Dear Miss Management
Advice And Dissent for High-Tech Managers
Q. Dear Miss Management: Our company has gone through two rounds of layoffs and the marketing group I'm with supports a product that is not yet profitable. I'm worried that I might get laid off next time. What should I do?
A. As long as you continue to work hard and occasionally sleep with your boss, you should be ok.
Q. Some of the suppliers I've worked with have hinted that I could get a better price if there was a "little something extra" in it for them. This makes me very uncomfortable. What should I do?
A. The law is very strict in this regard. Giving a bribe to a supplier is breaking the law. Therefore what you should do is ask the supplier how much his mortgage is and arrange for a direct payment to the lending company. For large contracts, you should ask the supplier if they've thought of buying a second home and then just buy it for them.
Q. I've recently taped conversations of our CEO talking to Japanese competitors about setting price and production levels for new products we're going to launch. Now I've learned there's a federal investigation into price fixing in our industry. What should I do?
A. Shame on you for taping a private conversation! You should resign; no one wants a busy body on the team!
Q. Our company has strict rules about what we can and cannot accept as gifts from vendors or customers. We're not allowed to accept any meals, tickets, travel or anything worth more than $20. One of my suppliers is saying he could make it "worth my while" to work with him. But I'm not comfortable violating our company policy. What should I do?
A. Accepting "gifts" from suppliers isn't a good way to do business. After all, what if they give you something you don't want? Cash is far preferable. So just ask them to give you the money in $20 bills. That way you can follow company policy and look out for yourself.
Q. A good friend of mine died about three years ago in an industrial accident at the plant we work at. Now I've learned that the management has kept him on the payroll and has been cashing the checks themselves. Is this fair?
A. No this is definitely not fair. Since he was a friend of yours, you should ask for at leat 20% of his pay check to go to you. Also, this would be a good time to see about getting a promotion for your diligence in noting this situation.
Q. My boss has said there's no raises available in the company this year, but I know he gave a bonus to his secretary because he's sleeping with her. What should I do?
A. I think the answer is pretty obvious. Your boss is showing that he's a flexible manager and now you need to show him a little flexibility yourself, so to speak.
Q. How often should I sleep with my assistant? She says once a week. I say twice a week, unless I'm travelling. Who is right?
A. There's no right and wrong about this, but since you're paying her salary, generally you should prevail.
Q. I'm a junior analyst at a major investment bank. My work often requires me to put in 12 to 14 hour days and I don't get home until late after dinner. In this case, is it ok to expense the cocaine I used to keep me going all night?
A. It would be improper to ask your cocaine distributor for a receipt. Instead, submit the expense as an unreceipted meal at the all-night Bolivian diner.
Q. I'm a pre-sales system engineer in a software company and one of the sales reps I work with has been submitting forged POs for deals that haven't closed yet. He says he's just trying to even out the pipeline. What should I do?
A. Make sure you cash your commission checks quickly. You never know how long this can go on.
Q. One of the executives in our company recently tried bribing an investment banking firm in order to get a proposed merger approved. Is this legal?
Actually, it wasn't a bribe, it was more of a threat. In Wall Street, these are regular every day occurances and not something you should worry about. It shows that your management team is thinking "out of the box."
Q. My boss has made passes at me while at conferences. I'm not very comfortable with this. But I went along with it so she would acquire my company. Now the merger's completed and I want to get out of the relationship. What should I do?
A. Michael, you're so fired!
Q. Our CFO recently brought a lot of company records to his summer house when his family was out of town and then the place burned down. He didn't seem at all upset about this and in fact, he recently bought a new Ferrari. Is this proper behavior?
A. Your boss sounds like a good guy. Our country needs more people like him. Have him give me a call, we might have some openings here.
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