After almost five years at a soul-destroying job at the Psych Ward, I thought it would be nice to work at a startup. I also thought I’d try my hand at being the boss– Instead of supporting other people’s goals and visions, I’d make the plans and assign tasks. I might even wear a power suit and have a kick-ass view of the mountains. I now realize there are two major flaws in this line of thinking:
- I don’t actually care about anything I do professionally, and pretending to care is exhausting.
- Being the boss means you have to interact with the other humans.
I am not meant to be a manager. Just the word makes me shudder. Management: Not only do you have to talk to people but you have to influence them and listen to them and I’m getting tired just typing this sentence.
I’ve only had to hire and interview about a dozen people, but every single one of them has stolen at least five years off my life:
The Chiropractor – this guy owns his own practice where he also does Reiki and yet he applied to be one of our sales people. I wasn’t really sure how this made any sort of sense but nothing I do ever makes sense either, so I thought I’d give him a shot.
Turns out he lied about having a Series 7 license: “Well, I seriously looked into getting it before the Myers-Briggs test told me I should be a chiropractor.”
When I e-mailed him that we were going a different direction with our hiring he sent a single sentence reply: “yeah I could see real quick that it wasn’t even what I wanted.” You and me both, doc.
The Very Attractive Girl – This girl was almost my assistant. I called to set up the interview and told her I’d meet her at a specific spot so we could find each other, “oh you’ll know me,” she said, “I have brown hair, am super athletic, and am VERY ATTRACTIVE.”
While I applaud her self-confidence, it seemed like a weird thing to tell your prospective boss. I decided to online stalk her a little more thoroughly and found out she had several pending charges for different incidences of grand theft, domestic abuse, and embezzlement.
Obviously I still interviewed her though. I needed to see how attractive she was.
I hate telling people what to do. I’d prefer we all just run around like free agents, barely skirting the edge of anarchy, without the burden of instruction. Unfortunately, most people seem to need A LOT of it.
Dress Code – I would have assumed “business casual” is more than enough clarification but after one woman showed up in workout clothes– not once but twice– I had to tell her yoga pants and a baseball hat weren’t appropriate.
Percentage of soul dead for having to tell adult woman how to dress: 70%
How Child Locks Work – Our newest salesperson and I were running late to a meeting. I’m a fast walker and didn’t realize she wasn’t behind me until I was already across the parking lot. I waited for her to catch up but she was no where to be found. I checked Facebook then looked back up. Nothing. I watched the car for signs of movement. Nothing. Finally, I called her.
“Hey, is everything alright?”
“You locked me in here.”
I tried to walk her through how to manually flip the handle to the unlock position. She couldn’t figure it out so I walked back and used my fob to unlock the door.
“I just assumed maybe you wanted me to wait in the car,” she said.
As the former worst-employee-in-the-world I feel like it’s a bit hypocritical for me to hold anyone to a standard. Unfortunately that’s part of my job now.
Timekeeping – Since we’re a new company we don’t have any fancy software to track employees’ time. But I do know other managers who prefer to use a timesheet system to help keep track of the shifts that an employee works which will then effectively manage their payroll. A boss can use whichever system they like, as long as all the details are accurate and they feel comfortable in using it. Instead, we use a very basic excel spreadsheet. All you do is type in the date, the time you came in to work, and when you left. There’s a place for notes and mileage. That is all.
I was reviewing timesheets and noticed the last entry was for 2 1/2 hours over the weekend. The note said “completing timesheet.”
Excel is hard, guys.
Relationship-Building – From now on I am only hiring introverts.
Employee: “Bernadette is an interesting name, I think it is the female version of Bernard. I knew a woman named Bernadette at a church I attended when my husband and I were first married. This was before I cut my hair short. We owned a 1992 Plymouth back then and the AC never really worked. There was also a Bernadette in my sisters’ family but I didn’t know her well.”
Me: “Yeah Bernadette’s a name.”
Employee: “After that Plymouth we tried to only purchase Volkswagens. Did you know Hondas and Toyotas used to be the most stolen car? There was a car when I was younger… this was before your time… what was it called? You wouldn’t know. Let me think of it. It was this little car. Not a Ford. Not a Chevy. Not a Nissan. Not a Subaru. I will think of it here soon. Oh yes, there was another Bernadette in my French class in high school!”
Me: *tries to open 10th floor window*
Employee: “I used to be able to sew very well. Can you sew? My mother taught me. It’s more than you would think. There is a basting stitch, a back stitch, the hemstitch, more than I can even remember. Did your mother sew? I was the youngest in the family but I still learned. My husband is from a much larger family. His mother drove more often than his father, isn’t that funny?”
Me: *already starting to decompose*
Honestly, everyone I work with is great (other than my boss). But having to be responsible for anything more than getting out of bed is the worst. I know this makes me a failure at female empowerment and feminism but I never claimed to be good at anything other than talking about people on the internet. Please, someone give me an office in the basement where I don’t have any authority and no one talks to me.
Have you ever had to be a manager? Does being an introvert/extrovert impair you at work? What’s the dumbest thing a coworker has asked of you?
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