Good Boss Bad Boss: What Have You Had?

Have you ever heard this workplace saying?

‘With a bad boss there are no good jobs, and with a good boss there are no bad jobs.’

Is it true?

Well, over the years I’ve had many people tell me about their bad bosses.

And I’ve had a few of my own:

  • The restaurant manager (male) who told me that one or more of us waitresses (as they used to call servers) started talking together, that’s what he called ‘a hen party’. And he wasn’t having any hen parties in his place, that was sure and certain.
  • The senior executive who, when she came into the office in the morning and walked past my (lowly) reception desk, either said ‘Good morning’ – or not. If the first occurred, you knew that she was having a good day. If the second occurred, you knew that you were about to share her misery.
  • The airline supervisor who at one time or another had made all the (female) ground personnel run to the bathroom so no one would see them crying as a result of the nasty things he shrieked at them during moments of stress — and there are a lot of those at airport check-in counters. (I held out until the morning he did the same to me in front of both passengers and other staff because I’d made the mistake of not smiling enough at a supposed VIP whom I was checking in. Luckily, it wasn’t too far to dash to the ladies.)

But once in awhile people also tell me about a great boss they’ve had.

I’ve had a few of those, too:

  • The special events manager who gave me a cheery ‘good morning!’ every single day I walked into that office, and who made me laugh with his impersonations of our more difficult clients, the ones who sometimes brought me down because of who and how they were.
  • The faculty director who often told me how important the work I did was for the other staff members there, many of whom had told him how much they appreciated having me around because I’d helped them out.
  • The principal who gave me complete freedom to teach my class the way I wanted to because she trusted me to do a good job, telling me this at the start of every semester.

So those are my memories about some of my Bosses of Workplaces Past, good or bad.

Do you remember a great or not-so-great boss? What made them that way?

And finally, the big question: Why is it that most people have never experienced a great boss, when they are so many bosses out there?

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