Douglas Spencer (dougs) wrote,
Douglas Spencer

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All about Boss A.

A couple of things worth mentioning before I start:
A version -- various versions -- of this bit of writing have been knocking around on my laptop for quite a while. Don't be deceived into thinking it's a quick rant following the events of the last couple of days. It's the result of careful thought over several weeks.
Friends recently wrote to a school to say -- amongst other things -- that bullying is not acceptable behaviour, whatever the position held by the bully. It's my view that the single most effective attack against bullying and mental cruelty is publicity, and that the single most effective defence is contempt.
He's already earnt my contempt. This is the publicity.

There was a rumour that Boss A would be leaving the company at Christmas. I first heard it while I was at Client C. This rumour spread very quickly amongst my colleagues -- and everyone felt good about it. Everyone was brighter, happier in their work, more productive because of the prospect on the horizon of Life Without Him. A little later, I heard elsewhere that he'd changed his mind, that he was staying -- and everyone felt crushed.
Today, at Client C, I heard the other half of the story. How the IT department was terrified of the prospect of Boss A joining them as a full-time project manager, how relieved they were when the possibility went away.
You'd think this would be a clue.
There's a large flip-chart in the IT department at Client C. One of Client C's engineers draws cartoons on it -- a picture of Boss A adjacent to a thermometer-type scale with a red fluid reaching up to this level, and the caption always reads "The AngryAndyOmeter". He's the only person in the department who gets treated like this.
You'd think this would be a clue.
Clients go to see him in pairs. My colleagues and I do our best to avoid him. We spend all our lives documenting what we're doing, not in order that the systems should be properly documented, but in self-defence in anticipation that Boss A will start shovelling the shit in our direction sometime soon.
You'd think this would be a clue.
And this weekend, three separate engineers from Client C have said to me, quietly, that they can't understand how I've managed to put up with this sort of treatment for as long as I have.

There is a theory that men swear to keep from crying, that women cry to keep from swearing. I don't swear ... but often, Boss A has had me close to tears. And to avoid that, I write.

An open letter to Andrew Richardson, Managing Director of Network Design Services Limited:
You can tell you're doing a good job when your clients feel good about you. You can tell you're doing a good job when they want you back again.
If you go googling for your company name and read that your clients are sympathising with your employees and telling stories of their horror when they might be seeing you more often, then it's time for you to go. You're not doing yourself or your image any favours -- and you're not doing the company, or its image, any favours either. Do your employees and your clients a favour, and go and find somewhere else to be.
And if you're the sort of boss who drives your employees to write articles like this and post them publicly on the Internet, then you're probably quite incapable of realising how much damage you're doing.

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