Undercover Boss

I swore I would never watch this, because the premise seemed to be that clueless bosses get their eyes opened by putting themselves in the places of their employees.  Whom they otherwise could not identify with?  What is wrong with that picture? 

In any case, I just did watch it, and saw the COO of Waste Management get fired by his “supervisor” for being unable to pick up paper fast enough.  Granted, that was pretty funny, but not that funny.

In another segment, we saw our undercover boss’s supervisor rush to the time clock to clock in after her 30-minute lunch break, because for every minute she was late, she was docked two minutes.  That seems pretty harsh, and possibly illegal to me.  Then we see her clock in and proceed to come back and sit down, and finish lunch.  Hmmm.  So much for stupid policies. 

As a boss, I’d like to say that you pretty much can’t win.  The only reason you could want to do it is for the money.  I get dinged by my employees for not being understanding enough, and by my superiors by not being tough enough.  Nobody likes me.  Oh, well.  There are those days when it all comes together and everybody appreciates you all at once. 

For example.  Last week, I “fired” a temporary employee who was possibly the dumbest person I’ve had the occasion to work with, ever.  I tried to be nice about it.  I tried to work with her.  She was only there for three weeks.  Of course, there was her first week, when she asked if she could make a suggestion about a procedure I was trying to teach her.  I think it was actually her second day.  I said, Actually no, you may not make a suggestion.  First you need to understand how it’s done now.  As soon as you grasp that, then you may make a suggestion and I’ll be all ears. 

Week Two:  She becomes involved in a conversation in the office about Haiti.  She says it’s wrong for the U.S. to be sending so much aid to Haiti when there are so many people in our own country who need help.  (Breaking Rule Number One:  Fakename does not allow political discussions in her office.)  She goes on to say that she thinks the U.S. should provide those people with birth control, and then maybe they could take care of themselves.  (Those People?  As in poor black people?  Who have been devastated by an earthquake?  Breaking Rule Number Two:  Fakename really, really does not allow racism in her office.)

So Fakename pulls her outside the office for a private conversation, and says, You need to think about how your comments are coming across to other people.  And she says, That’s just me.  I’m a very opinonated person.  I said, Aren’t we all?  She was very offended by my pulling her aside for this.  Her opinion seemed to be, It’s a free country.  I can say whatever I like. 

This of course is true.  You can say whatever you like, but there are consequences to it.  As long as you’re willing to bear the consequences, talk on. 

Week Three (last week).  She screwed up a $50,000 deposit, and that was the last straw.  The bank made me come back and get the money.  I said, This position doesn’t seem to be a good fit for you. 

Not to be outdone, before leaving she said, I’d just like to say that you are the rudest person I have ever met.  You’ve been rude to me, and you’re rude to all your employees and you are rude to your customers.  She has kind of a point there.  As the manager, I’m like the Party of No. 

I said to her, Just leave.  She doesn’t know the Dot’s Peppermint Lounge version of me, and I can’t tell you how hard it was to suppress that.  Just go, I said.  She thought about it for a minute, but in the end, she did. 

So, as soon as she left, the other temp employee I have steps outside the office and asks if I’m okay.  Sure, I said.  Why wouldn’t I be?  She says, I heard what Deborah said to you, I thought maybe it hurt your feelings.  You wish, I thought. 

When we stepped back inside, my employee on duty says, I knew she would never make it.  I’ve been with you going on seven years and I know how you think.

Some days it just works.  You think you get no respect…and then you do.


One response to “Undercover Boss

  1. masteroftheuniverse

    i’m so glad I don’t worry about a staff. I have a housekeeper, a lawn guy, 2 office girls, a lawyer, and an accountant. Only 3 are actually on the regular payroll and have been with me for years. I had a kid last year that I brought in as a trainee, but it didn’t last as he knew more than I did(his opinion), and I was holding him back.

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