Most Americans Do Not Like Their Boss

Jon Kaufman

Do you like your boss? Do you look forward to seeing your supervisor each morning, or, are you the kind of person who would have trouble concealing their delight if you were to witness the chief slipping on a patch of ice with a full cup of steaming coffee in hand?

The Zurich-based Adecco Group recently conducted an online study which revealed that fifty-three percent of U.S. workers do not trust their boss and twenty-eight percent of those tested would fire their bosses immediately. Although my current boss is a princely fellow (among his finest qualities is that he is conveniently located in another city), I have been assigned to many a master who I would gladly blindfold and set out on the plank.

The son of two strong union members, I have always been a tad leery of those I report to.  Regardless of age, sex or disposition, the thought of a single person holding my future employment hostage is an unsettling vision.

In college, I shared these discomforting thoughts with a fellow student, who, like me, was struggling to stay conscious through a course entitled “Renaissance and Reformation Europe 1300-1648.”  The same classmate invited me to a dorm party a few weeks later, a cookout which turned out to be a gathering of the campus communist element. Following an enthusiastic recruiting pitch aimed to bring me into the fold, I made my exit, long before the burgers were cooked. Bearing no grudge towards these suburban Bolsheviks, I explained that I indeed liked money, freedom and cable TV, I just didn’t like some well dressed desk jockey telling me what to do.

During the last twenty years a pattern has emerged regarding my employment; every good boss is always followed by a bad boss. No exceptions.  It is as if the business gods have my soul on a string like a giant yo-yo.  Happiness followed by misery in three to five year intervals.  It could be worse I suppose; my Dad worked in a dress factory for decades for a boss who would bring in his tattered underwear so his workers could re-fit the briefs with new elastic every few months.  Astonishingly, no one considered this assignment an honor.

Many of the worst bosses I have endured shared similar philosophies and personality traits.  All were workaholics, Dickens-like characters who struggled to see the human component in any situation.  A rather Scrooge-like gentleman, who I once worked for, suffered a heart-attack in his mid-fifties. When I went to visit him in the hospital, I met his assistant and asked her how Arthur’s surgery went. “It was an eight hour procedure; she quipped “seven hours to find it and one hour to fix it.” I knew exactly what she meant.

Perhaps I was spoiled early in my working life?  My first boss was a man named Willie Pearson, an older man who bore a striking resemblance to actor Morgan Freeman. Sensing that my life was a bit too comfortable, my Dad arranged a position for me in the factory in which he worked and Willie was the foreman of the shipping department. Sixteen years-old and never previously employed, I begrudgingly accompanied my Dad to work not knowing what to expect.

The shipping staff at Petite Frocks was an odd combination of college students (home for summer vacation) and young Hispanic garment workers.  I was the baby of the group.  Our jobs were pretty simple; read the orders we were given, pick the order from stock, box-up the goods and slide the boxes down the line for shipping.  Needless to say, this kind of labor was tedious and not particularly stimulating.

Sensing that I was less than excited to join the working class, Willie spent most of my first day training me on the intricacies of box construction and order picking. Although Willie was a man in his fifties, he always worked shoulder to shoulder with his group.  Whether it was climbing racks to find specific clothing or lifting huge boxes onto the scales, Willie never asked anyone to do a job that he wasn’t already doing himself.  One could not help but admire this long-lanky fellow and the work ethic he passed on to his charges.

Unlike the majority of the people in the U.S., I appreciate my boss and would carry him to work on my back every day, knowing what is in store for me at my next position. If my job history repeats on my next go-around, let it repeat the name Willie, Betsy, Libba, Steve, or the moniker of any of the great bosses in my past. Life is too short to hope for an icy sidewalk and a boss-bound hot cup of java, again.

By Jon Kaufman
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  1. I am thinking of Shipping my vehicle from New York to Miami and have been looking into the logistics of putting the vehicle on an auto transport or driving it myself and spending a few days doing that. I have found several companies that will do the job. The different price ranges I have found are amazing. Looks like there are no set rules as far as pricing goes. Some are real high and some are real low. I read that the low ball offers usually wont get the car shipped in a timely manner. It looks like about $900 is what I can expect to pay if I am going to go with an Auto Shipper that is reputable.

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