The Boss

Some bosses are so great, aren’t they? I mean, I’ve had several jobs in my life and in relation to bosses, I have been blessed.

Blessed I’m still sane, that is.

For example, I had an interesting boss who would visit me almost hourly in my tiny cubicle. Originally it was a desk, but they had to wall it so the stacks of paper wouldn’t get away.

“Have you finished yet?” my boss would say.

I’d stare at my overflowing in-tray wishing for miracle. “No,” I would say. “It’s quite a lot of work I have here.”

Then she would stare at me. And stare. And stare until I would freak out and say, “Not to worry though, I’ll just work harder.”

Then she’d nod curtly and turn on her stilettos, returning three minutes later with another stack of work she hadn’t done because she’d been too busy drinking coffee, flapping papers, and walking briskly around to make sure everyone knew she was working.

So one day I figured that if I stop smiling, nodding and working like a demented lunatic, things may change. Maybe if I drank heaps of coffee and flapped a few papers every now and again, I could even be in the running for a promotion.

Day One went smoothly, and no one seemed to notice that I wasn’t actually doing anything. When the boss came round, I nodded and smiled and flapped paper in an officious manner.

The pile of work on my desk grew bigger, but I just kept flipping solitaire cards, ignoring the nervous fluttering in my belly. And by the end of the day, I had succeeded. I had not done a single scrap of work. Yes, I’d had so much coffee it wasn’t likely I’d ever sleep again, but hey – I’d been master of my destiny.

Day Two dawned and I was in a great mood. I mean, what’s not to love, right? I went into my office, flipped the coffee maker on, shuffled some papers, and sat down to play. But doing nothing is really tiring and by ten o’clock, I had succumbed to the heaviness of my eyelids and fallen asleep.

At midday, I woke up to my boss staring at me over the partition. “Where’s the report I requested?” she asked, eyes blazing.

I unstuck an office memo from my eyebrow and wiped at the puddle of drool on the desk. Then, in a panic, I flapped some papers but only succeeded in throwing them on the floor. “Er, report? I, um, must have missed that email,” I said, my voice not exactly level.

“You missed it.” She held me in a ferocious stare that lasted until my seat became soaked through with sweat.

So I tried smiling, even adding a giggle for effect. The stare didn’t get any softer, and there wasn’t the welcome to management conversation that I had dreamed of.

Instead, I’m playing solitaire on my home computer.

I really miss my cubicle.


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