This is why I have panic attacks

My boss is a very nice, very generous, very scatterbrained idiot fuckwad.

A few weeks ago, I was reduced to tears at work, because, in our tiny company of three, I was faced with two projects - fix the entire network of five computers because the server was crashing and the backup system wasn’t working - and get out an 11 page four color brochure by that afternoon.

At the same time, our research assistant asked me if I could ‘just real quick’ figure out how she could dial into our server from Michigan on her laptop which is not a Mac.

I came to this job as a temp, a Mac Pagemaker Temp. I was hired part time to do marketing presentations. Then hired full time as a “marketing assistant”. Six years later I have slowly become the Executive Assistant, IT professional, Office Manager and Marketing Person.

I am fine with all of this except the IT. I know nothing about it. It’s inefficient for me to be in charge of ‘tweaking the server’ because two days are spent reading a manual from page one. It makes me crazy. I get frustrated, panicky, worried that I"m going to break something or delete something.

So I told bossman that it was making me hate my job. I love him as a person, he’s been very very generous to me and 6 days out of 10, working for him is a dream. I want to find a way to stay here and not go crazy. But doing IT for this borderline Boo Radley sort of idiot savant mind of his (which includes things like fixing a cellphone that my boss dropped in a glass of diet coke or ‘fixing’ a palm pilot because he refuses to delete any email) is not my gig,never will be, and it takes up too much time, especially when my boss asks questions like “Can you develop a program so all computers can read our files?” or “Can you trick our printer into believing this pdf is in color?”

I can’t do it anymore. I can’t. I will quit this job that has supported me for six years if things don’t improve.


All is well, right?

Oh no. He hired someone alright. Brilliant and easy! A friend of his son’s.

His son is eleven.

He hired a fourteen year old to be our IT guy. Now I’m the first one to admit, kids know more about computers than I’ll ever know. But this kid is going to ‘just come in for an hour or two after school’ during the week because he’s busy with sports and stuff AND TODAY:

TODAY, i hear this:

“Listen, the guy (kid) we hired for “computer stuff” read our list of needs and he’s a little overwhelmed by it. Some of it is over his head. And he’s not really a Mac person (our whole fucking office is Mac) so maybe you could take on some of that just to make him more comfortable.”

“Like what?” I say, grinding my teeth.

“Well, he’s not really comfortable upgrading software, and that’s sort of a lot for a kid, so maybe you could learn about IT stuff and do that for him.”

While this made me nearly go through the roof, it’s followed up with:

"Listen, our research assistant has decided she wants to work from home, so I’m going to buy her a computer and I want you to figure out how she can dial in to everything from there…and…

(wait for it)


i see. The girl who’s been here eight months and only has one definite responsibility is to be made as comfortable as possible AND gets a top of the line lap top out of it.

Meanwhile, I have to lighten a fourteen year old’s caseload because he’s uncomfortable with the job we hired him to do.



Wow. Your company makes Dilbert’s look sane.

Holy shit, jarbaby. That’s unreal. You seriously need to hammer your boss into shape or get the hell outta there.

What kind of yutz is he? Does he just figure you’ll be there for him no matter what?

Plus, (and I hate sounding bigoted, but here it is) I daresay that many 14-year-old computer geeks who are not familiar with Macs are probably not familiar with Macs because they hate Macs. I could be wrong about this, but the platform wars thing is alive and well, and 14-year-olds are certainly far from immune from it.

I wonder if your boss hired a Mac-hating teenager for your all-Mac business. Yeesh. As if things aren’t crazy enough.

My heart goes out to you.

I’m afraid that’s possibly the case. He told his wife (who then told me) that he thinks of me as his daughter, as family.

I guess he figures that means he can shit on me whenever he feels like it.

jarbaby, that’s so freaking surreal I had to laugh!

Your boss seems to be off the thought “If I don’t understand it, then it must be easy.” I’d have punched him and/or quit by now.

Wow, that is truly whacked!

I see you either deciding, “No paycheck is worth this,” or surrendering and becoming a company pod person. I’ve worked for bosses like that, and they are nottrainable.

I’m sorry jarbaby…I’m laughing with you, not at you!

I’m in a similar situation to a degree; I have to take care of all of the IT stuff at this office too. I know enough, but it isn’t efficient for me to do it, so you know what I did? I outsourced a computer god for a lot of money. He’s great, he comes in whenever we have a problem or project, I pay him, and I’m happy. It is SO nice to be able to pick up the phone and say “Ondrej (Andre), HELP!!!” and an hour later he is in my office fixing things.

I recommend that you at least look into this option and see what the numbers are. Then just make the decision and tell your boss what the decision is and that he has to pay for it. In this economy, I am sure there are a few out-of-work IT dudes who are willing to work for peanuts, even only a few hours a week or two. If you are spending 4 hours on something that they can do in one, then you might be saving money by hiring them…

Take care-

No go tomcat. He hired the kid because “he would cost half as much as a professional”

When I asked what would happen if something went wrong while he was at school I was told “then you can just take care of it, right?”

jarbabyj, run away. Run fast, run far, and don’t ever look back. I’m pretty sure you’ll get turned into a pillar of salt or something.

jar- since you have acting experience, is there any way you can get some fake blood and some squibs? I’m thinking a fairly graphic demonstration of your displeasure at his silly requests might be in order.

In my head, it goes like this-

Boss- “Jar, our computer guy is overwhelmed, and grounded, and so he can’t come in today. Can you manually defrag the system, and then go back and delete all of the emails I’ve ever written to anyone?”

jar- “I’m afraid I cannot help you with that today. I said that one more silly request would drive me to harm myself.”
jar pretends to slit throat with fake knife, blood gushes out, jar slumps onto desk.

boss-“well, perhaps another time, then.”

I think you just need to be a little more assertive of your rights, Jar. There’s no need to quit or scream at the boss, just don’t get taken advantage of.

If there is something he wants you to do on computer you are unsure about, tell him you don’t know how to do it and that he should hire an expert. If he asks you to find out how to do it yourself, tell him ok, but any other jobs will have to wait while you do this and warn him (and I mean warn, not threaten) that you worry about data loss. Accidental data loss can easily occur when untrained people fix computers. If the research assistant asks you to do something when you are busy, go ask the boss what job he wants you to work on first and let him worry about it all getting done on time. Don’t work all hours of the night on overtime, just work your contracted hours. Any working late is your decision, not really his. Just say something like “I’m only here until whenever, what job should take priority because one will have to wait?”

You can only do one thing at a time, and can only do your best with the time and expertise you have. If you are working hard (and he can see that) but all things are still not getting done, he will have either hire someone extra or wait. He is the boss and he is responsible for hiring enough workers. You just do your bit and don’t get stressed out or let them pass the buck to you.


“Jess, I get a lot of telemarketing calls. How can I make that stop?”

:: runs screaming from the room, rending garment::

Yeah, but then he’ll be back in fifteen minutes with a question of how to get blood out of the server.

Cheerfully remind him that the telemarketing industry only calls those people who want to be called. They say so themselves. So he should stop wanting to be called.

jarbaby, I know this is a bad time for you, but honest-to-goodness, your last post cracked me up big time! You can’t be too far gone since you’ve still got a sense of humor. Too bad you don’t have a boss like my husband’s. He wanted something done and hubby said “Well, you know, XYZ Company can come in and do that for us.” To which boss replied: “Call them.” It was a matter of managing resourses. Hubby could have instructed and supervised his staff in getting it done, but considering all the other things that had to be done, and that XYZ Company had all the training and equipment to do it right the first time, it was the most cost effective solution.

Too bad your boss can’t think that way. Try not to let it make you too crazy. It’s just a job - it ain’t worth insanity.

One of the most vile trick one could pull is guilt manipulation, especially by pulling strings such as conscience, relationship and ties. There are daggers in his praises such as “You are like a daughter to me” or “She’s reliable and etc.”

Your boss sounds like a manipulative man. Quickly find a way to get out from there! ~Met enough of those guys myself too~

As far as I am concerned, this tells me everything I need to know about his priorities.

He doesn’t want to think about the problem. You always fixed it in the past, therefore you will always fix it in the future.

You can deal with it in one of two ways.


Or take charge of the problem. Find the courses you need to learn how to do everything he wants, and present him with the total figure. If he signs off on it, go to the classes, learn the necessary skills, and become an IT person. If he refuses, do what you can, and throw the rest of it back into his lap.

He will try, repeatedly and persistently, to throw it back to you. Refuse without explanation, until he asks why. Tell him then that it is because you don’t have the training. If he says something like, “Well, just do the best you can”, reply “I can’t fix this.”

Not that I expect it to work, unfortunately.


I thought squibs were only for guns.

Sounds like you need a new job where you’re actually appreciated Jar. I hope you find one, and tell this clown to fuck off. Sounds like they’ll go out of business when you leave.