My boss’s boss scheduled a 1x1 with me while my boss is on vacation. How should I approach the meeting?


 My heart sunk into the pit of my stomach when I initially got the invite a couple hours ago. A meeting with the director on a Friday? Seemed damning to me, but before packing my office and resigning to my fate, I went to a coworker’s office just to see what they had to say. They got the email too (for a different time tomorrow), and so did all of my coworkers who work under my boss.

The thing is, we’ve never had 1x1 with the director like this since I started almost 2 years ago. But, my boss has never taken a solid week off before. My coworker and I agreed that it was suspect of our director to wait until my boss is on vacation to have 1x1 with all of her direct reports.

Now I’m wondering how I should approach the meeting. If the director wanted to give us information, she likely would have met with us all together. Rather, she’s meeting with us individually which makes me believe she’s getting information from us, and because it’s during my boss’s vacation, I feel like it may be fishing for info about my boss.

How can I prepare for this meeting? What information can I gain? What information should I share? Is this a negative thing for my boss?

JobAdvisor:

Sounds like a skip-level meeting, or maybe they're just covering for your boss. I wouldn't panic. They probably wouldn't fire you while the person responsible for delegating your work is out of the office. Just go in with an open mind. Maybe think about new responsibilities you'd like to learn or advance in case questions like that come up. Unless your boss is actually terrible and upper management is putting out feelers to see if their direct reports feel the same...

I definitely don’t think you have anything to worry about. But your boss…

If it’s what it SEEMS it is, then it’s a pretty shitty movie. Starting the process of terminating your boss while she’s on vacation sets a horrible precedent.

You said you’ve never had a 1x1 with the director before. Out of curiosity, how many direct reports does the director have? How many people total in his/her org?

Hopefully, he’s just using the moment of your boss being out to get to know everyone since he hadn’t done that previously. Kill two birds by making sure you don’t need anything while the boss is out and getting to know you and your work better. But, at first blush, it sounds like a move is being made against your boss while she’s on R&R.

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