What to do when you have a super-demanding boss

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What would you do if your boss gave you an eight-page memo of things to bear in mind every day?

If you would like to be a driver for this congressman, you better be able to have a good memory for details (or keep the memo in the glove compartment). Rep. Todd Rokita, a Republican from Indiana who’s running for Senate next year, has detailed directions for the aides who drive for him, according to Politico, which published those instructions Friday. “There is nothing wrong with being organized and prepared,” a spokesman for Rokita told MarketWatch. “It’s pretty standard stuff for a campaign or member of Congress.”

Rokita requests that drivers have a cup of black coffee ready for him when they arrive and, in an instruction very reminiscent of HBO’s “Veep” or the Anna Wintour-inspired perfectionist editor from “The Devil Wears Prada,” Rokita’s staffers should also carry a tote called “the football,” which carries items such as bottled water, hand sanitizer, business cards, a stapler and lozenges, the report says. His drivers must arrive 15 minutes before departure time, email him 10 minutes before and call him if there is no response, and avoid sudden acceleration or braking.

“The goal is to provide as smooth a ride as possible,” the memo adds. The driver must also keep in mind the Rokita’s phone, wallet with picture ID, binders, camera, petty cash, “hangar” (sic) to get coat/jacket, mileage log, business cards, office brochures and, last but not least, the garage door opener. The driver has to have a hot cup of black coffee ready for Rokita and, after he drops him off, empty the garbage can and “make certain that you pull the car far enough forward that exhaust fumes won’t get in the garage.”

Since Politico noted, other politicians have had their own requests, including former Republican Texas Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, who President Trump nominated to be the next U.S. ambassador to North Atlantic Treaty Organization, reportedly asked aides to carry her purse. (They were described by The New York Times as “purse boys.”

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When former Hewlett-Packard chief executive Carly Fiorina ran for president in 2016, she needed her aide to carry lots of the very same things Rokita requires, including hand sanitizer and small toothbrushes, plus a backup flag pin, sewing kit, panty hose, sharpies and a deck of cards. She also specifically requested “crunchy” gum. “I really don’t like soggy gum, I like crunchy gum,” Fiorina said on a video she posted on her Facebook page. Good job!” The video has been viewed nearly 150,000 times. Fiorina also said her assistant films her Facebook videos. “She is a cinematographer on top of everything else.”

In case you have a demanding boss, whether or not they are running for political office, it is a good idea to request help setting priorities to choose which is most urgent, Cali Williams Yost, a workplace-flexibility adviser, recently told The Wall Street Journal. While some demanding bosses rise through the corporate (and political) ranks and take their assistants together — White House interim communications director Hope Hicks started off as an assistant to the president — others will expect them to be available 24/7 and have a forensic memory.

It’s also a good idea to create boundaries when a boss expects too much of your time, Amy Cooper Hakim, a management consultant, told The Journal. 1 example: You could tell your boss you will check in and answer emails at 9 every night, as opposed to dealing with an endless stream, she said. (And demanding bosses aren’t as rare: The majority of people (52 percent) who send a work-related email anticipate a reply within 12 and 24 hours, according to a 2014 poll of 1,500 individuals by MailTime.com, an app that aims to organize and simplify mails.)

Think of a demanding boss for a customer, and strategy conversations with them almost as a customer-service trade, said Andrew Wittman, a Marine veteran and former federal agent who now works as a speaker and consultant. “For those who have that mindset, you take all of the power away from that boss, and you don’t take it personally when they’re demanding or difficult,” he said. “Your boss will proceed from demanding and hard high-maintenance customer to a loyal customer once you solve enough of their boss’s problems.”

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