• Tasks and requests always come from the top down
  • Meet with your boss to manage workload and set boundaries
  • Stay positive and practice self-care to manage through it
Your manager asks you to come to their office for a heads-up briefing on something. When they do this, it’s usually pretty important and warrants a one-on-one meeting. So, you grab your notebook, head over to their desk and prepare to take good notes.

You know exactly how this is going to play out without even asking. You’re no rookie here. You’re a veteran in the office.

Your boss explains that the top brass has some complaints and change requests on your projects and programs. They feel that the way things are now isn’t ideal.

What fucking pisses you off is that the current setup was their idea to begin with. You didn’t create it. You just followed their directions.

You’re screaming inside your head, “It was all their decisions. If they want to change it, then they should make the fucking changes themselves!” If you could truly vent at work and express your thoughts unfiltered without the risk of getting fired, you would. But you can’t.

What matters now is that you’ve gotta deal with this bullshit when you’ve got a ton of other important grunt work that you need to bang out so you can keep the momentum going on all your projects.

Why Shit Rolls Downhill All The Time

Welcome to the world of “Shit Rolling Downhill Syndrome” (SRDS) at work, where your boss or other higher-ups decide to shift blame and/or dump a job onto you instead of dealing with it themselves.

It's frustrating as hell and unfortunately, it’s a part of all office workplaces. There’s no avoiding it. Here are some key reasons why this happens. 

Power Dynamics 

This is probably the most obvious reason for why shit rolls downhill at the office. Those at the top wear the crown – and with that comes certain perks, including the authority to delegate tasks, assign blame, and take credit for the work of others.

In most cases, it's the working-level employees like us who suffer the most from this dynamic. We have little to no power to defend ourselves. We are the easiest scapegoats when shit hits the fan and things go wrong. This dynamic of power can be incredibly demoralizing, leading to feelings of hating your job or boss.

Lack Of Ability Or Skills

Do you honestly believe that your fucking clueless executives know how to create a pivot table in excel? Or even more simply, how to make slide transitions in Powerpoint?

No fucking way. They don’t have a clue.

Most upper-level senior managers and top executives don’t have the specialized skills that you do. There are a few exceptions where some of them do, but because they don’t utilize those skills as much as you do, they deteriorate and weaken over time. In either case, they end up delegating tasks down the line. It’s the working-level heroes that come to the rescue and get shit done.

Shitty Management

Unfortunately, when office politics are at play, it's often the lower levels of management that bear the brunt of the blame. It’s not like the working level made any of these shitty decisions. It’s all on upper management. The folks down in the weeds and trenches are only executing the tasks.

Poor management creates a trickle-down effect, meaning each level is worse than the one before it. And it’s only at the lower levels where the stupidity stops. The working level’s deeper knowledge and greater sensibility tend to prevail because of selective focus which improves skills, abilities and expertise.

Those in upper levels, especially the empty suit executives, often don’t have a fucking clue about the realities of what’s happening at the ground level. However, the best leaders are the ones who trust and listen to the working levels.

Human Psychology

Let's not forget that there's a natural inclination for humans to avoid blame. In most cases, it's easier to dodge responsibility through blamestorming than to take it on. When things go wrong, it's difficult for senior and executive leadership to accept that they were at fault, so they shift the blame downward which is total fucking bullshit.

When was the last time your executive leadership raised their hands and took full accountability for dropping the ball and making strategic blunders?

They never did and never will. So, the shit will roll downhill.

How Stop Shit From Rolling Downhill (Or At Least Manage It)

Okay - we’re gonna be honest here. There’s almost no way to stop the law of gravity. You can only suspend it temporarily but in the end, gravity always wins. And it applies here with the figurative office shit rolling down the hill.

You can’t always stop the bullshit from landing in your lap, but you can slow it down or minimize it so that it’s more manageable. And that’s the name of the game here - managing your way through it ‘cause there’s no world where shit rolls uphill.

Communicate With Your Boss

Do not be afraid to have an honest and open talk with your boss about this. You have to be able to share negative feedback and be safe. If they are dumping too much work on you, let them know that it is impacting the quality of your work. More specifically, point out how it will delay other key tasks and how upcoming deadlines may be missed.

But, don’t just bring them problems. Bring solutions. Suggest ways in which they can help you manage your workload by defending and protecting your time and resources. You have to set solid boundaries and set realistic expectations. Remember, you are not a superhero and cannot do everything. Sometimes a “can’t do attitude” is needed to be successful.

Hold Your Co-workers Accountable

Most of your projects require the support and involvement of others at work. Nothing is more frustrating than a lazy unresponsive co-worker that isn’t pulling their weight or when your coworker isn’t doing their fucking job.

Instead of letting them skate by, hold them accountable for their responsibilities. If they are not meeting deadlines or fulfilling their responsibilities, escalate that shit to your boss. You gotta make sure that you are not carrying everyone else’s workload. You got enough shit on your plate already.

Work As A Team

Create a culture of collaboration and teamwork. When everyone is working together, it can be easier to reduce the amount of shit rolling downhill. Form positive kickass alliances and relationships with your co-workers. Build up tribal strength so that when shit starts rolling downhill, the group can push back as a team.

Discuss project deadlines, workload distribution and plans of action. Working together can help to alleviate the burden of individual responsibilities and create a more harmonious workplace. 

Stay Positive

Shit happens, it's inevitable. However, it is important to keep a positive attitude at work when work life sucks. Dwelling on negative situations only leads to further frustration and increases the odds of a deeper downward spiral - and you don’t want to be falling down that hole.

Instead, focus on solutions and opportunities for growth. Stay solution-oriented and use challenges as opportunities to learn and develop new skills. Those that know how to manage shit rolling downhill are the ones that will make it. You need this skill. Every time shit rolls down to you, think of it positively as a practice session to hone your shit-handling skills.

Keeping your head up and creating positivity can make a big difference in the office environment and can reduce overall stress levels.

Practice Self-Care

Lastly, do not forget to take care of yourself. Remember, you are only human and can only handle so much. You gotta manage work stress like the veteran office champ that you are. Take breaks, go for a walk, meditate at work, or just do stuff that you enjoy. Get happy so that you can wipe away the shitty feelings.

Taking care of yourself and unwinding your mind after work can have tremendous positive effects on your productivity and overall well-being. When you are feeling your best, you are better able to handle any bullshit that comes your way at the office.

Less Shit Rolling Downhill & More Happiness At Work

It’s nearly impossible to avoid or stop shit from rolling downhill at work. It’s one of the hard truths of corporate life. The struggles of office work are real, and many of us find ourselves in a position where our efforts rarely lead to big wins because we’re stuck in an endlessly frustrating cycle of dealing with all the shit coming down from the top.

But, it doesn't have to be this way all the time. By communicating with your boss, holding your co-workers accountable, working as a team, staying positive, and practicing self-care, you can minimize the negative impact of the shit that lands on your desk. It will take some effort, but it will be worth it in the long run.

Remember to take control of your situation and create a workplace environment that will help you get in the zone and achieve that kickass feeling of productive nirvana.

It’s not a matter of if. It’s only a matter of time.

It will happen but you gotta take that first step.

Feel Better,

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