troublemakers

7 Wicked Ways Of Making Mischief To Undermine Your Arsehole Boss.

Wouldn’t it be great to flip your arsehole boss the bird and say Up yours?

You’d get into a million types of trouble if you did, but I’m so fed up with the damage that workplace bullying causes that I want to start a revolution.

If you’ll spare me a minute, I’d like to show you how to give your bully boss the comeuppance he so royally deserves:

 

1. Turn your radar up to full volume.

How come your bully boss is in such a position of power when he’s so incompetent? Like all good narcissists and sociopaths, he knows exactly what to do to get into the good graces of his bosses, so they love him and trust him enough to give him power over you.

The first trick in his arse-nal is to go on a reconnaissance mission. What he does is observe the finely-nuanced minutiae of his boss’s character and life, which he then mirrors back to him so that his boss comes to believe he really gets him and they are so alike.

When he goes into his boss’s office, he pays exquisite attention to every detail he sees. Photographs of his boss playing golf means that he has to now have a keen interest in golf. He finds out where he plays and with whom, as well as what his handicap is.

He’ll wear a golf tie in the right colors to show he’s really into golf too. He’ll get himself invited to a game only to let his boss win, but just enough to flatter him about his great golfing game.

He learns who his boss’s family members are, he remembers their names and anyone else who’s important to him. He takes note of the books on his shelves, and makes sure to read them too. He memorizes his tastes in cars, clothes, colors, food; in fact, anything that allows him to morph into a boss-chameleon.

He becomes the go-to confidante. He’s super-likable, knowledgeable and trustworthy, and he has the confidence to get great new leads for the business. In short, he becomes indispensable.

Most normal people like you won’t be bothered to spend all that time cooking up such an elaborate strategy. Most likely, when you go into the big boss’s office, you don’t notice that stuff — especially when your primary aim is to ask for a raise given your sterling performance this last quarter.

But now, the stakes are raised. It’s your turn to become a super-sleuth and find out everything you can about your arsehole boss — and I mean, everything. First of all, Google him. Go through his LinkedIn profile, his Facebook page, and any other social media account he has, with a fine-tooth comb.

Follow up on the leads you find, by starting up interesting conversations with friends of friends.

Pay close attention to any thread or comment that catches your eye, and get curious about it — and I mean, Nosey-Parker, super-sneak-a-zoid curious.

Find out all his email addresses, medical information, family information, work history, and past relationships. Discover where he lives, even if you have to check the electoral roll. Talk to anyone who knows him, especially anyone he’s worked for or with in the past, especially ex-employees.

Ask open-ended questions, and listen to the answers.

Absorb it all like a sponge. Nothing is off-limits to your curiosity. The more salacious the information, the better. Expect this shift in mindset to take some time, because most probably it goes against the grain of your usual personality. Keep digging, and persist in your quest for information. It will be worth it, because information is power.

Oh yes it is, trust me on this one.

 

2. Keep a secret file on him.

Keep notes of everything you discover — all the conversations you have, all the files you find, and all the screenshots of the dirty stuff you need. All your work emails, journals of his arsehole behavior, and financial records.

Keep your secret file in a cloud computer system that only you know the password to. Never have anything saved on your work computer that even hints he is under investigation by Madam (insert-your-name-here) Super Sleuth.

Don’t even have anything incriminating on your personal computers at home. Keep it all in the cloud — like a Dropbox folder under an assumed name, with a password only you know.

In addition to all your research files, start a journal and keep in a secret Dropbox folder that only you have access to.

When it comes time to use those entries you’ve made, you can create a report with just one click. This is a super-handy feature that you’ll need, especially when your ambush-firing is just around the corner and you need to get lawyered-up fast.

 

3. Don’t explain, don’t complain.

Never, ever, and I mean never reveal your hand. Your job is to listen, and listen only. So often, our arsehole bosses infuriate and upset us so much that we want to proclaim it to the world.

The temptation to march into HR and vent all your fury in a formal complaint will backfire on you, guaranteed. Your aim here is to trip him up, using his own maliciousness against him. If you lose your cool and get upset, he is winning. Don’t let him.

If you are asked to provide information, turn the question around and give it back to the enquirer. If she says: “How are you finding Robert’s management style?” say something nondescript and ask an open-ended question right back, like: “I can see he’s very experienced; what does executive management make of his style?”

Record the answers in your secret file.

Reserve all your emotional dumping for your therapist, where your confidentiality is a legal right. Run out your rage, or kick the crap out of your personal trainer in boxing class if you have to. Don’t burden your co-workers, your friends or family members.

Now you’re going underground, like Nancy Wake, the White Mouse of the French Resistance, who famously eluded capture by the Gestapo.

 

4. Me first, fuck the rest.

{Photo credit: M.C. Higgins}

{Photo credit: M.C. Higgins}

In this game, you are Number One, don’t forget that. You have to learn to become your own best ally and supporter. If that doesn’t come naturally to you, take a class in it! So many of us cave when opposing an arsehole boss. We become our own worst enemy and collude with him against ourselves.

“Ooh,” (mimics best downbeat Eeyore voice) “I really must be useless after all. I made that mistake, it’s true, perhaps he’s right, I am stupid.”

Stop!

Now, more than ever, it’s time to put yourself first. Your daily homework for the next three months is: Take a huge piece of paper and the thickest red marker pen you can find. In massive letters, write “Me First, Fuck The Rest” and pin it to your fridge where you’ll see it several times a day. Read it out loud every time you see it.

You will get a good outcome from this bad situation, even if I die trying to get you to see sense.

 

5. Make a nuisance of yourself.

Don’t underestimate your nuisance value. It’s much better to be a nuisance than nice, even if this stupid macho culture demands you be a Barbie doll at all times.

If you follow the above steps, you’ll be one step ahead of the game, and the next logical step will be to use what you know to annoy, obstruct, and generally put a kibosh into your arsehole boss’s plans.

Think… to whom could you place a complaint or inquiry that will delay and impede his plans?

Does he have a broken headlight, or is the tread on his tires so thin that it needs to be reported to the police?

Does the equal opportunity tribunal need to get information about how he keeps groping the poor 20-year-old receptionist in the office?

Does the Department of Consumer Affairs need to know about the shonky, unsafe products he’s trying to push on an unsuspecting public?

Who else is there? The Fair Work Commission? The small claims tribunal? The council? Time to get creative with your list and (anonymously or otherwise) call him out on all the dodgy stuff he does that authorities are dying to know about.

Arsehole bosses think they are very clever, but they are predictable. One thing they do all the time is try to get rid of employees who piss them off in low-down, dirty ways.

One of their favorite strategies is to ambush-fire you, which involves calling you up to an important meeting with less than 24 (48 if you’re lucky) hours’ notice. You’ll have no time to prepare or bring a support person with you.

At this meeting will be a panel of three or more senior managers waiting to tell you what you’ve done wrong, and how they think you’re not suitable to do your job.

You’ll be on your own, caught off-guard and suitably intimidated. You’ll be struck dumb by their sheer audacity and unfairness, and perhaps even cry. Before you know it, you’ll be marched out of the door with minimal severance pay and a bullshit reference if you resign, so as to make it look like you haven’t been fired.

This happened to someone I knew called Estella. I had coached her in taking pride in being a nuisance. I read the subtle signals before she did, and told her that I thought they were waiting to get rid of her.

Before they could pounce, I suggested that she take stress leave, during which time she put in a request for an order to stop the bullying with the Fair Work Commission under new legislation passed in 2014.

Taking this action effectively froze their plans to fire her, because they knew it wouldn’t look good to do so while an investigation was taking place.

Being hauled up to the tribunal also wasted a lot of her arsehole boss’s time, and it was fun to see him sheepishly respectful and mute in front of the magistrate, denying his heart out of the allegations brought against him.

Eventually they got rid of Estella, but only by offering her a handsome redundancy package. It ended up costing them $75,000 more than if they had managed to just fire her ASAP. See? Nuisance value. Perfect.

 

6. Play the game. It’s bullshit, but play it anyway.

In any organization, there’s so much toxic politicking that you simply cannot be yourself. You have to squeeze your fine, lively and spirited self into a straitjacket of professionalism that sucks the life force out of you, and this shows in your eyes.

You are a human resource, a commodity to be stripped of personality and used in whatever way suits the agenda of the corporate machine. You are choiceless, powerless and dehumanized.

Don’t play this game long-term; as a life plan, it sucks, and I so want better than that for you. However, now you’re armed with some terrific incriminating evidence and super-sleuth resources, it behooves you to play the game for just as long as you need to make them believe there’s nothing untoward going on here.

You are an *ahem* upstanding corporate citizen, going about your daily business, making lots of money for the firm, and behaving like the good little girl that you are. Nothing to raise any suspicions at all.

This is the perfect ground to start putting your plan in motion. Get everything you need from them first before your first strike. Use their own weakness and ignorance against them.

When the bomb drops, it will take them completely by surprise, because they would never have expected that from meek and mild Joan from the Accounts department.

Little did they know they were dealing with the rageful bitch, badass Boadicea, who’s about to smite her enemies with napalm and raze them to the ground.

 

7. Calmly bide your time, then act swiftly and decisively like a fearless Ninja warrior.

If you’re stuck in a toxic workplace, it’s going to bring up some pretty intense emotions in you. There might be fear, anger, anxiety or shame. If you react to those emotional states by acting out in some way, then you are contributing to your own powerlessness, and unwittingly supporting your boss’s arsehole behavior.

Effective action can only be taken in a clear, steely-cold and equanimous state of mind.

For those of you who don’t know what equanimous means, it’s a kick-arse Buddhist term meaning ‘to hold a state of psychological stability and composure, undisturbed by intense emotion, pain, or anything else that would cause you to lose the balance of your mind’.

It may take you a while to achieve that preternatural emotional calm, and you must be patient. Bide your time until you’re in that frame of mind before taking any action. In addition to learning how to harness the power of your extreme emotions, you’ll need to develop laser focus, like an archer who hits the bullseye every time she takes aim.

Focus and emotional calm allow you to take action decisively and swiftly in much the same way that Neo conquered agent Smith at the end of the film, The Matrix. Only from this place put in an HR complaint  –  as part of a broader, well-considered strategy.

Despite the fact that the action was lightning-paced, Neo slowed everything down to slow motion in that fight sequence, and that allowed him to make the moves he needed with surgical accuracy. In slowing down time, he also pierced the veil of illusion, and was able to see beyond the Matrix into the true reality of Being.

The skills you learn in fighting your worthy opponent in these ways will last you a lifetime, which means that although you will be challenged more than you’ve ever been, the long-term gains you will have achieved in your strength of character and crazy-Ninja skills will have been worth it.

No arsehole boss will ever be foolish enough to underestimate you again. Congratulations! You have now implemented an iron-clad no-arsehole clause in your life, and no one will ever fuck with you again.

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MCHigginsM.C. Higgins loves having things happen effortlessly and magically, making mischief, and stirring up trouble (even though it simultaneously frightens and excites her), unearthing secrets (especially those that most need to be hidden), developing her psychic powers, life outside the physical body, reading energy, intelligence and wit, money, power, sneaky intrigue, tripping malfeasant people up using their own stupidity, chocolate, Dogue De Bordeaux dogs, and rebelling against consensus reality. You can find out more about her on her blog.

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