Friday, June 30, 2017

Like A Boss

Once upon a time, I had a boss.


To be clear, I still have a boss, but this story is about some other boss...the boss who had the distinction of being the worst boss I have ever had.


We clashed. Oh, how we clashed. I clash with a lot of bosses, but this this guy, the clashes were daily. Over time, his boss became involved--I made that happen. When a situation is not getting fixed no matter what you try, not only do you need a witness, you need a witness with some power over the situation.


One conversation I had with the boss's boss was rather interesting in that at one point, Boss's Boss started to point out some behaviors of mine that were less than perfect.


My answer to him was simple: "I'm not the boss."


That's not a cop-out. I own my bad behaviors, of which there are plenty. I have several qualities that make me unsuited to be someone's boss in a corporate environment--that's why I don't seek those positions.


But my boss, obviously, was a boss. He sought that position and got it. Because he was not prepared for the position he got, he had employees who talked shit about him. When the employees know more about the job than their boss does, and it extends long past the "new guy" threshold, it's a problem. When employees have a better grasp of the corporate mission than their boss, it's a problem.


At some point, my boss became at least somewhat aware of the fact that none of his employees respected him.


If it were me, and I found out that nobody respected me, I would consult my own boss and say, "Am I OK?" and get some guidance. Let's face it--in Corporate America, having your employees dislike you is not necessarily a clue that you are doing things wrong. Sometimes corporations have to take a department in a direction that the employees don't like. A good boss embraces the mission and makes the change palatable. A bad boss shrugs, blames corporate (in some misguided attempt to be the "good guy"), and takes no responsibility or interest in his employees' reactions. He doesn't care.


This guy was a bad boss. He thought that since he was the boss, he was above us and didn't have to learn anything new--that we should fall in line and support his idiocy, or perhaps protect him from it. We weren't having it. We reported his stupid behavior over and over, to interested parties. He started to react to the fact that we didn't respect him by punishing us in those weird corporate ways--scheduling mandatory meetings in the middle of your vacation and demanding that you be there, or else; giving promotions to people he "likes" rather than people who are qualified; severely docking you for being 10 minutes late even though it was the only time you had been late in a year; etc.


You know what I mean...all those corporate dick moves that bad bosses make.


His staff began to complain, and because I am the loudest person in just about any room, of course I complained the loudest.


Here's the thing: I'm a competent employee who shows up every day and gives it my full attention until I walk out the door. If you can't give it at least as much as I do every day, you shouldn't be my boss. I expect my boss to be better at it than me, otherwise, why are they my boss? I expect my boss to be smarter than me, otherwise...why are they my boss?


And yes, I expect my boss to be a better person than me, at least in the confines of dealing with people at work. Be a dick on your own time--I have corporate overlords to appease and you're hindering my process!


I expect bosses to have more measured reactions and to think things through more than I might. I expect them to have knowledge that I maybe don't have, and to use that knowledge to steer the ship. I expect them to be calm when I panic, and if it's not too much to ask, I hope that they will use their expertise and knowledge to help me be calm, too.


You know...be a boss.


Be the fucking boss.


Lead people.


Steer the ship instead of freaking out and lashing out.


Solve problems instead of making problems..


It's not too much to ask, especially when you *asked for the job*.



You probably know where this is headed...


You probably think, "She's going to start talking about the President."


Perhaps.


I am reminded of my terrible boss fairly often, because, of course, the guy living in the White House reminds me of him. They run their operations in a similar manner...badly. Shady with a side of Stupid. Zero leadership, all about me, blah, blah, blah. If only narcissists weren't so fucking boringly predictable.


But, for better or worse...he's a boss. He's THE boss, in this country at the moment, or at least he'd like you to think that he is. He can make a lot of things happen, for, and *to*, a lot of people. He's very powerful.


The latest uproar about him in the media isn't the worst thing he has ever said or done--not even close. It's not even the worst thing he's said or done since winning the election, but we churn up the fake outrage machine, and everyone pretends to be shocked at the new, alarming behavior, then next week we all go back to "meh".


Just know one thing: Just like my old boss, the right people are paying attention. The process may move slowly, but eventually, just like my old boss was eventually fired, this boss will also be fired, and for the same reason--not producing results + too many people can't stand him to justify the lack of performance.


Those of us living during this time will remember to look out for the warning signs of a terrible boss for every future engagement, and steer clear. We'll do better. We'll ask better questions, going in, and we'll investigate our potential bosses more completely from now on. All of this is not to say we won't be damaged--my career was certainly damaged by having a terrible boss, but here we are...we have one. We can't turn back time, we can only do our best to protect ourselves into this blows over.


I know this is not what we want to hear in the heat of our blast of anger, but that's the deal. Am I terrible old to have achieved this much patience? I dunno. I know that I have had a serious case of outrage exhaustion for ages now (at least 2 years) and I shut down that part of my brain when necessary--occasionally with a nice IPA. I've seen enough to know this won't last--as much as we are a republic and the citizens are the bosses, there are people--seriously people--running things that we don't even know about, and as soon as he reaches the end of his usefulness, the boss will be fired, just like in Corporate America. No real mercy in dollars and cents--when he starts to cost more than he earns, buh-bye.


In the meantime, I think we should just give the man his space, and his phone, and just keep shining that bright spotlight on him so he can be recognized in all his glory. Go ahead, big guy...show us what you're capable of. Stomp through that tulip patch like a boss. Show us who is in charge...exactly who. Don't worry, your bosses are taking notes.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

If I'm So Easy, Then Why Is This So Hard?

I joined an online dating site ten days ago.


As you can imagine, it's been a combination of horror and...what are three synonyms for horror?


You start off with about a dozen scammers contacting you immediately. What's a scammer? That is someone with a fake online dating profile who reaches out to you to try to get you to give them your "off-site" information so they can contact you and play upon your emotions, get you to feel something, and at some point, get you to give them some money.


HA! Jokes on them! I have no emotions! Or money.


If you are smart, hopefully you recognize the scammer profile immediately. If you're not smart, just pay attention to their level of urgency--if they're dying to talk to you, it's a scam.


Not that people aren't dying to talk to you.


It's easy for me. Literally nobody is dying to talk to me, so when someone is very excited, I know it's bull.


Online dating is an intense masters-level course in self confidence. Yeah, I know those pictures are dweebie as all hell, and I am still not at my ideal weight. At some point you have to say, "well, fuck it, maybe some guy likes girls with hips," and just go for it. Trick is, you have to do it knowing full well that NO guy on there cares that you used to be fatter and you lost 60 pounds and you're skinnier now. They just care if you're skinny. Now.


They also care very much that you, the girl, make an effort. None of this "no make-up" shit. Make yourself pretty. No sweatshirts, or sweatpants. No flat shoes. No ball caps. Never mind that all of their pics are of them looking sweaty after a workout, or wearing an Under Armour/Vikings/Packers sweatshirt and dad jeans. They don't have to make an effort, they're guys!


But I digress...


I should also mention, for the most part, I don't care what they're wearing--guys in Minnesota dress a particular way, and you can't do much about that, but I must ask, why am I expected to respond positively to a guy who hit me up when he looks like hell and does nothing for me, visually, but men won't respond unless they're ready to jerk off to your full body pic?


My favorites are the ones who say they don't care about looks and that they just need someone with whom they can have a conversation.  First of all, it's a lie. Of course they care about looks. There's nothing wrong with that--I care about looks, too. I'm not going out with someone who does nothing for me. Why would I? Why would anyone?


I must have read a hundred guy's profiles at this point. I take the time to read the whole thing and find things we might have in common, and I send them a non-threatening email, like, "Oh, I notice (X Restaurant) is your favorite place! I also like that restaurant. Have you been to (X Chef)'s other place? That's a good one, too. OK, well, good luck in your search!" and I send it off into the ether.


Here's what happens when you try to start a conversation with the guys who "just want conversation":


...


...



Nothing.


...


...



You knew that was coming, right?


They don't even TRY to have a conversation with you to see if you might reasonably get along, They don't even pretend conversation matters. They're not going to simply answer your question and then say something like, "You seem nice but I'm sorry, I'm just not interested." They're horrified that someone with whom they cannot picture themselves fucking has had the audacity to speak to them.


Does that sound bitter? I don't think I'm bitter. I mean, I get it--some people just don't turn your crank, and you're not interested. But...zero response? Just...nothing, Conversation Guy?


Huh.


No wonder it's a lost art.


Meanwhile, if a guy pays me a compliment and I don't immediately say, "Take me now, Stud!" then I'm a bitch.


Yes...that's how it is.


So now that we have established that it's different for guys than it is for girls, let's get to the crazy people.


I'm sure there are plenty of crazy women on a dating site. How do I know this? Because of the crazy men. I have to believe the ratios are similar. They must be...right?


Here's a scenario: I saw this guy...a normal-looking dude with an OK profile. I sent him an email saying, and I'm not making this up, that he seemed..."sane."


And I meant it.


It was a compliment. Lots of guys on an online dating site? They don't seem sane. It's kind of a big deal when you find one.


I had no reason to believe otherwise--his writing was pretty good, he seemed to have the same general outlook on life that I do, and he looked like he took care of himself to a reasonable degree. OK. Move forward. Send an email.


We exchanged a couple of emails, and I started to get a bit of a sinking feeling. Not bad-bad, just...eh...I'm not sure if this guy is for me. I decided that the one way I would be sure is to talk to him on the phone. I am a conversation girl and I like talking to someone who matches my tone/pace. I asked him if he would like to have a phone call, and he said yes, so I called him.


The conversation lasted around 40 minutes and the entire thing felt like a bare knuckle fight. He kept asking me weirdly pointed questions like he was trying to catch me in a lie. He asked me questions about things that I had already told him about in emails, which, to me, indicated he hadn't even read them. For example, he asked me about my former spouse, who I had already indicated was dead. Dead, dead, not just dead to me. Dead. I used the words, "my husband" to describe said dead person and he basically accused me of still being married.


When I started talking about what I did for a living, he (swear-to-gawd this is true) said the words, "I'm bored, already," exactly 5 seconds into the description. He asked if I liked my job and when I said I did, he acted like it couldn't possibly be true. He told me he wanted to take a bike ride on what was a wooded trail. With me. With no other people there. I expressed my concern about the safety of that--because yes, let's just go to some wooded area with some guy I've never met--and he mocked me.


Yeah. I'm feeling pretty good about the one human male wanting to speak to me this week being...shall we say...a bit on the edge...?


Now, there were some moments of the conversation that were not awful. He told me about a hobby of his that he liked and I agreed that it was a cool hobby and a cool skill to have. He told me about his work, and I, being a person who loves work, said, "hey, that's cool what you do--that's a special skill and not just anybody could do that," and I meant it, but the tone and the pace of the conversation were so outside of where I wanted to be with any human, much less a male human on a date, that there was just no recovery. He made the ask, and I said I just wasn't seeing it, and that I didn't think it would work between us.


See...here's were I always get into trouble...I felt bad about the fact that he seemed to be apologizing for his job, and his hobby--like he thought they weren't cool enough or something. I sent him a follow-up email...you know...like I would have done for a job interview? Not so great of an idea, as it happens. Perhaps arrogant of me, as well. I told him I hoped he pursued his hobby because I could tell it was something he really enjoyed but that he had seemed reluctant to talk about it. I ended it with a "hey, it was nice to 'meet' you" and a goodbye.


He answered me back by saying I was "toxic, and far from interesting or intellectual."


*sigh*


What can you do with that kind of thing? Block, and move on.


As luck would have it, the dozens of emails I had sent to other people started to trickle in returns at the same time I was declared toxic. Or more accurately, return, singular. This was OK. It was a guy in my neighborhood and I didn't necessarily think he and I would be good for each other, but I thought maybe he and I could occasionally sit at the local bar and whine about how stupid it all was.


He agreed!


Friend, made.


Worth the aggravation? Depends on your definition of "worth". Or "aggravation". Or "the".


Here's the thing: I'm the one thinking, "Gee, if he's sort of cute and seems otherwise sane...should I be judge-y about his hair/body/spelling?" and I really worry about whether I'm being fair in my assessment of these men. 


Guys? Guys are just thinking about whether or not they would need the lights off to have sex with me.


In case you ever wonder why women start to think, "Alone? Alone isn't so bad," that's why.


It's tough out there...

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Bad Impressions Are My Forte, Apparently

I am having a, "people are being weird on the internet," day.
 
More specifically...people I've never met or interacted with are being weird, *at me*, on the internet.
 
I'm not sure what I did to generate the weird, because as I mentioned above, I remember no interactions, but I'm cursed with a mind that notices inconsistencies, so of course I did notice the weird, even if I barely noticed the people.
 
Huh.
 
Did you ever have that in real life? Where you find out someone has a strong negative reaction to you for some unknown reason, and you don't even really know them?
 
Strangely...that's happened to me dozens of times! I must be a real joy of a person.
 
This time (the internet time) it was someone with whom I have never interacted who blocked me on Twitter. I have no clue who this person is outside of a vague geographical reference, and they appear to be friends with someone with whom I occasionally interact but who is also not a friend of mine, just...another fucking person on the internet. I don't recall ever speaking to the blocker and I definitely don't recall ever speaking to them in such a way that would warrant any action, positive or negative.
 
But...blocked. Ha!
 
One time a guy blocked me on Twitter for correcting his spelling of the word "Bismarck."
 
Perfectly fair!
 
No, really! That's acceptable. Sometimes you just don't want to fucking hear it and that's OK. I've blocked people who tried to join an amicable conversation as a devils advocate, because I wasn't in the mood to debate a stranger in 140 character intervals. Mute, block, whatever. But...if you've never had a conversation with a person, or an interaction that you remember, and they block you...what is that, exactly?
 
Ultimately, it's the internet, so, who cares? Assigning any real value to those interactions is ridiculous, and besides, if you don't want someone to see you, either A) Don't go on Twitter or B) Have your account set to private so random people can't look at it. Invite your select group of people and stay in your little hide-y hole. Trust me, no one will give a fuck one way or the other.
 
It's the real life stuff that makes you pause and wonder what goes on in people's heads.
 
One time, a lady I worked with decided to hate me (to this day, no idea why...) and I specifically remember a day when we met in a hallway and she turned her head away and wouldn't even look at me.
 
If you've worked in an office, you know that's completely odd--you spend 8 hours a day exchanging non-committal pleasantries with people at work, or at least I do. Nobody is purposely rude. To go out if your way to be UN-pleasant is...very weird.
 
Then there was the time someone from work (different job) invited me to a Halloween costume party at their house. I had no intention of going because it wasn't my kind of thing, but I accepted their invitation with office-level non-binding graciousness. A couple of days before the party, the host informs me that they had to cancel the party. Obviously, this didn't affect me in any way because I had no intention of attending the stupid thing in the first place. I gave them the old, "Oh, that's too bad!" and went about my day--wasn't even a memorable blip until a week later when I found *pictures from the party* on one of the desks at work!
 
I...what?
 
I mean, I didn't care about the party enough to want to go but apparently somebody didn't want me there enough  to go to the trouble to make up a lie to uninvite me.
 
Aaaand we have arrived at the point.
 
Sometimes, when you're out there being you, and thinking nothing of it, you end up taking up space in someone else's head, quite by accident. You don't notice anything in particular, but they notice *every fucking thing* and it upsets them in some way, for reasons you will never understand.
 
The bad (and good) news is that there is not a damn thing you can do about it. If you tried to find out what the problem was, there is a fair chance you'll just piss them off even more, and you don't need that kind of aggravation. Nobody needs that kind of aggravation.
 
Accept the fact that you're on their mind. Take it as a compliment! You made an impression! It was a bad one, but hey, you're not forgettable...