Young Men and Work

It’s Sunday, you know.  My last chance to summarize and mentally file away the events of my past week. 

So as I mentioned in my last post about why I get mad at men, my boss was in town for two days last week.  On the first day, he arrived just before noon and took me and my Assistant Manager to lunch.  It was the first time they had met.  When we got back to my office, it was apparent chaos.  It was change of shift time and a couple of vendors were there and everybody and their brother had some question for me, which meant I had to seamlessly switch from questions about how I’d like the credit card software to be programmed to whether or not Jane could take Friday off. 

My boss said, I have to go back to my hotel room.  I just can’t work under these conditions.  Picture me trying not to smirk, and failing.  Welcome to my world, Boss.  Since he’s 0nly here every three months, that day was just a happy coincidence.  A little window for him into my world. 

So speaking of Assistant Managers, I recently hired this guy, who is 24 years old.  Which from my perspective is like being an infant.  Okay, not really.  He is smart as a whip; a recent graduate of Florida State with a double major in hospitality and business. 

So on Day 2 of the boss’s visit, I said to the Boss–during the ten minutes of privacy we had–Eric (Assistant Manager guy) has been here for just over three months, and we promised him that after three months he would be eligible for a raise of up to $1,500 a year and I’d like to give him all of it.  First of all, I said, he’s totally worth it, not to mention that $1,500 a year is nothing.  I was all prepared to have to defend my opinion with specific examples when my boss, who is a notorious skinflint,  just said, I’m okay with that.

Then he said he’d like to spend some time that afternoon with Eric alone, so that he could indocrinate (not his word, of course) Eric with his expectations, and also, so he could ask Eric how he’s doing with me.  You have to hand it to Boss guy…at least he was honest.  If he has a reputation for being a skinflint, I have a reputation for being prickly.  Imagine that. 

I kind of wanted to warn Eric, not because I was afraid he would say something bad about me–that I could survive–but because he was about to head into a no-win situation.  If he said something bad about me, which my boss would do his best to elicit,  he would be fried.  It was sort of like a loyalty test.  He had to show enough independence to be capable of promotion, but enough maturity to accept direction from somebody he didn’t always agree with.  Of course, I couldn’t say anything at all.  Fly away, little butterfly.  Be free. 

I only know my boss’s side of the conversation so far, but when he asked the question of Eric as to how he was doing with me, Eric said, Well, if she gives me a curt answer, I just wait a couple of days and ask again.  Think about that.  He may be only 24, but that is maturity and sensitivity all rolled up in one package.  I chose well. 

If I had to pick the thing I like best about Eric, it’s that he isn’t afraid of me.  He has a totally healthy ego, a sense of self that isn’t wrapped up in my opinion of him.  He is truly his own person. 

I could tell several stories about him, but this is the most illustrative of my point:  On Friday, he glimpsed on my desk the latest book I’m reading, which is one by Dean Koontz.  (Trash of the highest order.)  And Eric said, “What exactly is your criteria for picking a book?”  I practically choked on my pita chips.  “I have varied tastes”, I said.  He said, “Apparently so.”  We both completely cracked up. 

To tell another brief story about him, about a week after he started work he called to say that his vehicle had been keyed in the parking lot of his apartment complex,and that also, all four tires had been punctured, so he couldn’t come to work.    The next day, I said….Um did you make an enemy?  He said, well, there was this girl…I said, is that like a a Carrie Underwood moment?  He was mostly completely shocked that I even knew who Carrie Underood is.

That’s the fun of having him around.  He is all the time shocked that people my age know anything about current music or current events.  I have warped his world view.  He suddenly has to grasp the idea that people his grandmother’s age are not down for the count.

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2 responses to “Young Men and Work

  1. > people his grandmother’s age are not down
    > for the count.

    Damn…that’s one of the advantages we older folks have over the young! But, there’s also experience….

  2. I used to have a T-shirt that said something like “Age and treachery will always overcome youth and enthusiasm”…or something like that.
    Of course I also used to have a T-shirt that said “Jesus is coming…look busy”. Not too many places you could wear that one 🙂

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