ANDY THOMAS: I've Had My Share Of Lousy Bosses
I worked at one company 11 years and enjoyed most of my time there. One boss was a Harvard Business School product and pretty stuffy. He definitely had some issues, and we later found out that his wife was on the board of the Boston Federal Reserve. He took out his subservience on us, and it was not pleasant. They later divorced.
Another boss was a great guy and left me alone to do my own thing -- until he fell in love with one of my direct reports. He never called me into his office for private discussions and basically went along with plans and strategies I developed for the department.
But one day he asked me to meet him for lunch off the premises and that made me think I had done something to really get me in trouble and maybe fired. I didn't feel any better when I approached him at the bar and he already had two empty martini glasses and was working on a third.
He got right to the point and told me that he was in love with "Mary" (I'll call her), who worked for me. Whew. I could live with that, I thought, until Mary began upstaging me because of her intimate relationship with the boss.
This uncomfortable situation caused me to leave the job and the area. After all, my boss was a Roman Catholic who had five kids and a lovely wife. Yet he would be seen on the company's campus all the time with Mary, leaving little left to the imagination.
My next boss was a really smart, decently attractive single female who had been personal assistant to a well-known industrialist before joining our company. Lo and behold, it didn't take me long to realize she was having an affair with the chairman, also a married man.
When the chairman gave his report to company stockholders and told them that profits were being pumped into the service department, of which I was in charge, I could not tolerate this lie and resigned soon thereafter.
I left that post to become a market researcher for a Silicon Valley consultancy. I was not doing well because of the writing style they demanded, and the small-office politics made going to work a real downer. This boss also had some suspicious liaisons with his secretary.
Luckily I was dispatched to the London office to do a couple of weeks' research because the person responsible there had quit. Those two weeks were so successful that the London boss hired me.
My wife, just adjusting to the empty-nest syndrome, was reluctantly pulled away from stability while we spent nearly two years in London and traveling extensively all over Europe on business. She quickly became very well adapted to expatriate status, as I did.
The No. 1, absolutely worst boss I ever had was when I took over as the head of consulting for the international division of a computer company.
My boss was a charmer on the outside but a rattlesnake on the inside. He would talk to my employees directly, giving them things to do without telling me.
As the company began to slide into product and financial trouble, he ordered us in to work on the weekends, despite the fact that our clients and staff overseas were enjoying their own weekends -- not at work. He harassed us. After I left this insomniac situation, I heard the boss had been "reassigned."
-- Garrison Keillor's "Prairie Home Companion" is an absolute must for those who like to listen to his weekly broadcasts and Lake Wobegon stories. Too bad he's so liberal.
I thought the movie was exceptionally good. The music and performances of Keillor, Woody Harrelson, Meryl Streep and Lily Tomlin were great.
-- I actually watched a World Cup match, like watching grass grow or paint dry, I had thought. But what a game! Germany over Argentina in regulation, two overtimes and penalty shots.
Still don't know what a yellow card means.
-- Our Supreme Court was wrong in condemning George Bush for the Gitmo tribunals. Since when does the Supreme Court have a say in terrorist affairs initiated offshore?
Let's let Bush bring this Iraqi matter to a close, without a bunch of second guessers like the Court, Kerry, Kennedy, Murtha and others. So critical, but no viable alternatives.
-- Values about flag burning: Growing up, if you let the flag so much as touch the ground, even by mistake, it was almost heresy.
Yet our illustrious Congress says, "Go ahead, deface Old Glory." Pathetic.
I suppose, with a recently self-anointed pay raise, they felt they had to do something, even if it was wrong.
Andy Thomas lives in Pinehurst. Contact him at email@example.com
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