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How Delicious Is Your Boss?

Updated on June 25, 2013

Which Deli Sandwich is Your Boss?

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A group of my friends and I were having brunch one Sunday morning. After catching up we began to talk about work and soon we began talking about the different bosses we’d worked for over the years. We chatted away for hours about these people – the ones who inspired us, mentored us and those who drove us to purchase lottery tickets in the hopes of never working for someone like them again.

We were having brunch at a deli and as I looked around and saw the list of deli sandwiches on the board by the cash register, I couldn’t help but take the characteristics of the bosses we were discussing and award them their own deli sandwich.

Take a look at the list below and see which sandwich fits your past or current boss.

The Charlie Sheen – Ham, Bacon, Hamburger and Pork topped with a Basket of Onion Rings on a Sub Roll coated with Mayo.

This boss just cares about “winning” regardless of the negative impact on the team. My friends and I relayed story after story of bosses that had goals their teams were expected to meet, some talked of sales goals, some spoke of hiring goals and others spoke of training goals, and how the people we worked for expected us to constantly work long hours and weekends to achieve them. Instead of hiring additional staff, they overloaded their teams with work and pushed them relentlessly to reach goals so leadership could give the boss all the kudos. They didn’t care that they were burning out their employees, that morale was low or that people were not “winning” but “quitting.”

One friend said she and other team members complained to the leadership in their company about their boss’s draconian tactics and its negative impact on morale and turnover. It took a while, but their boss was eventually downsized during a layoff.

The Snooki – Bourbon Glazed Ham and Bourbon Glazed Turkey on Wheat with Beer Battered Onion Rings.

This is the boss that has a group of employees they go out with after work and they all get so drunk they have to take cabs home. The next day at the office they look hung over, smell like liquor and they chat it up with their subordinates about how drunk everyone got and how this person fell and someone else wet themselves. It is hard for their employees to really respect them after seeing and hearing about their drunken escapades.

One friend relayed a story of how one Snooki hired her bartender for a position he wasn’t qualified for and had skipped over qualified internal candidates in the process. An internal employee filed a lawsuit and there was a major legal investigation around the hiring process for this position which resulted in this Snooki being fired.

Your Highness – Filet Mignon Topped With Caviar on Rye with Pate on the side.

This is the boss who has their band of loyal followers who bow down to them, kiss their behinds and proclaim them to be the best thing since sliced bread. If you aren’t willing to do this you are alienated and targeted. One friend said she was passed over for promotions because she wasn’t one of her boss’s loyal subjects. He rewarded his favorites with advancement regardless of their qualifications. Another friend who refused to be part of the royal court said in her experience they talked behind her back and she felt like any mistake she made was dealt with harshly for the royal court’s amusement.

My friend left the company because of this type of environment. She said an employee, who was treated similar to her, documented her boss’s predilection for rewarding only his subjects and other bad behavior. He was eventually demoted to a non people manager role.

The Empty Suit - Two Slices of Bread – that’s it!

We’d all had a bite of this sandwich! This is the boss that knows absolutely nothing and has everyone else doing their work. You sit back and wonder how this person got to be your boss. Is it their good looks? Did they sleep with someone? Are they black mailing someone? Who do they know? All these questions run through your mind when they can’t answer your questions, give you the wrong answers, give the team the wrong direction or does absolutely nothing. The team is holding everything together while this person gets all the glory.

One friend spoke of a major system migration her company undertook which was to change key reporting features on their month end reports. Her boss didn’t convey the changes to them which caused a delay in their reporting. This should have been a kiss of death for her boss. It wasn’t and he continued giving out misinformation to his teams causing issues after issue.

Another friend spoke of an old boss who arrived at the office at 10:00 am, left at 12:00 pm, returning at 4:00 pm. He delegated everything. It was soon discovered that he was out having long lunches, playing nine holes of golf and going to the movies during office hours. Despite this he wasn’t fired, he quit to take a promotion at another company.

The Shrinking Violet – A Fluffernutter Sandwich (Peanut Butter and Marshmallow) on White Bread with M&Ms on the side.

This boss is afraid of confrontation so you almost feel like you’re in a school for juvenile delinquents. People come in late, they spend too much time on personal calls and socializing in each other’s cubes and offices. Long lunches are the norm and people aren’t productive. The boss’s inability to manage because of their fear or lack of knowledge of addressing workplace issues has made this an impossible work environment for staff members that want to work hard and are top performers.

One person at the table said her first job out of college was in this type of environment and she loved it. She liked being able to come in late and “hang out” doing as little work as possible. She said her boss wanted to be everybody’s friend and wanted them to like her. She admits now that she is older and more concerned about her career working in this type of environment would drive her crazy.

The Mentor – Roasted Turkey, Avocado, Lettuce and Tomato on Multi-grain Bread with a Small Kale Salad.

This is the boss that understands how to manage people successfully, keep morale high and develop high performing teams. A few of us at the table were fortunate enough to have worked for this type of person. A common trait this type of boss seemed to have is their willingness to mentor their employees and help develop their skills so they could advance. These leaders are sharp, they are strategic and they are someone the employees trust and respect.

I worked for some like this a few jobs ago and I will remember her and that position as a time in my career where I learned a lot. She taught me to think out of the box, to be strategic and creative. She led by example and made every work challenge fun and interesting. When she needed to come down hard on the team she did and was very transparent. Because of the type of leader she was, her team didn’t want to disappoint her and gave a hundred and ten percent to fix the problem.

Unfortunately, we all can’t work for “The Mentor.” If you find yourself being treated unfairly in the workplace it is important to know your options. If speaking with your boss doesn’t work, you should document the behavior you feel is inappropriate and speak with someone from Human Resources, Compliance or Legal at your company. Hopefully, your issues can be resolved without you having to leave the company.


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      Angelica 3 years ago

      Excellent blog here! Also your website loads up fast! What host are you using? Can I get your atfiliafe link to your host? I wish my site loaded up as fast as yours lol

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      oceansider 5 years ago

      This was so funny and very clever to equate past bosses to these sandwiches....I voted for the "Charlie Sheen", because that was my very last boss (I'm unemployed currently). But, I've also worked for the "Empty Suit"....and that really made me laugh because I always used to wonder just how this person ever became in charge of anything!...and I actually had been blessed to work for "The Mentor" years ago when I was with the CA Hwy Patrol (no I wasn't an officer), but worked as a Captain's captain was so good to me...he treated me like a daughter and looked out for me every step of the way...when he retired I actually cried!

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      Marlene Bertrand 5 years ago from USA

      I really enjoyed this. I especially like that you gave the disposition of the various boss types at the end. I once had a long term contract at a company where I worked for Her Highness and was not surprised when my contract, along with a number of other contractors (who did not bow down) was not renewed. I was actually grateful to be let go - broke - but happy to be out from under her foot. Nice hub!