June 22, 2004

Bad bosses

There was an interesting article in the NY Times today about bullying bosses. Have you ever had a boss who was a bully ("BB")? I have. I still do, in fact. My BB is named Stinky, because he is English and he doesn't always wash enough. So if you get real close to him at depositions, for instance, it'll break your concentration. Stinky is a bully. One associate who used to work here, and that reminds me that I owe her a call, used to throw up in the morning before coming to work on the days that she had to work with Stinky. On the days I worked with him, in the beginning, I used to come home from work, take a beer out of the fridge, sit down in the big, black comfy chair and not speak for about 20 minutes or so. Not one word until I was able to let the bad place go. I've seen three other associates quit rather than continue to work with him.

One associate, R, liked it. He became a mini-Stinky until the other associates practically slapped him upside the head. The article discusses this phenomenon, too.

The article also says that there is insufficient data about workers confronting their BB's. Well, I confronted him a couple of times. The first was in the beginning when he told me that I seemed to have a problem with his criticism and I told him that I did not have a problem being criticized, but the "manner in which he did it was positively lacerating". With that, he turned and walked out of my office and did not speak again to me for weeks. It was bliss. I'm still not sure why that was such a horrible thing to say, but it worked.

Stinky has class problems. He brought them with him from the England in the early 60's where he grew up in a large Irish-Catholic family in London when, I bet, it wasn't so easy to be Irish-Catholic in England. He claims to have no class problems at all. Untrue. Let me give you an example. I said something to him, not that long ago, and said, "that was not criticism" and he snorted and said, "how could it be? You are an associate and I am a partner, you couldn't criticize me". See what I mean? That's a social position/class issue in my mind.

Stinky also has this faux-hail-fellow-well-met persona. You never know if he's actually angry with you or just in a good mood. That keeps you off balance and guessing.

I dislike working with him and I hate reporting to him when I have to. He is one of the big reasons I don't think I want to become a partner here.

I'm not taking this much further today down memory lane with him because almost none of them are good.

Have any of you had BB experiences? I bet you have.

Posted by Random Penseur at June 22, 2004 08:45 AM
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