Why yes I am eating that cold pizza AT you, former boss who has been fired in disgrace
Is there anything better than watching someone you – hmmm – someone you DISLIKE INTENSELY FOR VALID REASONS get her comeuppance?
WHY NO THERE IS NOT.
Some would say I need to forgive people and not take pleasure in their misfortune but some people have had a charmed life without ever encountering toxic people. I wish those people well – I don’t want anyone to experience toxic jerks – but I cannot forgive those who have wronged me and I take great joy in seeing them get what’s coming to them. If that makes me petty, so be it.
Let me back up. This is the second time that I have had the joy of watching a former boss be fired.
The first time was when I worked for a small company. There were only about 14 of us in the office in my city. The rest of the company, maybe 20 or so, including the CEO, were in Australia.
Here is a sample of the (many) things that made the CEO a horrible boss:
- He cut my salary by $20K before I even started, saying that the number HR had given me was “full compensation,” not salary, which is BS because nobody in the world answers the question of “How much does it pay?” with a number that includes the value of the benefits.
- He criticized – yelled – at my boss in public, even though the issues were things over which my boss had no control. Even if my boss had controlled such things, criticizing your team in public is very bad management.
- After I (tactfully) rated a team meeting as being a “2” because although it was interesting, it covered technical topics I did not need in my position, the CEO called my boss at 9 p.m. that night to tell my boss to tell me not to come to the rest of the team meeting the next day because he was so mad at me. My boss had the unpleasant job of delivering that news to me. After that call, I understood why all my co-workers had given enthusiastic ratings of “FIVE!!!” to the session. They knew.
- Four of the 14 people in my office had quit in less than a year, including someone who just didn’t come back from lunch one day.
Everyone hated that CEO. He was a jerk to me personally and to everyone else around me. I accepted the job (it was an internal move from the larger parent organization to the smaller company) but started looking for a new one on my first day when I arrived to discover that even though they had known for a month that I was coming, not only did they not have a computer for me, they didn’t even have anywhere for me to sit.
That first day – and the thing that sealed my decision to look for a new job – was when my boss handed (well, emailed) me a list of – I AM NOT MAKING THIS UP – 6,000 companies to COLD CALL to sell the company’s product.
Trust me this aspect of the job was not covered during my interviews.
Eight months later, HR tried to demand an exit interview when I quit. “How can we fix things if you won’t tell us what’s wrong?”
I laughed and said, “I don’t have to do an exit interview and you all know what’s wrong – you just don’t want to deal with it.”
Also, I feared retribution if I told the truth about the CEO. He was that nasty.
Six months after I quit, the board fired the CEO. Unfortunately, I don’t think it was because he is such a jerk. I think it was more because he spent a few hundred thousand dollars renovating the office space in my city, even though the existing space was just fine. You can be a total asshole and get away with it, but don’t waste company money, I guess.
Still, he was fired. And a search online shows that he has become a consultant. Nobody else wants him as a CEO, apparently.
I started my new job and my new boss was fabulous, although I still flinched every time he called me into his office. It took me months to realize he was not calling me in to yell at me or criticize me.
Good Boss: When Texan first started, she was scared every time I called her! But now she is fine.
Me: It’s because I thought you were going to scream at me.
Summer intern: You were like a rescue dog who had been abused!
I even wrote letters to all my former bosses (not including the job I had just left with the Bad CEO), telling them I had never realized how great they were because I had never had a bad boss before. I had taken having a good boss for granted.
Four years after I started, the company was acquired and the new CEO brought in all his GE friends.
(If you know anything at all about GE, this is where you start to get scared.)
In January, I was moved to a different group working under a new VP from GE.
Let’s call her Cruella.
In the year I reported to her, Cruella gave me no objectives. In June, she gave me one assignment. In my review in August, she said not much more than, “People really like you and your work!” She sounded surprised.
In September, she announced a new org chart. She told me the night before the announcement – only because we happened to be walking together to the hotel – that I would now be reporting to Liz, a woman I had recruited and trained. A woman who had no management experience and 15 years less corporate experience. I swallowed and smiled and thought, “Well, at least I like Liz. I can make this work.”
Liz also gave me no objectives, no feedback. The whole time, I kept doing my old job because nobody had said not to do it and the work needed to be done and I was really good at it.
In December, Cruella called me to tell me she was eliminating my position. I told her she had been trying to get me to quit since the day she started. She retorted that I had really messed up the assignment she had given me in June. Which was the first time I had heard that. If I was going such a crummy job, shouldn’t she – as my manager – give me feedback and direction? And shouldn’t she have mentioned it in my August review?
So I was gone.
And two weeks later, one of my former co-workers quit without another job lined up.
And then the original VP – whom they had demoted to director (the CEO called her on Christmas day to tell her he was bringing in a new VP and that she would be demoted) – quit.
Since then, more of the original team has quit – including Liz, who apparently would go into the bathroom to cry after dealing with Cruella.
And two weeks ago, a friend who still works at the company told me that they had just announced Cruella was leaving, using the “she has been fired” language of “Cruella is leaving the company to pursue other opportunities.”
I messaged my former boss: I heard Cruella is gone. I hope she was fired and is leaving in disgrace.
Former boss and now current friend (thumbs up): Yep and yep!