Monday, October 11, 2010

Bittersweet Mondays and Insane Bosses

It was strange going into the office this morning knowing that it was my last Monday ever there. It was a bittersweet feeling: While I'm glad to escaping that job, I've given it two years of my life and that's two years I'll never get back.

I don't know what I really expected this morning. I suppose I secretly hoped my boss had come to his professional senses over the weekend and realized that he had been acting...rather childish. I hoped that my last week would begin with him having accepted the fact I was leaving and that even though it was going to be a nuisance for him, he wished me well.

Alas, once again, I was, for the most part, the Invisible Woman. He spoke to me when necessary but in the obligatory tone you use when you've fought with someone and don't want to speak to them any longer than you have to. I don't think I'm imagining it either.

What I find amusing is that I've had quite a few jobs in my life. On my quest to discover who I was and what I wanted, I used jobs to help me find the way. I've had jobs I've disliked a lot but even when I worked for a crazy woman who would show her anger by taking off her shoe and using it to make a rather large hole in the wall, my resignation was accepted with some diplomacy and grace. That job with the shoe-hammering boss was one of my least favourite; I worked for an international market research company that really only had one office in Fort Wayne, Indiana but we paid other market research firms from around the world to do our job and our boss would then pretend they were our 'satellite' offices. She was a crazy woman. In a way, she saw herself much like Meryl Streep's character in "The Devil Wears Prada." In reality, she had been married three times and had two children she spoiled rotten in an attempt to make up for the fact that she was never home. She was, I believe, also certifiably mad at times.

Nevertheless, she liked me and appreciated my work. When I quit that job because I was afraid that someday the shoe's stiletto heel would wind up my forehead, she tried to persuade me to stay with a generous counteroffer. When I declined, she told me how sad she was to lose me but she understood that market research wasn't for me and she wished me well.

My other bad boss was when I worked for a law school in California. That boss was supposed to be temporary, filling in for my much cooler and saner boss while she was on maternity leave. Alas, my real boss decided she wanted to be a full time mother and we got stuck with the temp. While she was a temp, she made mine and most of the staff's lives miserable by spending absolutely no time understanding the job but, instead, spending all day on the phone with contractors while her house was remodeled. She was only hired because she was best friends with a 'higher-up' at the law school. She was completely unqualified and absolutely terrible with the students. Nevertheless, she snagged the full-time job and we were stuck with her. She still spent most of the day on the phone with contractors. She befriended the students of rich parents who had a little power. She was rude to the other students who weren't in the top of the class. Generally, she was awful. She was the only boss I ever had who actually told me off for doing too much work. I'm not joking.

She was a terrible boss because she didn't bother to learn the job but, instead, decided to do it however she wanted. It was not a good method and before long, I was job seeking.

When I got another job and handed in my two-weeks notice, she wasn't surprised. She was, however, nice. I think we both knew that it was for the best that I was leaving. Sometimes, there are people that you simply cannot get along with, not matter how hard you try. She was one of the few in my life for whom I knew there was never going to be a good working relationship. We just rubbed each other the wrong way.

Nevertheless, when I left that office, she wished me well and I think she might actually have meant it.

Those are the two worst bosses I've ever had. Both of them were slightly sanity-challenged at times but they still appreciated the work I did and were decent in the end.

My current boss is not un-sane. He's a very logical man who is a very good computer programmer. He is also, unfortunately, a male. Worse than that, he's a bit of a stereotype. When things get tough, he starts talking sports. He talks to the men in the office about sports for hours. This, like so many other communication-challenged men, is his language of safety.

His language of safety does not include communicating with employees who have decided to jump ship when he can't see a logical reason for their impending departure.

Thus, he has stopped communicating with me unless forced.

I find this sad. Mostly because if my two former bosses who were slightly mental were able to be decent about my leaving, I'd expect this sane, Company Vice President to be able to suck it up and wish me well. In the past, he's always taking departing employees to lunch. I expect no lunch. At best, he'll show up to the happy hour my coworkers have planned for me this week and sit awkwardly in the corner out of obligation and he'll end up talking sports to whoever can speak the language of the Cincinnati Reds or the Bengals.

In a way, this bothers me. Those two years I've worked for this company may have been a little bitter for me at times because of the constant upheaval of being sold, being moved, being merged, etc. Yet I still have done my job and I think I've done it pretty well. In the end, I've learned that this means very little to my boss because, as he said to me in a meeting, he "doesn't want to have to go through the bother of hiring someone new because it's so much work."

I think that pretty much sums up how he feels about my departure. It's an inconvenience. I get that. I understand that. Yet, surely, he can't expect people to want to stay forever in a job just because it's going to cause him some bother.

Ah well, in the long run, maybe I'm doing him a favour. Maybe he'll find someone to replace me who a) doesn't mind having a crappy computer, b) doesn't mind blatant favourism of a coworker who has the same job title but does half the work you do because she's always gossiping in someone else's office, c) is a male and so my boss's sexism won't be an issue for him, d) likes sports a lot more than I do and, finally, e) likes his job so much he never, ever dares write a letter of resignation and stands by it.

No matter. I only have four days left until I move on to greener pastures. What's a little silent treatment when it leads to freedom?

Perhaps I ought to take my boss into the Most Optimistic Bathroom in the World and show him that he should "Live for Today because [his] Life is NOW!"

Then again, taking an already moody boss into a ladies bathroom might not be the best idea in the world, not matter how good the intention.

After all, I may need a reference some day.

Ah well, it was a nice visual if nothing else and on a bittersweet Monday, those funny visuals make everything better.

Happy Tuesday!

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