Types of Job That Will Destroy You: The Rat in a Cage

Any of you could wind up in one of these jobs, at any moment, without realizing it. The shitty jobs I’m about to describe aren’t specific positions or industries — they’re situations. Some of you — hell, maybe even most of you — are already in one of them.

The thing is, when people try to think up the worst job possible, most of them go right to shit. As in, “It could be worse, you could be shoveling shit somewhere!” or “At least we’re not working in a sewer! In shit!” But that type of job isn’t as bad as you think — you actually get used to the smell of poop, the same as you acclimate to a job where you work in brutal heat or bitter cold.

But these jobs below? They’re the ones you never get used to, where the longer you do it, the more it eats away at you. So let’s take a moment to say a prayer for ..

#3. The Rat in a Cage

Also Known As:

The manager or supervisor who has no authority to actually manage the employees under him or her, yet is responsible for their performance.

There is this huge, obvious, yet shockingly common flaw in modern businesses. You’ll have the employees who actually make the stuff or perform the service. Then right above them is a supervisor (you), who is ultimately responsible for the performance of those employees (or at least, you’ll catch hell when they slack off). But you do not have the power to fire them. Or reprimand them or reward them or punish them or give them the smack with the back of your hand that would send them tumbling to the floor that you dream of giving them each and every night.

For Example …

Maybe you’re at a family business, but you, the supervisor, are not a member of the family. But the kid working under you, the one who is scanning his balls into the copier, is a member of the family and is thus untouchable. Or, maybe you don’t have firing authority because of some complicated union situation.

Or, maybe the workers are working in your department but not for your department. Say you’re a supervisor in Sales, and the guy the IT department sent over to work on your computers is a dipshit. So he’s cursing while you’re on the phone with clients, he’s drawing boners on your family photos, he’s dicking off and meanwhile, you can’t use your computer to do your job. And you can’t say anything because while you’re a supervisor, you’re not his supervisor.

Sure, you can complain to his supervisor, but you can’t make him take action — that guy is at the exact same level as you. Maybe he’s friends with the dipshit, or maybe all the IT guys look out for their own, and all the next day you’ll hear them chuckling about it when you pass their office.

In other cases, it’s just a matter of the person who could actually fire or suspend incompetent workers not working in the same building, or even in the same city, as the dipshits. You send your complaints up the ladder and they disappear into the clouds somewhere. Then, one day you realize the shitty worker you’re complaining about has worked there longer than you and that 20 years from now, they’ll still be there.

In the end, all you can do is verbally compliment the performers and beg the incompetents to do better. That, and continue to twist your stomach in knots every time they screw up, watching them ruin your career, utterly powerless to stop it.


Your life … totally under his control.

But in case it sounds like I was being too hard on the IT guy back there, let’s hear it for … See my next post! :)

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