PULLING THE BOSS’ TAIL


This weekend I’ve been busier than a cat trying to bury a turd on a marble floor. I had two classes to teach and an article on sore backs to write by Monday. Today I thought I’d give myself a bit of a break by republishing a piece from  October 24, 2010

 

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 publishedhttp://career-advice.monster.com/in-the-office/workplace-issues/things-not-to-say-to-your-boss/article.aspx?WT.mc_n=CRMUS000096″>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:

<ul>

   “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’ tail 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.</strong>

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 , a one- time archaeologist, is a Vocational Rehabilitation Counsellor with the Fraser Health Authority in Port Coquitlam where he helps people with mental health disabilities find and keep full or part time employment .
He WAS the Employment Specialist for the Neil Squire Society in Burnaby where he found employment for people with physical disabilities, A Supported Employment Coordinator at THEO BC (now the Open Door Group), and a case manager at Community Fisheries Development Centre where he helped people move from the fishing industry to something else because there, “Aint no fish.” This means he is VERY familiar with how a modern day resume should look.
He is an active ambassador with the Vancouver Board of Trade and a member of the Labour Task Force of the Burnaby Board of Trade He does some work as a field Archaeologist, is a fitness instructor and frequent contributor of fitness humour articles to Alive Magazine. He is always saying, “If you can’t be fit, you can at least be funny.”
He lives in Port Coquitlam with his spouse Cecelia. You can reach him at home at michael_broderick@telus.net or at 604-464-4105. If you’re looking for a career change, he is the Spin Doctor and can give you a resume makeover at competitive rates.

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One Response to “PULLING THE BOSS’ TAIL”

  1. Sharon Says:

    Great story, Mike. One time I had a boss who was always telling her boss what a slacker I was. I kept a three month diary of her long lunches, etc. Guess who was put on probation after 25 years oenn the job.? It wasn’t me.

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