You don’t have to be a sh#tty Boss- Originally Published 10/6/16

My hope is this blog post will make each sh#tty supervisor that reads it look at his or her self in a new light and change the way they treat others. If you are not a supervisor, or you are already a fabulous boss this will make you thankful that you are who you are!! 🙂

As a woman in her forties I have had my share of supervisors. I have had some that are great, some that were so so, and of course I have had my share of bosses that made me dread going to work each day. I am sure that many of you have very similar experiences, while others unfortunately fit into the category of being a Sh#tty boss! I am a supervisor myself and although I am sure I am far from perfect there are a few things that I do (or at least try to do on a daily basis for my staff). I will get to to that a bit later but first let me give you a recap of some of the “winners” I have had in the past.

The second job that I ever had was in a food establishment. I was in my first year of college so I was very young and of course naive. My boss was an older man her seemed very nice at first. Then week four he began obviously hitting on me. I ignored this the best I could. It got more obvious and more frequent over the next couple of weeks. I became scared to be alone with him. One evening I told him that since he was married I would NEVER be interested and it was inappropriate for him to act in such a manner since he was my boss!! I also informed them that although he owned the particular store the franchise would hear from me if it did not stop. I was also on 17 but that is another story!! After that he stopped but he also turned into a real jerk. NOTHING that I did was correct. All the cleaning, sandwich prep, etc that had been perfect for a month was not good enough. He hovered over me nit picked and had me in tears most of the night. I didn’t stay long after that.

I was working for minimum age in my early 20’s which I think was about four bucks an hour. Trying to put myself through college on that salary was hard plus I was just young and stupid. I quit college and went to work at a bank. I got married and was lucky enough to have a string of really great jobs including a retail store, and then I decided to work part time go back to school and finish my degree. I worked for a company that sold investments and insurance primarily to the military. This was a really great gig. My hours were flexible. I was able to pick up my step-children from school, I went to school myself and all of a sudden there was a shift in my female supervisors attitude. She complained every day about something. She often had meetings in the evening after I was gone for the day. There was a list of documents that she would request prior to the meeting. These documents had to be in a particular order, and typed including all relevant information. One day she called me in her office and said to me. “Sharelle I am very disappointed in you. Last night when I was with my clients they decided to do bank draft instead of an allotment. I had to get up and get a bank form, do you realize how stupid that makes me look??” Please note that bank draft was not requested. And come on…who would think someone was stupid because they had to quickly grab a form. Her attitude became very erratic over the next year. I was thankful that I was able to quit work to go to school full time. I found out later she was going through a divorce at the time which likely was the cause of her shift in behavior.

Once I received my degree in accounting I was lucky to work for a great string of pretty great supervisors. I worked in three different CPA firms and decided that I would prefer to work at a company instead of a CPA firm. I went to work for a manufacturing company. I took an entry level position with a really super boss, and when an opening in the accounting department opened I jumped at the chance to increase both my salary and my business accounting knowledge. My new boss was an older gentleman who had probably been at the company since it was created in 1954. My hours were 8am-5pm. During my time there I never had a late task, never received a negative review, he never complained about my work. After I had been working there for about a month he informed me that just because my hours were 8–5 that did not mean I was to leave at five every day. I asked if something was not being completed in a timely manner, and he informed me that everything was done but he worked over 8 hours a day and he expected me to do the same. So every day for the remainder of my time there I stayed until HE left every single day. I worked so many hours that I would run out of things to do and would sit there and act like I was working the last few hours of the day. Mind you I was working on my masters, had two children at home and a husband that was deployed. I wouldn’t get home until after 1830 each night. I cannot tell you what this stress did to me emotionally and physically and unfortunately my time at that company was cut short.

I spent years working part time, or for CPAs while I went back to school while continuing to work towards my masters degree. I went to work for a company that sells motorcycles in their accounting department. I was super excited about this job. However, I knew on the very first day this was not going to be the job I had hoped for after all. I was supposed to be there at 8:30. I arrived about 15 to 20 minutes early. The supervisor came out and said why are you here already they told me you would be here at 0830, in the most condescending tone you can imagine. She acted so put out that I was there, and I was speechless. I mean who acts like that because someone is early? Isn’t that a good thing. One time she was on vacation and the general manager asked me to compile a report. I did so and when she got back I was reprimanded for giving him the report without her approval. Just for clarification the GM is her boss. I guess I was supposed to ignore his request and make him wait two weeks. My stepson passed away shortly before I took this job. While I did not sit at my desk and cry every day everyone kind of knew that I didn’t want to talk much about it. She had a friend that lost a husband. After she came back from out of town visiting her the weekend before she was talking to a coworker in her office very loudly (it was obvious she wanted me to hear). She said things like although my friends husband died she’s as happy as can be. I admire her. Everyone should be like that and get over death. No need to be sad about it, everyone should just move on. I could not believe that someone could be so hateful and cruel. One of my last weeks I was there I had oral surgery. I was not allowed to eat or drink that day but I went in anyway. My appointment was at 1pm so I was working until 12:30. She was very aware that I could not eat or drink. At 1130 she came in with a Chik-Fil-A platter of sandwiches and set them not four feet from my desk and said I got sandwiches for everyone!! I had to hold back laughter because it was so blatantly obvious she was doing it to be a b#tch. She had NEVER brought even cookies from home, but she goes and gets a platter that was probably 40.00 for no reason, on the day I was to have oral surgery…Everyone that worked there tried to steer clear of her. I was so thankful when the company had to do layoffs and I was one of the lucky ones. I felt like I was released from a prison sentence!!

The last supervisor I will tell you about was the most difficult to deal with. I was so excited to land that job. I absolutely adored my supervisor!! She was kind, and caring. I mean you could tell she had your well being in mind at all times. She was very open with information. I always was in the know, which made doing my job a piece of cake. I had all the tools that I needed to get the job done. She was very willing to teach which was my favorite thing about her. I learned so much about how the company worked. Once I had learned my duties more responsibilities were bestowed upon me. I was over the moon that I had FINALLY found the company I would retire from. Then this individual separated from her husband. She started hanging out with new people and turned into someone that I did not even recognize. The information flow ceased, the training ceased it just all ended. Gradually all communication lessened and lessened until she barely said good morning to me. She would roll her eyes when she talked to me, and at times she wasn’t even listening at all when I talked. What made this especially hard is I loved this job!!! It was the best job I had ever had. Everything about it was great the company, the employees, the customers, the benefits. I took FMLA time off for personal reasons. I was not looking forward to going back due to the office climate but I had hopes that things would be different. I mean she changed before, it could happen again. I thought that she would be glad to see me return to work. I guess I was wrong I got no welcome back, no “hey here is what happened while you were gone”, or “here is what I need you to get started on”. I really felt like I was not there at all, I felt invisible. That is when I knew it was time for me to leave that job.

In each of these jobs that I left it was never the company or the actual jobs. Even when I was in the job at the sandwich shop having to clean the bathroom it was ok until the supervisor began acting inappropriately. All of them have a common theme…really crummy bosses. Not that there are not companies that have issues but bottom line is the reason most employees leave is management. Why would you want to be the reason someone leaves?

If you are a boss and you are reading this and any of these remotely sound like you its not too late you can turn it around. Employees want to be respected, they want to feel needed, they want to feel they are growing in their jobs, and lastly they want to be treated in a humane manner. It really is not hard. I am thankful for these experiences because they have molded me into the person that I am today. While I am far from perfect ( because we all have made mistakes) here are some things that I try to do for my employees. In my opinion they are obvious but as you have heard common sense isn’t all that common!

  • Say good morning each day to every employee even if they screwed up royally the day before, say good morning to them
  • If they are going on vacation text them, tell them to have a good time and encourage them to relax and leave thoughts of work behind, but don’t bother them on vacation unless its life and death
  • If they are sick or have a sick child ask if you can help, if a major illness keeping them out for an extended time offer your support on a weekly basis make it clear you are not calling because of work but you CARE about them and want to help. Lets face it you should want to help others any time you can.
  • If they have had surgery/are having surgery , or they are having a baby, or adopting make sure you give them a gift or at least send a card. Also check on them at least bi-weekly let them know they matter to you. Even if you are forwarding a funny joke, meme, etc it will show them you are thinking of them
  • Make sure they know they can come to you with ANY issues have an open-door policy
  • Lastly ask them what you can do for them!! At least every six months you should ask where they want to go career wise and find out what you can do to get them where they need to be. Do they want career advancement, to learn new things??? Get them the tools they need to reach their goals!

Employee turnover is very costly to organizations. Do not be that person that causes a great person to walk out the door. It does not take much effort to be a kind person and to make someone feel wanted!! Bottom line don’t be a sh#tty boss!! It takes barely any effort at all to be a decent person.

I would love to hear your stories!!! Follow my BLOG so we can keep in touch!!


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