The Supervisor No One Wants—5 Warning Signs


September is the month when employees come back from vacation and work kicks into full gear. Not surprisingly, hiring picks up as businesses look to meet year-end goals with new talent. The Federal government is no exception; agencies will look to fill positions as budgets open at the beginning of the fiscal year (October 1st). With over 1.7 million jobs and over 400 occupational series (excluding postal and military workers), you are bound to find something of interest.

During job interviews, you should not be the only one being evaluated. Before signing the dotted line, make sure to feel out your potential supervisor by asking the right questions. Speaking with current employees under said supervisor will help. Ultimately, having a terrible boss in a great agency is not worth your sanity. Heaven forbid you end up working for a Michael Scott!

Michael Scott, played by Steve Carrell, is a fictional character on the popular series, The Office. Scott serves as Regional Manager at the Scranton, Pennsylvania office of Dunder Mifflin, a paper distribution company. The show chronicles his day-to-day office dealings. This week’s post provides 5 warning signs in assessing a potential supervisor, in the words of Scott.

1. Conflict Avoider

A good manager doesn’t fire people. He hires people and inspires people. And people will never go out of business.” Season 3 – Episode 16 “Business School”

2. Procrastinator

[singing and tapping on his coffee mug] “I don’t want to work, I just want to bang on this mug all day.” Season 2 – Episode 06 “The Fight”

 3. Blame Shifter

“I will be honest with you. I do want the credit without any of the blame.” Season 5 – Episode 17 “Golden Ticket”

4. Culturally Insensitive

[on the tape] “Hi. I’m Michael Scott. I’m in charge of Dunder Mifflin Paper Products here in Scranton, Pennsylvania but I’m also the founder of Diversity Tomorrow, because today is almost over. Abraham Lincoln once said that, “If you’re a racist, I will attack you with the North.” And those are the principles that I carry with me in the workplace.” Season 1 – Episode 02 “Diversity Day”

5. Gossiper

“How do you un-tell something? You can’t. You can’t put words back in your mouth. What you can do is spread false gossip so that people think that everything that’s been said is untrue.” Season 6 – Episode 01 “Gossip”

Despite the ridiculousness of these quotes, there are real-life supervisors making these management blunders daily. If you’re in the market for job in the Federal government, take advantage of the fall hiring season, but tread lightly!

Wander Cedeño is part of the GovLoop Featured Blogger program, where we feature blog posts by government voices from all across the country (and world!). To see more Featured Blogger posts, click here.

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