Sunday, July 6, 2014

A boss with something to prove? (July 31, 1980)

 I wonder how we're supposed to feel?
 People around me each expect a specific response. The boss at work expects me to shrivel in my boots whenever he stares. As the newest boss on the block, Mr. Proudy has something to prove. After all, he's got bosses leaning on him, too. Yet how can we respect a man who came in here under false pretenses? When management introduced him to the workers they said he was ``a management trainee.''
 When I first saw him I thought him a little too simple for the job, another piece of dead wood at the top of his corporate tree for the workers along the roots to feed. He has a mean spirit, one that hides behind a mask of shyness, and one I would not have picked as store manager. Yet, I'm constantly surprise by who gets power, and just how that power twists people. One day as boss and Proudy's taken on airs. I heard him whisper to the warehouse manager: ``These people are goofing off.''
 He lacked courage to say it outloud, picturing us dragging him off to the guillotine. It takes balls to face down workers. Had he, I might have felt some respect for him.
 ``They get away with a lot back here,'' he mumbled.
 Yes, we do, almost as much as they do in the board room or the office of the manager, where security and the department heads gather for their two hour lunches. Agenda item for this Wednesday: How to keep the workers in line. If he can control us, he might just get another promotion to the national office. Lucky him. We're just rungs on his personal ladder: he builds his career with us, and doesn't even get his hands dirty.
 ``You're goofing off,'' he whispers with a dark look at me.

 How are we supposed to feel?

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