My supervisor Katelyn showed up 20 minutes late for an afternoon meeting.  As her direct report, I had been stalked her assistant & Blackberry, making apologies for her unexplained absence.  Then in she walks, balancing a humongous latte and pack of smokes. When she sees her meeting guest and me, she screws up her face to look stressed out and carries on blaming me for the meeting she didn’t know was scheduled and adding that I hadn’t bothered to pass on prep materials for the meeting.  Now mind you, I never handled her schedule and though the screw-up was entirely her fault, I had to stand there eating s*** and looking like an idiot.

-Martin Z.

Our publishing company considers dozens of manuscripts each quarter.  Many are submitted by existing clients, managers and agents. We basically pay for the rights to each literary property for a certain length of time.  Between my Editing Dept. and the Legal Dept, I support the team in keeping track of what we bought, what we’re keeping and what we let go back to the prior rights holders.  I routinely warn the Editor and the head of Legal about upcoming expirations for these rights.  At least once a quarter, all my calendar warnings and emails get ignored and a deal lapses on a property we still want. And then I get blamed.  Besides, setting myself on fire and smearing their computers with my blood, how am I supposed to get my bosses to pay attention to these warnings before deals expire?

-Melissa R.


Despite playing the role of your boss, his performance is slipping.  Not just a lack of professionalism and integrity, but malicious will to damage the perception of your work abilities.  Truly, it is all about him or her.  You?  Just a handmaiden to their climb up the greasy pole.


Oh, the woes of being a subordinate to people who can’t take responsibility when they screw up.  Sorry to not paint a rosier picture but you can speak your piece to your manager but it won’t do any good.  S/he knows what they did already. The point being made is: you work for me and I can do what I like to you. If you never experienced this kind of boldfaced aggression, welcome to the Thunderdome! This blame game is played out of desperation when your supervisor is trapped. Your only consolation is that you’re being paid to play whipping boy to Massa.  If you haven’t started looking at the front door and for other opportunities, this is a good time to start.  You’re probably not gonna get fired, but the blame may hurt your merit compensation and reputation inside & outside the company.


One thought on “SCAPEGOATING

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