“Hey, boss, you have a few weeks free if you want to go visit your family. I know how much you miss them,” I say, glancing at his calendar.
“Elise, I’ve been meaning to talk to you about something. You see, I’m a science kind of guy. And science is all about observations and conclusions. Do you know the difference between observations and conclusions? I’ll let you think about it. Do you have them in your mind now? You know the difference? No, I don’t think you actually do. And I’ll tell you why. I hear you say things like this all the time: ‘You’re free on such and such a date.’ How the heck do you know I’m free on that date? Because you looked at my calendar? Not everything I do with my day is on the calendar. So your statement would be a conclusion. What’s the observation you should have made?”
He looks at me expectantly. He waits for my answer. He actually wants me to say it out loud? I answer stiffly, “That you do not have any appointments on that date?”
“Very good! That’s the observation. You should try to speak in observations more often. I thought this would be helpful to you.”
I nod. I assemble what I hope looks like a grateful smile and slap it onto my face. I say, “Thank you, sir. I will try to make that improvement.”
He nods. He smiles beneficently. He goes on his merry way. Emotional destruction is the only sign he has been here.
Scissors, people. SCISSORS!
Okay, so the man has a Masters in Biology. He taught remedial Biology to disinterested teenagers for about four years. About forty years ago. But don’t be fooled into thinking that he has worked in any kind of science related field for several decades. Unless you count attending a two day conference once a year that has an hour long class titled “Renewable Energy in Business” as science. I, personally, do not.
So instead of “I’m a science kind of guy,” I heard “I’m a ‘science’ kind of guy.” I even added imaginary air quotes as he was speaking. Plus, “science guy” made me want to hum the Bill Nye the Science Guy theme song. Now, a day later, I’m replaying it with him saying, “I’m a schmience guy!” with jazz hands. The brain has amazing coping mechanisms, no? Anyway, let’s pretend, for the sake of argument, that his “science” background is the most important part of his professional experience and directly pertains to my occupation (not really and, uh, not at all).
Let’s also set aside the fact that my main job is NOT the maintenance of his schedule. Sure, I put things on it sometimes, as the situation warrants. And I often get accused of not doing my job when I have changed the schedule on my computer and his iPhone (which is the very first version they ever sold with no updates) hasn’t updated yet. Yes, Boss: When I say I changed it, but you can’t see it, I MUST be lying. It couldn’t possibly be that you are 1000 miles away, in a different time zone, and using outdated technology. Nope. I’m a lazy incompetent liar. So, pretend with me, if you will, that my only task, my one reason for living and breathing and accepting a paycheck, is to create tiny colored boxes in Microsoft Outlook.
With all of this pretending, we’re going to need some dress-up clothing and a tea set. But we’re a low-budget operation around here, so tough bananas. Just solidify in your mind that my boss is the KING OF SCIENCE and that I am CALENDER GIRL. No wait… Not that kind of calendar. Let’s try this again: My boss is the KING OF SCIENCE and I am the SLAVE OF THE SCHEDULE! Much better. Have we all “got this in our minds”? Good.
Now, being the King of Science comes with a lot of weighty responsibilities, I’m sure. The golden safety goggles, the Armani smock, and the fur-lined rubber gloves must become tiresome. And I’m sure the throne (made of beakers and test tubes), must be a little uncomfortable at times. Thank God being King comes with so many privileges—he gets to christen new Bunsen Burners with bottles of hydrochloric acid (this sounds like a really bad idea…) and there’s that whole “naming new elements” thing he’s got going for him.
And I know being the lowly Slave of the Schedule obviously means I do not have a mind of my own and that I must be kept in line (for my own good, you know). I can’t possibly understand these things he calls “science” so he needs to speak very slowly, repeat himself often, only use words made of five letters or less, and ask for my participation so that it sticks. He’s so magnanimous and patient and benevolent. I am eternally grateful. Uh… Not.
So I ask you, while you’re still wearing your pretending hats (which are pretend in and of themselves because low-budget, remember?), is this any KIND of appropriate way to speak to one’s
employees schedule slaves? Personally, I wouldn’t speak to a child this way, even if the child did, in fact, NOT KNOW the difference between observations and conclusions. Then again, I have never been in charge of managing people. And I don’t have a degree in “science” either. So what the hell do I know, anyway?
SO. MUCH. RAGE.
But in the interest of…needing to post something this week, I thought I would share my rage with you all. You see, it’s a golden opportunity. Because it doesn’t give away specifics about my industry and is a perfect example of what I have been dealing with EVERY. DAY. FOR. TWO. MONTHS.
Okay, let’s face it. He’s been saying crap like this since I started working here a year ago. But it was less frequent and less… less ridiculous, I guess, back then. Or maybe I handled it better back then. Who knows? This summer, I swear he’s kicked it into overdrive. I wonder if he wants to fire me, but he doesn’t have the stones (or the cause), so he’s pushing me to quit and save him the trouble. Then I wonder how this kind of BUTTMUNCHERY could possibly be part of a COORDINATED EFFORT. Because please! This man has trouble remembering the names of the TWO PEOPLE who work for him. TWO! PEOPLE! I’m pretty sure he doesn’t have the brain capacity for evil plans right now.
I’m sorry. I think that was a conclusion.
As you can tell, people, I need your help. Please tell me about your work-related buttmunchery. Fast. Because I need to
laugh at your pain share in the human experience that makes up the Internet. Tell me your bad boss stories. Tell me your incompetent coworker stories. Tell me your they-don’t-pay-me-enough-to-put-up-with-this-crap job stories. Tell me your CONCLUSIONS, dammit!
And then tell me it’s okay to quit my job. Because I just might do it anyway. But the approval of the Internet would make me feel better.