Today I took my eldest daughter to the movies. While there, saw the previews for this new movie: "Horrible Bosses."
It looked kinda funny.. honestly, the Prius comment was enough to pull me over to their darkside. I'll be there watching. Besides, Spacey is a total genius. So, it got me to thinking about the "bad boss" experiences I've had. While it's never cool to flat out badmouth your boss; come ON... we've ALL had that superior who was really only that in name only. It's okay to admit it; we can laugh and learn from them! My own personal favorite #badboss story? Was a total example of how people are often promoted to the level of their own incompetence & proved that just because you're a good salesperson doesn't mean you're going to be a good manager.
To set the stage, I was a newbie on the HR Consulting/Recruiting scene. I had, in fact, just landed my first deal - and it was a big one. Set Company records, in fact. To say I was stoked was a little bit of an understatement. (1) I went to go find my 'big boss' - the one I also worked directly with... buuut, he wasn't available. Out on a client call or something of the like. So, I went to find my 'little boss' - the guy right above me. He was fairly new to the management scene at our Company and had the reputation of being something of a playboy. Not being one to subscribe to office gossip, though? I totally ignored it. BAD MOVE. I entered his office and shared the good news. His response? Completely.Blew.Me.Away....
"That's fantastic! How do you feel??" he asked. That was innocent enough...right??
"Um, great (obviously). Total rush closing deals... Of course, now we have to do it all over again... but that's the game, right??"
"Uh-huh.. hey, so what's your favorite sexual fantasy?" No joke; that is exactly what he said.
I totally sat there stunned for a second; trying to figure out what step I missed. "Say what??"
"Hey, it's easy to get all worked up over these deals; so you know, you talk about something that will keep you ... chillaxed." Again, not kidding.
Not quite knowing what to do yet; I just stare. Kinda blankly. At him.
Sensing I'm not quite into his playboy groove, he's starting to get a little antsy... "Well, you know, it keeps you loose and takes your mind off what just happened." Uh-huh. RIIIIGHT.
Now? I'm just P.O.'d. I'm not some bimbo barbie & this guy?? Was totally about to get it. I looked him dead in the eye & said evenly, "Ok, I can appreciate that maybe pent-up blood-flow in your trousers is inhibiting blood-flow to the brain? But why in the world would I -NOT- want to think about the fact that I just scored a 6-digit deal for my new company?? Furthermore, why you think I'd want to discuss ANY part of my sex life at work? And with a guy who gives me the creeps on levels I haven't even defined yet?? BEYOND ME.
But you're in luck, because I'm going to do you a solid... I'm going to walk out of this office and pretend you weren't just stupid enough to expose the Company to a MASSIVE sexual harassment complaint and YOU? Will never say anything to me again. Not One Word. About ANYTHING; not unless I ask you to. And it's pretty even money that I won't. Got it?"
Not gonna lie, as enraged as I was at his totally peeing all over the excitement that came with closing that deal? I couldn't help but smirk at his gaping mouth and completely confused face as I walked out of his office. I was positive I was going to be fired and waited for the other shoe to drop for about a month. But, it never did. I know I should have turned him in; but, in truth? That behavior was condoned in that company culture. Not sure my experience with him was remotely bad enough to consider killing him the way the characters in the movie do with their "Horrible Bosses" but... it was enough that he was rightly known in my circle of friends as "Asshat" for a few years.
For more fun #badboss stories, check out that hash-tag on Twitter or you can visit WorkingAmerica for more fun stories - I already queued the link to the right page! You can also submit your own "bad boss" story in their contest for a chance to win a 'Bad Boss Survival Kit.'
(1) Yeah, I'm totally not above tooting my own horn.