My boss is leaving

My boss got his master’s degree last year and has been looking for a “real” job ever since. Finally he got an acceptable offer and his official start date is July 1st. As happy as I am for him personally and as much as I know what a boost this is for him professionally (not to mention financially), I am not eager for the changes his leaving will bring.

My biggest concern right now is my supervisor, the office manager. She said months ago that she would apply for his job, claiming that the idea of having a stranger come in and try to learn the complex workings of this position would be a nightmare. Personally I think she’s being melodramatic (presumably anyone hired to fill the position would have lots of experience doing the same work at another school), and I think she really just wants to move up in the world.

That would be fine, except I think she’s not a leader, and she’s difficult enough to deal with as a supervisor. I think things could get most unpleasant with her truly in charge. She’s the kind of person who doesn’t seem to really believe she is the supervisor, so she has to lord it over people, to remind them who’s in charge. If she gives you an assignment she has to hang over you and check up on you until you have whatever it is finished, regardless of whatever other tasks you might have that might take priority. I find I have to distract her and reassure her and make little jokes and do all kinds of things that are really kind of patronizing, just to diffuse the inevitable tension. If she says “Jump!” I say, “Okay, hang on a minute.” I wish she could relax and just trust me to do my job. I’ve been here longer than she has, and she regularly asks me how to do certain things.

It makes me tense because for about the past four or five years I’ve enjoyed a really good work environment - really nice, cool, fun people who work well together. Before that I had to put up with two older women who were very cynical about everything under the sun and gossiped endlessly (you wondered what they said about you when you went to lunch), a woman who was a human doormat, and an office manager who was a sweet old dear but should have retired five years before she finally did, for whom the world’s borders stopped at the city limits. I got so I hated to go to work.

Of course even if my supervisor applies for the job, she may not get it; they may think she doesn’t have enough computer experience. She’s just too timid and wants to be everybody’s friend, and she doesn’t know how to put things in perspective. I’m afraid there is trouble ahead.