Who’s the Boss?


Once upon a time I wanted to be in charge. I wanted to be the boss. The one who ran things and told others what to do. Ah, the folly of youth (or inexperience. Maybe both!). I retract. Take it back. Strike it from the record. Wish I’d never said it. Beg forgiveness for opening my big mouth and vow to keep quiet next time.

Over the past five years, I have come to the realization that no sane person would really want to be the boss. I have determined that the only people who say, “I wish I was in charge,” are those who have never actually been in charge. Who wants to deal with other people’s problems? Who wants to constantly temper their emotions, while letting an office full of the most sensitive individuals in the world unload on them? Who wants to be the one everyone looks at when something goes wrong, but the last one they see when everything goes right? Where’s the joy in discipling waywayrd staff, only to have them buck up like they didn’t do anything (as in jail, no one is EVER guilty)?

This week at work has further solidified my disillusionment with the charms of “being in charge,” and have come up with some observations about office behaviors (in general…not just in my office).

1. All employees whine. As the mother of a 17-month-old, I am proud to say that my child barely ever whines. Now, if I could apply that same statement to most office workers, the world would indeed be a better place.

2. If employees devoted half as much time to their actual jobs, as they did to pointing out how badly a manager/supervisor/lead/etc. does theirs, the world would be a better place.

3. Sharks ain’t got nothing on most employees. If they smell blood, they will swarm like cannibals. Any sign of compromise or kindness is inevitably interpreted  as weakness. And then when the smackdown comes, the supervisor is always the one who is wrong.

4. There is always a Velocoraptor. Yes, I’m referencing Jurassiac Park. There is always one who tests the limits, fancies themselves smarter than you and is always jumping bad like they are the biggest, baddest reptile in the park. Then the T-Rex has to remind them who the boss really is.

5. It is rumored that parenting is the most thankless job in the world, and while I’m sure it has its moments, parenting also offers the benefit of legacy, unconditional love, sweet baby snuggles and kisses and general happy moments. By contrast, I submit that being a supervisor at a small company–where you don’t get paid even remotely enough to deal with Nos. 1-4, often are forced to manage (or something like it) sans (or with very little) support staff, training tools or any other resources (human or otherwise)–is the most thankless job in the world. And yes, even if it is in an industry or generally doing something that you love.

6. No one works as hard as me. At least that is what everyone believes. Every employee is the HARDEST working man/woman on the block. Unfortunately, while they are busy telling you how hard they work, absolutely NOTHING is getting done!

7. Business is color blind. Black, white, purple or blue it doesn’t matter. Every office, in every culture has issues. They may not be the same issues, but they are issues none the less.

8. There is always an issue with how a manager/supervisor talks to someone (NOTE: I have not found a nice way to reprimand someone for doing wrong…especially when, **RERUN ALERT** no one is ever guilty). Ironically, some employees seem to think that they can talk to whomever they like, anyway they like though and it should all be good. Ummm, no.

9. They always do it different (READ: Better) somewhere else. Employees love to toss up how so and so inc., does this or how their sister’s niece’s nephew’s next door neighbor’s company does that. I wonder though, if they have a month’s worth of vacation, allow you to come in and leave when you like, don’t address tardiness, missing deadlines or not turning in information when requested–basically, they let you do what you want, when you want–why then don’t these employees go and get jobs there?

10. Managers and supervisors never understand. That’s right, since all managers popped out of the womb managing things, they couldn’t possibly understand employee work issues, being underpaid, underappreciated or being treated unfairly. In the rosy world of Managerialland we are always paid what we’re worth, are told by owners how wonderful we are adn what a good job we’re doing and never get blamed for anything that is out of our control (not to mention job description). Yeah, and the Tooth Fairy is really real.

Despite my opinions, I wouldn’t trade my (nor would I recommend anyone trade their respective) experiences for the world. Those experiences help to shape who we are and sharpen our character. They test our integrity and hopefully win and, most important, it reminds me everyday why God and my family, not my job, are the most important things in my life.

Would I really appreciate my sweet baby’s kisses and snuggles at the end of the day if I didn’t have to deal with some of the above? Maybe, but I know that if that’s the reward, it sure does make being the boss not seem so bad.


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