boss I worked with allowed me to coach her employees, too, who told me she couldn't seem to work without someone sitting in her office.

I asked her about it and she said, "How else are they supposed to learn what to do here?" Trouble is, she never discussed what she was doing. She just asked people to come into her office and then sat down and started working. It never dawned on anyone that she was trying to train them!

She is unfortunately one of the most toxic bosses I've ever met. She has a constant flow of employees through her office and most leave because of health issues.

I have been unsuccessful in helping her to make any changes or to improve things in her office.

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