The Bossy Type

There is a personality type whose fondest wish is to be in charge and able to punish and fire people who oppose their will.  The thrill they extract from being the decider is somewhat alien to me, but there are literally millions of this type walking around the earth.   They are bosses, leaders, experts of every stripe, many of them more or less complete assholes.  I have never had much sympathy for the “my way or the highway” type, but recent events give me, if not sympathy, a bit of understanding.

I have a little program I’m running.  I don’t say “little” to disparage it or minimize its potential importance.  It is a great program that should have about six to eight people working on it by now– it could really be a bright, hot new pilot light on this rusty but essential stove outgassing here in the stinking global kitchen.  It is little because I am the only person working on it, trying to do the jobs of a half-dozen dedicated people by myself.  The program is currently exactly as big as I am, which is big enough, especially if you factor in imagination, talent and persistence, but for purposes of a program, quite little.

I recently spent great effort planning and attempting to hold a productive meeting to raise funds so I can hire some bright experts help to move the program forward.  I’m told the meeting went well.  After all, I managed to hold my tongue for the most part when the carping began, when I was called a hypocrite for calling the organization yet not being willing to listen to an avalanche of criticism from well-intentioned people doing me a favor, supporters whose help comes largely in the form of opinionated criticism, frank and unvarnished, and, thoughtful or not, strictly for my own good.  

The results of the meeting I spent hours working on could have been revealed to me in an email from the people who deigned to attend: your website sucks and has to be redone before you can think of mounting a crowd funding campaign.  Of course, I had virtually no replies to any of the emails I sent any of the attendees, before or after the meeting, so I guess it was worth the $100 I spent to buy everyone dinner to get that great insight.

I pay a couple of people to help and they spend as much time looking at their smart phones and drawing their own pictures as helping do what I pay them to do, namely working with the children.  I thank them as I hand them their checks, smiling, and thinking as I do “you stupid, fucking useless bastard.” This thought applies as much to myself as employer as to them, since I have not figured out how to extract what the program and I need from the mercenaries I’ve managed to recruit.  Or how to recruit people who are willing to work as devotedly as I do.

And so I get the first inkling into why someone would be a prick boss as I ponder this:

The young man misspells the name I sign to every email and writes:

I’m applying for another social media position and they are asking for people who can vouch for my social media skills. Would it be alright if I listed you?
I decide, for the time being, to apply the tonic that has done so much for me: silence.  No need to rush to reply to this guy.  I’ve paid him about $500 for what appears to have been a total of about six hours of work.  His rate was $15 an hour, and I suppose he figured, since I didn’t press him to do any of the things I asked of him that he didn’t do, since I’d be in the lurch if he walked and I had to conduct the Monday workshop by myself, since I seemed easy going, that it was better to get $90/hr. than $15 and made adjustments accordingly.   The first week he was on the job there was a huge spike in social media, 500% increase as his friends checked out the various sites.   The next four weeks the spike was less impressive, 0%.  After paying him for weeks I told him truthfully that the corporate coffers were almost empty and I could no longer pay him for “social media”.  
Yesterday I paid him to help at the original workshop so I could interview kids one on one for a promo I need to make very soon.  Yesterday was actually my last chance to do this in time for the timeline I’m desperately aiming for.  He was 5% better than useless and I was unable to interview anyone, since I was the only one of three adults in the room actively helping the kids throughout the workshop, then cleaning up alone at the end.  No sound bites for the promo.  I suppose I could write:  
Think carefully about what I could say about your social media skills and work ethic.  After an impressive increase the first week, the arrow went straight down to zero every week after that. Tasks I asked you to do were never done, or were done sloppily and uselessly.  Your checks from me were always on time, and you were quick to ask the one time I delayed by a day to pay you, yet you don’t take a moment to spell my name right when asking me for a favor.  A favor, moreover, revealing the almost imponderably large size of your testicles.  
So I say this both as a fellow human being and a prick boss: think carefully about how my honest appraisal of your work might help your chances of finding more employment.

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