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Long Ago Memories of a Battle-Axe Boss
The Omnipotent Boss
My First Real Job
The first real job that I ever had was working as a sales store checker at Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho. There, I took on the day to day challenge of ringing up food merchandise, dealing with cranky customers, and knowing that the ever so omnipotent presence of my boss was close at hand.
Myrtle Pollard was a person who put fear into my very soul. She was my first boss and one whom I shall never forget. Short, stocky, and slow moving, this eagle-eyed, African-American woman was the kind of person who always carried that English-John Bull look upon her face. You know the look, the one with the cheeks slightly sucked in and the lips curled in a harsh moue and the squinted eyes shut as if to suggest suspicion. Yes, this vision was definitely my boss, "Miss Myrtle" as all other employees often referred to her.
On occasion and without notice, you could find her standing just behind your back, staring directly over your shoulder and watching every move that you made. I often dreaded this nerve-raking intrusion, and to my chagrin, I soon found out that this was her way of correction, right then and there, whether you had an audience or not. I can still hear that loud, condescending voice drilling into the back of my head as I fused pink with embarrassment, Later on, I learned that the key to avoiding this situation was perfection. I worked hard to conquer my skills, and with time, Myrtle's scolding bark became a distant echo.
Once in awhile, Myrtle would call each employee one by one into her office and she would give efficiency grading, a report on job performance, which I did not look forward to at all.
I had to be alone with that woman!
On the day of grading, she looked out of her office and scanned the checkout isles slowly with squinted eyes and a crinkled nose; we all knew that she was looking for her next victim. It just so happened that I was in line of her direct attention and with that coarse bellow she called my name as if it were a thing of distaste upon her tongue. Slowly, I was ushered into her cramped little office space, and as usual I kept my gaze downcast so as not to show my intimidation. As I sat across from her desk, she waddled into the room and shut the door. She did not turn around. Instead, while looking out the office window and overseeing her employees, she asked me with a soft voice something I never expected.
"Tell me ... what is your problem with me?"
As I contemplated her simple yet off-guard question, I watched this tyrannical, old battle-axe turn around and withdraw tear stained glasses from her haggard looking face and begin to rub tired eyes. It seemed as though the ice queen was melting, and I was drowning in her presence, struggling hard to find my voice but as much as I tried I could not immediately answer this woman's question.
"As long as you have worked here for me, I have never known you to smile, you have never looked me in the eye, and you have this huge wall around you and you just won't let me in ... I really have a hard time getting to know you."
Her soft-spoken reply played havoc with the long strain of silence which followed.
I sat there dumb-founded and totally speechless. Was this the same woman who wailed about the commissary floor, barking commands, scolding employees, and giving harsh, critical glares?
Where I found the courage, I do not know, but suddenly it all came out at once. All the pent-up frustrations and all the grudges of nearly two years of hard work that had never been acknowledged. After that moment of recognition, something special passed between both boss and employee that can only be described as a revelation. After that day, I no longer kept my eyes level to the floor within my boss's presence, and a smile seemed touched my lips when she assigned me to special tasks that were only designated to a trusted few. A new light shown in my eyes and Myrtle seemed to walk lightly and speak more softly than ever before and not just with me but with all the other employees. Secretly, I knew about why the sudden change, but what I didn't know was that soon Myrtle would enter the hospital and have a serious operation.
In the End
Weeks later, after her operation, I had walked into her office and handed in my nametag. I remember how she looked so sad and fatigued and how her eyes welled up with tears as I told her that I had to resign. She sat there shaking her head and saying that it was because of her, but I reassured her that it had nothing to do with our conflict of the past. I'll never forget her last words to me before I walked out that tiny, clustered office.
"I hate to see you go ... you were my best worker."
Myrtle Pollard died that evening while watching her favorite pre-recorded soap operas. She had a massive coronary heart attack and instantly departed this world. I am so glad that she was here long enough to teach me the value of hard work and the distinction between good and bad working relations. I'm so very glad that she and I came to an understanding. In the end, we had a unique respect for one another.
How to Cope With a Female Bully Boss
Deal With It!
- How to Deal with an Annoying Boss | eHow.com
How to Deal with an Annoying Boss. Have you ever had a boss who comes up with answers to a problem...five minutes after you proposed that same answer? Have you ever felt like you're repeating yourself...just using different words, so your boss feels
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