I was reading a very nice post titled Horrible Bosses written by Ash. That prompted me to write this post about the eccentric behavior of one of my bosses. She was not horrible.
My first boss was Helen L. I have already written about her long time ago. When I went for the interview, after a lot of questions, she finally asked me if I have supervisory experience. I said yes. She then asked me if I have ever supervised Americans. My instinct was to say no. But I thought about it for 20 seconds. It looked like 20 hours. I then replied: Why are you asking me this question? Are they difficult to supervise? She laughed and laughed and laughed. And then said, you are hired.
Helen always thought if she is not in the office nothing will go right. The whole place will crumble. Whenever she takes a few hours off or a day off or takes a vacation, she would ask me if I can manage my unit without her being in the office. For a few times, I made the mistake of telling her I can handle any situation during her absence and she should not worry. When she comes back from the day off, she would ask a thousand questions and rip me apart purposely.
I am a fast learner. After a few times, I learned the art of dealing her. Whenever she takes even a few hours off (like a dentist appointment) she would ask me if I can manage my unit in her absence. I would say: I will try Helen. Can you give me the phone number of your dentist so I can call you if there is an emergency? (There were no cell phones in those days.) She would say “Don’t worry. You can handle it.” When she comes back from the dentist, she will never ask me any question.
Whenever she is going to be on vacation, I would always say “I don’t know if I can handle or not. I will try. Give me your contact number in case there is an emergency”. She was happy. My life became smooth.