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Admin Pro Forum

Have you ever taken the blame for your boss?

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Question: "My boss recently shifted blame in my direction for some mistakes in a print campaign, when the problem was actually some simple miscommunication between us. She didn't blame me directly or maliciously; she just conveniently left out some facts when describing the problem to her superiors, and that made her look a little better at my expense. What should my reaction be? How much 'bad press' should I be willing to absorb for the sake of helping her out, since helping her out is my job?" - Daphne, Public Relations Assistant

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Eline M. September 27, 2018 at 11:01 am

Your manager has already proven herself to be unreliable and dishonest. No matter how well you perform, she will throw you under the proverbial bus to save herself.

I experienced this firsthand. When my manager lied and tried to cover his inadequacies by blaming me, I refused to accept this and brought proof to HR showing he was lying. Their response was to ignore it. HR IS NOT there for you, despite what they might tell you. They are there to protect the employer and, let’s face it, admins are much easier to replace than a high-level manager.

Your best bet is to get out as quickly as possible. Your manager must now start hiding her mistakes by lying on your annual review. You will continue to pay the price for her cowardice. If you cannot get another position in your company with a different manager, start looking elsewhere. Administrative assistants are in high demand in lots of places. You should be able to find another position with an honest manager.


Anita September 24, 2018 at 3:44 pm

Daphne, it was wrong for your boss to let it look like you alone made the mistake. Part of being a leader is having the courage to accept one’s own mistakes. Unfortunately, her actions put you in an awkward position. I learned through a few experiences like this, that it is usually the managers who are supported, not the subordinates. It is hard for me to see that someone who will use you in this way will have the backbone to support you when it will matter. I would not say anything because you want to maintain your credibility as a team player and not a complainer but remember you have options and can work for a boss that has credibility her/himself. Best to you.


Melissa September 20, 2018 at 4:24 pm

I had a job description once that said anything that goes wrong is my fault. for me, unless someone was killed or injured or trade secrets were released, it does not bother me to take blame. I have always had good relationships with management, so they know my standards.


LP October 15, 2018 at 4:46 pm

I worked for the same employer for 28 years and would take the heat for mistakes I didn’t make. I got used to saying it was my fault and taking one for the home team, and after a while, the dean heard so often that I had made a lot of ‘little mistakes,’ and I was forced to retire early or lose my job. I’ll never take the blame again for something I didn’t do – someone higher up than you is keeping track.


Catherine Potter September 20, 2018 at 4:12 pm

Although I have thrown myself under the bus before for both my bosses, I prefer to do it myself. I don’t particularly like when someone else throws me under the bus. If a problem arises, I’ll offer to take the blame for it, but don’t assume it’s ok to just do it because I don’t want to look incompetent either! At least if she had discussed it with you first, that would be different. Remember…It’s easier to replace an admin than an executive. My suggestion is to tell her just that in a very nice way. You want her to look good, but please don’t assume it’s ok to make me look bad. On the flip side…It’s nice when your boss has your back & she owes you one! The give & take usually balances things out…


Donna September 20, 2018 at 4:03 pm

It’s ok, take the blame graciously. She will notice sooner or later how loyal you are. If not, look for another boss.


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