My boss lets me use the toilet only twice a day, and other shocking revelations from S'pore employees

Lee Xin Hui
​Her World
​Saturday, Jan 30, 2016

True story. And in Singapore, too.

Lee Xin Hui rounds up other terrible tales and shows you how to handle your nutty manager.

1) He/She isn't clear about what she wants

"She told me to consult her on every aspect of the project I was working on, but when I finally asked for her opinion, she told me to stop bothering her so much." - Sherrie*

What you can do

Unless you're a mind reader, a fickle boss can be terribly frustrating because you never know if she's going to change her instructions again. The best way to deal with her? Take minutes, and after every meeting or phone conversation, follow up with an e-mail and copy relevant parties in it so you have "evidence" and witnesses to back you up.

2) He/She has unrealistic expectations

"When I'm on medical leave, she texts to check if I'm really ill. She assigns work to me all the same and demands that I submit it to her by 5pm - on the same day." - Cheryl*

What you can do

Some bosses just don't know where and when to draw the line. While you may be tempted to ignore her text completely, you'll want to stay in her good books too. Responding to the text with a call would be the best solution, says Orelia Chan, manager at Robert Walters Singapore. Explain that you are on medical leave, and work out a deadline to complete the tasks when you are back at work. That way, she can be assured that you're still on top of things.

3) He/She has anger issues

"My boss throws her shoes, staplers and pens at us when we don't respond to her, even when we're on the phone with a client." - Tammy*

What you can do

Did your boss get the memo? Probably not. Decent people do not throw shoes - or anything - at their colleagues. But since she has resorted to that, here's the game plan: Let her know about her tendency to overreact and that you'd prefer her to stop getting physical as you hope to respect her as your boss, suggests Elfarina Zaid, leadership coach, facilitator and speaker at Elf Coaching.

4) He/She doesn't lead by example

"My boss lectures the department about punctuality and productivity but goes home early every day." - Candice*

What you can do

Classic case of double standards? Probably, but your boss could have a flexi-work arrangement with her higher-up because of family commitments. If you're feeling sore about this because you too have personal issues that require such an arrangement, speak to her about it. Otherwise, our advice? Leave it. She's the boss, after all.

5) He/She "hovers" over you

"She comes by my desk several times a day to ask for updates even though the project is something that I've handled many, many times." - Valerie*

What you can do

Helicopter boss alert! Let her know in a professional and objective manner why this bothers you and link it back to how it impacts your work. If she needs constant reassurance, suggest scheduling a 15-minute meeting at a specific time every day. That way, you can spend the rest of the day focusing on your work without having someone lurk over your shoulder.

6) He/She "forgets" her promises

"She's been promising me a promotion or pay rise for the past one and a half years, but the only thing I've got so far? More work." - Aaron*

What you can do

Well, now's the time to break the silence. Find out when your company usually hands out a raise or promotion, and speak to your boss before that. Remind her of her promise to you and tell her that you need her to keep it. Ask if you fall short of any KPIs, and if you do, work on them.

7) He/She is condescending

"She noticed that my workstation was messy and asked: 'Do I need to treat you like a three-year- old kid and teach you how to clean up after yourself?'" - Samantha*

What you can do

If you react defensively, she's only going to be even more certain that she's dealing with a child. Remain calm. If she continues to speak to you in this manner, ask her in private if she does this because she thinks it is her way of being frank. She might not know how offensive it can be, so tell her honestly how the statements make you feel.

*All names have been changed

Expert sources: Elfarina Zaid, leadership coach, facilitator and speaker, Elf Coaching; Orelia Chan, manager, Robert Walters Singapore

Her World, Singapore's #1 women's magazine, is now available in both print and digital formats. Log on to to subscribe!