Under New Management

Think of your best boss and then consider your worst. You likely have a mental picture of both right away. One makes you smile and the other grimace. Management is hard.

I started my professional career with a very good manager who took me under his wing and trained me for about six months before he fell victim to the dreaded, “personal problems”. When you’re twenty-two, you don’t understand what’s happening when your boss starts coming in late and looking like he slept on the sticky beer-floor of a frat house. I had no idea what was going on until the rumor mill swirled with talk of infidelity, divorce, and scandal. Finally one day, my formerly conservative boss came in to collect his last paycheck on his motorcycle wearing an earring and a leather jacket.

The next boss was only about three years older than me. He had no management experience and no discernable people skills. He had somehow caught the eye of the CEO and was completely out of his element. If we weren’t half my size he would have attempted management by fear. Since he was a little fella, he ruled through paranoia – often sneaking up on us to see what we were doing. Like all paragons of business, rather than coach us during the year, he decided to surprise us with our insufficiencies during our performance reviews. One of my coworkers actually walked out of her review never to return and the rest of us found new jobs within a month. I wonder what that bonehead is doing now.

I’ve had bad managers since those days, but I’ve mostly been blessed to work under some very good ones. Being a manager is difficult because it relies on people working hard toward a common goal. A good manager knows what motivates his or her employees. But in the end, people are people. We are terminally flawed and often self-seeking.

I hope this new guy is good.

We have new management.

IMG_1277They say dress for the job you want and not the job you have. While we were shopping for a new collar for Stanley we found this number with a bow tie. The minute we put it on him, he assumed the reigns. It wasn’t so much that he took over; he just looked so qualified that we gave him the promotion. But now, he’s turned into a little tyrant.

I used to think it was cute that he followed me around, standing behind me when I made coffee or got him food. Now I feel like he’s just watching me to make sure I’m doing it right. Before his rise to power, I loved to hear him squawk. Since he got promoted all I hear is him bellowing orders.

And we can’t call him Stanley anymore. With his new air of formality, we have taken to calling him Mr. Stanley.

He seems to like this new role and as long as we keep feeding him, following orders, and giving him salty chips to lick, he usually stays out of our affairs. No one else seems too concerned, but I’m your basic slacker here at home. So I feel like since he is always watching, my performance review has the potential to be negative. But that’s okay. I assume he will put me on some kind of notice before he terminates me.

I will say, I used to love how he purred and wrapped his little tail around my leg as he passed. But now, having the boss constantly rub your leg is quite disconcerting… like I’ve stepped into a 1950’s secretarial pool.

Sorry, Mr. Stanley, I was blogging… I’ll get back to work now.



I Broke My Pants

We’ve all heard the expression, truth is better than fiction. When you blog, the two are often woven together with neither being the predominant thread. I’ve been known to stretch the blanket from time to time to suit comedic purpose. Sometimes what could have happened is funnier than what actually happened; so we just go with that.

I was going to forgo posting this week. When you’re seeking high art like I am, you can’t force it. That would be like a five-year-old going to the bathroom just before a trip. “I didn’t have to go then!”

Nothing felt right so I didn’t write… and then life happened.

My pants broke.

In and of itself, this isn’t very funny. But the comedy of life is all about timing. Of course one’s pants do not break while one is at home or when one is in the car a few miles away. No, cosmic forces conspire against zippers to break at the least opportune time and in front of the most people.

I happened to be at work last night preparing for an important board meeting. Being a coffee drinker over fifty years old, I thought it prudent to seek porcelain relief before the meeting to avoid interruption. It was there that I discovered why a zipper is called a fly in common vernacular because the minute I touched mine it flew into a million pieces. Yes, my pants exploded twenty-five minutes before a meeting of the board of directors.

I surveyed my options:

  1. Safety pins. These proved ineffective in patching the devastation and impossible to fasten without help. It did not feel appropriate to seek help with my zipper.
  2. Skip the meeting. Bad option.
  3. Go FIFO – first in, first out. No one sees the gaping hole in my crotch.
  4. Hold my pants closed like a batter between pitches. Seemed too edgy.
  5. Replace the pants and arrive late but fashionable.

After sharing the dilemma with two very empathetic coworkers, I left them in puddles of laughter as I scootched out the door holding tightly the remnants of my pants.

CURSE YOU, Atlanta traffic!

Two miles to Steinmart during rush hour. After ten minutes, I scootched into the store. Of course it was crowded. Of course they all pointed and laughed as I arrived. I quickly found a pair my size and for the first time in my life didn’t even check the price. Of course I interrupted an employee meeting outside the dressing room.

As I explained my dilemma to the cashier, the young man made a valiant attempt to stifle his laughter as I pulled the tags off my butt for him to scan. I have to give him credit. He tried. I didn’t bother with the receipt and I dropped the tattered threads I had worn to work that morning in the trash.

I’m sure the eruption of laughter inside the store was equal to or greater than the sound of my pants exploding in the bathroom just twenty minutes prior. I don’t care… I was headed back to the meeting without a giant hole in my trousers.

CURSE YOU, Atlanta traffic!

I walked back in at 6:29! I made it. I saw the sardonic grins of people as they checked out my new pants. The word had obviously spread. But I don’t mind.

6:29 and I’m back!

I declare victory over the Universe’s perverse sense of humor… this time. But I’m sure it will strike again. Maybe I should keep a spare pair of pants in my office.