By Gargi Mehra Oct. 16, 2019
I want to dedicate this Boss’s Day to the authority figure who dictates my life: My three-year-old. When I took up this gig, I should have checked the fine print in the employment contract – long work hours, with no pay or bonuses. No public holidays or weekends.
Nobody tell the perennially overworked employees of India Inc this, but today is Boss’s Day. I know, I know, when you’re working 10 hours a day to meet a deadline while the head honcho leaves for home by lunch, it feels like every day is Boss’s Day. But this one is different, being reserved for appreciation, so send your work spouse that snide WhatsApp message about your head man tomorrow, and follow my example. I want to dedicate this Boss’s Day to my supervisor, manager, and overseer, all rolled into one: My three-year-old.
It’s been three years since you plonked me down in the rigid frames of your organisational hierarchy, and I’ve got to say, you’re the toughest boss I’ve ever had!
The orientation programme you set up did little to prepare me for how you jolted me awake every 60 minutes, making new demands and throwing a tantrum if I don’t respond in 10 seconds. These deadlines are impossible to meet. In all the projects we’ve worked on together since, we’ve come so far that I can anticipate your needs, but even a slight lag in my performance is enough to make you explode into a fit of unexpected rage.
There was no prior intimation, just a surprise announcement that you’d arrive. Your arrival was painful. Yet I slogged for you all day and night, sacrificing my sleep. It never once occurred to me that before I took up this gig, I should have checked the fine print in the employment contract – that you need to be on the job 24/7, with no pay or bonuses. No public holidays or weekends.
The speed with which you met your growth targets drew extensive praise from other shareholders in our enterprise, like Messrs Grandpa, Grandma, & Dad Pvt Ltd.
The speed with which you met your growth targets drew extensive praise from other shareholders in our enterprise, like Messrs Grandpa, Grandma, & Dad Pvt Ltd. Your meteoric rise, both in stature and sheer abilities, amazed everyone. Everyone was in awe of you and every small step you took was applauded. I liked to believe I had a part to play in your growth, but no one gave me credit for it. They might not say it, but they think it’s just “part of the package” and that I should behave like a team player instead of seeking adulation.
Not many get it but this job is extremely demanding. I’ve had many sleepless nights, trying to see the positives, trying to come up with strategies, hoping that soon there will come a day where you won’t get cranky. But on most days, I’ve failed to meet expectations. When you narrow your eyes at me from under those caterpillar-like eyebrows, I often glean disappointment. During those long lectures from you, I tried to pay attention. I even took notes, but to tell the truth I could figure out very little of the gibberish you spoke. Perhaps it’s all corporate jargon but I could never be sure.
Most CEOs like to spout buzzwords like “disruption” and “innovation”, and you are no different. You taught me to expect the unexpected, always making sure that each day looked nothing like the one before it. Every morning brought with it something new. Sometimes you beamed at me, and I gained a new confidence, but the very next day, you cast me aside, behaving like I was incompetent.
The annual appraisals were a nightmare and I always dreaded them. What would I get in the form of feedback – a smile, some drool, or just you headbanging the wall? I never knew! But as the days passed you grew on me. I got accustomed to your style of working. I learned to accept your motto of “work hard, puke harder”. Mostly you projectile-vomited while I melted into the background and cleaned up the mess.
Today, as you rise up the corporate ladder and move on to bigger, better, more demanding roles, I hope you reminisce warmly on our time together and give me my due. If you don’t, I’m sorry to say that, judging by the way I was puking my guts out earlier this morning, by this time next year, I might have moved on to a completely new boss.
Gargi Mehra is a software professional by day, a writer by night and a mother at all times. Her short stories and essays have appeared in numerous literary magazines. She blogs at http://www.gargimehra.com/ and tweets as @gargimehra