THE BRAZEN CAREERIST- Work around: Let meddling boss do his thing

Here's an idea: Stop complaining about micromanagers since you can't change them, and start using them to your benefit. An important workplace strategy is managing up. One of the easiest types of boss to do this with is a micromanager.

My advice: work hard to figure out what your boss cares about. With a micromanager, you know right away: it's your job responsibilities. Another difficult part of managing up is getting time with your boss. But a micromanager loves to hang out with his staff, because it's the most effective way to get a hand in everything the staff is doing.

In the most extreme cases of micromanagement, the underling does the work and the boss does it all again. So if you have a micromanager, you don't have to do your work because your boss is doing it for you. And, your boss actually wants to be doing your work, so giving him the opportunity is managing up. Of course you need to do a little work, or your boss will get annoyed. Micromanagers don't want to start from scratch. They want to have you get started so they can dismiss your efforts.

So do that. Put very little thought into your work you know your manager will redo. If you need to come up with a list of ideas you know your boss won't take, use only the time it takes to go to the bathroom to think about that list. If you need to write a report your boss will edit to oblivion, write it as a stream of consciousness.

Now you have time for other things. While your boss is micromanaging, do this: 1. Find an area your boss doesn't feel competent in but you do. People micromanage because it's easier to do what they're comfortable with (your job) than what they're not comfortable with (management).

This means there's a hole somewhere in management. Find that hole and fill it. Do some of your boss's job that he's neglecting. If that doesn't work, write a memo identifying problems and suggesting ways you can fix them. Distribute the memo to a wider audience than just your boss.

2. Find a new person in the company to work for and get him interested in helping you move to his department. Offer to do some projects for him since you have some extra time. Remember, don't dis your current boss. Just be great for the guy you want to work for.

3. Do a side project. There's a lot to learn, and you probably have an Internet access. If you don't, write a novel. If you do something productive with your time, you won't care that your boss makes the small amount of time you spend working for him unproductive.

Float these tactics under the radar. You have to keep your boss happy, and a micromanager doesn't want to know you're not giving a good effort. Micromanagers think they're helping. Your job is to make him feel helpful. It's not hard. Thank him for the editing. Tell him you appreciate all his ideas– even if they suck. Appreciate the volume. Keep the relationship going well while you make your next move.

A word to whiners: Some of you will say you're offended that your boss has a huge hand in your work but leaves your name on it. I say, Who cares? Focus on the three suggestions above and stop worrying about your reputation. You're not writing Moby Dick. You're doing an office job. Get over it and focus on something else.

Think twice before you complain about being micromanaged. Sometimes you can actually learn something from a micromanager.