Boss From Heck #2
Back to my BFH. He hired me in the fall of 1994. Technically, I was still employed at my first job as a programmer, but they didn’t let me return from my (unpaid) maternity leave, so, in reality, I was unemployed. Luckily, one of my former coworkers now worked at a recruiting agency, and hooked me up with BFH. He ran (and owned) an experimental private school (partly subsidized by the town), and hired me as a secretary. My job was to man the office, water the flowers, and enter all kinds of information into the school’s only computer. (Later, I found out that I was also expected to do sysadmin work.)
The school had the highest turnover of both students and teachers that probably any of you have ever seen. A week after I started, BFH had to shut down the school in our town, because his last student had quit on him, and reopen it in another town 30 minutes away. Fortunately, the office (and I) still stayed in our town. I worked there for six months before I quit. I have several stories to tell of my BFH. I will start with the Keyboard story.
It all began when our only PC started acting funny. The keyboard no longer worked. BFH sent me to a computer repair company, located in our building, to have them fix the keyboard. He gave me directions.
“Try to get a good price from them. Negotiate. Knock it as far down as you can.”
“But, BFH, don’t you think they have a fixed rate for that kind of work?”
BFH gives me a dirty look and goes, “Well, you are a woman, right? You’ll come up with something!”
Um, okay. I picked up my jaw from the floor and went. Sure enough, the guys had a rate which was non-negotiable. They said that it was going to take them a day or two to fix the keyboard, and that I was to pay when I picked it up. For the time being, they gave me a replacement keyboard. I brought it back to the office, and relayed the conversation to BFH.
BFH was barely listening to me, pounding away on the new keyboard. Suddenly, he had an idea.
“Hey Goldie, tell you what. I like this keyboard better. It’s newer than ours. See? Listen, did you tell them where you came from? Which suite?”
“Nope, that never came up.”
“Good. Let’s keep the good keyboard. Don’t go back there.”
So I didn’t. What could I do? The guy was in charge, and paid my salary.
Fast forward two months, BFH decides to get an Internet provider and set up an email account. Again come the instructions.
“Goldie, you need to get us email. There are only two companies in this town that can do it. Don’t go to company #1, we have unpaid phone bills with them.” (For the school’s phone, which was conveniently located in BFH’s apartment.) “Go to company #2 and place an order.”
Of course, at that point, none of us remembered that Company #2 was the one we got the keyboard from. I went over to their office. Boy, were they glad to see me!
“Oh hi! You’ve come to bring our keyboard back and pay for the repairs, didn’t you?”
“Sure guys, let me just go get the keyboard real quick.”
I went back to the office and broke the sad news to BFH. It felt good! He didn’t look so happy. I mean, the man had to give up his favorite keyboard and pay a whopping ten dollars! Life just isn’t fair.
So ends the keyboard story.
To be continued, some day…