Boss from Hell #16: Cheap


So your boss is cheap.

Your computers are from the stone age. The staff picnic is a potluck, you’re washing and reusing the plastic forks, and your stationery is from the rooms of the local hotel. There’s no budget for toilet paper, much less training; and it seems as though your whole workplace is held together by duct tape and string. Your boss doesn’t approve upgrades or replacement equipment unless something has physically caught on fire. He has taken ‘cost control’ to a whole new level.

Trying to get a truly cheap boss to spend money on anything – even necessities – can be a real frustration. Arguments about value, investments, payback and cost-benefit will be largely fruitless. Cheap bosses see things only in terms of income or expenses, with nothing in between. It’s this trait that differentiates bosses who are “cheap”, and frugal bosses who are just careful with their money.

The best way to get your cheap boss to open his wallet for something the company needs? First convince him that you’re as cheap as he is, and that you’re all about cost savings. Don’t even bother to bring up all of those other arguments that he thinks are irrelevant.

So, for example, if you’re trying to replace that 25 year-old photocopier in the office, forget about productivity, time savings and employee satisfaction. Focus instead on what’s important to your boss. ie. “Hey boss, I was just doing some numbers. Our old copier cost us $xx in repairs last year. It’s not getting any younger, so it will probably cost us at least the same this year. I just got a great line on another copier – half the price of a new one. It’s only five years old, and it’s going to pay for itself in repairs this year alone. What do you think?”

It’s worth a try!

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