bad bosses. everybody’s had one, no one admits to being one. i seem to always be hired by or promoted to work with the exact same kind of arrogant, narcissistic personality. (hmmmmm) some have been more colorful that others.
one smoked a pipe. (a pipe for god sake. he was only in his 30s and this was in the 1980s… should have seen the sign) this guy would curse up a blue streak and kick his trashcan (often times filled with still smoldering ash) when he was frustrated. he was often frustrated. things got better when he dumped the woman he was seeing (who was cheating on her husband who beat her) and took up with another (very nice) woman from the it department (it was called mis back then). the two started a business together and i actually ended up letting them pitch their services to me (after i became manager). they pitched, i didn’t buy. i just couldn’t forget all the curing and trash can kicking.
one became manager because his father had worked at the company for 30 years. people liked the father. the son didn’t take after him. this guy fancied loud sport jackets and always thought he was going to get rich at the craps table, which made things tough when we were at conventions in las vegas and supposed to be schmoozing advertisers. we spend many a dinner in strained conversation with clients waiting for this guy to show up. ugh.
the next guy started out okay, but as time went on (and as his company grew exponentially) he became convinced that everyone was taking advantage of him. he like all the new business (and the money) but resented paying salaries to the people who were bringing in the new business. he liked to trust the wrong people. he liked to fire people. he trusted his partner. he fired me. then his partner stole the business out from under him. so much for instincts.
then came the best (worst) one of all. this guy was a narcissistic bully. like the last guy, he always thought of himself as the victim (especially when he was screaming insults and slamming papers around) he had converted an old twin house into (kind of) office space, but left the upstairs as an apartment so the rent would cover the mortgage. that meant his office was in what would have been the dining room of the house, the living room part was a (always empty) conference room and porch was where everyone else worked. here’s the best part: we had to walk through his office to get to the bathroom, which was in the basement. he hated it when people walked through his office. he commented every single time you went to use the bathroom. the comments were not nice. sometimes i just waited and drove home at lunch to use the bathroom.
this guy was also prone to rages and once enraged, he would carry on his verbal assaults for about an hour. those were called “staff meetings”. another employee and i took to writing “f**k you” as part of the notes we took during the “meetings” then would read them afterward. we were really, really good at integrating those two words the notes he demanded we take at meetings:
“…when i call into this f**k you office you need to answer the phone f**k you and don’t use the bathroom as an excuse f**k you because i spent good money on a cordless phone f**k you that you could take with you when you’re in there f**k you so i don’t have to be inconvenienced f**k you by your lack of professionalism at not answering my f**k you call!
this guy hired and fired people constantly. and they were glad to leave. i once had to find a lawn service for the property and ended up calling about two dozen services and every single one either hung up when i told them who the customer was, or gave me chapter and verse on why they would want to run this guy over with their equipment if they came to the property. i was hoping to see that.
i’m sure i’m not different that everyone out there who’s ever worked for a jerk. (please, share away) sooner or later they always seem to implode, or at least that’s the hope. though i kind of like the solution in the movie “bad bosses” where three guys try to hire a hit man to kill their bosses. if only.