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My boss keeps writing stories about me


Hi, Bert and Gert.

I have a really strange problem. My boss thinks that posting long messages on LinkedIn makes him popular and it's true, they get lots of likes and shares.

But the stories he write aren't really his stories: they are about me. What should I do?

For example, he once wrote that he found someone sitting on the doorstep of his office eating a sandwich and offered her a hot drink and, finding out that she was unemployed, offered her a job and she turned out to be a valuable employee.

Well, yes, that's true. But I wasn't jobless and hopeless. I'd just finished college and was taking a few months off to visit several cities and learn about their history and architecture because, as an English Lit. graduate, I wanted to spend a while doing something completely different.

But everyone in the office knows the story is about me and I've even had customers come up to me and tell me how inspirational the story has been for them.

There have been other stories, too, all essentially painting me as a loser and a basket case that he rescued.

I love my job and I like him, too, except for this one thing. How can I stop it without causing disharmony?

Bert says:

I've seen those things on LinkedIn: there are a number of people who write them - or copy them from someone else. Personally, I find them a tedious and facile attempt at self-aggrandisement. And I've always wondered what the people who are featured in the boastful postings feel like when they read them.

Now I know and I'm even more offended by the characters that do it. I certainly don't find them inspirational - in fact, with one exception, I've blocked all the people who post them. That doesn't help you solve your problem, though.

If I were nasty, I'd suggest you start writing your own posts about how you joined the company and how, due to your efforts, it has developed and thrived. Or cross-post your own clarification in the comments - but that would be lost because some of those posts get several thousand comments - the vast majority of which seem to be from brainless acolytes who would not be pleased to see their micro-deity diminished.

So, don't retaliate via LinkedIn.

Perhaps if you were to tell him exactly what you've told us: how it embarrasses you, how everyone knows he's talking about you and how customers come and pityingly tell you how lucky you were to have met him and that it's upsetting to you he may stop.

But you are in conflict with is own ego: the only reason these posts appear, so far as I can tell, is so that someone with problems with how they view themselves can make themselves feel more important. His ego is big but fragile, it seems to me.

But taking it up directly is the only thing to do and then see where it goes from there.

Gert says:

He's not bullying you, he's not abusing you and he's not discriminating against you. In his mind, he's praising you as much as he's lauding himself. There's no legal issue, a lawyer friend told me when I showed him your letter.

Well, none except one very vague chance that a court might accept that he had created an working environment which causes you harm. But let's be fair - it's not a toxic culture, to use an in-vogue expression.

I agree a non-confrontational chat with him is the ideal starting point and, if he's the fundamentally decent chap you think he is, he'll be apologetic and stop. And if he doesn't, then the remedy is in your hands - change jobs with all that bank of inadvertent recommendations that he has given you.

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