Who’s The Boss?

I walked into my office on Tuesday.  I know this doesn’t sound like a monumental task, but after the dissonance that was occurring for me after realizing JC had nothing to back her up, I broke down to my partner and just vented and vented and admitted I was confused and unable to figure out what to do next.  Having just listened to Ekhart Tole’s book the only answer I got in response was “is that so?”  I fucking hate Ekhart Tole.

So I walked into my office, having thought through things and repeating a mantra my mother taught me many years ago…”take the money and run.”  Though I happen to think she cribbed it from The Marshall Tucker Band.  It was a beautiful day here in the South…something rare in August.

So I walk into the office, which is Eric’s house in the old part of town.   His wife informs me that Eric is in court over a traffic ticket.  Perfect, I think, it’ll keep him outta my hair.  I sit down at my desk, blissful that I have some quiet time at the office and I can just get work done.  First priority – go through the 47 emails that have accumulated in my one day absence.

A lot of it is stuff that was resolved already, so I do not have to pay any mind to it.  Then I come across an email from my boss, Eric.

“I am concerned that we are not communicating.

You and I discussed three weeks ago that you would be responsible for managing the sales/enrollment person(s) and I asked you to post job openings on Craig’s list, on the Landmark site, and any other free sites you thought would be beneficial. You replied back to me that you wanted more clarification on the job description.  I even empowered you to ask your partner for assistance.  You sent me a job description 10 days ago, then another five days ago.

I really need someone who can take initiative and not keep coming back to me for everything. Otherwise I could just do it myself, right?

Please show some initiative in your work.  If you need clarification, that’s fine, I encourage it.  But don’t keep throwing the ball back into my court. Make things happen. That’s why I hired you instead of someone else.”

Forgetting that Eric’s wife is in the house I start screaming obscenities at my overpriced laptop.  My coworker and I had explained to Eric that job descriptions were his role since he owns the company and he’s the boss, he needs to flesh out what he wants and desires from an employee.  He kept throwing this back at me to do, even though I explained to him that my partner had politely declined doing work for our company gratis.  What also really ripped me up was the fact that he was acting as if the job description had never gotten completed – I did complete it, in a fit of frustration, blatantly copying one from Monster, then I received no communication on the matter even after repeatedly asking for a response.

His email also mentioned showing some initiative in my work; this is after I compiled and had bound a document of market research over 100 pages, explained to him that I required a specific job description for myself, redesigned and relaunched our customer newsletter, and continued to write and re-write every piece of material we had. Guess that wasn’t enough.

I had seen this happen before in my office.  Eric hired and then subsequently fired our Business Development Manager in less than a month.  He never even gave her a chance.  Every time she asked him what he wanted her to do and/or get done, the answer was the same “get people’s asses in the chairs.” Yes, well that’s the end result, but that’s like going to an assembly line worker and saying “put the car on the road.”  Without some direction, you’re bound to fail. You have to tell someone what their part is and how it fits into the grand scheme of things.

I was fuming.  I called my coworker, who had walked-out the day before.  We have a brief conversation before Eric comes in.

“Hi!”  He says, oddly cheerful, he must have beaten the traffic fine.

“We need to talk, now.”

“OK, what about?”

“I’m resigning.”

He looks like someone just gave him a shit sundae.

“Ok…do you want to tell me why?”

“Well, Eric, I’m not getting any direction from you.  Every time I ask you for some you just tell me to figure it out on my own, well this is your company, shouldn’t you have an idea of where we’re going?  I can reach out all over the place to get our message across, but without any idea of how you want to get there, what you want to do when you get there and who you want to be there, I can’t do anything effective.  I asked for demographics on customers, I was handed someones personal observation which, quite frankly, is worthless.  Our statistics have changed multiple times in the time I’ve been here, and this shit with the job description? You empowered me to work with my partner?  Excuse me? You cannot empower me to work with someone who does not work for this company and who has already declined doing so. ”

“You’re resigning over the job description issue?”

“Eric, no, it’s just the camel that broke the hair’s back.”  That was an honest mistake, I crack up, so does he, it breaks the tension – thankfully.

“Eric, this has no malice attached to it.  You’re an awesome person, I just cannot work in this situation, and I’d hate for this to ruin a friendship that I value.”

“I hear that,” he starts out, “so what I”m hearing is that you want to be an employee.”  That’s his way of trying to jab me, telling me that I don’t have the ambition or ability to be anything more, even though, I am his damn employee.

“Eric, it’s not about that.”  I show him the pen in my hand “You see this?  Ok.  Tell me to hit the target.”

He looks confused, but I urge him on.

“Hit the target.”  He says.

“Ok….where is it?”

“I dunno.”

“I don’t know either, Eric.”  I put the pen down,  “This just isn’t going to work.”

I think maybe he’s gotten it, and he goes into professional mode.

“How much notice are you going to give me?”  He asks.

“How much do you need? ”

He’s actually a little surprised by this.

“Eric,” I start, “this isn’t about leaving you empty handed or in the lurch.  Let me know what kind of support you need to make this transition a smooth as possible for you.”

“Thank you, Anthony, I appreciate that, very much.”

It’s like I said, there’s no malice here.  I like this guy, he’s an awesome guy, I just can’t work for him.  So we leave it at that, I go back to my desk to lay out all of the projects that are currently open.  We agree that I’ll complete the week.  So much stress is finally gone, now.  I was holding a lot in and bringing a lot home from work because the company was quickly unraveling at a time that Eric chose to leave for two-weeks – by the time he came home the entire thing collapsed.

Now I have to tell my partner I just up and did the opposite of his advice.



  1. Well you left yours on a better note than I left mine, that’s for sure! The pen analogy was great, I just wonder if it really clicked for him.

  2. You definitely have your head on straight. Keep at it and you’re bound to find a way to make a living that really engages your talents and inspires you.

  3. Ah grasshopper… to truly leave me speachless and smiling! I love these blogs. Its amazing to see how much you have grown. And God bless your partner for loving you through those growing pains… I think we can all say that about the people around us.

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