Here’s a hilarious office story from one of our readers. We send these every Friday in our newsletter, which is free to sign up for.
Beyond Bad Bosses:
I used to be an Operations Superintendent at a large supplier of specialty auto parts that we’d send to GM, Ford, and Chrysler and places like that. I’d been in that job for 11 years and got to know it pretty well. Probably, I was there too long. Anyway, we got a new Plant Manager that was supposed to turn OPS around even though we were always first or second out of five other plants that our company owned. He was prior military—a Lieutenant Colonel in the Marine Corps or something like that. Anyway, for his first big meeting with the VP of Operations and the COO, I went into his office and started to give him pointers on how to survive this high-stakes/high pressure meeting as I presented there about five or six times over the last couple years when my former boss was out. I tried to tell him that the VP and the COO were big into consequential rework—cases, in which, an entire batch was wrong. He told me that he didn’t need my help and that he’d briefed Generals and this was ‘child’s play’. I tried to tell him that he needed to be able to discuss the root causes of all re-work where an entire batch of parts failed or were deemed non-compliant. He raised his voice and said to me, ‘If I want your fuc*ing opinion, I’ll give it to you. Keep your fuc*king mouth shut. There’s a reason why I’m the Plant Manager and you’re not. I know what I’m doing here.’ Fast forward to the meeting and I’m sitting directly behind him when he gets up to give his presentation. Immediately, he gets peppered with questions (about our re-work rate) and knows not a single answer. The COO, who was usually quiet and reserved, started to raise his voice. The Plant Manager interrupted the COO and said, ‘I think I know what you’re looking for’ and turned around to me looking for me to give him the answer.’ I brought my fingers up to my lips and did the motion to show that my lips were sealed and zipped and stayed quiet. The thing that I remember was that the woman from HR next to me, gasped, then laughed and tried to conceal it as a cough. His face turned crimson red, as fast as something you’d see in a cartoon. Almost like special effects. Three weeks later I was the Plant Manager and have been since.
– Jamie from Indiana