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 wehearyou.net 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: