You’re Not the Boss, er, Friend of Me March 17, 2014Posted by Kimmothy in Uncategorized.
It’s been a long time since I’ve felt strongly enough about something to post here (apparently the last time, it was when I was feeling particularly frisky – not embarrassing at all).
Unfortunately this is one of those things that shouldn’t be written about in a public forum, but that’s never stopped me before (see above). As Dooce taught us many years ago, blogging about work, in particular when it’s a complaint about work, isn’t always the best idea. Although it obviously worked out well for her, I don’t see my blog career following her trajectory. But that’s what the delete button is for, so away I go.
Women bosses. A strange yet very common occurrence in these modern times. I’ve had my share of them, which has left me with the impression that most of them are insane. In their defense, in most fields of work, women in power have more to prove professionally than a male counterpart and this can, I’d imagine, be a little crazy-making at times. The three ex-bosses I’m thinking of in particular were a student activities coordinator, a lawyer and a telecommunications business owner. All were extremely ambitious, hard working and also hard-assed, drunk-with-power bitches. One almost caused me to walk out at the beginning of my interview when she started with, “So. Tell me all about KIM.” Another, while in the middle of firing me, asked me how old I was, then said, “I’d accomplished so much more than you have by the time I was your age.” And the third thought nothing of literally staying at work all night and forcing her employees to stay with her in order to get things done last-minute because she was a terrible procrastinator.
My current boss, luckily, isn’t nearly as psychotic. But. Obviously there’s something up since I’m foreshadowing like a blatant hussy.
Before my time there, she’d once been a supervisor. Very talented in her field and full of institutional knowledge, she’s a definite asset to the department. Ninety-five percent of her working life has been spent there and it is from there she’ll retire. However, because of certain personality conflicts (as in, she made people cry, walk away from the job without looking back or giving notice and reveled in her backing from important people) she was asked to step down from her supervisory role. When I started there three years ago, she was merely an imposing office mate; then through a series of office politics and drama, she became supervisor once again. With a caveat, to not please repeat her past mistakes.
I guess a combination of maturity and a new crop of employees to make an impression on, she’s taken some stock and has become a better boss. In the past, where she would be inflexible about timeliness and time off, taking the strong arm approach and micro managing, she’s mellowed and now would much rather be the popular girl boss. She’s still no pushover though, and demands a high quality of work, which I respect. She was an invaluable source for helping me make the transfer into my current position; a good trainer, always available for questions or helping me meet deadlines – I thought how thankful I was to work under this new and improved boss version of her. People who worked under her before agree that the transformation is nothing short of shocking.
As good as her work life is – the inverted ratio of that is the not-goodness of her home life. I won’t go into the details here, but that’s not for lack of her telling the office at large all of the cringe-worthy details. You see, she thinks we’re her friends. Friends that she controls the workplace lives of, yes, but friends all the same. The office friendship and the personal friendship: for most people there’s a very distinctive difference. For her, none. And the more time that passes, the more friend-like plans she has started bringing up and out into the open. A team-building meeting exercise on a Thursday morning; annoying but acceptable. A casual mention of “having all of us to my house for dinner and wine” that afternoon? Alarming.
I’m not the first person who’s encountered this. And as I spend my much-needed mental health day home alone, I’m searching the internet for answers on how to deal with when your boss thinks your her friend.
Help me, internet; you’re my only hope.