How Not to Suck Up to Your Boss

How Not to Suck Up to Your Boss February 20, 2015

portraits-of-giotto-uccello-donatello-manetti-and-bruno1A colleague of mine, an older, distinguished gentleman, has this habit of trying to predict and finish my sentences.

For instance, when I start a conversation, he’ll interject these vocal micro-blips while I’m speaking, as if he was just about to say the exact same thing.

Me: “We were on the verge of closing the Colosco deal, but the hurdle rate was..”

Rob: “too-“

Me: “um – a little higher than the buyer…”

Rob: “Fi-“

Me: “uh, than the buyer was thinking, so our numbers were off a little..”

Rob: “S-!“

Me: “No, yeah – we didn’t close the deal after all.”

Honestly, it’s hard to concentrate on what I’m saying. It feels like I keep getting short-circuited throughout the conversation.

I don’t know if this is a display of solidarity, like “Hey! I was thinking the exact same thing!” Or, perhaps it’s nothing more than a subconscious tic that sets off when he gets excited. Either way, he’s a wonderful, supportive friend and mentor, therefore I don’t mind so much.

Then there’s, Dot, a sullen and entitled woman who was in my employ as a bookeeper for a time, and she would do the same thing. But with her it was clearly an issue of sucking up.

She would interrupt me, attempting to complete my sentences, but then her voice would trail off when she could see I was heading in a different direction.

Me: “Dot, that spreadsheet Sue reported yesterday didn’t…”

Dot: “didn’t have th-“

Me: “uh, didn’t have all the correct customer ac-“

Dot: “Customer acceptance rates to…”

Me: “No, Customer account numbers. Go fix it, please.”

She had no idea what I was going to say, and based on her lack of experience, she couldn’t possibly have predicted where my sentences were landing.

Dot was no doubt trying to suck up and look smart at the same time, but it kind of had the opposite effect, and instead was simply annoying. The thing is, she constantly did this with me, but never with the rest of the office staff, whom she viewed as inferior. I  suppose she was entirely oblivious to her own behavior.

Anyway, people sure act strange. But you were probably just about to say the same thing.

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