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Jeff Schmitt: From the Bottom Up

The Do-Nothing Boss

"Does he do anything around here?"

You've heard these wisecracks before. Word is getting around about your boss. His marathon lunch breaks are legendary. He disappears when it's time to roll up his sleeves. And there's always some excuse for arriving late or skipping out early. The field buzzes with tales of business trips turned into company-paid vacations. And everyone wonders what happens behind that closed door. Is it a crucial call … or another round of online gaming?

Your boss comes and goes as he pleases, following his own rules while enforcing a different set for you. You know his conduct reflects on you, and it's the kind that can stymie your career. Worse, it feels as though he has given up, leaving you to carry his dead weight. So you simmer, wondering why he hasn't bothered to learn how everything is done. To add insult, he actually believes he's effective.

Everyone senses your boss would rather be elsewhere. It shouldn't demoralize you, but it does. And in this economy, you can't risk everything by confronting him. He can get away with it—and he knows it. So what can you do? Click here to read 10 dos and don'ts for coping with a do-nothing boss who's gone mentally AWOL.

Jeff Schmitt is an online columnist for Bloomberg Businessweek. He has spent 17 years in sales, marketing, project management, training, legal compliance, and recruiting. You can reach him via e-mail or follow him on Twitter.

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