By boss I meant whomever you report directly to, or work with, or manages you. Not the big boss. So the boss could be the Project Manager, the Senior Designer, the Head Developer, the GM…
Now the person you have to say no is the second type of boss who “sort of knows what she’s talking, but don’t fucking know what she’s doing and will keep her mouth shut to divert the fault away from her”.
Because the problem lies in the fact that this second type of boss is a fucking sheep in a farm who can’t communicate and man up with the bigger boss. So she tries to be your boss, but fails to do so because a sheep is always a sheep.
Now you do not want be her, because you want to level up and be her boss.
This was how it went for me at work:
My Boss: (4pm) Damn, I forgot to ask you to print the parking signs for tomorrow. Can you do that for me, dude? Oh and add in the directional signs and make them all larger than last time. Ok? Ok? Ok?
Me: (Looking at the time. I need to leave in an hour. Thinking about the workload. We only have A3 printing capability, so I need to print a lot of A3s and piece them together. But first I’d have to laminate them, cut them, then stick them together. Now feeling a little annoyed ‘coz this could’ve been done a week earlier. I’m also working on something important that’s due next week and now you want me to do this thing ‘coz you’re always doing things in the last minute? Trying to think of a way to buy myself out of this mess.)
Me: Do we really need the directional signs?
My Boss: Uh… what do you think then?
Me: If it’s not necessary, I do not want to do unnecessary work.
My Boss: Ok, then just do the parking signs. Ok? Please, please, please.
Me: (Feeling annoyed, dropped my current work, and began loading the Photoshop files…) Ok.
Five minutes later, her boss came over and talked to her:
Her Boss: Hey, so Kevin needs a ride tomorrow to the event right? Should I drive the company’s car?
My Boss: The other guy will pick him up earlier tomorrow, so don’t worry about it.
Her Boss: Pick him up earlier? To do what?
My Boss: To stick the parking signs.
Her Boss: Say what? I don’t understand. What parking signs?
My Boss: You know, the directional signs to show people where to park for the event, like we did before.
Her Boss: No, we don’t need that! They can just find the way themselves. If they get lost, they can just call us! No need to stick the signs at all.
Me: (Face palmed. And immediately closed the files.)
My Boss: Oh… oh…. okay. (Looked at me, and smiled sheepishly)
Me: (WTF man. I almost wasted my effort.)
SMH. So, remember to say NO to your boss.
Ok, I admit. I didn’t say no completely this time, but in the past I did. The reason it was a 50-50 no this time was because I thought printing the parking signs were rather effortless – I’ve already done the designs last year, so it’s pretty much just labor work. I was just annoyed because she could’ve planned this earlier.
It turned out, she was a complete fool. She hadn’t even talked to big boss about it before making a decision.
Or you might say being a small boss, she could’ve just told me to do it and stuck to her idea and sold her reasoning to the big boss. But you see, she chickened the fuck out.
But sometimes due to the work atmosphere and coworker relationship, it’s best to not go against the person you report to because she might be the one who would make recommendation for promoting you. Thus to do it the safe-for-work style, after your boss tells you to do something and you are feeling doubtful, you should just go up and talk to the big boss.
If the big boss asked why you’re asking him instead of your boss, just tell him your past experience on how your boss had given you work that was not needed later on. Since you felt the need to work more efficiently, and use your time wisely and do better work, you’d thought to clarify with the real decision maker before proceeding.
I did it before for a larger project, and it worked.
I ended up reporting to the big boss and not the sheep.