‘Sandwich idioms’ that apply surprisingly well to office witches

Stupid and deluded senior management and underperforming subordinates put middle managers in a shit sandwich
Photo by Sander Dalhuisen on Unsplash

I spend quite a bit of time mulling over my failings as a manager: I’m never as organized as I wish I could be; I struggle to motivate and rally members of my team; our product (a magazine) falls far short of what it could be that, for cascading reasons, ultimately lies in my inability to raise the bar.

I’m usually a solutions-oriented person, but at some stage in this job, I checked out and stopped trying. I’d like to think that I usually take responsibility for my actions and failings—maybe I still do, hence the frequent melancholic mulling—but in this particular job, I became the victim in my own head at some stage and now have a slew of excuses for anyone who would listen. As a middle manager, I point the finger of blame at schlocky upper management and insubordinate subordinates (and indirect reports—another story for another day).

While throwing myself a pity party about middle management woes and being sandwiched between a deplorable boss and recalcitrant staff, I aimlessly surfed my way to a list of “sandwich” idioms that, to my amusement, felt too obviously applicable to my work situation:

Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

My Company Example: The sales director, in trying to avoid having to sell a new category of products, repeatedly asked if adding this new category would “digest” our brand DNA, when she likely meant “dilute”. She’s not only lazy AF but a few sandwiches short of a picnic.

My Company Example: The managing director boasted about “cutting costs” by not replacing the staff from the 7-person events team when 6 of them quit. When she hired her BFF into some fake-title role and put her in charge of organising our magazine’s massive annual event, it quickly became a total soup sandwich.

My Company Example: The managing director is a soup sandwich, demanding a 300-plus page September issue—just because it was done last year when the magazine was under the previous management and she does not want to lose face—yet at the same time telling us to reduce spending on freelance writers, and wasting our time in weekly Monday morning meetings that then spawn multiple meetings after to discuss matters that could have been settled with a simple email.

My Company Example: The managing director says her fengshui master told her that her job is safe for the next 8 years. But revenues are down by almost a million dollars to date this year and she has no strategy on how to turn things around, other than banging the table and telling the sales team to hit their targets. Sooner or later, she’ll have to take a bite of the reality sandwich—or the CEO will.

My Company Example: Given the mutual disenchantment between me and the fashion editor, the subeditor is the meat in the sandwich, having the task of chasing the fashion editor for late stories and explaining why her writing was edited even though she thinks it’s perfect.

My Company Example: Every Monday Morning when the managing director issues “I want it by tomorrow” demands for inconsequential matters, I fantasize about feeding her a knuckle sandwich or three.

Editor and overthinker