I used to work for a real asshole. Pardon my profanity, but he’s the kind there is just no other word for except asshole. He had such a negative attitude about everything that it was difficult to function around him. I don’t know how he ever became a boss except by default.
His favorite jacket was a maroon sports coat. In fact, he probably is still wearing it right now. He was an authoritarian through and through. The way to win whatever grudging favor he had to give was to pretend to like him and defer to his rude and demanding ways. He would have made a great drill sergeant in the Army. Too bad he missed his calling. He loved jerking people around and showing that he was the boss – as if anyone could forget.
One of the employees, you know the kind, bought him a hat that had “BOSS” written on it in large letters. I think that was the only time I ever saw him smile. He liked that stupid hat and kept it in his office on display. After that, he expected to be referred to as “Boss” instead of by his name.
The boss did not know how to dial the phone, I guess, either that or his finger was busy doing something else. When he wanted to call someone, he would get his secretary to call for him and then connect the call after the other person was on the phone waiting for him for a while. He thought it made him look important to keep people waiting. If the secretary wasn’t around, he’d interrupt whoever was handy, make them find the number he wanted to call and put the call through for him. Since my desk was closest to his office door, I usually got the yell.
He enjoyed keeping people in terror and making the women cry. He liked to call people into his office periodically and rake them out for whatever they were failing to do to his satisfaction. Evaluation time was especially difficult. Whenever you saw someone with tears in their eyes, you could figure they had been evaluated. No matter how good you were, you were never good enough for the boss. Too bad they didn’t let employees evaluate managers on what kind of boss they are!
I sat where he could look out his office door and watch me work all day long. He would sit at his desk and eat giant size bags of potato chips and belch. I could hear him crunching. Sometimes he would close the door and get on the phone for an hour at the time. I always wondered whom he needed to call for an hour every day with the door closed? Anytime he had something going on, he would shut the door. I used to hope that he would gas himself to death in there. Guess he never knew I could hear right through those paper-thin walls.
One of the top-level supervisors in our office, we will call him Bill, became really sick. The boss immediately started trying to think of ways to get rid of him. He forced Bill to work in the office every day instead of letting him take paper work home, which he could have easily done. When Bill finally had to go on sick leave, the boss brought in a blonde and gave her the job before Bill even resigned. They cleaned out all the stuff from Bill’s office like he was already dead, with Bill calling and begging them not to throw his personal things away. When Bill died, the boss didn’t even go to the funeral. His maroon coat would have been out of place anyhow.
Things finally came to head with me when the boss called me in his office one day out of the blue and blessed me out for not working hard enough. To my astonishment, he said I had gone a whole day without doing anything. I found out later that another employee, bucking for a promotion, was afraid I might get it instead of her. Apparently, she fed him a few fibs along with the donuts she brown-nosed him with every morning. I hadn’t even seen the knife and it was already in my back.
Anyhow, he told me I needed to show more initiative, for example, I should come in his office and do his filing. It so happened that I was already doing his filing – in the morning before he got there. When I told him, it made him look dumb, which made him really angry. The more I defended myself, the madder he became. Finally, I figured that it was useless, so I just shut up and took it. When he finished, I thanked him for calling the matter to my attention and told him he could rest assured I would do better in the future. And I did – MUCH BETTER – I got another job making more money the very next day. How’s that for showing initiative?
When I quit, I had to be replaced with a higher salaried IT person. My backstabbing friend got the promotion she wanted so badly. Last I heard, the boss was still terrorizing people and was still an asshole. He will never change. That kind never does.
The other day I heard on the radio that it was Bosses’ Week, which reminded me of The Boss. I should send him the perfect Bosses’ Day gift – a hat with what he really is written on it in big letters instead of “BOSS.”
©1999 Sheila Moss
Question: Have you ever had a bad boss? I’ve had many very good ones that I were great. But that’s a topic for another time.