I am sort of slow at recognizing the obvious.
Let me back up. I have started keeping a dream journal. I tried once in the past, but I preferred trying to go back to sleep than getting up and recording my dreams. When I did get out of bed, often my dreams were just a fuzzy memory and I needed to get ready for work.
Being retired now, it doesn’t really matter what time I get up. Often I will wake up after just a few hours, go sit in the living room for a bit, read something, and then return to bed later. This morning I woke up at 3:45 a.m.. I will undoubtedly take an afternoon nap today.
Today I had a dream about a boss. As I woke up from it, I realized… I don’t have a “boss” anymore. My entire adult life, I have had a boss, except for a time when I was self-employed. This will probably sound strange, but after 45 years or so of having a boss, it feels very… odd. You spend so much of your life in that type of relationship and in my case it was often a relationship that I tried to manage to my advantage, especially in my early years. But, even as I got older and became more and more unmanageable and independent, the boss relationship was still there. Fortunately for my pension’s sake, I was able to be successful enough that my rebellious nature was worth tolerating because my work results often made my boss look politically good. I was also lucky enough to have some kind and wise bosses along the way.
However, not only did I have bosses, but often times I was a boss. This relationship and its responsibilities I found even more dislikeable. I preferred independence and would ‘manage’ people by giving them a large degree of autonomy in their work. Identify the goal, and then let them accomplish it in their own manner was my preferred method. Even today I cringe at the very idea of “managing” someone. It seems crude and rude to speak of humans in that assembly line language. The word subordinate almost makes me throw up in my mouth. I preferred colleagues. Of course, along the way, one or two “colleagues” could not handle that type of role, either from their insecurity, role identification, or personal agendas. Fortunately for me, they were far and few between and I was surrounded by some great people.
I have thought about returning to work in a part time situation but I always think, “Do you really want a boss again?” Or, worse yet, what if I became a boss again? My number one most hated responsibility as a boss was writing annual performance reviews. I found it kind of demeaning to high performing, intelligent, kind and generous colleagues especially given the constraints of a union negotiated form and format. My own performance reviews, although not unionized, I stopped reading towards the final few years of my career. I just signed the back sheet. I was a bit of a prick, I suppose.
So, it took me 17 months to realize that I am no longer in that life-long relationship of Bossiness and regardless of how I feel about it all, it has to affect one’s psyche in some sort of way. How? I am not certain. I am a slow thinker. Certainly there is a lot unseen and understood within this relationship. Our gender relationships easily comes to mind. Our parental relationships is another factor. Our self esteem, our… and on and on.
I find it a bit amusing and yet sad that the accepted word for all this is called supervision. Super-Vision would indeed be awesome, but often supervision is more closely like a playground supervisor, whistle around the neck and all. A few years ago, I wrote a little tune regarding this Boss-Subordinate (whoops just threw up again) relationship that begins oh so early in our lives.
Your son he has a lot of potential, but he doesn’t put it in his number 2 pencil, I’m sorry folks, I’m really sorry to say….Sometimes he likes to socialize, and he doesn’t always dot his i’s…the future looks awfully bleak to me….kindergarten can be a really tough year…but I am really trying to do my best…..I’m not running with scissors in my hand…I just can’t get along with that man….
It’s good and interesting to hear how a former boss/manager feels because from a subordinates point of view I disliked most of my bosses because they were demeaning and superior around all of the employees they”managed”. They were usually a talked about subject around the coffee room.
When I left being a subordinate behind, it took me years to stop living like someone was controlling my day and me. When I finally came to the realization that I was now in charge of my life, I felt free, it is a great feeling to finally do things my way, in my own time and however I want. I’m becoming more creative and relaxed. It’s also nice to know the human side of a former boss, I rarely saw that throughout my career. I imagine you were a nicer boss than what I had, I like the autonomy aspect, it shows trust that people knew how to do their job. Great post. 🙂👍
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I wasn’t demeaning or arrogant but I did not suffer fools very well. I needed to work on my poker face, I think. I think a lit people have that emotional issue that you referred to about being controlled all day/year and when it is not there, it takes some time to adjust to a healthier mindset. I know I did everything I could to promote and support those who worked hard for the greater good. Still I do not miss for one second supervising or being supervised. It wasn’t my bag, but you do the best that you can…. Yes, this post got more interesting with time. I like writing things like this once in a while. Makes me think!
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Sounds like you were a fair-minded boss, Gary. It is hard to work when a boss tries to micro-manage you. I did much better when I was on a long leash and I think stats prove this to be true for most folks.
But I thought you still had a boss… doesn’t she live with you? 😉
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I preferred a long leash too and one soft enough to chew off of it. My experience as a boss was 25% will loath you, 25% tolerate you, 25% like you and 25% will love you. I was definitely a Macro manager because most people around me were very good at their jobs and I got bored quickly with redundancy and details.
Yes, I guess I do still have a bit of a boss but she really gives me an extraordinary long leash….this idea of the impact of a lifetime of bosses, I find interesting and more complex than when I just jotted down that blog posting.
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Makes me think too, I cannot imagine you as arrogant or demeaning, and you’re much happier not being in charge of anyone, heck we have enough to do just being in charge of ourselves, that’s a lot of work. I hope some day if humanity survives the standard will be no one in charge, just everyone has responsibilities and does them.