Boss Culture

Not a Youtube video! Shocking.

I’ve long promised that I would start to “expose” all the insane workplace things I’ve encountered over the years. I’ve worked shit jobs since 1991, mainly customer service, and been constantly frustrated by all of the little quirks that appear to keep the world spinning.

In 1994, a co-worker showed me their “personnel files.” This guy was about 40 and had been working for that particular company since the mid-80s. He had kept every memo, every email, every document ever sent him. He’d even secretly taped all conversations he had in the workplace.

I asked him what the fuck was wrong in his head to do this, and he told me you could never be too careful. It struck a cord with my natural paranoid instincts, and so I also started keeping records.

Earlier today, I was digging through my old Zip Drive archives and I stumbled across an awesome example of how horrifically stupid my boss was in 1999, and how corrupt and insane my job was at that time. It made me think about my promise to expose the horrors of my past employment, so I set up some parameters: I’ll wait until 10 years after I’ve left the job before I post all the shit I kept on my co-workers and bosses. So…first up is American Youth Hostels!

In 99, I was working for AYH as a customer service jockey. My boss left and was replaced by a new supervisor, who had been one of us on the floor. Within days, the new boss asked me if I could help him write his memos and, over the course of a year, I found myself pretty much off the phones and being a literary version of Cyrano de Bergerac for this retard. I’d write his memos, I’d write love letters to women he was trying to woo, I’d write personal correspondence… It was madness. Of course, he’d take credit for everything and always be sure to pin me into a corner, loom over me, and say, “This is our secret, okay? This will always be our secret.”

So here’s the example I found during my digital rummaging. It’s a memo that he sent around shortly after taking over as manager. At the start of the day, he’d email me what he wanted to say:

Good Morning.

How are you this morning. I am sorry to disturb you. I am sending you this
so you understand the issue. My staff here especially supervisors they talk
the way they want verbally or via e-mail. I will like to stop that may be a
memo may be just address the issue via e-mail.Somethink like an advise.
Please point out that a reprimand from your superior cannot be taken as
rude. We are all human and should address to each other as professionals. I
personally will not tolerate that anymore.we all need to read the message
before we send it out or put our self on the other person choose.etc…

I would then turn that into:

Good Morning,

Over the last few months, we have all been adjusting to changes in the staff and structure of AYH. In the membership department, especially, we have taken advantage of these quiet months to wind down from last summer and get ready for the next busy season. These quiet moments are important, but we only have a few weeks before things begin to get exciting once again.

In a very short time, we will be adding the seasonal summer staff to our ranks. With this in mind, I want to stress the importance of how we express ourselves verbally and in email.

AYH has taken steps to insure that everyone follows the chain of command. The purpose of this is to improve the workflow as well as create the level of professionalism required to keep an office running. It is time to fully embrace this professionalism and put on our best face for seasonal employees and customers alike. If we do not respect the etiquette of the work place, we will only endanger ourselves.

If you are in disagreement with an individual, please take a moment to think about your words. The office is no place for arguments or personal vendettas. It is much easier to let loose angry words or cutting remarks via email, and I ask that everyone take special care in how they phrase their messages. Re-read them, think about the issue and all possible solutions.

If you are reprimanded by your manager or supervisor, don’t take it personally. We all must obey the rules set forward by the company and our particular department. The rules are set in place for a reason. A reprimand from your superior is not intended to be rude, it is not a personal attack. It is a request that the employee respect the rules of the office. If those rules cannot be respected, then the work of every employee is damaged. This not only reflects poorly on the employee, it also shows up on the supervisors record. We are all here to perform a task. We all must behave responsibly and professionally in order to achieve that task.

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