Sunday, October 21, 2012

Clash of the Titans

I remember back when I started working for a company that had particularly egregious office politics, wondering how I was going to make it beyond the first day without either impaling myself on  the first old school letter opener I came across or, taking same letter opener and shanking the first asshole that ran afoul of me.  Decisions, decisions.

It didn't take more than a day or two for me to realize just how deep the bullshit in this company was.  I had been given the "gift" of being seated directly outside of the office of my bosses boss and as if were not gifty enough, directly across the aisle from the chief jefkface's henchwoman and strong right hand.  It was like being parked at the corner of douche and snoop. When my boss came up to me in my first week of work and counseled me to "float some compliments" about the big
boss to the henchwoman because he liked that  kind of thing,  I knew we were gonna need a bigger boat.  More likely, I was going to need to pile on the floatation devices and make a panicked swim for safer shores.

Strangely enough,  I managed to last.  Over the next six and a half years, I outlasted that first boss and the four that followed him.  Lucky for me there were a couple of years in there with a good boss, a true diamond of a guy, who like most good, strong and knowledgeable leaders in that company, was eventually shown the door.

The guy who initially hired me, turned out to be an unregulated psychiatric disaster.  He'd be paranoid and screaming at the team about imagined treasonous acts one minute and out drinking with them the next.  I tried my best to keep my head down and not get myself involved, but the bad blood that he built with his boss (and by bad blood I mean daily screaming matches on the verge of fisticuffs), was transferred on to all of us, whether we deserved it or not.  We were not ever treated fairly by the big guy, even years after the hiring boss's departure.

This job experience was one that taught me that I could survive almost anything and that more often than not, you will outlive a bad boss.   It also taught when you have a male boss that rules by ego ( and forgets to take his meds) you have a problem.  When you are caught between two male bosses that rule by ego, you have Armageddon.

Though it saddens me that over my long career I can count the number of admirable, kind and ethical bosses that I have had on two fingers, it's even sadder to know that my list of admired coworkers isn't much longer. The ugliness of humanity is stripped bare in the workplace and the patrons that come along to see its psychic pole dance are usually insecurity, greed and betrayal.   The good news is that we all have a choice as to wheter we stay off the pole and out of the club.  I sleep well at night because I have bared neither my pasties nor by fat stack of singles, and I intend to keep it that way.

1 comment:

  1. I think you have to learn to armor yourself in the workplace. It's a matter of learning how to get your work done while dodging the a-holes, game-players, and manipulators. It's why I work part-time--I'm not good at "survivor."