For the First Time

I’ve been working for a long time.

I was in the 8th grade when I got my first job and I’ve been working ever since.  For the most part, I’ve loved having a job.  When I was younger I loved the extra money and the independence it gave me (as well as the sense of importance).  As I got older I just liked meeting people and work is just one of those places where you meet people.  I’ve been an antique store clerk, a video/ice cream shop clerk, a waitress and a short order cook, a Subway sandwich artist, a telemarketer, a data entry person… I’ve worked Shopko, a grocery store, a speaker factory (literally the only job I’ve ever hated).  I’ve done hotel housekeeping, residence life at college and finally… teaching.

What never actually occurred to me until very recently is that I’ve been incredibly lucky.  I’ve had wonderful bosses this entire time.  I am a person to make the best of a situation so I’ve always tried to make work fun and enjoy what I’m doing but I’ve never had to suffer under a bad boss or even one I seriously disliked…. until now.

My old boss of 12 years retired at the end of last school year.  I’m happy for him.  I adore that guy and while he wasn’t perfect by any means, he was someone I could always count on to be as fair as he could and who would treat me with respect.  I never realized how much I took him for granted until this school year when he is no longer at my place of employment.

I started out the school year really liking my new boss.  He’s funny and seemingly easy going, a bit uptight about giving up any sort of decision making power but I figured it was just because he didn’t know me or my department and we would soon develop a good, working rapport.

Nope.  Things have only gone downhill since the beginning of the year.  Every week he does something which makes me furious.  It’s not about the amount of work he wants us to do (which is a ton) in what is, essentially a rough transition year for everyone involved due to new work demands in the first place.  It’s not the work.  I’m not afraid of hard work and I often make more work for myself by being a perfectionist and trying to improve every single year.  It’s his attitude.  He gets snippy.  He hates taking individual circumstances into consideration… something I was incredibly used to with my old boss.  If you approach him after something that has upset him (and you have no idea it’s happened) you can be prepared to get your head bitten off.  He is telling my department to focus on something which is impractical without first doing something else… and won’t take the time to look at what he’s telling us to focus on to understand why that is true.  He just keeps saying he doesn’t understand why it’s a problem while also saying he’s not overly familiar with the standards but it seems like it should be a simple thing.  

He doesn’t read emails.  He skims them.  He misses questions in emails or details in emails and he never responds to them.  Oh, but he also doesn’t want people pestering him in person.  We have a new boss who has new rules and new goals for all of us and he is, unfortunately, not interested in answering questions.  I asked a question just yesterday to make sure I understood what he wanted and instead of answering “yes” or “no” he went into an exasperated explanation of his logic behind his decision…. making me feel like an idiot because I wasn’t trying to question his logic.

At first I thought it was just me.  I had a really good relationship with my old boss and he and I had a lot of mutual trust and respect.  I thought maybe I was just taking the loss of “power and opinion” hard.  But no… there are grumbles all over the building.  He has apparently snapped at everyone for little reason.  He has apparently ignored most people’s questions or emails.  He apparently doesn’t care if he wastes everyone’s time as long as they don’t waste his.

It’s infuriating.

And the school secretary… who at the end of last year was barely even speaking to my old boss (long story involving personal affairs and whatnot) just said to me “I miss the professional relationship I had with <old boss>”.  

It’s good to know it’s not just me.  But I hate that this guy makes me dread going to work.  I hate that he’s taken something I love and tinged it with a negative vibe.  It seems like I can’t escape him, either.  He’s everywhere.  I cannot avoid talking to him every single day.  I try.  I look busy, I duck into a classroom when he’s coming.  Maybe I’m being overly obvious at this point but I cannot stand to talk to him anymore.

I once thought I would retire at the school I work for.

I now know that’s impossible and it makes me sad.

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