Bosses don't tell the truth.

If they did, they wouldn't have become bosses.

After all, getting promoted involves something quaintly called "managing up." This might be roughly translated as "making your boss believe all the good stuff was your doing (and his, of course) and the bad stuff was the fault of someone else."

So why would you expect a boss to always have your best interests at heart? Or, indeed, any of your interests any of the time?

Just in case you're not quite au fait with corporate culture, these are the four biggest, Pinocchio-nosed fibs that your boss is casting toward your ears. When you hear them, duck.

1. You Have a Great Future at This Company. Dear Lord, how many bosses even know if they still have a great future at the company? They're one faux pas, one merger, one superboss's whim from being whisked out by the very same security guard they buy a donut for every day. Your boss is telling you that you have a great future because she'd like you to stay and make her life easier. And ask yourself this: When your boss spins you that line, how many other people have heard the same line, say, this week?

2. This Company Is Like a Family. Of course it is. It's like a family in so far as it's dysfunctional, controlling, mentally unhealthy, and saps your energy like sauna hockey. Why do so many employees believe that a company is a family? Not even a family company is a family. Ask the Corleones. This constant appeal to family is made to fool you into believing that they'll always love you. They won't. They'll just always use you. So, yes, it's more like a marriage after three years.

3. I Went Into Battle for You. This glorious gem is used to preface your not getting what you wanted. It's similar to: "Do you want the good news or the bad news?" The difference with this phrase is that there is no good news. The "into battle" phrase is deeply insulting because the only good news that's being imparted is that your boss wants you to believe she fought for you. More likely, she went into the CFO and said: "Snoggins is pestering me for a raise again. What do I tell him?" To which the CFO replied: "That you fought hard."

4. Of Course You Can Tell Me. This is a half-truth, if you're feeling a hairy-legged, yay-for-the-soda-tax, Berkeley level of charity. It is literally true: Of course you can tell your boss whatever is on your mind. But the implication that it's safe with him is about as credible as the implication that your astrological sign dictates the length of trousers you prefer. Everything you tell your boss carries a risk. Bosses trade on information. The more they believe they have, the more power they think resides in their sacred bosom. Of course you can tell your boss. And he'll be very grateful if you do. You, on the other hand, might not be.

So tell me, what are the biggest lies your boss has told you? Of course you can tell me.

Published on: Jun 2, 2015
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