PULLING THE BOSS’ TAIL


As an Employment Specialist and Job Developer for the Neil Squire Society in Metro Vancouver, one of my challenges is making sure that the people I place stay placed. We call that job retention, and it needs to happen, because if they don’t stay there for at least three months, we don’t get any credit for our efforts.

I was pleased to see that Megan Malugani, Contributing Writer for Monster.com recently published http://career-advice.monster.com/in-the-office/workplace-issues/things-not-to-say-to-your-boss/article.aspx?WT.mc_n=CRMUS000096. I thought this could be the information I need to keep my neophytic workers happily employed. Her “things” include:

  • “I’m only doing this for the money.”
  • “I’m broke/in debt/one step away from bankruptcy.”
  • “It’s always been done this way.”

These are all good cautionary “things” to warn new workers about, however there are “things” you can do to really pull your boss’ tale with career-ending panache. Here are four:

1. Assuming the store will be closed on holidays.

I once helped a client get land a retail job in a store that sold high-end leather jackets and pants. The store was closed on Easter Sunday, but she assumed it would also be closed on the following Monday. It wasn’t supposed to be, but it certainly was when my client didn’t show up for work. I, and my client both learned that it is illegal to open a store when there is insufficient staff. It’s not a bylaw – it’s insurance. There is no coverage if there is no staff. The owner could watch her stock grow legs and walk out of the store. There is not much sense having a store open if you can’t open it. The boss had her tail pulled and  my client was got the axe.

2. Taking a late lunch.

I once worked in a unionized place where workers (including me) were frequently brought up on charges for relatively bizarre situations. The boss in question had actual kinks in his tail. I never knew whether this was from being pulled or by getting it stuck in the doorway  all by himself.

In any event, this fellow was hungry and decided to take a bite of his sandwich in his office. His supervisor charged him and he was suspended for three days. The warning here is to make sure you eat in the parking lot.

I wonder what would have happened if he offered the boss a bite.

3. Taking an environmentally unfriendly shortcut.

Sometimes archaeologists use exiting condemned buildings on sites for field offices. One at the Pitt River site in Port Coquitlam had a big couch in it that was loaded with rats. I instructed one of my workers to put it in the truck and drive it to the dump, then gave him the money to do so.

A few days later I found the couch in a ditch, and felt a definite kink in my tail. I learned that the condemned worker had dumped it in the ditch and used the dump money to lubricate his chassis in the pub. He didn’t even buy me one.

A few days after his execution, I received a call from the Labour Standards Branch of the Provincial Government. The “worker” accused me of wrongful dismissal of the worker.

“Call me back when you have some proof,” I said.

He never did. I suspect he was afraid of pulling my tail.

4. Nailing his hardhat to the floor.

I once had a warehouse foreman that regularly charged out of his office screaming at the nearest suspect – usually me. He followed this by whipping his hardhat off and hurling it as hard as hard as he could at the floor.

At that time I was in college and some of the other guys suggested I should do something to help him before he went into complete meltdown.

This was back in the late ‘60s – before men’s groups and drum beating existed, and psychotherapy, for the most part, involves shock therapy or surgery. This fellow was one of those who, in the 80’s, the era of self help, were considered to be addicted to rage.  

“I’ll try,” I said. “When is he due for his next attack?”

“Eight minutes and thirty eight seconds.” one of my coworkers said

“You really have this down to a science,” I said.

I’ve been here a long time,” he said.

Suddenly there was a stirring inside the office. Bill barged out of the office screaming. He snatched the hardhat off his head and threw it on the floor.

I tracked where it landed, grabbed a hammer and a three inch spike and nailed it to the floor.

A few minutes later he came looking for his hat. I recall watching him tug on it a few times, and I grabbed a crowbar out of the tool shed. As I approached, he looked as if I was going to pull his tail.

“Do you know how ridiculous you look,” I asked as I pulled out the spike. I wasn’t expecting an answer, but I was expecting my pink slip. “You need to get some help.” I said. “You’re going to have a stroke.”

I think he may have done something about it.

Mike Broderick is an Employment Specialist for the Neil Squire Society in Burnaby where he finds employment for people with physical disabilities. Part of this work means affiliation with the Vancouver Board of Trade where he is a member of the Ambassador Club, the Burnaby Board of Trade where he is a member of the Labour Task Force, the Tri Cities Chamber of Commerce where he is an active member of the 10X10 initiative, and the Abbotsford Chamber of Commerce. He does some work as a field Archaeologist and is a fitness instructor and frequent contributor of fitness humour articles to alive magazine in Port Coquitlam. You can reach him at home at michael_broderick@telus.net or at michaelb@neilsquire.ca. If you’re looking for a career change, he is the Spin Doctor and can give you a resume makeover at competitive rates When he is not doing all this he lives in Port Coquitlam with his partner Cecelia.

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3 Responses to “PULLING THE BOSS’ TAIL”

  1. Rose A. Valenta Says:

    Great article, Mike!

  2. Sharon Says:

    Good advice and so funny! I was expecting someone would nail something before the end, but not a hard hat.

    Re#2 – a year before I retired my dr wrote a note to my supervisor that I was to take all lunches and breaks away from my desk. Reason – #4 sort of. I wasn’t yelling, but stuffing. In either case the result would have been the same.

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