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how do I talk with my incompetent boss about his ridiculously inaccurate organizational chart?

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This post, how do I talk with my incompetent boss about his ridiculously inaccurate organizational chart? , was originally published by Alison Green on Ask a Manager.

A reader writes:

My boss, the executive director of a small nonprofit, is grossly incompetent. I won’t go into detail, but please trust that I have it on good authority (friends, colleagues, peers, veteran HR professionals outside of the organization – two of them!) that I am right and he’s completely out of his depth.

In January, I asked for an organizational chart for our small org of four people – my boss, his assistant, me, and a colleague in a parallel position to mine. I wanted to understand the organization’s reporting structure, promotion lines, and how my work intersects with my colleagues.

The latter colleague I mentioned was fired and not replaced, so we’re down to three people, my boss included. Five months after I asked for an organizational chart, we were presented with one. It has 15 positions on it, and my boss is the only person whose job is on the chart. My position and his assistant’s aren’t on it! When we asked why, we were told that we would meet with him one-on-one the following week to discuss. Well, he’s postponed those meetings for three weeks. I know for certain that this isn’t some weird roundabout way to fire us because of everything I’m solely responsible for. It’s more likely that I’m about to be promoted and he’s terribly botching the roll-out.

The chart has more issues than I have time to identify, but in a nutshell, it’s unequitable and nonsensical. It demonstrates with no uncertainty that my boss isn’t qualified to do his job. We have been debating my position, title, and compensation ever since I was hired and immediately realized that I was expected to do the work of three people until he got around to hiring “help” for me. And while my current position isn’t on this org chart, there are indeed three positions on there that describe what I do. My boss has been saying “help is on the way” for the last 10 months since I was hired, but it’s taken him five of them to create an aspirational org chart that was not accompanied by any kind of plan for implementation, so I frankly don’t believe him.

While I am waiting for the meeting about my role, I am becoming more certain that nothing good is going to come from it, and anytime I try to talk to my boss about my position or the fact that I can’t sustain the work of three people, he berates me. I don’t want to continue having this conversation with him in secret. We have no HR, and he made it clear that transparency with my colleague is not an option when I talked about my position in front of her and he told me not to put ideas in her head. I don’t know any board members, and they get all their information from him anyway. Is there some way I can ask to have this meeting witnessed or mediated by an impartial third party? Where would I find someone like that?

Is there any use in trying to provide feedback about how terrible this organizational chart is? My boss is sexist and doesn’t believe that I am knowledgeable about this, but maybe he would believe an “expert?!”

Sometimes when you are in a highly dysfunctional situation, it’s easy for one specific thing to become the focal point for all your outrage, even if that one specific thing isn’t the most egregious thing you’re facing.

I think that’s happening here.

The org chart … doesn’t really matter.

Don’t get me wrong, your boss’s chart sounds ridiculous. But it doesn’t really matter, given the situation you’ve described.

It might feel like it’s very important because of what it represents — your boss’s apparent inability to understand organizational basics like what positions exist, whose role is what, and even how many people the organization employs. Those things matter very much.

But those deficiencies in your boss will exist no matter what the org chart says.

Is it ludicrous that your boss produced an org chart listing 15 positions in an organization of three people, and where two of those three people aren’t listed at all and where there is apparently no plan to fund and hire for those other 12 positions, and that it took him five months to create it? Yes! It is.

But it’s not anywhere near your biggest problem. Your biggest problem is that you are working for a tiny organization led by a grossly incompetent manager (tiny matters here because it means that his incompetence is going to deeply affect every aspect of how things operate). Your second biggest problem is that you are facing an unrealistically high workload for which you’ve seen you will get no help. There are undoubtedly other huge problems that stem from your boss’s gross incompetence as well.

So it doesn’t make sense to focus your energy on the org chart. Even if he produced a beautifully accurate and detailed org chart tomorrow, it wouldn’t change anything. All your big problems would remain.

The incompetence and overwork is what matters. You don’t need a meeting about your role or the chart, or a witness or mediator for that meeting. That would be like putting a lot of energy into finding a perfectly sized bandage for a small cut on your foot when your entire leg is on fire.

You will only solve this by leaving.

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denismm
163 days ago
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“That would be like putting a lot of energy into finding a perfectly sized bandage for a small cut on your foot when your entire leg is on fire.”
iaravps
155 days ago
Alison has a great way with words
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Uvalde officials are using a legal loophole to block the release of shooting records

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Law enforcement personnel stand outside Robb Elementary School following a shooting on May 24 in Uvalde, Texas. When the gunman arrived at the school, he hopped its fence and easily entered through an unlocked back door, police said.

After 19 children were killed at a Texas elementary, law enforcement officials have given little information. They're now using the "dead suspect loophole" to prevent the public release of records.

(Image credit: Dario Lopez-Mills/AP)

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denismm
172 days ago
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So the cops shot some kids, right?
ReadLots
172 days ago
Almost assuredly.
dreadhead
172 days ago
That or the big strong heros are crying in a corner while kids are being shot.
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Ep. 38 - S.O.S.

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denismm
210 days ago
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Crying laughing.
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The Unicode Blog: Out of this World: New Astronomy Symbols Approved for the Unicode Standard

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By Deborah Anderson, Chair of Unicode Script Ad Hoc Committee In January 2022, the Unicode Technical Committee approved five new symbols to be published in Unicode 15.0. With the projected release date of September 2022, these symbols are based on newly discovered trans-Neptunian objects (TNOs) in the Solar System. They resulted from research efforts such as those led by astronomer and professor Dr. Michael Brown at the California Institute of Technology (CalTech). These five objects orbit the Sun at a distance far larger than the major planets. They are currently believed to be large enough to be round, planetary worlds, in a category of objects called “dwarf planets” that also includes Ceres, Pluto, Eris and probably Sedna. The most famous trans-Neptunian object is Pluto, which historically had been considered to be the ninth planet from the Sun, but was reclassified as a dwarf planet in 2006 by the International Astronomical Union (IAU).[1]

[Pluto image]

How did this happen?

Individuals or organizations who want to propose new characters have to check existing characters to avoid duplicates, find out if there are equivalent forms already in existence, and most critically, determine the need for a digital interchange of them, such as symbols that have been encoded for use by NASA and other agencies. The proposal authors then must submit a proposal that articulates how their request meets the criteria. Once a proposal is submitted, the Unicode Technical Committee determines whether to review the proposal and accept or decline it. This process can take a couple of years or more. In the case of these five characters, the proposers demonstrated the need, clearing the path for approval. 

Tell me more about these new characters. What are their names?

The International Astronomical Union (IAU) has standard conventions for naming objects both within and outside of the solar system. Objects orbiting the Sun outside the orbit of Neptune are named after mythological figures, particularly those associated with creation. But the subset that orbit in a two-to-three resonance with Neptune — the so-called “plutinos”, such as Pluto and Orcus — are named after figures associated with the underworld. In this case, the five TNOs, ordered by distance from the sun, are named:
  • Orcus: the Etruscan and Roman god of the underworld.
  • Haumea: the Hawaiian goddess of fertility; the telescope used to discover this object is located on Hawaiʻi.
  • Quaoar: an important mythological figure of the Tongva, the indigenous people who originally occupied the land where CalTech is located.
  • Makemake: the creator god of the Rapanui of Easter Island.
  • Gonggong: a destructive Chinese water god.
What information is there on the actual symbols that will be available? All five symbols were designed by Denis Moskowitz, a software engineer in Massachusetts who had previously designed the Unicode symbol for Sedna. He drew inspiration from existing symbols and the “native name or culture” of the objects’ namesakes [2] to create the characters.

[TNO glyphs image]

Denis explains his inspiration for each symbol below:
  • Orcus: The symbol for Orcus is a combination of the Latin letters “O” and “R”, stylized to resemble a skull and an orca’s grin.
  • Haumea: The symbol created for Haumea was a combination and simplification of Hawaiian petroglyphs for “childbirth” and “woman”.
  • Quaoar: The symbol is the Latin letter “Q” with the tail fashioned into the shape of a canoe. The angular shape is intended to reflect Tongva rock art.
  • Makemake: The Makemake symbol is a traditional petroglyph of the face of the creator god Makemake, stylized to suggest an “M”. The design was a collaboration with John T. Whelan.
  • Gonggong: Gonggong’s symbol was based on the first Chinese character in the god’s name, 共 gòng, with a snaky tail replacing the lower section.
What else should we know?

The five symbols supplement a set of other characters for planetary objects that were published in 2018 (Unicode 11.0) and earlier. Two of the newly approved characters appear in a NASA poster. Other people have used the symbols in various media, including tattoos and art. Ultimately, these five new characters will join the 149,180 other characters in the Unicode Standard Version 15.0 and be accessible to anyone, anywhere in the world, who is using a computer or mobile device.

Where can I learn more?


Acknowledgments Special thanks to Sarah Rivera and Kirk Miller for their contributions to this blog.
Over 144,000 characters are available for adoption to help the Unicode Consortium’s work on digitally disadvantaged languages

[badge]

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denismm
214 days ago
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Glad to see someone else excited about this enough to share it.
acdha
212 days ago
Newsblur is definitely where I expect to find other people interested in Unicode arcana
denismm
212 days ago
Agreed, though in this particular case I’m the person who invented the symbols in question :)
acdha
212 days ago
Oh, yeah, I was vague about that - I noticed your username earlier but didn’t really say that. What I was trying to express was that it was profoundly unsurprising to see the kind of person who submits new symbols here
denismm
212 days ago
Haha, yes.
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Girl Genius for Wednesday, April 13, 2022

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The Girl Genius comic for Wednesday, April 13, 2022 has been posted.
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denismm
239 days ago
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Is this a trope yet? https://www.grrlpowercomic.com/archives/comic/grrl-power-880-variable-lethality/
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1 public comment
jlvanderzwan
239 days ago
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Does Lucrezia-clank know Agatha no longer is possessed?
radeldudel
236 days ago
How should she? Her Clank body was gone when they depossessed her...
jlvanderzwan
233 days ago
Right, that's what I figured. I guess that's why she's happy to see Agatha then

On Edward Snowden

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I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country.

Nathan Hale

Nearly ten years ago, I supported Edward Snowden – at least, at first. I wanted to believe he held deep convictions, and was unfairly targeted by the state for standing up for those beliefs. We’ve since been proved fools for it. For all the pontificating about freedom that Snowden has done on Twitter and in interviews, his silence since the beginning of the war with Ukraine speaks volumes. Are we really to believe a former NSA contractor somehow can’t figure out the Internet in Russia? Clearly not. Yet what the world needs right now are people to speak out, to spread information, and to use their influence to inform and persuade those they can reach. Rather than enlighten, Snowden has chosen the path of silent compliance with Russian law, and in doing so traded in the same free speech he has so hypocritically called America to task for over the years. One cannot act the part of hero for holding convictions and then run away from every form of accountability. Snowden’s silence is the second time he has run away from demonstrating any real convictions, making me wonder if he had any in the first place.

During his time in Russia, we have seen the whistleblower system work effectively here at home. The details of Trump’s Ukraine call, and the subsequent freezing of security aid seems rather relevant today. More impressively so, the whistleblower system worked against a sitting president having no capacity for restraint. The fruits of it were significant, and the process brought both public dissemination and a full press by congress to protect the whistleblower. Mr. X, whose identity is still somewhat contested, was a hero. He stood up to the bully, knowing better than most how lawless the tyrant was, and of the angry mob he commanded. What happened to X? Very little, even less compared to the charges Snowden brought on himself or the freedoms he gave up when he abandoned his country under the Obama administration- who was a teddy bear compared to Trump. Snowden stood on the illusion of moral ground, insisting the whistleblower process was corrupt, pleading for the support of his countrymen. In 2020, he expected the same pass from America in applying for Russian citizenship “for the sake of his kids”. Yet even in being proved wrong by a true hero like X, while the country lived under a tyrant, Snowden continues to hide from the consequences of his acts of hubris.

What kind of example is it to set for one’s children- acts of cowardice and abandonment of one’s country? Is this someone who deserves the support of America, or to be hailed a hero in The New York Times? Snowden is neither a hero nor a traitor, but rather a deserter who made immature decisions about government process. He could have had more impact had he chosen to remain in the US. He could have more impact today as well, but chooses silence as an alternative to standing up for what is morally right. I am much less inclined to support a pardon for him than I was in 2013. Rather, I would tell him to come home and face the consequences of his actions, and set an example for his children of what holding convictions really means. Ideals are meaningless without sacrifice.

Alas, Snowden will never come home of his own volition. He will never come home, because he already is home.

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denismm
260 days ago
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I’m not judging anyone who can’t easily leave Russia for not speaking up. I have no idea what pressures are on them or what dangers they face.
fxer
260 days ago
The article makes that point pretty clearly: this is the path Snowden chose, and continues to choose, for himself. He has agency, he’s not living in an abstract void where things only happen *to* him
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