What do you mean ‘we,’ boss?

What do you mean ‘we,’ boss?

Reader 1: It drives me batty any time a supervisor says, “we should always …,” or “Have we performed such and such?” when i am the only doing the work. i locate it strange and tense — implying that the supervisor is somehow participating within the work itself. Do you think the individual the usage of this phrase believes that it’s all teamwork?

Karla: I Think the person using the phrase is hoping you think it’s all teamwork.

You’re annoyed as it feels disingenuous; your supervisor is (or must be) calling the photographs. But how revered may you’re feeling beneath second-person grilling and orders that improve hierarchy, similar to: “have you ever done such and such?” or “i want you to XYZ.”

My guess is that your supervisor is attempting to be collegial and collaborative, in place of authoritarian. Or the manager hasn’t mastered the art of the decisive directive. Either means, your perfect approach is to take the “we” statements at face worth, and gently press for clarity.

Boss: “we should always XYZ.”

(Marvin Joseph/The Washington Submit)

You: “That’s an even concept. Shall I take care of that?” Or, in the event you truly don’t recognise what the boss desires — otherwise you know but are a born sensible aleck: “That’s a fair thought. Who do you want to take care of that?”

Reader 2: I paintings at a small nonprofit. My boss will every so often invite my husband and me to donor appreciation occasions, saying, “Please come if you’re thinking that you may enjoy it.” Given the choice, i’d not attend, as they sometimes require a long drive, and that i don’t actually experience them. Moreover, I always finally end up being pressed into service to assist test other folks in, take footage, and so on. To me, it is transparent that i am working at these occasions, but when I try to take different hours off to keep beneath the 40-hour most, it’s met with raised eyebrows, although nothing is alleged aloud.

Karla: Here’s how I define these phrases:

“Visitor”: voluntary attendee.

“Enjoy”: derive ungrudging pleasure.

“Choice”: the choice to accept or decline without penalty (which I’m now not yes you’re being given).

“Work”: perform tasks in alternate for financial or other reimbursement.

Your boss seems to look those terms as overlapping rings in a Venn diagram targeted on you: a visitor who enjoys the paintings of internet hosting enough to make a choice to achieve this outside of business hours.

in fact, that is extra of a flowchart that begins with the query, “Do I’ve a call?” followed via “Will I be a nonworking visitor?” if you happen to suspect the solution to both is no, clarify the remaining phrases along with your boss in advance: “thanks for the invitation, but I Believe I’ll pass — unless you wish to have any individual to paintings registration and photos? if so, after all I’ll come lend a hand, if i will take time without work during the week.”

Ask Karla Miller approximately your work dramas and traumas via emailing wpmagazine@washpost.com. Learn more @Work Advicecolumns.

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PRO TIP: Hard Work Division Truth Sheet No. 22 lays out criteria for what’s and isn’t regarded as compensable paintings time below the Truthful Labor Requirements Act.

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