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Poking Fun at the Boss #3

My last, and most infamous CLM was during an all-company meeting, approximately one month prior to our new owners announcing they were relocating the operation to Rochester, NY. As it turned out, my CLM was somewhat prophetic (if not pathetic).

At this particular meeting, Steve (the parachuted President’s right-hand man, and HR director, if you can believe it) was droning on and on about the exciting days ahead for our organization. In addition to the announcement by our President of several new product launches (which would guarantee lots of unpaid overtime), the HR guy announced “Company College,” a bunch of classes designed to teach employees useful things. One of them was “Finance for Non-Finance Managers,” but the one that caught my attention was, “Interviewing Skills.”

After the HR guy had monologued for about 10 minutes about the virtues of these courses, Mike (my immediate supervisor) offered, “Steve, I’m sure these are all great things, but I don’t know how I can justify sending my team to take these classes when we’re facing all the new product launches in the next 3-6 months!”

I interrupted, “Mike, I think Steve’s idea is fabulous.”

At this point, you could have heard a pin drop. Everyone knew that I recognized Steve as a bozo for the President (think Karl Rove, without the fine-tuned morals or high intellect). The idea that I would agree with Steve, much less contradict Mike, was pretty “out there.”

Seeing the absolutely baffled expression on Mike’s face, I continued, “Especially if the Interviewing Skills class is teaching us how to be interviewed. I think this will be especially helpful for the future.”

For what seemed like an eternity, but was really only a couple of seconds, nobody spoke, and Steve’s face went bright red. Then, nervous laughter led to outright belly laughs, and Mike slowly shook his head with an expression of, “Tim, why do you do this to me?”

Less than 3 months later, they relocated the company, but I chose to look for employment elsewhere. In 9 months, they managed to destroy the operation, which had been producing revenue at the rate of roughly $220,000 per employee.

For once, I had the last laugh. 🙂


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