One of the blogs on my blogroll that I have enjoyed reading is Living Dilbert.
I know every story this professional talks about when she describe the antics
of her bad bosses. Fake raises, being asked to work on a big project on Friday afternoon, zombie like behavior – all of this is familiar to me. Now I can laugh about it but last year I was living it.
I had one of those bosses that made you groan in the morning and wonder why staying in bed was not an option. After a while I became expert in knowing when bad boss was having a bad day. The pacing and collecting of garbage was almost always followed by some tirade. Nine times out of ten, I was that target.
How bad was it? My co-workers would joke about how whatever was wrong was my fault. We once looked at the agenda for an upcoming meeting and someone said “It’s all about what you have done wrong.” I was never busy according to the boss, never doing anything.
When bad boss said jump I had better say how high or know she would just get worse during the day. If she set a procedure, it would get changed. I fought to maintain good quality of work because I actually loved doing my job, loved the opportunities it gave me, loved being called by my title.
What I did not love was being treated as if I knew nothing, was capable of nothing. All this despite the fact I was on the team that won an award for overall improvement, despite the fact I was the one who planned things months in advance. And that lead to great anger on my part. Especially after the security cameras went in with no explanation, no notice.
When bad boss finally fired me, I was happy. I had given myself a timeline to go, waiting for one more deadline. But quite frankly, it was too long to wait. I was no longer the fun me, I was a mean nasty person looking at everything for some sort of conspiracy, just like my bad boss. I was becoming the worst type of employee – mean and resentful despite keeping up with my deadlines and doing good work. It was not who I wanted to be.
My husband was supportive during this time of post firing, thankful the situation was finally over. He was tired of hearing DAILY bad boss stories – as were every single one of the spouses of my co-workers who left or were fired themselves.
I recently picked up a book called Thank You For Firing Me! by Kitty Martini and Candice Reed that has helped me get through some of the rough patches and begin to look towards a future. I do have a plan for making something different happen in my life . And from bad boss, I have learned plenty.
I have learned how I want to run an office, to make sure I have an employee handbook – no matter what. I want to have jobs outlined and have regular meetings to make sure everyone is close to being on the same page. But most importantly, I am going to treat my employees like the valued members of the team that they are. I never, ever want to have people feel about me the way I felt about my former boss.
I understand there are going to be times they think I am an idiot or that I am a bit of a ditz. But I never want a person in my office watching my movements so closely that they can predict when I am about to go off on them for no reason. And be right!
Karyn Bowman lives in Kankakee County with her outdoor writer husband and four children. Become friends with Karyn on Facebook.