Gapers Block has ceased publication.

Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
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Tuesday, April 23

Gapers Block

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R / January 9, 2012 1:31 AM

I started around the same time as my boss. She had no experience in the industry, and lacked basic technical skills (how to use email, type MS Word docs, etc.). For the first several weeks of my time there, every day she made me and my colleague meet with her for 2-3 hours to ask us questions. We had to basically explain her job description to her (it was surreal--at first I thought she was joking) while she took copious notes that she would never reference. You'd think it was rude to have the exact same conversation every day, but she had no memory of previous conversations. Her ineptitude was amazing. And she was a monster to boot; she's turned her staff over several times since both of us left.

jason / January 9, 2012 9:25 AM

My first job at 14; delivering flyers and doing other odd-jobs for a psychic off of Clark by the Century mall.

When I angrily quit after continually being short-changed she told me that I was going to die a virgin. You have no idea how badly it fucks with the head of a prepubescent boy when a "psychic" tells you that you're going to die a virgin.

Mike / January 9, 2012 9:46 AM

In high school I had a manager at Safeway whom we all just called Griffey -- I have no idea what his first name was. He was large and pasty and peppered everything he said with "son." Now son, get your ass to the front of the store and start bagging." Griffey drove an old VW Beetle that had been modified so that the back end looked like a flatbed pick-up truck. I'd be driving around town and see him go buzzing by in the Beetle, that distinctive flat bed and the puttering of the air-cooled VW engine, the car leaning slightly to the left under his weight. "Hey, there goes Griffey," I'd think.

When my sister got a chubby white guinea pig, we named him Griffey.

Peter / January 9, 2012 12:36 PM

Had a lovely experience working for a firm where the owner was a bit of a paranoid pyschotic. Among other things:
- he tried to persuade a young employee out of having an abortion
- We were in the last stages of closing a multi-million dollar consulting deal with an investment bank, the type of deal that would secure the company for years and establish name recognition and credentials, when he decided that he had enormous leverage over the negotiations and proceded to blow the entire deal.
- Attempted to sue me three times after I left (trade secrets, client lists, and poaching)

The beautiful thing is that his company eventually folded and he has since left the state in order to find employement because his reputation was so tarnished.

Joe / January 9, 2012 6:23 PM

My boss, a journalist mind you, and some of his misspellings.

Baot, reserveor, bomb squade, ferlow, trophie, supper bowl, hockey pockey(hokey pokey), society for creative acronyms(instead of creative anachronisms)

Fortunately there are copy editors. He's still a moron. Familiarity with a dictionary isn't his strong suit. His attention to detail spills over into being generally useless as a manager.

David / January 10, 2012 12:01 AM

He really enjoyed wet t-shirt contests from the local radio station...

George / January 10, 2012 9:27 AM

My former boss at my current job was priceless. He had no experience in the department he was brought on to run and it showed. He was constantly giving me things to read and would ask me "how do you interpret that." He also had the attention span of a gnat and my co-worker and I always joked that he was thinking about dirty diapers and unicorns (thank you Chappelle show). My co-worker even cut out a bunch of unicorn pics and placed them around the office. This went on for almost two years; one of the most degrading experiences of my life. Some of the VPs still make fun of him, but I'm always thinking "why didn't you say anything sooner?"

mike-ts / January 11, 2012 12:12 PM

I got a two-for since both ended up in some degree of schadenfreude for me.

I had a friend who offered me a transport management job, effectively to create a small trucking line as an arm of his packaging business, to service its clients as well as arrange back-hauls and eliminate dead heading, etc. Two years earlier he hired a mutual friend to manage the packing line for nothing right away but to get the back pay when things hit stride, so his hiring me for $80 a week and in return I get a sweet return on the profits of the loads later on. "Mike, out there, your lack of management experience will count against you. With me, it won't count against you. With me, you're working for FRIENDS! The short of it was, I drove the box truck, he blew off everything I presented to him, wouldn't even get a DOT number to make my load soliciting legal. I left, then his business totally tanked, he lost his house, his political career was ruined, and he had to move into a spare house that his daughter in law's parents had. From the penthouse to the outhouse.

Then I worked for a hot-headed scatter brain (he bankrupted one cleaner and bought this one on contract, reneged on the payments, and was dive bombing it), home delivering dry cleaning. He changed the route time every day, which caused a number of customers to quit. He kept sending the collection agency on people who paid their bills but he forgot to record their payments. He'd call late payers and cuss them out and they'd quit. Some would call the office, and a line worker would cuss them out in English and Spanish (one customer was floored to be called the Mexican version of the N word). But with his sing-song thick Pakistani accent, how could I get mad at him? Every time he started to holler, I'd giggle, which maddened him worse. He said I lost half of my clients because I didn't know how to talk to people, but when I arranged to join a competitor in the same territory and quit, 3/4ths of my clients followed me over, putting a lie to that. In my 2 years there, zero went back to him. Before I throw my shoulder out patting myself on the back, I credit them for having the sense to know it wasn't me behind all the f-ups, and they did benefit from their loyalty.

ddd / January 13, 2012 9:34 AM

Back in the '90s I briefly worked for a tiny weekly newspaper with a tyrannical owner. It was a part-time job that paid considerably less than my full-time job, but I did it because I was an idealistic kid who believed in independent journalism.

Once he accused me of "corporate espionage" because I emailed a friend of mine who worked for a company he considered a competitor just to let him know I had a new job. (Yes, he read all my email.)

I didn't realize how miserable I was until I went away on a short vacation and realized I couldn't possibly go back. So I called him up and told him I quit. I tried to be diplomatic about it but he forced me to explain, so I told him he was a control freak and that most of his staff hated him. (He tried to get me to tell him who exactly, but I laughed at that.)

He then proceeded to say the most condescending thing anybody has ever said to me: "You have to understand that in this world there are chiefs and there are Indians and you will always be an Indian."

It still makes me angry to think about it.

Jim / January 13, 2012 10:41 AM

A few years back I worked at a non-profit association with a nefarious name in the burbs. Toward the end of my tenure I was switched to a new department with an incompetent boss who regularly tried to fire his employees.

One of my favorite moments was a meeting while a big project he headed was tanking. It was so bad that I took notes to stop myself from just walking out hoping I'd find them funny later. They still make me laugh. These are as close to verbatim as I could get:

These are directly from my department meeting this morning. I cannot tell whether I should be horrified or humored. At the time of the meeting, it was all bad news and made a very unpleasant job seem even more dire.

However, now that I look back at my notes, it's funny. I may not have a job soon, but I'm hoping it is a fun ride downhill.

(These are pretty much unedited, I removed anything specific to my job though)
The situation [x]... it is a premature baby, born before it should.
The [x] is like a baby; we take care of that baby.
We are the babysitters of that baby.
If the baby is dead tomorrow, we do not need babysitters.
The [x] is not a complete animal, if we do not deliver it (presumably, the premature baby), we are in troubles.
We need to keep the premature baby to ourselves, even if it is ugly.
An ugly baby can be made less ugly with makeup.
We need to help others with [x], even if it is ugly.
Do not kill the ugly baby, even ugly babies need babysitters.
Put makeup on the ugly baby before you show it to others.

Sadly, all I understood is that ugly babies should not be killed, but makeup should be applied.

Well, I quit that job pretty soon after that. Most of my coworkers quit as well. Turns out a few years later he was arrested for embezzling a million dollars from the association (which is funny given the associations name). He's now in prison and upon release will be deported.

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