Friday, October 19, 2007

Good to be boss?

I am beginning to question whether or not it is good to be the boss?

In many aspects it is GOOD. I am an exempt employee and I am allowed a bit more flexibility than the non-exempt employees. However, the work-load and expectations that accompany the title tend to be excessive at times.

Reasons why I would prefer to be a worker bee...

- work day is limited to normal working hours.

- I can make fun of the 'boss' in the ivory tower at the water cooler.

- most people my age are in a worker bee position.

- I would be eligible for OT.

- if there is a mistake, it is not ultimately 'mine'.

- less responsibility

- less headache

- I would not have to attend night meetings

Reasons why it is good to be the boss..

- more money.

- I can arrive late, and not have to have a reason.

- expense account.

- experience, new projects

- able to negotiate the terms of my employment. 'Family first'.

- I can attend my kids class room parties without a lot of hassle.

I have been a 'boss / director' position for just over a year. I have had many struggles and a few successes. I must admit when I took the job, I was scared to death of failure. Now a year later, I am falling into my *groove. I am more confident and making decisions that I feel really comfortable with. I continue to struggle with other directors and the executive boss. Why. Two reasons, gender and generation gap. I am at least 15 years younger than the next youngest director. The lady who works for me, has kids my age and older. My ideas and suggest at times seem radical to them, and their 'standard' way of doing things seem ancient to me. I find myself defending my actions and decisions on a daily basis.

*For example - my boss (the executive) does not know how to use a computer. He writes all of his notes on a legal pad, actually several legal pads. And he will cut and paste his ideas together to make a letter. When I say cut and paste, I am talking scissors and glue. He will hand in a letter to the secretary, and the letter has several sections of paper that have been glued together to make up the entire letter.

I have asked him ' why don't you get a laptop and write all of your thoughts on it. You can re-arrange your ideas at will.' He looked at me as if I had 3-heads.

He is totally impressed that I can maneuver around excel. Are you kidding me? I am a software junkie, I love programs and software. Prior to becoming a Dir of Finance, I was a software trainer for 4 years. I gave up software when I had my kids. Software required that I travel ALOT. Anyhoo, back to reality.

I had always heard of the good old boys club, but never actually experienced it. My boss is of the 'good o'l boys generation', and he does not take kindly to women in position, let alone strong willed women. Well guess what, I am both. Dealing with this man has been a major learning curve for me. This man has cornered, tried to strong arm me, flat out lied in meetings etc. Finally one day, he came up to my office and attempted to strong arm me once again. As usual, I continued to stand my ground. Every time I talk back, he just looks at me as if I am some yappy little dog.

But this time, I stood up, look at him and said 'if you ever come in to my office and try to bully me again, I will sue your *arse so fast your head will spin. I have been recording our conversations from day one, I will take you to the cleaners.' He was shocked. (mind you I had not been recording anything, but I do keep a small recorder in my desk for meetings) I pulled it out to show him. He was stunned.

I continued ' I know my job, I am damn good at my job, and unless you have something to say to me that pertains to my job then you can see yourself out of my office.'

You may wonder * why does he not fire me. Well, he cannot. I was appointed by a board of 6, and unless I leave it will take a majority vote to remove me. My boss is an appointed official too, he did not hire me. I am sure to this day he wishes he could fire me. Since standing up to him, he has left me alone. He even acts a bit more supportive of me.

I grew up in a town where if someone gave you their word, then it meant something. Not here. I grew up in a town where if it was worth getting in someones face about then it was worth standing up for. Not here. I grew up with a father (my boss is my father's age), who would not bully or lied. Not the case here.

So my learning curve has been steep.

I have literally found myself in the bathroom, talking to myself in the mirror prior to going into a meeting. Saying things like ' put your game face on, or you can do this' etc. (very Alley McBeal).

Then I walk out, shoulders square, game face on and tackle the meeting. Gaining the respect of my subordinates has not been easy, but my work speaks for itself. I think standing my ground has helped. I am sure they were hoping for a weak person that they could make cry. Guess what, not me. Rather than hurting my feelings it makes me try harder.

Now I keep a set of *balls in a glass jar on my desk. I pull them out when I need to.

Overall, it is Good to be the boss. I am NOT the boss in an Ivory tower. I try to be the type of boss I would like to work for. Someone who is knowledgable, fair and understanding. I can perform every aspect of work in my office. I have been the worker-bee for many years so the way the Finance office works is not foreign to me. I can data entry, post checks, print checks, account for revenue with the best of them. At the same time I must attend meetings , perform analysis, budgets, investments, debt management, benefits etc. I am not sure if I am well-rounded or crazy. Perhaps a bit of both.

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