1. somebody in charge: somebody who is in charge of others, especially in a work environment
2. somebody dominant: the dominant partner in a relationship or the dominant member of a group, who tends to make decisions and give instructions
3. powerful politician: a politician who exerts a controlling influence, e.g. by applying pressure on others to vote in a particular way
Inferred in these definitions is the fact that one central authority figure is in charge and telling others what to do. In the political realm we would call this a dictatorship, so if as Americans we reject the dictatorship for our central form of government, then why should we accept it as the system which rules our careers and professional lives?
We have all had horrible bosses. It always seems that the worst people somehow slip into these positions of authority. The assumption that most of us believe, because of the rhetoric we hear all our lives, is that “The Boss” is in charge because they have qualifications that are better than the underlings and these qualifications give them the boost that they need to climb the corporate ladder a little bit higher than the rest of us. As most of us already know by now this just simply is not true.
I have worked since I was ten years old. I had a paper route, shoveled snow, raked leaves, mowed grass, and even helped people move to earn a buck. Most people were appreciative to have such a youngster willing to do these jobs and I was treated with the utmost dignity and respect by my bosses in those early years. When it came time to take on work as a teenager, when the law said I could legally work for a corporation, I learned that not all people in charge were nice.
I wasn’t a responsible teenager in any way, shape or form. So when I entered the adult work force, working in restaurants and retail establishments, I thought that me getting pissed off at my boss and quitting was due to my immaturity and utter lack of responsibility. In part it was, but the trend of hating the authority figures who controlled my work life continued.
My bosses came in all shapes and sizes, with all different types of personality disorders and varying degrees of sociopathy. It has been said that “power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” , but I am willing to take it a bit further and say the desire for power tends to corrupt as well. The system of corporate rule even at the most basic level, say a big box store like Walmart for example, allows for this to happen. Putting the welfare of so many people’s lives in the hands of one person opens the door for corruption, and this has been the case for almost every job that I have ever held. Allow me to give a few real world examples. Names of people, places, etcetera have been withheld to protect the innocent.
Boss #1 – The Bully
A low person on the totem pole at a big box store is really struggling. They are unhappy with the position they have held since starting with company three years prior. They have been unable to transfer to another position in that store and have been given many conflicting reasons why they cannot move to another position by all members of management. The work is grueling and the conditions are harsh. The pay is low. The treatment of workers in that position by all other people in different positions is inhumane and embarrassing. The average age for a worker in that position is eighteen but our worker is in their thirties. Being a member of this untouchable caste makes the worker always on thin ice with the management. Due to the harsh economic conditions of the country the worker is unable to find other work and has constant anxiety about this.
One day the worker goes home for lunch because they forgot their food and cannot afford to eat at a restaurant. Halfway home disaster occurs. The transmission in the car that they are driving goes out and they can only cruise home at a brisk pace of twenty-five miles per hour because the problem with the transmission will not allow them to move to a higher gear and go any faster. When they finally get to their home the vehicle completely craps out on them and they have no way of returning to work that day. The dreaded inevitable call must be made to a member of management.
The manager on duty that day is a late thirties early forties something man. Each day he comes to work he is dressed impeccably. Not one hair on his head with his forty dollar haircut is out of place. He is relaxed and comfortable at work, always cracking jokes about the other employees and how dim witted they all are. He enjoys embarrassing all the people under him and giving them verbal lashing as he see fits, usually when a romantic affair in his personal life goes foul. Several times he has made derogatory comments on the personal appearance and clothing of workers under him, most of who make just over minimum wage and cannot afford to dress like him. The size of his wallet is only matched by his ego, and the lengthy commentaries he has regarding sporting events and workout routines.
The call goes through from the front desk and the manager picks up. The worker obviously very distraught explains the situation to this manager. Relaxed and carefree as always, the manager acknowledges the workers situation, but does so in such a way the acknowledgement comes off as snide and leads the worker to believe that the manager probably doesn’t believe the story.
The worker has to junk the car that very same day and keeps the receipt to show the boss the next day to ensure that they stay employed and the story of the car hiccup is validated. Luckily the worker is allowed to borrow a vehicle from someone and makes it to work on time the next morning. The worker walks right up to the boss that morning to show him the receipt and asks with a smile in a hushed and polite tone “You didn’t think I was lying to you yesterday did you?” handing him the receipt.
The boss turns around perplexed and disgusted and begins yelling as loud as he possibly can.
“If I fucking thought you were lying to me I would fucking tell you. Got it?”
The worker is blinded with rage. The immediate reaction of the worker is to begin yelling. The worker wants to grab the boss by the collar and punch the boss repeatedly until unconscious but a sickening feeling overwhelms this worker. The worker becomes paralyzed and begins to shake. Then the worker begins to blame themselves and follows the boss to apologize and grovel, saying anything to make sure their job is still secure. It is, but the damage is done. The embarrassment, shame, and foul treatment have become too much. The worker becomes least productive and begins committing small acts of sabotage and pranks whenever the opportunity arises. The job becomes a target for revenge rather than a place of employment. The worker becomes an employee who dreads coming to work but delights in the idea of putting a monkey wrench in the works of the employer.
ANALYSIS- The manager we referred to in this story is typical of most management. He started out as a lowly employee like the worker in this story and worked his way to the top through the thought manipulation of other people. He hasn’t worked any harder than any other employee to get to where he is, in fact he has worked less than others, he just happens to have a silver tongue. As with most individuals who make it to the management level, either assistant or full manager, he has a degree of sociopathy. On the surface the masks he wears and the lines he feeds to his peers and higher ups is enough. He is on the fast track to becoming a big boss, but if we look just below the surface, the ruse becomes apparent and the lack of depth is exposed. We must remember that a boss is not a leader, they are just a boss, and it is the bosses who pick the bosses not the workers.
Boss#2- The Underboss
An employee has been working with a company for a little over a year. The worker has done well and worked their way from a temporary position to a full time permanent position. This feat is near impossible seeing as the head manager is a hardnosed slave driver who only wants workers who are able to give one-hundred percent all of the time in spite of the impossible demands they are given.
Recently the worker has seen many of the seasonal workers let go because they haven’t met the demands sent down from management. One choice of seasonal worker that management has chosen to keep is a surprise to the worker. This seasonal worker has not worked much harder than the people who were let go. In fact, many of the other full time employees and lower level managers have complained that the seasonal worker is lazy and talks incessantly. The seasonal worker is put into a permanent position in the same department as the worker where the worker soon finds out how it is that the former seasonal worker has managed to stick around and soon become The Underboss.
The worker finds that their new peer does talk incessantly usually to fish personal information or opinions regarding anything work related. The worker also notices that the new peer is not only lazy but careless as well, often disregarding safety precautions unless a member of management is around. The incessant talking bit does not end however when the management is present. At that point it gets worse. The new peer becomes the worst form of sycophantic bootlicker. They chomp at the bit to have an audience with any member of management for any length of time. The peer soon ends up spending more time following around the management rather than doing actual work.
This ridiculous brown nosing does not go unnoticed by any of the members of the department with the exception of the direct supervisor (The Boss) who is on the receiving end of the bootlicking. Soon the other members of the department begin to gang up on the new peer and suggest that they do some actual work instead of sucking up to the bosses. Not long after this the bosses begin to come down very hard on these workers. The bosses bring up and throw in the faces of the workers personal opinions of the establishment that they told the new peer in confidence. Any mistake or deviation from protocol committed by any worker is immediately brought to the attention of the bosses by the new peer. When the same is done by workers against the new peer, the bosses claim it is petty retribution and nothing comes of it. Soon the only voice that is being heard by management is the voice of the new peer who has suddenly become The Underboss.
The Underboss holds no actual position of authority but begins passing out work lists and projects to the other workers and so called peers. The Underboss checks on the progress of these projects and reports back to the boss because he has become his lackey. Any involvement in any kind of actual labor is minimal for the underboss. When The Underboss does take part in work they only work when the boss is looking. The Underboss becomes fanatical in their devotion to the boss and has all the workers walking on egg shells, finding themselves an inch away from losing their jobs. The workers become quite paranoid. Suggestions are made about giving The Underboss a “blanket party” of sorts, but the economy is so bad that none of them can risk termination or jail time. They must deal with it until either The Underboss is moved from the department or they are. In a few short months the workers are both relieved and insulted when they find out that The Underboss has been promoted to Boss of another department and will no longer be directly working with them. Someone with less education, less experience, and less seniority than all the other workers has surpassed all the workers and been given a position of privilege and authority.
ANALYSIS- The Underboss is a true sociopath adopting whatever mask suits their purposes. They have but one goal, to gain as much power, prestige, and money as possible, by any means necessary. The Underboss has no soul. When confronted by others about their atrocious behavior The Underboss will feign guilt and sorrow, but in the end will only hold resentment and hatred for the accuser, often doing whatever they can to get them out of their way, even if it means getting their accuser get fired under false pretenses. Once The Underboss knows that someone is on to their ruse, it is only a matter of time before they set forth a plan of action to remove the menace. Nobody is safe from the relentless, ruthless attacks of The Underboss.
Boss#3- The Great Dictator
The Great Dictator is the boss of all bosses. They have turned management into a science with a bit of evil sorcery mixed in. The Great Dictator is usually a former Underboss who has attained their position through a wicked shrewdness on par with Hitler and Stalin. They have been systemized by the establishment and the robotic functions of their own sociopathy.
Once in power The Great Dictator sets a system in place to have complete control and wage total war against the people who work for them. The Great Dictator uses all tools at their disposal to ensure that they cannot be deposed for any reason by anyone so they can maintain their power, prestige, and income. The first step in this process is for The Great Dictator is to create a militarized police force.
The Great Dictator takes a good look at the midlevel management directly under them to see if they are up to snuff. They weigh and measure the personalities of the midlevel management to see who will be completely loyal and carry out orders without question. Those who do not fit into this uniform are either transferred out, rode so hard they leave, or are systematically removed through a campaign of falsehoods and manipulation. Once the opposition is removed, The Great Dictator puts in place the enforcers to carry out all orders without question in a malevolent fashion.
As they say, shit rolls down hill, and the pressure begins to fall on the lower level management. The pressure that is put on lower level management is measured, just enough to keep them one step away from breaking. A propaganda campaign is put in place to constantly remind all employees, especially the lower level management, of the rules, expectations, and values of the company, and that any deviation from them could be considered insubordination and make an employee subject to termination.
In an effort to ensure their survival under The Great Dictator, the lower level management delivers a swift crushing blow to all drone workers who do not fall in line with the new program. The building in which everyone works becomes a pressure cooker. An invisible psychic weight on the shoulders of employees makes them actually physically slouch. The imaginary whip at their backs is enough to prod them forward without regard to their morale, and personal well being. As long as orders are carried out to the satisfaction of The Great Dictator employees are left alone. If this is not accomplished, The Great Dictator ensures that pressure is placed upon the offending employee from all directions to reprimand them.
To make matters worse, The Great Dictator is an unapologetic micromanager. Instead of delegating responsibilities to the management beneath them, The Great Dictator is the overseer of every aspect of corporate life of all employees. Any detail that is not pleasing to The Great Dictator is berated and is immediately ordered to be changed to reflect the wishes of The Great Dictator. Compounding the frustration is the fact that Enforcers are still trying to exercise their own power by delegating responsibilities and projects to lower level management and drone workers, dictating details as they expect they should be. The details of these projects are often changed on the fly by The Great Dictator because they are not carried out to their satisfaction, causing projects to be done, redone, and redone again. This wastes valuable company time and money, and causes the employees to become a corporate Sisyphus.
This does not bother The Great Dictator in the slightest. To Them employees are simply cattle, lead to the slaughter when their usefulness has ended. The Great Dictators detach themselves from feelings and depersonalize all transactions. The personal problems of employees must be resolved through the rigid rules regarding their situation and strict translation of those rules by The Great Dictator. No quarter is given because no compassion or understanding is to be found. A worker who needs time off to take care of their terminally ill parent is reprimanded for taking one day off to do so. The worker believes this is unfair and does not fall in line with the values of the company and reports this to the level of management above The Great Dictator. The Great Dictator is notified that someone has reported the transgression. Although The Great Dictator does not know who it was, they suspect the employee who came to them with the problem in the first place and begin to watch over them like a hawk. Every simple deviation from corporate policy either real or imagined is dealt with in S.S. fashion. The employee is made an example of to keep others in fear, and fear becomes the tool to rule.
ANALYSIS- There is no level to which The Great Dictator will not stoop to maintain their needs. They are ruled by a severe narcissism, greed, or sociopathy. They have no regard for others, only themselves. They are ruthless, shrewd, and cruel in all their dealings. As with The Underboss, there is no reasoning with them. You are but a means to an end.
We must ask ourselves, how is it that such vile people get in positions of power and authority? The answer is simple. The system set in place to rule us professionally is unfair and unjust reaching to the highest levels of the economy. All efforts to work within current economic structures to maintain justice for workers have failed. We continue to promote the effortless rise of a criminal element into the corporate ruling class. Our efforts must not be to adapt to this system to change from within, but to abolish it completely, otherwise we will remain slaves to the slave masters.