What your view of sports and life would be if you had too many concussions
For listeners of the Dan Patrick Show, today you got to hear the best college football writer in this country tell his tale about how he got a hard, unlubricated screw-job from the management at ESPN. For those of you unfamiliar with the story, Deadspin offers a very good re-cap here, complete with audio from the DP show.
But we all have “bad boss” horror stories. I’ve been lucky, before I started my own small business, I usually got to work for decent bosses, with a couple of notable exceptions. But the worst so totally reminds me of the Feldman situation that I have to tell it.
At the time, I’m a consultant contracted to a project which I’m managing for a very large company who shall remain nameless. I’m not an employee of that company, rather I am employed by a consulting firm. My first warning sign that I needed to get out of this job came when the Chief Operations Officer of the company came to our office to give the rabble a pep talk. It was made very clear to every manager in the buildling, myself included, that you and your people had better drop everything and attend this event. The end result is I am subjected to a two-hour long ramble-fest during which I’m told “I should feel pretty goddamn lucky to have a job” and that my hard work is paying for this witch keeping her kid in $300 shoes and her vacation home in Aspen.
Now that I’m completely demotivated, we have a forced question-and-answer session during which one of my people asks something that completely puts this visiting executive on the spot. She fumbles through an attempt at an answer which is mostly hot air and B.S., but it is very clear that very same question was on the minds of every employee in the room, and her failure to answer it totally obliterated any semblances of credibility she may have had.
The very next morning, my division manager and the HR manager stroll into my office to tell me that I have to fire the question-asking guy. As I’m reading the paperwork as to why a 20-year employee and a key member of the project I’m leading is about to be escorted off the property by security. The write-up is a lot more crap; he’s getting fired for asking a legitimate question. Now I know I have to make a decision to make. I can fire the guy, in which case I become just another soul-less asshole in a suit, or I can refuse, in which case I’m likely the next one getting walked out the door.
I give this a couple minutes of thought, then decide I’m not firing somebody for asking a question. This begins six solid months of getting messed with by everybody in my management upchain. First, I start noticing that people, resources, and money that were allocated to my projects were suddenly disappearing. Then, I get stuck having weekly “performance review” meetings with my immediate boss so he can spend 30 minutes telling me how much I suck. The best part of this story is the time they sent me to a three-day seminar in another city and cancelled my corporate credit card while I was on the plane. They swore it was a mistake, and they sent me a new card the next day, but that was the last straw. I spent three days playing golf and drinking on their new tab, then quit the day I got back home.
In other words, I feel Feldman’s pain because I know what getting screwed by your boss is like. Now, let’s hear YOUR “bad boss” stories.