Skip to main content

The boss(es) of me

Good Monday morning to all.   Hope you had a great weekend.  Central Kentucky finally got a little rain, but not all that much, so the browning continues locally.

I know that I made a pact with my regular visitors not to discuss my job, and I plan to uphold that commitment to you now.  But the word "boss" came up with my grandchildren yesterday and I started to think about the bosses in my life, mostly past, and how they have influenced and shaped me.  And, no, this will not turn into some offshoot of that movie "Horrible Bosses."  As an aside, I think I read that the powers that be in Hollywood are either going to make or have made a sequel to that movie!

I began my working life as a 16 year old in Paris, Kentucky.  I got a job at a local supermarket, where my older brother had worked after school.  Eventually this store would also employ my younger brother and my mother, of all people, when she returned to the workforce.

The store was owned by an affable fellow who never met a stranger, and who had run a smaller market elsewhere in town before opening this operation.  He was not an especially good or bad manager, and relied heavily on personal sentiment or family connections to hire folks (as my family tree indicates).  But I have to say that I learned a lot from him about how to deal with people, mostly customers.  I worked there six years, and actually worked three years for this enterprise while in college--the owner was willing to work around my class schedule every semester to allow me to get 40 hours per week!

I left that job during my senior year of college.  I had become friendly with a local man whose family ran a funeral home, and he invited me to come to work for him part-time.  So I did.  The work was never for me, as I was never sure how to conduct myself.  And I went to work for him full-time after graduation, as I had not found anything better, but I only lasted a month.  Too much inconsistency of behavior.  He was kind of a screwball when he was not working with the bereaved, but when he was with the families of the departed, he was perfectly appropriate.  So even though I worked for him for maybe six months, I learned the value of appropriate behavior tailored to one's environment and situation.

About that same time a friend informed me of an opportunity with the local radio station, and through this connection I got a part-time job there as a weekend announcer.  The man for whom we both worked was a good man, a little different, but he always treated me well.  When my job at the funeral home was not to my liking, I visited with him, and he told me that he would gladly use me as vacation relief, thereby guaranteeing me eight consecutive weeks of work while I pondered my future.  And he helped me get a permanent job, combining announcing full-time with a sales position.  We all went our separate ways when the radio station changed ownership, but I have to say that I learned from him the value of versatility and adaptability.

These were all good foundation experiences.  I'll quickly note some others for whom I worked:

--Another radio station manager who informed me that "my job is to make sure you do your job."  Yes, he really said that.

--A female enterpreneur who would have you believe that she succeeded through her own ingenuity and drive, but was staked to her original business by her wealth father and then proceeded to use personal relationships to gain entry to businesses.  This woman also sued her own mother during my tenure with her, if you can imagine.

--A very good man who had sold his company (with his partners) to a larger concern, only to have it swallowed up by an enormous corporation.  He hired me in the midst of telling me repeatedly how much he hated his job and the company.

--A serial philanderer who made horrible hiring decisions and left me to clean up his mess.  I did that, and after he had been fired, I was fired, too.

--A succession of nurses who understood too little about business and even less about human relations and interpersonal dynamics.  The last of these asked me once why I didn't drive to more locations in my territory, and then complained about the high mileage reimbursements when I did as she suggested.

--A man who never met me before hiring me.  He relied on his own boss, who was located in the same area where I live, to meet with me and evaluate me.  This boss also seldom mentioned when he would be visiting the area, and would then let it slip in a conference call that he had been in Lexington.

I could go on, but I think you get the idea.  I have most assuredly learned more about how NOT to conduct oneself or how to treat people from these managers.  From what I can tell, I've developed a workable style of leading and supporting others.  My current position originally was designed as a leadership role, but morphed into a position that does not have responsibility for others a few months into the job.

I'll close with some great words that Ted Turner used to have on his desk:  "Lead, follow, or get the hell out of the way!"

Have a good week.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Oscar Magico!

Good Monday morning to everyone!  If you're like me, and stayed up to watch the Oscars last night, you're a little sleep deprived.  I mean, after all, how often does an awards show end with a major twist in the ending?

If you didn't watch and have not watched or read the news, then you don't know about the colossal screw-up that ended what was a pretty entertaining Academy Awards show last night.  The final and biggest award, for the Best Picture, was being presented by Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway, selected apparently because 2017 represents the fiftieth anniversary year of their vehicle "Bonnie and Clyde."

In any case, after a brief political statement, the pair got down to business and introduced the nine nominees, then Beatty appeared a bit flummoxed by the contents of the envelope.  Dunaway laughed and said "you're impossible" and announced "La La Land," the odds-on favorite, as the winner.

In the midst of acceptance speeches b…

Learning opportunities

Good Monday morning to you.

Perhaps I should state up front that it's a bit of a blue Monday here in the Big Blue Nation, as our beloved Kentucky Wildcats went down in defeat to the arch-rival North Carolina Tar Heels last night in a wild and highly competitive game.  Kentucky's team never really got going in the first half, owing to foul trouble for three starters, and that foul trouble and lack of rhythm carried over for the rest of the game.  Somewhat miraculous that Kentucky had the lead at a couple of points late, but Carolina's depth and experience won out.

Though my wife doesn't agree, that's pretty much the end of basketball for me this year.  I don't watch much other college basketball except to see who Kentucky might end up playing, so if they're done, I probably am, too.

My company is getting into a new aspect of business that you've probably seen and heard about, but because I don't talk in detail about work in this space, I won't el…

Stunningly apathetic

Good afternoon to everyone.  Unusual day and time to post, but my schedule got a little fouled up this week.

Are you planning to watch the Super Bowl?  For a number of years, starting when our kids were, well, kids, we really made a big deal of the day of the big game, buying special snacks, planning a menu appropriate to the site of the game or the participating teams' cities, and so forth.

Last year was great, since the Denver Broncos won and our daughter and her family are season ticket holders!

But this year?  Hard to get excited about the New England Patriots (again) and the Atlanta Falcons.  Admittedly, the Falcons have a Kentucky native and UK grad on the roster, tight end Jacob Tamme, but he was injured mid-season and won't play.  But otherwise, the Falcons don't have any players who command a high level of attention from me.

And then there's the Patriots.  Sorry to my friends in the northeast, but I don't care for the team owner, the head coach, the offens…