October 16 was Bosses’ Day, a national commemoration that annually sparks quite a heated debate.
On the one side are those people who believe bosses truly deserve a day of recognition and praise. On the other are those who slightly disagree: They believe bosses should sit and spin on Satan’s scepter.
From where I sit, it’s a tough call. Without question, there are bosses who are just plain wretched human beings. Still, I’m not saying these individuals should necessarily spin on anyone’s spiky scepter.
That would be completely inappropriate until their employees have first had the opportunity to express exactly how they feel, perhaps in a nonverbal manner that involves hurling office equipment or dog poo.
Luckily, I’ve never had a truly horrid boss. Instead, I’ve had the good fortune of working for a series of people who were simply psychotic.
At my first job, for example, I reported to a woman who routinely stormed into the building, greeted no one, and then loudly slammed her door.
Based on the noises emanating from her office, it appeared she would then spend the next two to three hours participating in a diatribe, referring to all of us as “F—ing-blanking-douche-sluts. Or something.
Whatever it was, it usually ended about Noon, when she would come out of her office, and proceed to behave in a most unpleasant manner.
Although the woman was clearly, to use a quaint English phrase, “out of her bloody marbles,” at least she was predictable, which was more than could be said about my next boss.
You just never knew what would set this guy off, and cause him to ask any number of higher rational questions, such as: “Why do you want me to go blind?”
On the day this particular question was directed toward me, all I really wanted was to take his picture for a company brochure. When I politely requested that he take off his sunglasses so he’d look less like a person directly involved in a Colombian drug cartel, the guy had what mental health professionals would most likely describe as a “total hissy.”
For the next 20 minutes, I had the pleasure of not hearing anything remotely resembling a lucid thought. I did, however, walk away with the clear understanding that my boss’s ability to see was in some was tied to the matter of national security—and I must immediately update my résumé.
At my next job—yes, you’re correct in assuming that my general career philosophy is “never stay anywhere long enough to do any actual work, or qualify for benefits”—I was a boss.
This was quite an honor, considering it occurred at an organization that carefully selected its managers by determining who, at day’s end, had not yet quit or been fired.
It was there that I learned being a boss isn’t necessarily easy, and that it may well be warranted to give these individuals a day of recognition, along with a limitless supply of pharmaceuticals.
People tend to forget that bosses often have to perform unpleasant tasks. For example, I had an assistant who was devoted to all aspects of her job, except those that involved answering phones, typing, filing, or doing anything else that conceivably could be construed as part of her actual job description.
Obviously, the woman had to go. I felt badly, though, and told her she could stay a couple of weeks, during which time she could seek other employment opportunities.
She thanked me by spending the next 10 days stealing office supplies, and telling everyone that I’d already “boinked” the entire marketing department.
At this same job, I was forced to do something even worse. After the board of directors, acting out of deep concern for the cash value of their many shares of stock, decided that layoffs were in order, I had to let go of one of my most-valued, hardest-working employees.
Fortunately, about three months later, I was able to rehire her.
Unfortunately, about four months after that, I had to lay her off again.
Although we haven’t been in touch for a while, I’m guessing that she had a few thoughts about me on October 16.
And, consider the source here, but I bet they were very, very warm thoughts involving a spiky scepter.
Bye for now.