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Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Like a Boss


I’ve been in the workforce quite a few years, so I’ve had my share of bosses. Some good. Some bad.

A good boss can make the workplace tolerable. A bad one can make life miserable. The worst boss I ever had drove me to writing.

You thought I was going to say drinking, didn't you?
I needed a world where I had some control, even if it was make believe. (I guess I should thank her for pushing me to follow my dream, but that would involve talking to her. *shudder*)  

Have you ever noticed when you have a horrible boss, Boss’s Day is the most ridiculous day of the year? Happy Boss's Day! Here's a plant. Try not to kill it like you've killed my spirit. JK! 

I ignored Boss's Day when I had the Worst Boss on Earth. (Now there's a t-shirt that would sell, I bet.) One of my friends wasn’t so subtle about her feelings for her boss. She gave her boss a coffee mug that said, “A boss is like a diaper: Always on you’re ^$$ and full of $#!+.”

She did what?!?
Yeah, she lost her job not long after that one. LOL. But she was a hairdresser, so she landed on her feet.

Here are just a few memorable bosses I've had:

The "I only like ideas if they are mine" Boss - It didn't take me long to figure her out. If I had an idea, I'd casually mention it in conversation. Then a week or two later, I'd say something like, "What do you think we should do about blah, blah, blah?" She'd almost always repeat what I'd said in conversation and I'd say, "That's a great idea!" It worked and we were both happy.

The Catch Phrase Boss - Overall, I really liked her, because she wasn't afraid of hard work. She pitched in with what she could do when we were short-staffed. Plus, I love a rags to riches story. She went from lowest person on the totem pole and worked her way up to the upper echelons. You go, girl! But if I had a dollar for every time I heard "Think outside the box", I could buy a private island in the Caribbean. It was so noticeable, one of my co-workers found a birthday card with three cats in suits standing around a table pointing to a litter box in the middle. One of the cats says, "Okay. Who's been thinking outside the box again?" How appropriate!

The "Where's Waldo?" Boss - She would wander in late, leave early, or not show up at all. Probably my best job EVER, because it was like having no boss.

Par-tay!!!
And the award for most memorable boss goes to...

The "I shoot from the hip" Boss - That's cowgirl talk for "I make impulsive decisions without thinking and someone might die because of it." She was meaner than a bobcat, slippery than a sidewinder, and as trigger happy as the Wyatt brothers at the OK Corral.
Whadda ya mean, the copier's outta bleeping toner?!?
What about you? Any memorable bosses in your past? One lucky commenter will win this...



So you can read like a boss!

US and Canada only

35 comments:

  1. How about he Don't consult me on very decision boss but it better be the one I would make?
    debby236 at gmail dot com

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    1. Oh, boy! I'm not good at reading minds, so I'd be awful at that job. One "World's Most Horrible Boss" t-shirt coming up. ;D

      Thanks for stopping by and good luck in the drawing.

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  2. What about the sink or swim boss? "I know it's your first day and you have no idea what you're doing, but tackle this project. Then, when you are done, I will pick apart every mistake you made and flog you verbally for an hour."

    No, I am not bitter. ;)

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    1. Blech! I'd want to toss him in a lake and see if HE sinks.

      Note to self: Send lead-lined t-shirt to Lily. ;)

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    2. Ah - the 'I need to feel superior and establish dominance via unfair and unrealistic expectations' boss. *shakes head*

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  3. Ok, favorite boss was when I worked at parks & rec. he was awesome, then he moved. I got a new boss, who cut my hours to nothing and basically said thanks for all your hard, but we are going to let this person do your job because she's older. Ya, I wanted to cut him. To say the least I was pissed.

    So, there is the backstabbing boss, you know they smile to your face then lie.

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    1. Forgot email countessofmar(at)yahoo(dot)com

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    2. Ugh! I hate when new bosses come in. It's like playing Russian Roulette. You never know what you're going to get. In my current job, I've had three bosses in 8 years. Now I'm of the mindset that even if/when I have a bad one, I can outlast the person. LOL

      That really stinks that your hours were cut. We had that happen in our office too, and I feel bad for my co-workers. If I could give them some of my hours, I would, but our jobs are different. :(

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  4. Like everyone here I've had good bosses and bad bosses.
    I have one boss that stands out above the rest.I started working as a receptionist at H&R Block when I was just shy of seventeen, and the first office they placed me in the busiest office in the district. During its hey day it could easily have lines out the door during the peak season (End of Jan-Beginning of March). For me this pace was a little too much to handle, so the company transfered me into a small shoe box sized office that was perfect for me. The office was a place where I could work solo, but it came with an office manager who scared the dickens out of this seveteen yr old girl. It boiled down to things were done her way (sometimes not the company way) or the highway. To say that she was tough to work with was an understatement. I learned under this boss and I grew up under her. She taught me how to always be professional no matter what the setting. When I wanted to pierce my nose she told me that if I did such she would send me home that day to remove it, and heaven forbid I even contemplate getting a tattoo. But for as firm as she was, she grew on me and I learned that she may have been tough but she was such in order to teach me the right way. I worked under her for close to ten years until I moved away from home. Even after I left that office I remained friends with her. When she passed away a few years ago, it felt like I had lost a family member. The lessons that Irene taught me I still carry with me today in any job that I tackle, and it's often commented upon the level of professionalism I carry with me today. I never did get that nose piercing, but did get those tattoos set in places that can easily be hidden on the job. She went from being a boss that had me shaking in my shoes to being that second mom I needed in life.

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    1. Misty,
      What a great story! And so inspiring. I've had tough, no nonsense bosses and those have been some of the best ones. They gave clear directions and never left me guessing what was expected of me. It sounds like she really took you under her wing. What a lovely gift to receive. :)

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    2. I remained at Block for 16 years. There are times I wish it had been a year round position. I owe that to Irene, she built a close knit office.

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    3. Misty, that sounds like a great book :) A beautiful character and relationship arc for the both of you

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  5. In a way, I'm grateful to my last boss. His wild mood swings and unpredictable responses are what eventually drove me to quit and start writing. I would have never left such a lucrative job without some strong inducement.
    Other than him, I've actually been really lucky in the boss department. Lots of good people, and only a few outright idiots ;)

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    1. Erin,
      It sounds like we had a similar experience that pushed us into writing. It has been the best decision I ever made, so I have no regrets. :)

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  6. Hmm. I've been pretty lucky as far as bosses go. But then maybe I intimidate them. At my 40th birthday party last weekend, my boss stood up and said to the room at large. "Does anyone know Ava's favorite w(h)ine?" To which a number of people called out, "Moscato!" because they know me so well. But then he said, "No! It's 'I don't wanna do this anymore'," with a whiny voice. But he had it all wrong. I never say that. I say, "I'm not gonna do this anymore." But always with a valid reason. ;)

    It's my co-worker I can't really tolerate. I think her middle names are Angry and Judgmental. While I do 2/3 of the work or more, she watches TV or has long personal phone calls, but is never shy about telling others what they've done wrong. I *know* I have to drive her just as crazy as she drives me. She's a neat freak and I'm...not. We've both been here 11 years and neither of us is leaving anytime soon. It's like a bad marriage and no one is filing for divorce.

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    1. LOL on both accounts! I was going to say "No fair! Why does she get to watch TV at work?" But truthfully, I've watched TV with patients at times. It's not typical, though. :)

      Perhaps marriage counseling is in order? *snort*

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  7. I've never had a bad boss. One I semi-clashed with (because we're both type A and I had a hard time reconciling that SHE was in charge) but nothing seriously bad. In fact, I'm almost offended at how well I've gotten along with my bosses! It goes against my nature! ;}

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    1. LOL. Too funny, Andris. That sounds a lot like me. I had a friend once tell me that no one was really my boss. I just let them think they were. ;D

      All of my memorable bosses weren't bad bosses. In fact, my Catch Phrase boss was one of my favorites. They just had quirks that made them stand out.

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  8. I once had a boss who was the foster father to 12 kids. He was a great dad...but I think he spent so much of his time being a great dad that he forgot to be a great boss, too. It was difficult working for him. He would leave a lot of things to his assistant managers (of which I was one) that were really his responsibility. He got paid for them, we didn't, but we did the work. It was a trying time, but it also proved to be a good learning experience for me.

    I'm just pleased that these days, I'm my own boss. If something doesn't get done, I don't have anyone to blame but myself. Which also kind of stinks, but still.

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    1. Are you a hard boss to work for Catherine, or do you cut yourself some breaks? ;)

      I look forward to the day I'm my own boss, too.

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  9. I've had almost all of those bosses!!! Luckily I do like the one that I have now... except she's a "try and please everyone and get nothing accomplished" type. But... she will stand up for you 100% outside the department. We joke that once you get into our department and don't kill anyone (we are in healthcare), you're set for life b/c nobody gets kicked off the "island of broken and misfit toys".

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    1. Erin,
      I'm in healthcare too, and how wonderful it is when you have someone who will stand up for you outside of the department. I have a great boss right now. I always laugh about our department being like a dysfunctional family. We may fight tooth and nail with each other, but anyone outside the family better not say a bad word against one of ours or they experience the wrath of the whole crew. :D

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  10. I had the worst boss ever when I worked for the Air Force many years ago. He had no idea of how to be a boss. Every time I went to his desk to speak with him about something, he whipped out his handkerchief and proceeded to "dig for gold." This man had a love affair with that handkerchief. He was always “busy.” The straw that broke the camel’s back came the day he handed me a piece of paper and it had a “special gift” on it from him. After running to the ladies room to scrub my hands, I immediately put in for a transfer. That was a nasty man. Crazy bosses after him I could handle. But this guy gave me the heaves!

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    1. Oh, my word!!! Connie, I just literally gasped aloud when I read about his special gift. EW!!! But what an effective way to avoid responsibilities. My dad has been a boss for years. I'll have to ask him if they teach that technique in management classes. LOL

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  11. The title alone was worth the read, Samantha. Oh gosh, can we add, ONLY LIKES THE "PRETTY" EMPLOYEES at Work. Yeah, had one of those in a school. One time he told me I was pretty and smart, but the smart wasn't a compliment. 0.o Not to mention how creep it is to tell your employee that she's pretty.

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    1. That is super creepy, Marquita. I've never had a boss like that, thank goodness. But I've had my share of weirdos I've come across who also worked in the helping field. I used to have to cover crisis call for the mental health agency I worked for and I'd have to go into the ER to do assessments. There was this doctor that obviously had a thing for me, because he'd flirt and try to rub my shoulders when I'd get called in. It was very uncomfortable. I was so happy when another co-worker who had massive student loans to pay wanted to pick up all the call for about a year. :)

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  12. Oh yes, I worked for the same man for 25 years and put up with a lot of abuse from him over the years. He used to have me type his young daughter's homework, he'd make me sit at his desk and type his emails for him because he didn't want them to look unprofessional, and he took his frustration out on me by yelling when he was stressed, among other things. The boss I have now is a total dream, she's sweet, kind, overworked and I just want to do whatever I can to help her. When she gives me work to do she asks me as if she's bothering me and always says thank you. I couldn't ask for a nicer boss.

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    1. Barbara,
      Doesn't it make all the difference when you have a good boss? I have a good one now.

      I don't know if I could put up with a jerk for 25 years. I think you deserve a medal!

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  13. My "favorite" boss was the one who would SCREAM at us through email--just be really really condescending and awful--and then come out of her office and chat us all up with a smile and a joke not 2 minutes later. This was in the early days of email, believe it or not, when there still wasn't that concept of accountability, and the fact that there were actual people on the other end. I didn't last a year and a half.

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    1. Split personality??? That had to be awkward. Do you think she was really that clueless?

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  14. Great topic! I have had both a super-boss and a boss from hell. I had taken a leave when my son was born and then when I was able to re-enter the workforce, I couldn't find work anywhere and ended up with a hellish situation (born of desperation)...the woman was the most mentally abusive woman I've had the 'privilege' of working with. The budget kept me at a pay schedule of 19.5 hours per week, although she would require me to work a day and afternoon shift (and if I didn't she would make my life hell). People couldn't understand why I worked the 'extra' hours when I wasn't getting paid but it wasn't worth my sanity to fight her on that. When my son was hospitalized, she required me to come in even though his hospital was an hour and fifteen minutes from his work, just to 'show up' for at least two-three hours.
    The day I found new work, was one of the highlights of my life...oh, the fun I had quitting that. I didn't even give any notice which I know is wrong, but it was so what she deserved)...well, that and your friend's mug. ; ) It gave me a tremendous appreciation for all the hourly wage workers our there!

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    1. Wow! I not even legal to make you work without paying you. What a nightmare! Honestly, there was a time when I daydreamed of walking out without giving notice. I can just imagine the satisfaction you felt. I'm so glad you have a new job now. :)

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  15. My worst boss was the one who was sleeping with the company owner. Boy, that was not a good situation for anyone!

    I've had some awesome bosses too, though. Although, I 'm with Catherine. Being your own boss is the bomb!

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    1. I can't wait to be my own boss!!! But I am a little hard to please. ;D

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  16. Congratulations to Erin! She is our Read Like a Boss winner! :)

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