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Sun, 10th Jul. 2011, 05:24
Writer's Block: Horrible bosses

Who was the worst boss you’ve ever had? Did you ever get your revenge?

Oooh! F'g rant time!

When i was working as a lab attendant / technician at a community college's academic computing lab, one of my superordinates (i'll not call him a superior) showed me an impossibly huge file (4 gigs on a 300 meg drive) and ‘asked’ what he should do about it. I suggested that he exclude it from backups and leave it alone (as deleting such a file can lead to marking arbitrary, possibly otherwise used, disk space as available). He promptly deleted it. I shrugged and walked away—realising fairly quickly that it was a deliberate demonstration that my opinion meant nothing to him, and that he would have done the opposite of whatever i recommended. (He may have even created the bogus directory entry for use as a prop.)

A more evil stunt—as it affected the execution of the department's purpose of teaching people to use computers in the professional world—was crippling the Macs, by amputating MultiFinder (the optional component in the then-current version 6 of the OS that allowed running more than one application at a time). He said that it confused students. Never mind that the students were going to encounter it in the real world, and therefore needed to learn not to be confused by it. Conveniently he—a self-confessed “IBM man”—couldn't do that to MS-Windows.

Much more recently, whilst working as the 3rd-shift material jockey in the boarding department at a sock mill, the straw-boss actively ran interference on my work. I didn't realise it at first. I dismissed getting unexpectedly behind as things just going poorly. (Though on the occasions that i filled in on 1st-shift—by all accounts a tougher gig—things always went remarkably well.)

Then one day—on the line of machines that i had the most trouble with work unexpectedly running out—i discovered one of the empty sock buggies parked in a position in which normally only loaded buggies are parked. At that point i figured that the boarder (the person who pulls the socks onto the forms to get dried flat) had put it there, not thinking that it might confuse things. And i considered that this sort of thing might have been part of my problem with that line.

Then, on a later occasion, i went to fetch work for two adjacent machines that were running the same stuff and close to running out. They were about neck and neck per supply, and both running about the same speed. When i returned a few minutes later, one was completely out, and the other still had about what i'd left him with. I became suspicious.

Later—possibly the same night—i was rolling some work onto the floor right as straw-boss was parking a buggy at a far machine. He parked it in a manner that made it look like the second to last buggy of a 3 buggy batch, and as he walked back he noticed me, and avoided eye contact. After deploying the current load, i looked at that buggy to find that it hardly had anything in it. At that point all doubt vanished from my mind that he was deliberately staging things to trick me into thinking that machines had more work than they actually did.

As if this wasn't enough, an occasion arose when we were waiting for some black size 10 heel & toe for some machines that were running low. One floor below (accessed by an elevator comprising a large platform atop a huge pneumatic piston, capable of lifting about a tonne or so of damp socks) the area where the work coming out of the dye-house is parked had two runs of black tube socks, surrounded by nothing but white and grey. I further surveyed the areas that normally only hold out-work (socks dyed for other mills, and awaiting shipping) to find no black socks of any sort. After returning a couple of times without the needed goods, straw-boss goes down there, then returns to tell me that they're there. So down i go again, to find the same as before. Upon reporting this, he goes down again, and returns to tell me that he put them by the elevator door, “right where you can find 'em” (as he put it, in about the most supercilious, derisive tone imaginable). I go down; there they are. As i load them, i look the floor over, to see nothing different—including the aforementioned two runs of black tube socks. That fucking bastard had hidden that run in some extra-obscure location where i was expected never to go.

I still don't know what his trip was. Obviously he disliked me; but why is unclear. Maybe he felt threatened by my competence, so did things to make me look bad, to make sure that i didn't end up stealing his job (which consisted mostly of sitting on his ass in the office, reading the paper and watching the grunts do all the real work—the epitome of the expression ‘straw-boss’ (i.e. not much more than a scarecrow)).

I've never been one to pursue revenge. It just isn't my style. (Be not the hand of karma.)

And thankfully, i've had some bosses who were not flaming gaping assholes (an expression i picked up from one of my college profs). The 1st-shift (and department) supervisor at that same mill, for example. He's the kind who is out there on the floor, striving to keep the show running smoothly.

Anyway. This post is very long, and i can use a beer.
Tschüß! À beintôt! Seeya! (or something)

Wed, 13th Jul. 2011 08:48 (UTC)

But a conniving idiot.