June 10, 2011 at 2:02 pm #132536
Alan L. GreenbergParticipant
In lieu of a blog this week I decided to post a question. Who was the quirkiest boss you encountered (no names please) in your career?
In Confessions of a Government Man I discussed many quirky characters, some of whom were my boss at one time or another. One of my very first bosses in government was a man who was brilliant, save for the fact that he couldn’t remember names. Instead, he referred to people by their nationality or a physical characteristic. You will have to excuse me for not giving specific examples in this politically correct forum. If he did this today he probably could not go one day before an EEO complaint. Then there was another big boss who was transferred to New York involuntarily. On his first day he announced “I hate it here,” and it went downhill from there. I can’t forget the cigar smoker (pre no smoking days) who flicked ashes all over his shirt. He once pulled a cigar stubble out of his jacket pocket and asked for a light, only to discover that the cigar was already lit.
You get the idea. Can you add a few to these? If it wasn’t your boss, that’s OK, too.
June 10, 2011 at 6:01 pm #132546
Once, IT told me that I needed a new computer as my hard drive was bad (and I had been given one of the oldest computers when I started there). I notifed my boss that IT said they couldn’t fix the computer, and I needed a new one – my boss told me there was no money to get a new computer for me. Literally end of story!!
I was an HR director at a school district, and after 4 days with no computer, the IT Manager ended up taking a computer from one of the school’s computer labs and giving it to me. My boss never asked me (or IT) where I got the computer from. So strange…
June 10, 2011 at 6:16 pm #132544
Laughing out loud at that last anecdote, hahaha.
June 10, 2011 at 6:45 pm #132542
One day at work the new boss was very excited about something and started bouncing up and down in his chair, and made honk honk and spitting noises. I stood there staring, dumbfounded with my mouth handing open waiting for him to stop playing around. He didn’t. I looked around the room and saw the shock in everyone else’s eyes too. This boss continued to act this way throughout his assignment there. Moral: Don’t judge a book by its cover. He won a highly acclaimed gold medal in the Olympics of our profession and made senior leader.
Another time I worked in a place where we were required to have Top Secret Sci clearances. My GS-12 boss threatened to throw his GS-13 boss out the fourth floor window. He was forced to take a few weeks rest, and when he came back my co-workers were afraid to work with him so he lost his leadership position. Moral: The Federal government does take ineffective supervisors out of their positions, but it make require a death threat.
June 10, 2011 at 10:04 pm #132540
Alan L. GreenbergParticipant
Thanks, Stephanie. I coudn’t make this stuff up. I actually devote a whole chapter in the book to him because he was a mentor and an unforgettable character.. For all of his eccentricities, he was a brilliant leader and a pioneer at GSA. He worked until what was then a mandatory retirement age of 70 – then came back on as a “consultant” until about age 77 when he was no longer physically able to endure the commute. One of my motivations for writing this book – a labor of love – was to preserve the memory of some of the great characters I met during my career.
June 11, 2011 at 4:24 pm #132538
It was only a month but I had a boss who would literally call me “Librarian”. I guess my job was to work on a database that stored a lot of key information.
So I would sit in an open cubicle and about 3 times a day he would yell “Librarian. Get in here” and I’d join some meeting.
Actually a pretty smart guy but seriously 0 people skills.
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