A-hole executives

Steve Jobs was known for yelling and cussing out other people from time to time. Yet, from what I’ve heard of upper management and executives in general, this kind of behavior isn’t exactly rare, and nothing is done about it, whereas if a middle manager or lower acts that way they are either at least given a warning or are punished for it.

When I was employed I was never in a management position so it was rare for me to deal with anybody higher than a middle manager.

So, if you deal with upper management or executives, or if you are one, how often do you have to put up with such behavior, if at all?

I don’t have any experience with upper management who are assholes in the way you’re describing. I might not like some of them for other reasons, but shouting and cussing isn’t really one of them.

Of course, “upper management” to me counts as anyone who is my boss’ boss. That’s anyone in an assistant director or director position or above, which I guess isn’t really that high on the food chain, considering there’s at least three levels of executives above them.

When I worked at the Kmart distribution center, the General Manager had a penchant for loudly cursing out his direct reports in his office with the door open. Pretty much wide open to all the other management offices. I thought that was very unprofessional. But of course, the guy was a huge prick in many other ways too.

The problem is that there are too few people above them and those people are usually too busy to deal with such trivialities and/or equally dickish and think it is the way to get things done. Either that or there is no one above them at all.

But even well below that level, haven’t you ever dealt with petty tyrant supervisors who get an ounce of power and try to build their own kingdom of Absolute Authority where company policy, morality and law are meaningless before their will?

I don’t act that way and none of the executives I have ever worked with, my stepmother excepted (and she has mental problems) act that way.

My last long term job was at a PCB (printed circuit board) manufacturing plant. My department had a lead with anger management issues. One day she got caught cursing out one of my coworkers and was forced to step down as lead because otherwise she she would have been fired.

Meanwhile, one of the department supervisors stepped down because of the pressure on him, and I heard that if our department wasn’t doing too hot then the plant manager would curse him, or any low performing supervisor, out during meetings.

I don’t know if the plant manager’s boss would have cared, but he only came around maybe three, four times a year tops.

So lead worker, punished for that kind of behavior; Plant manager, allowed to get away with it.

Bill Gates was known to do that too. So at the rarified level of Steve Jobs and Bill Gates it’s pretty much expected.

Well, the CEO pretty much can act almost however he likes.

Really, the few times I’ve had to deal with an executive who could be considered “abusive”, I found that the company had little tolerance for that behavior.

I feel that I need to distinguish between abusive “yelling and screaming” and what might be considered a “heated discussion”. I’m used to working in highly stressful client deadline driven environments. People lose their temper from time to time. That’s different from some idiot middle manager screaming at everyone for no reason because they hate their stupid life.

And really what is yelling supposed to do anyway? Am I supposed to think you’re going to beat me up? Or that you might keep talking loudly?

In reality, most corporate types are “a-holes” in a passive aggressive back-stabby sort of way.

I’ve seen plenty of it.

Not so much the CEO types. I’ve worked in the financial services industry and in law firms.

Law firm partners with lots of business, or traders making lots of money, can do whatever they want. And they do. Most of them are OK (well, not the traders - most of them are sociopaths, but most of the lawyers), but some are downright abusive little shits.

I’ve seen them scream and shout and curse, and on a couple of occasions, even strike low-ranking employees.

And it’s fine. If the low-level employee complains, he or she is dismissed on some pretext or other.

Bringing in the money is what counts. Nothing else matters.

Cursing and verbally abusive in public? No.

Completely untrustworthy and backstabbing, while presenting a “hail fellow well met” exterior? Every damn day.

I don’t think I’ve ever had a boss be verbally abusive to me. Disrespectful, overbearing, unreasonable, illogical, dismissive, sure. But not abusive.

I used to know someone who worked at a scrapyard for a while. Her employer and closest coworker were relatives by marriage. Every day they would call her a bitch, a cunt, an moron, an asshole – pretty much every abusive word in the book. She was really upset about it until she realized that that’s just the way they talked there. Outside of work they treated her with respect. She finally coped with it by speaking their language. Fucking assholes.