How To Deal With Crappy Bosses

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My boss
wanted to publicly humiliate me.
He came into my office with
a bunch of my colleagues. I was very busy playing chess online but
I could see he was serious so I clicked away that window and stood
up.

“Did you
release the newest version product to the client last night?”
he asked. The client was Pfizer. The product was software that automatically
translated Pfizer technical manuals from English to about five other
languages. I wrote the code.

“Yeah,”
I said, “like you said I had to or we would be late on our
delivery.”

“Well,
the client called,” he said, “and they found a bug.”

My colleagues
were nodding their heads. One of them must have been called by the
client who then proceeded to take out his life’s troubles on
her by screaming at her on the phone so she then complained to my
boss who was about to take out the fact that he really wanted
to beat his wife but I was a convenient second place.

“Ok,”
I said.

“So you
released a product to the client that had a bug in it,” he
said.

“Uhh,
yeah, I guess,” I said.

“Let get
this straight. You mean to tell me you released this without triple-checking
every possibility?” he said.

“Well,
I double-checked but I did not triple-check,” I said.

(don’t be bullied)

“Are you
making a joke? This is a very serious issue. You NEVER EVER RELEASE
A PRODUCT WITHOUT TRIPLE CHECKING.” His face was red. Everyone
was watching.

“Ok,”
I said.

“Ok what?”
he said.

“Ok,”
I said. “I QUIT.”

Which felt
great because just 10 minutes earlier I had gotten off the phone
with Rob Martin at HBO who had offered me a job with almost a 50%
salary increase (from $28k
to $40k) plus $2k
in moving expenses.

“Well,”
the boss (now “Chris” because he was no longer my boss),
“you don’t have to quit. It was just a mistake.”

“No,”
I said, “I don’t like being yelled at. You shouldn’t
do that to people. I quit.”

Chris looked
at me for a second. I think all of my colleagues had their jaws
slack and wide open in that Monica Lewinsky way where the whole
world could just explode any moment.

“C’mon
man,” Chris said, “I was just concerned about the client.
But I’m more concerned about whether or not you are happy in
the workplace. No hard feelings.”

“That’s
ok,” I said, “I don’t ever like being yelled at.
So when people yell at me, I quit. You know as well as I do that
every bug can’t be checked. You should treat people better.
Now,” and I shrugged my shoulders for affect, “I give
two weeks notice.”

I never told
him I just had gotten an offer. A few months later he had a question
about my code and he called about it and I told him I forgot the
code completely and couldn’t help him. About six years later
when I was running a venture capital firm he called, “hey buddy,”
he said and he said he had a business to pitch me. I called him
back and left a message. “Super excited to hear about your
business. Send me a detailed business plan with description, bios,
projections for the next ten years, a passcode to unlock an online
demo, you know, all the usual things.” And he did. He put a
lot of work into it.

I never called
him back. He left repeated messages for about two months. He called
my secretary and said he would stay on the phone until I picked
up but I never did. I was really immature back then.

Bosses suck.
I’ve had some real good bosses (hi Tom!) but mostly really
bad bosses. Fortunately, before you finally quit there’s some
good ways to deal with them and train them.

Remember BAD
BOSSES ARE DOGS and needed to be treated that way.

Read
the rest of the article

October
4, 2011

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Best of James Altucher

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