Monday, February 27, 2012

Horrible bosses

An article in The Atlantic says that bad bosses are bad for your health.

Can it possibly be true that the environment in you spend eight hours a day , as well as the people with whom you interact for those hours, can adversely affect your well-being? What a notion!

I'm glad I'm my own boss today, although the board of directors in my head can be aggravating chatterboxes at the best of times. At least they only inflict their neuroses on one person, and if I develop heart disease I'll only have myself to blame. Oh, wait. I already did develop that. Never mind. (I remember five doctors asking the same question back then: "Do you have a lot of stress in your life?")

My son has two terrible bosses. They are arrogant and insensitive, short-sighted and lazy, and I've instructed my son not to talk about them any more, lest I break out the knives. But I've had a few winner bosses in my lifetime, too.

There was one who said if I wanted to keep my job I'd have to sleep with him. That led to a convoluted and weird series of events involving an Irish mafioso and some bikers. I kept the job entirely through their intervention, which made me feel smug and earned the eternal hatred of the spurned boss. Hah! I hope he developed a painful and lingering disease in the years since.

There was also a rich, spoiled fish importer, running her daddy's business, who had nails so long she had to use the eraser end of a pencil to dial the phone. A buddy of mine worked there, and we detested her so much we took to drinking on our lunch hour. We also plotted a (failed) revenge scenario worthy of the storyline from Fargo, minus the messy murders. In the end, we got fired anyway and celebrated with more drinks.

Let's see... any other terrible bosses? There were plenty of backstabbers and hypocrites in the magazine business, but at least on the face of things they were charming people and never bounced a cheque. In the ad agency biz they were pretty groovy.

So, looking back, I guess I'd have to say that I had my worst employers when I was young and naive, but either they improved or my ability to handle them did as I got older and into more artistic fields. One notable exception would be the guys who ran the rehab house that was my very last real employment; one was a snake and the other an insecure, power-hungry bully whose favourite line was "Because I'm the boss." Never, ever good when the guy who signs your paycheques says stuff like that.


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stanford said...

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