Thursday, February 14, 2008

The Great Turd Explosion of 2008

[Editor’s note: I wrote this a few weeks ago and have hesitated publishing it for reasons that will be obvious. Yesterday the person you will come to know as The Turd screamed at me again. So here it is.]
“So has he yelled at you again?” says Mom.

“No, but I’m waiting,” says me.

“You’re waiting?”

“Yes. Waiting. There’s no rational explanation for why he yells, so it’s not as if I can do anything to prevent it.”
How’s work going, Hedy?

To use my friend Molly’s phrase: “It sucks balls.”

I work for an irrational tyrant with the personality and visage of an angry turd. With a Napoleon complex.

Three weeks ago he screamed at me. For something a co-worker did.

He didn’t know this, of course, because he’s one of these brilliant Yell First, Ask Questions Later types.

Yes. Screamed.

Everyone in the office heard it. More on that later.
Last month I convinced them we needed a receptionist/office admin person to answer the phones and to provide back up to the software support team. This person also would do some minor accounting projects (one person on our support team helps out with accounting on occasion.) We’re talking about a highly motivated general office assistant with three to five years’ experience.

I write up a job description. There’s already one referral ready to interview.

Then, somehow, the accounting dude gets involved through his boss, who is co-partner at the firm with the Napoleonic Turd.

“Hire someone. You two agree on a job description and send it to me. Figure out who the new hire will report to, I don’t care.”

That was a missive to me and the accounting dude from the Napoleonic Turd.

Before you can say “I’m not trying to be power hungry or anything”, the accounting dude is in my office saying “I’m not trying to be power hungry or anything, but I think this person should report to me.”

Red flag #1. I ignore it.

“That’s fine,” I say. “It doesn’t matter who they report to so long as this person is answering phones and helping out support.”

We agree that we’ll work together to combine my job description with his and then send it over as demanded.

I’ll say it again because it’s important: We agree. That we’ll work together. To combine job descriptions. Then send it over. As demanded.

I send the accounting dude my version of the job description (“Administrative Support Assistant”) because I know he hasn’t started his yet.

Red flag #2: The next morning, I am copied on an e-mail to the Napoleonic Turd from the now blatantly power hungry accounting dude:

“Here is the job description. The new person will report to me.”

You know what’s coming next, don’t you?

I open the attached ACCOUNTING ASSISTANT job description and it is, as you might expect ALL ACCOUNTING. There’s nothing from my original job description save one sentence at the very bottom: “And will assist with answering phones as needed.”


“I thought we were going to agree on a job description before sending it to D___?”

That was me, after my forehead exploded all over the desk, in an e-mail to the accounting fucker.

“I did. Your stuff is in there.”

Right. Fucker.
I sit at my desk for a good 10 minutes trying to figure out how to handle this.

Remember the missive?

We were supposed to iron out all the details before floating it up to the Napoleonic Turd. But the accounting fucker circumvented that. So now what?

I need help for my support people or they will leave.

So I hit Reply All with some trepidation and write:

“One suggestion: Change the job title from accounting assistant to office assistant. It needs to be made very clear to candidates that answering the phones and helping out with basic support questions is a primary function of the role and equally important as the accounting tasks assigned.”

I wanted to say that it will be much easier finding a general office assistant willing to answer the phones than an accounting person willing to serve as a receptionist. But I didn’t.

I hit send. I cringe.

Less than a minute later, me and the accounting fucker get this from the Napoleonic Turd:

“I changed my mind. This person will report to Heather.”
In the mean time, the Turd and I are copied on an e-mail thread started between the accounting fucker and his boss regarding a candidate they want to interview later that day. The candidate has a finance degree and has been working in accounting roles since 1995.

This was probably a mistake, but I hit Reply All (again) and said:

“Perhaps we should all get on the same page prior to bringing anyone in.”
Next, a lot of stuff happened between the Turd and his partner, and his partner and the accounting fucker that I wasn’t part of.

Then the Turd is in my office screaming at me.


I didn’t get to say much except that I was very angry at how things had turned out, too. Then he left.

He came back a half hour later to yell some more but I stood up and cut him off.

“Before you start screaming at me again, you should hear what happened.”

And then I threw the accounting fucker under the bus. Right where he belongs.
Accounting fucker stops by my office later, completely oblivious to the carnage he’s created in his Power Hungry Struggle to Rule the Office, One Admin at a Time (Suggestion: say that last part in a movie trailer voice. Seriously, try it. It sounds better.)

It would’ve been too easy for me to unload on him. But I don’t.

“I actually interviewed someone last night who could be good,” he says.

Red Flag #3: That’s right. He interviewed someone before we even agreed on the job description.

Did I mention this guy’s a fucker? I did, didn’t I?
“Now you know what we have to deal with,” that was the office manager.

And the two people in support. And the risk manager. And the operations manager. And the IT manager.

In fact, I received a steady stream of sympathetic visitors all afternoon, after The Great Turd Explosion of 2008.

Apparently getting yelled at by the Turd is some sort of twisted badge of honor within the office and I am now officially part of The Club.

Yay, me.
Lesson #1: Don’t assume that your co-workers are doing what’s best for the company because quite often they’re only doing what’s best for them.

Lesson #2: If someone is power hungry, steps on you, and doesn’t follow the rules, throw them under the bus.

Lesson #3: If possible, try not to work for a tiny ignorant screaming turd.
Two weeks ago we hired someone. The admin person we so desperately need.

Is it immature to say that I took Great Pleasure in introducing him to the accounting fucker?

It is. And I did. Fucker.
I am listening to: Shitlist - L7
I am reading: Neither Wolf Nor Dog
And I am: Looking for a job again


Susan said...

I worked with a TURD once - every day by 2:00 I was one giant red hive from head to toe - I hated EVERY minute of it - I told TURD I could no longer work with him. Best thing I ever did.

Move along little doggie - it will all be for the good.


Posolxstvo said...

Oh wow.

People who scream in the workplace scare me. I don't know if you caught my post a month or so ago about a client who crossed the line, but there was a situation with that client that I am reminded of when reading your misery.

My contact, M______'s, boss (L_____) was a generally mean person. She made no bones about being hostile to anyone, whenever she felt like it, without any apology.

One of my first meetings there as project manager, in which I was kicking the project off and trying to define who's job was which, etc., L_____ accused me of having too many people involved and wasting everyone's time.

The next meeting, she flipped out at me because I didn't have enough people and was making decisions without the right people at the table.

Another meeting, she started with a story about how she had screamed at someone she didn't know for "reading her paper." She didn't apologize -- simply explained why she did it and moved on. The person she had yelled at was another of her vendors.

As part of my client therapy sessions with M_____, she told me about all the times that she was screamed at by L_____ at the top of her lungs, loud enough that the whole office, and several others a floor above and below could hear.

Then one day I got a call from the Director of the Non-Profit. "Could you tell me about any times that L_____ acted in an unprofessional manner in your presence?" M_____ was on the call as well.


Being a vendor, I felt uncomfortable throwing her under the bus, but I told the truth.

In the end, L_____ lost her job. Karma rule number 1043, treat people like shit, it will come back on you.

molly gras said...


I say copious amounts of Prozac are in order (strategically laced in the turd's coffee, of course; be sure to lace your own with good vodka!)

Let's see how that improves things around there!


Time to move on to a much more respectable place it seems. If you want to be screamed at, you should be wearing a short skirt with your boobies peeking out of the tight black shirt,working for a fat old balding greek man in an ALL AMERICAN FAMILY DiNING establishment. Until then, tell those malaka's to shut it!
In greek that would be, Malaka wanker gamisou!


the dilf said...

Everyone one of us works for some sort of c*ck sucker!
I have plenty of customers who are c*ck suckers too!

Let's use this as a financial learning experience. CS's were put on this earth, for all of us to learn how to save money. They make us realize that we need to save and save and save. Because, if you're fiscally responsible, and save as much as possible, and you now have plenty of cash in the bank,(I'm trying to save about 3 yrs of living expenses) you have set yourself up perfectly for your next engagement with a CS.
I'm preparing myself for this engagement...and let me tell's coming.
So, when Mr. C*ck Sucker starts cussin me out and telling me how much I suck, I'm just going to take a deep breath and then nicely tell him how nice my n*ts are going to look on the tip of his old lady's chin!...YOU D*CK!
Then I'll calmly shake everyone's hand at work and leave with a smile.
Finance 101 my friends!

Dave said...

I work and have worked with some, how shall we put it, high strung people.

The easiest way I've found to deal with them is to not.

Screaming ensues and then stops.

Silence from me. Screamers hate silence and will fill the void.


"Well what? You were yelling. Do you want to go back to what we were talking about?" Then move right back into whatever it was before the outburst. They almost never erupt, it's too embarrassing, even to them.

They also learn, without anything said, that screaming doesn't "work" with you and they back off.

Anonymous said...

You are being way to kind by calling him Turd. We all know that he is a short little prick. :)

Hedy said...

Thank you for all the great comments. It happened again today. Two days in a row. This, from a man who has not managed his company or taken responsibility for anything over the past year and expects me to clean up the financial and managerial messes. Oh, and handle marketing too. Three people asked me today "Are you coming back tomorrow?" and I honestly didn't know how to respond. The thing that really gets me is he seems to enjoy berating people publicly.

FM from Train said...

Surprised to hear that ppl like this still exist in corporate America.

Sorry to hear that you have to deal with this.

From my past experiences, had a simlar situation twice in 15 years. Both times, I stopped them there and then highlighting where they are wrong... boss or not.
Basically... if you let them do this to you, they will keep doing it.

I got back at them right away and life was peaceful after that.

FM from train said...

(probably not the place where this comment should go)

I have to say this Heather but I am quite impressed with your writing style. Everything you have written is so very intriguing and wants me to read even more. Thank you very much for sharing that link with me.

So there I was last night... logging in around 9:30'ish to work on a presentation due at 9:30 the next morning (today). Got the skeleton done and had to just put on the 'meat' when I go to your blog I had book marked earlier, just to check what you had posted that day. It was 2am and I am still reading thru all the posts, admittedly by this time skipping and jumping all over the timeline. Really impressed with your articles on Bhutto and Musharraf and all your train experiences and words of the day and everything else. Forced myself to turn the laptop off, promising myself to log back in over the weekend to go over the remaining.

Woke up brain dead around 5am to finish off the presentation. Still not sure what I put in there with a few minutes to go until bosses and their ‘servants’ gather in the room to stare at my tired self… and here I am wondering… is it really true that people actually choose to ‘reduce’? Is ‘reduction’ even a medically possible option? Is it really that common? I had always thought it was the other way around. Oh well… I see myself staring at them today wondering if that new (to me) option was applied or not. OMG!!!! IT IS MTG TIME!!!!

fm said...

whoa... came across this and thought about your article... check out #6 here...

infact.. i think most of these apply to your situation.