"I really did not have patience with someone who is that incompetent," Jonah added. "All of the people on my former team have their resumes out and are looking for other jobs, too, not because they don't like the work that they do, but because of this guy."
How to handle it: Quitting is certainly one option. But in this still-shaky economy, it's not for everyone. For those forced to make the most of a frustrating situation, Levit advised nipping the boss' blundering behavior in the bud.
"Go over the entire project from soup to nuts ahead of time, and get him to sign off on a series of tasks that you can complete on your own," Levit said. "Then just get the work done, interacting with him as minimally as possible so he doesn't have a chance to change direction."
Not sure how to start the conversation? Huhman suggested this opener: "I realize that things can get a bit crazy around here sometimes, but is there a way we can chat about my deadlines before I start working on a project to ensure it aligns with the vision you have?"
"The conversation should also include a promise on your end to ask more questions about the assignment before getting started," Huhman added. "Recognize that this could be a two-way problem."
We've all had them: The moody manager who cheerily announces she's in much better spirits now that she's had her weekly colonic. The socially stunted supervisor you've caught clipping his toenails at his desk on multiple occasions, despite the fact that you two share a workspace. The corner office zealot who, mistaking the workplace for a soapbox or pulpit, never misses a chance to email you political or religious missives in an attempt to convert you to her point of view, EEOC regulations be damned.
But for "Alice," who works in advertising, the ultimate Michael Scott moment happened when a loose-lipped leader who tried to joke with her wound up getting a little too up close and personal.
"I was pregnant, maybe four months along, and I was walking down the office hallway with a friend of mine," Alice said. "Two executives at the company were walking behind us, maybe 10 or 15 feet. I was friendly with one of them -- friendly but not friends. So I hear him say, 'Alice, it's a good thing I know you're pregnant. Otherwise, I would think you were getting fat.'"
Needless to say, Alice was not amused.
How to handle it: What should you do if a manager crosses that almighty line of office propriety?
"It's always a tricky situation to correct your boss," said Huhman. "But if it's starting to affect your work, it might be worthwhile to confront the situation politely. If he or she is just too open in conversations with you or you continue to witness awkward behavior, tell him or her that it makes you uncomfortable. I've always been of the opinion that people don't know they're doing something 'wrong' until you tell them. If you're not comfortable speaking with him or her directly, it may be an issue that you can discuss with a trusted mentor at the office to figure out how to approach it."
This work is the opinion of the columnist and in no way reflects the opinion of ABC News.
Michelle Goodman is a freelance writer and former cubicle dweller. Her books include My So-Called Freelance Life: How to Survive and Thrive as a Creative Professional for Hire and The Anti 9-to-5 Guide: Practical Career Advice for Women Who Think Outside the Cube. Follow her at @anti9to5guide.