Thursday, September 16, 2010

Two-headed Boss

My supervisor is normally very easy-going, leaving most everyone to their work. But her outbursts are very unpredictable. What will set her off is quite an elusive mystery.

Today, most of the staff were gathered off in a back room for lunch. The customer traffic had died down to an easy pace. My supervisor and I were taking care of the front counter. She received a phone call from a customer wanting to know what our holiday schedule might look like (a question to which she did not know the answer). A client's employee happened to be walking through the lobby as she fumbled on the phone,"Oh, let me think, last year I think we were open on...well, when is Thanksgiving? It seems to me that Friday--wait--that's not right, let me look at my calendar." The passerby fancied himself helpful by confidently blurting out, "Thanksgiving is always on a Thursday."

With the phone still to her ear, my supervisor began yelling at the man, "You don't even know what I'm talking about! Why don't you mind your own business instead of interrupting my personal conversation! Who are you anyway? Who do you work for?"

The man cowered, apologized (one of those "gee, you crazy lady" kind of apologies), and nearly ran for the exit. She took off after him, then realized that her phone cord wouldn't allow her to go beyond her desk, so she put her caller on hold to pursue the passerby (now fleeing). She hurried to the other end of the office toward the exit doors, but the man was out of reach. She returned to her caller.

It only took her another 30 seconds or so to finish her call. Then she began ranting, "Can you believe that man?!" I said very calmly, "Perhaps it is time for you to get a bite to eat. I think you may have overreacted a bit." Just then, the HR director came running in to find out what all of the shrill screaming had been about. My supervisor began a fictional tale about how some rude passerby had started yelling at her! My mouth dropped. The HR director taking this report seriously looked at me for confirmation, but I shook my head emphatically and rolled my eyes. She wondered why I wasn't in agreement, and insisted that if we could identify him, she would pursue the matter.

Interestingly, the HR director said at one point, "He did? I didn't hear him yell, I only heard you [the supervisor]."

Her behavior was very shameful. Shameful enough to warrant disciplinary action, but since the HR director is her best friend nothing will be done. I only hope that no one will ever identify the man, for I am sure that these two women would stop at nothing to cause him whatever trouble they could.

Interestingly, this is the same woman who makes speeches at staff meetings about what a shame it is that our customer service has been lacking lately.


  1. OMG what a psycho! I think every workplace has one

  2. she ran after him? customer forever lost.
    you need to have a camera set up to show her after her pms is over...

  3. PMS...not that's something I hadn't considered. I'll have to map the timing of her outbursts.

    At our employee meeting, I recognized the poor man. He is actually an employee that works on the far end of our large campus. I was relieved that my boss was absent for the meeting. She might have recognized him. I made his boss aware of the situation so he can head off any attempt to burry the man's career, should she run into him in the near future.


We welcome your thoughts and experiences. Comments containing profanity will not be published.