The Career Doctor™

by Dr. Jacqueline Hornor Plumez

Looking for a first job? Thinking of changing careers? Facing a lay-off? The Career Doctor™ is a Larchmont psychologist specializing in career counseling. If you'd like to ask a question of your own, use the anonymous form below, and she might answer you here. Read more about the Career Doctor here. Contact information is here.

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Dear Career Doctor:

How do I deal with a boss who acts like a child most of the time? My boss started this company and admits to having no prior business training or experience. She rarely comes to work and when she does, she arrives two hours late, takes a two hour lunch and then leaves by 4 pm at the latest. I have been here for three months and since the time I arrived she has been away for three weeks for cosmetic surgery, taken a week for vacation and been out two other times for extended social engagements/conferences out of state.

She has me set up appointments that she doesn't keep. She also has me do all the work: the accounting, office management, the HR administration and now she wants me to learn computer programs so I can take over administering our website.

Her turnover rate is so high that only one "original" employee is still here -- and the company is only three years old. Needless to say, I am actively seeking other employment, but what can I do to keep my cool in the meantime?


Dear Jan:

Actually, your boss acts like a ghost, not a child. I have been wondering where this absentee management style started, and I can trace part of it back to the TV show Cheers. Remember, the bar on the show used to be owned and managed by the bartender who was always there. Then it was taken over and run by the Kirstie Allie character who was always in her office or absent. Since then, it seems like many people have gotten the strange idea that they can own and run a successful company with absentee management.

Enough digression. Time to answer your question: You could try telling her that it would really help company morale if she was in the office more. But why bother? Since she doesn't have business training -- or even good management instincts -- it doesn't sound like things would be any better if she was there.

So here's what I would tell her: that you would like her to pay for your computer training. And here's what you can tell yourself to keep cool: paradoxically, the worst part of your job can be the best, because you're being paid to learn how to run a company. When you learn enough, quit and start your own.

The Career Doctor

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The Career Doctor™ is Larchmont psychologist and career counselor, Dr. Jacqueline Hornor Plumez.

Her office is at 90 Beechtree Drive in Larchmont, 914-834-1982.