Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Who's The Boss?

Since I've been told that I am getting "boring" because of my political obsession, I have decided to throw a curveball. Yes, my political obsession will continue for about four more weeks, but for those that care, here is the list of my five worst bosses at various jobs.

Let me be very clear, none of these people are folks that I currently work with. I am very satisfied (knock on wood) with my current job and I like my superiors, but something a few days ago triggered some of the miserable experiences I've had at other employers. I may have to change some names to protect my own ass the innocent, and I may choose more than one person who was in charge at any given place. These are in no particular order.

  • Scott and Dan - Boston Chicken.

    Before it became "Boston Market," I helped open the first Boston Chicken restaurant in the Rochester area. Please, don't applaud. In fact, it was the second job that I had with my boy Mike C. (the other one is later in this list), and there were basically three bosses: Ted, who was a nice enough guy but obviously a company man who tried in futility to make everyone like him, but also to gain respect; another goofy Herman Munster-type whose name I can't remember; and Dan.

    Dan was a phony douchebag who would smile in your face and then talk shit behind your back. The turning point with Dan was when I was supposed to go to a pool party right after my high school graduation, and I tried to call in sick, but Dan said "If you call in today, you no longer have a job." Since I inexplicably wanted to keep my three work hours and $15.50 a week, I missed the party and went to work, miserably. Dan also threatened to fire someone on the spot if they ate a piece of cornbread that he was going to throw away in a huge plastic bag full of cornbread.

    There was an assistant manager named Scott as well, a big stupid lug of a moron who could barely speak and walked with his enormous belly sticking out ten feet, while he leaned backward to balance himself. Scott is not only the dumbest person I've ever met (and trust me, he has competition), but also the most assholish.

    The turning point with Scott and I was during a week where one of the managers was out, and Scott was made "acting manager." I was a server, which means I got the food and rang people up. There was a clear delineation between the servers, the cooks and the dishwashers. The servers were mostly the good-looking ones (remember this was a long time ago), the cooks were older and were usually working 40 hours, and the dishwashers were punks and ne'er-do-wells, never to be seen in front. Scott made me wash dishes in the back rooms. I didn't mind washing dishes -- that's what Mike and I did at our other job, more to come -- but it smelled like sour onions back there. So I pouted and went back to the back room to wash dishes with equipment I had never been taught to use. Scott came back to the area and started spraying me with a hose. I said "What the fuck Scott?" He said, as if he were Scott Farkas talking to Ralphie, "Aw, what's wrong? Pussy server can't wash dishes?" Classic power trip; what a dick.

    Fun post-script: The day I decided I didn't want to work there anymore, I called Boston Chicken and Dan picked up. I said, "Hi Dan, it's Bill. I'm quitting." He said, "What?" I said, "I'm quitting." In his most cheerful voice, he said, "Okay!" and hung up on me. Poor Mike happened to be working at the time, and Dan and Ted both tried to yell at Mike, saying stuff like "What the hell? He's your friend? Why the hell didn't he give any notice?!" Mike, to his credit, picked up the phone at the restaurant, dialed my number, held the phone out and said "Why don't you fuckin' ask him yourself?" They turned and walked away, of course.

  • Angelo - The Apartments

    The job that I quit Boston Chicken for was a job that I did for three consecutive summers from 1994 to 1996, between school years. My buddy Tim worked there and told me they were looking for "summer help" and I could interview. The interview consisted of talking to the owner of the complex for about 2 minutes: "Ang." (Pronounced "Anj.")

    The job basically consisted of mindless busy work, like vaccuuming apartment hallways, clipping hedges, mowing lawns, painting fences, light maintenance work, and the worst of all, weeding. The work was the definition of mindless, and I don't do well with only my thoughts to drive me nuts. Naturally, Ang made me stop wearing my walkman after my first two-hour period, in case "a ladder falls on top of you or some shit." Because not having my walkman on would definitely have allowed me to hear a ladder falling on top of me just in time to evade it.

    Here's a brief list of reason I hated Ang: he made me weed his yard which was about a mile from the complex; he made me vaccuum his car; he yelled at me for sitting down to pull a very large weed from his car, rolling down the window only to yell, "You better get off your ass, pal!"; he wouldn't say hi to my dad when my dad would drop me off; he pulled me into his office once to tell me he'd have to let me go if I didn't improve my "slownessness."

    Ang had a right-hand man named Mike, who had a deep raspy voice, brown teeth and yelled at me all the time. When he left the complex, Mike would come back every once in a while because his wife worked there. Whenever I saw him after he left, Mike was super nice to me, almost like he missed me. It was weird to say the least. But I realized that the reason he was such a prick to me all the time was because Ang was up his ass all the time.

  • Dave - Richardson's Canal House

    Richardson's was my first job, which I got at the tender age of 16. Cialini got the job for me and we actually had a lot of fun working together, listening to rap tapes and working six-hour shifts with no breaks.

    Dave was the head chef, and although he had an outward demeanor of being nice, he had a seething side under the surface that was almost sinister. There were two main incidents that ended Dave and my relationship. The first was when Mike quit and Dave told me to "recruit" someone from my school to work alongside me. He said he'd give me a quarter raise if I did it. So I got this wigger Andy from my school to apply, and he got the job, and of course he sucked and made me do all the work. I noticed that I never got my quarter raise. One day, when we got our paychecks, I naughtily looked in Andy's check envelope when he was out of the kitchen and noticed that he started -- STARTED -- making a quarter more than me.

    But the last straw was a gorgeous bit of karma. I used to work with a guy named Phil, who we called Philly. One night, we were at the restaurant late (we'd routinely be there until after midnight even though I think they closed at 8 or 9), but I had to take my SATs the next day. I felt bad, but I knew that since my grades in high school were shit, I'd have to get a good score on my SATs to get into college. (I got an 1150 that first time; a 1250 later. Not too shabby.) So it was approaching 11pm and I told Philly that I just had to go, even though that meant I had to leave him alone, probably to stay for at least another 2 hours while he got a bunch of stuff done. He was cool about it, to his credit.

    Well the next afternoon when I came in, Dave lit into me. And I mean LIT IN. He was sitting on an upturned crate, and he said, "There is no way you should have left Philly there by himself. He was here until 2 in the fucking morning, what the fuck? That is bullshit. I should fire your ass right now. I'm not going to, but I should." [Note: The reason he didn't fire me is because he didn't have any other dishwashers available at the moment.] I told Dave, "Dude, I had to take my SATs." I wanted to day, "Douchebag, listen to me, there is no way I'm gonna fuck up my SATs to mop a floor." Long story short, Dave got violently ill that very day right in front of me, curled up on the floor writhing in agony, undoubtebly a punch in the gut from God. I never saw him again, quitting a few weeks later.

  • John - Blockbuster Video

    John wasn't really the worst boss to me because I barely had to deal with him, but he was the typical blowhard asshole who took his job wayyy too seriously, and thought he was a real cut-up. His office was located in a tiny backroom of the store where I worked, and since he ran the whole district, he would pop his meaty frame out from the back room once every workday to flex his supervisory muscle.

    I hated working for him, though, because when we was miserable, my direct boss -- Scott, arguably the best boss I've ever had -- was miserable. Scott was a great guy who was all about his employees. He was the kind of guy that would always back me up with a difficult customer, and if I screwed up, he would chalk it up to a learning opportunity. Everything that I've ever learned about having some authority in a job, I learned from Scott. When John quit one day and Scott took over for him, I think I snubbed John when he tried to say good bye. I'm not sure about that but it feels like I did.

  • Anonymous - Anonymous job

    This one is still close. A job I left recently was taken over by a miserable person. The person took over my previous boss's job amid rumors of being some sort of administrative genius. What I saw from this person was nothing but micromanaging, overreaction and petty squabbles. I found out sometime after I had left that, apparently, some years earlier, I had been on a conference call with this person (before the person was my boss), and said something to piss the person off. Apparently, Anonymous never forgot it, because it followed me to the restructuring. (The person who told me that also mentioned that Anonymous felt threatened by me, but that was more a theory, and one I'm not sure I completely buy.)

    To paraphrase my man Obama, Anonymous came into a situation that required a scalpel and started making changes with a hatchet. My whole job changed from strategizing to babysitting. All the research I had done over the previous two years went out the window, unwelcome by the the new regime. I would get overreactive instant messages from Anonymous, telling me basically telling me I was doing my job incorrectly. All of my ideas were suppressed, all my enthusiasm sapped. The tipping point for me was when I received an email that was a teeth-gnashing, venomous document that you would have thought came from a CEO whose company had just lost $50 million. Anonymous said, and I quote, "I am so frustrated, I want to tear my hair out piece by piece in bloody hunks." The source of the frustration: a one-page spreadsheet that was completely irrelevant and that only Anonymous gave two shits about. Anonymous basically took over my job because, in that person's mind, I wasn't smart enough to do it.

    One of the most satisfying moments of my working life was when I got offered my current job and I got to call Anonymous and announce I was leaving. Anonymous sounded shocked, but for once that person's demeanor didn't mean anything to me.

Well maybe this didn't prevent me from being boring but at least it was different, I guess. I must reiterate, for the record, in case this post falls into the wrong hands, I am thrilled to be in my current job and love everything about it. Even the stress. And no one in my current place of employment appears to be running the risk of appearing any updates to this post. In other words, don't fire me. Thanks.


Toastie said...

my worst boss ever was this guy named Dave when I worked at a place called Sutherland immediately following college. He would just sit in his office all day, the come in late, leave early type. He'd flirt with all the hot girls cause he thought his shit don't stink, and then would just bust my ass for not selling DSL service to businesses in my territory as some of my more fortunate co-workers (fucking assholes he seemed to be friends with at the office) would gank my pending sales by creating new accounts for my customers and selling them as brand new. Even after I went to him on seperate occasions. He was also quite adept at catching me checking scores on the internet and then assuming that I was spending my day on it like others would, thus he would just lay into me again.

I would still see this asshole out from time to time at bars in Syracuse as he wasn't too much older (was probably early 30's to my 21 on the time). I so wanted to heave a bottle at his fucking face. I want to eat his babies. There are others but don't have the time.

Bill said...

Love the bad boss stories, and I heard that Sutherland is a rough place to be.

+1 for use of the word "gank"

SUE said...

My worst boss was the a-hole that took over CCR my fifth year of lifeguarding there. He wanted us to leave the pool to clean bathrooms and stuff because the place didn't have enough money for a housekeeping staff. I became the mouthpiece for all the lifeguards because I wouldn't cry when he'd berate me in front of large crowds of people. I would instead tell him whatever he wanted to hear until he skulked back to his office at which point I would ignore everything he told me to do in order to continue running a safe facility. He was a giant douche and he tried to demote me in front of all my co-workers. I got a spy report on it before he could do it though, so I was able to steel my resolve through the actual demoting and not get upset. I got demoted but kept my manager pay, so it was actually an improvement. I also found out later that he'd left Florida under a harassment suit and some baby mama drama, so yeah...he had other problems.