A Portrait of the Boss As a Turd Fondler

In a company of around 500+ employees, there is a man who has a wee bit of trouble telling the truth. Call him Rusty. His job title is Director, which is a notch below Vice President, and a notch above Manager. Naturally, he is in charge of a department and has a number of underlings who report to him.

Rusty is a habitual liar; lack of clinical evidence prohibits the diagnosis of Pathological Liar.

“If Rusty were Pinocchio, his nose would circumvent the globe and goose his ass,” one of his underlings has said.

Very little of what Rusty says is believed by those who report to him. They know he lies—lies about the job, lies about deadlines, lies about the people who report to him, lies about the people he reports to, lies about other departments, lies to other departments, lies about the company, and lies about just anything in general—but they’re used to his lying and go about their business, doing their jobs as best they can. When one hears lies everyday, the untruth melts into the background like white noise, and one grows tolerant.

Mostly folk joke and laugh about Rusty’s lies. However, over the past few weeks, his underlings have started grumbling and are growing discontent.

It began when he was overheard badmouthing three of his underlings to the head of another department about a special project they’d just completed. Basically, he called their work substandard and that they couldn’t do anything right without his overseeing guidance and that the entire project was a wash. In reality, the special project had been completed to Rusty’s specifications, ahead of schedule, but he had a sudden revelation for entirely new project paradigm, what he thought would be a better way to do it—in opposition to the end user—and he didn’t want the completed project released, so he deemed the project inferior and shelved it. Not really surprising, or abnormal; Rusty had done things like that before: he changes his mind about what he wants almost as often as he lies. Only this time his office door was open as he talked on speaker phone.

Because of this incident, the people he talked trash about have been insisting that he write down his requirements for special projects. That’s a pretty normal business practice, but Rusty has never, never, never given written requirements for special projects as that would prohibit him from changing what he said wanted at the last moment and being able to lay blame for delays on someone else.

Last week, Rusty announced, before witnesses, that three people were being promoted. He said a company Vice President had approved the paperwork and everything was in the hands of HR awaiting finial signature. Oddly enough, the three up for promotions were the same three trashed for inferior work the week before.

Nobody believed him.

Rusty has promised promotions before, usually just one on one as a form of encouragement, and they took his statement to be just another lie—yet there were a lot of people who heard him say it. Then, the next day, again in front of multiple witnesses, Rusty said HR had approved the promotions. By the end of the month the three should have their new job titles.

Still, nobody believed him.

But the people who work for him wonder how he could lie so blatantly—that this time, it seems to them, that he has gone beyond the pale. Maybe the promotions are real. Maybe, just maybe. Nobody is holding their breath, though. But they don’t want to hear his lies anymore, especially when he is promising promotions.

It has been over three years since any one in Rusty’s department has been promoted. Rusty always had the convenient excuse at hand that HR turned the promotion requests down and the company isn’t approving for any department’s promotions. However, since the beginning of this year, every week, on the company Intranet page, there are lists and lists of folk who’ve gotten promotions and who’ve been working for the company for less time. This isn’t evidence that Rusty’s underlings deserve a promotion or earned the right to a promotion, of course, but it does belie the point that the company doesn’t give promotions, as Rusty has always professed.

The only time in three years has Rusty filled out paperwork for a promotion. He had been promising to promote a woman for a year and a half, coming up with one excuse or another, but never his fault of course, why the promotion wouldn’t go through. Out of sheer frustration, unable to believe a word he said, she applied for a position in a different department. As soon as Rusty learned she had applied elsewhere, he immediately filled out the paperwork to promote her. The paperwork flowed through the system like magic. However, HR has regulations that applications and promotions can’t be in the works at the same time, so she had to choose which one she wanted. She chose to keep the application open and was offered the job, but only as a lateral transfer without pay increase, so she turned it down. Rusty never resubmitted the woman’s promotion paperwork afterwards.

Now Rusty’s underlings are thinking about reporting him to HR. They don’t think he even filled out the paperwork. They don’t want to ask HR for the promotions; they want to stop Rusty from lying about people’s non-existent promotions. What good reporting him to HR would do remains doubtful. Rusty can lie so well and so convincingly, he’d probably have HR agreeing with him, even while knowing what he says isn’t true, and have the situation backfire on them. In all likelihood, HR would slap Rusty on the wrist, say it was naughty to make false promises about promotions, and leave it at that.

That’s enough about Rusty, for now. Future installments on Rusty could include:

1)* How Rusty Thinks Only HE Understands the True Nature of the Company’s Business.*
2)* How Rusty Justifies Arriving Late and Leaving Early Because HE Owns a Home Business.*
3)* How Rusty Thinks HIS Department Is the Keystone to the Whole Company.*
4)* How Rusty Asked HIS Underlings to Spy on a Department So HE Could Absorb the Job Duties Into HIS Own Department.*
5)* How Rusty Asked HIS Underlings to Prepare Servers and Databases for Sabotage In Case of Lay Offs.*
6)* How Rusty Plans to Build an Empire Within the Company*
7)* How Rusty Purposefully Plans Projects to Fail That Will Make Other Departments Look Bad.*
8)* How Rusty Orders HIS Underlings Not to Help Other Departments.*
9)* How Rusty Shakes HIS Fist At the Ceiling and Curses Other Departments.*
10)* How Rusty Gives a Speech Before HIS Department Where HE Claims HIS Department Will Arise Triumphant as the “Shinning Star” of the Company When Other Departments Fail, and How the Only Thing Missing Is a Shoe Pounding on the Table for Punctuation.*
11)* How Rusty Claims HE Is a Man of God, a True Christian, and a Follower of the Good Book.*

And so it goes.

Why hasn’t rusty been fired by the VPs or CEO? Someone high up is not doing their job if this guy does what you say he is doing.

I admit I’m quite relieved the title was not literal.

Rusty sounds like a lot of the Directors I’ve worked for. In fact Rusty sounds like a certain Director of Procurement I work for. He was tasked with saving the company $10 million for last fiscal year. He promised everyone in the department raises and bonuses if we hit our goal. Well we all busted our and saved $16 million with out any negative impact to the day to day business.

At the meeting concerning fiscal year end we were told how much we saved, given congratulations and that was it. When we inquired about the raises and bonuses we were told that there was no money for anyone, not even himself. Everyone got gyped.

Of course my “informant” in HR informed me differently about his situation but because of the confidential nature of the information and not wanting to get anyone introuble I can’t really do anything about it.

I’ve come across these people. I so feel for you. Anyway,

That should be good enough for HR right there. God, what an ass.

Is Rusty’s real name David Brent?

Rusty is Omarosa!

Rusty is a piece of work - and that rant was a piece of art. You have made my day.

By “Prepare Servers and Databases for Sabotage In Case of Lay Offs” do you mean prepare for recovery in CASE they are sabatoged, or prepare to sabotage them?

I suspect the latter, but maybe this could be clarified.

12)How Rusty Thinks “Dilbert” Is an Illistrated Guide to Effective Management?

Turd fondler? Sir, you have a way with words. I salute you.

I bet all the money went into CEO and board bonuses. Sorry, none left over for the people who actually work. Name me dictator for life and all corporations will have maximum allowable differences between their least and most paid employees.

Pyrry - more Rusty stories, now!

You wouldn’t be the first to ask this question.

As best as any one can guess he hasn’t been fired because:

  1. Rusty is a damn good liar. Whatever conundrum he finds himself trapped in, he can lie himself out with style, getting off the hook, though everyone still knows he is lying. Many people are willing to believe lies.
  2. He has specialized knowledge. Firing him would mean the company might have to hire a replacement from a competitor at a greatly increased cost.
  3. His lies and shenanigans can be interpreted as mostly hot air and ego, not adversely effecting the bottom line.
  4. Proving intentional ill intent towards the company may prove difficult. He’d just lie and say he was joking around.
  5. His behavior has only gotten truly awful in the last three years since he was promoted to Director. He had been with the company for seven years before that.
  6. He is one of the few minority Directors in the company. If he were fired he might sue for racial discrimination.

That said, he still may get fired one day. When he was first promoted to Director, he had three departments under him. Two of those departments have successfully petitioned Vice Presidents to be placed elsewhere in the company hierarchy. The only department under his control is the department he had when he was just a Manager. No Director in the company has fewer departments or fewer direct reports.

According to an inside source in HR, Rusty is not well liked or respected. Another Director was overheard saying “Rusty is known for broken promises. He never delivers on what he says he’ll do.”

Perhaps this dialogue can clear things up:
There were lay offs last year. Rusty lost head count and had to let an underling go. He summoned his three senior underlings to an unofficial powwow, outside on the sidewalk:

“It is bad, it’s going to be bad. They don’t understand the business the way I do, and for the first time since I took over this department, I’m forced to let some one go. It won’t be any of you three, at least not this time, but bad things are coming. Bad things. There may be a day when they decide they can do better then us. We need to prepare for that possibility. I’ll know beforehand if that day is coming, I’ve still got my sources. There may not be much time, but there will be time enough. I want all of you to prepare all our databases and servers to be shut off at my say so. Make sure there is no data left for them to steal when we’re gone. They’re not getting what it took me ten years to build up. If we go, they’ll get nothing from us, and they’ll have to start from scratch. Copy what ever code you’ve written and take it with you to wherever you go.”

Afterwards, two of the underlings talked:

“Would you really shut off the servers and erase the data at Rusty’s say so?”

“No, I have some respect for my job, and don’t think destroying someone else’s property is an ethical thing to do.”

“Me too. Do you think he’s serious, though? Would he really want us to wreck everything? I think he is just blowing hot air out his ass because he feels slighted about loosing head count.”

“Maybe it is just hot air. But maybe it isn’t. It’s hard to tell. Remember when he boasted about how he built a poison pill to automatically erase a database if they ever let him go?”

“Yeah, but he doesn’t have the technical skills to build his poison pills,” the underling said chortling. “That ability is all in his head!”

“True, very true. I think it is probably all part of his dreams and schemes, how to build a bigger corporate Empire. He imagines how grand to would be to exit the ABC Company in a blaze of glory, leaving the high muckamucks with naught but their own folly of letting him go. Somehow, convincing himself that we’d help wreck servers and databases at his command makes him feel like a bigger and better man than he really is.”

If the underlings were ever questioned by HR, they couldn’t positively claim that Rusty was serious when he asked them to prepare the servers and databases for sabotage. That’s the trouble with habitual liars—What’s the truth? What’s the lie? Rusty should never have commented about sabatage, but he could probably get off with a slap on the wrist by saying he was upset with loosing head count and venting hot air. Afterall, the underlings didn’t do what he asked them to do, so they must have understood his true intent.

Too bad I can’t take credit for its invention. That belongs to Carl Hiaasen in the novel Sick Puppy.

Be careful what you wish for, you may get it. Seven single typed pages on Rusty were written about a week ago. Some might slip in now and again.

Wow. I think I’d rather have an actual turd-fondler for a boss than this guy. At least with a TF, all you have to worry about is shaking his hand.

How about using a tape recorder? Anytime he wants to give project descriptions, whip it out and say you need it for a reference on what he wants done, since he won’t write it down. More amusing, get one of those really micro recorders from one of the spy gadget stores; you can get hours of him on tape for evidence, just in case. I’m sure the higher-ups would be interested in hearing his plans to destroy their property.

Does his behaviour count as “creating a hostile work environment”?

Best possible way to make him shut up.

Also, best possible way to make him shit on her head.

Legally questionable, though, since you’d need to hide the recorder to get any of it on tape.

If BigGirl does any of this, she won’t have a work environment.

Pyrrhonist, I feel for you; I’ve worked for some really, really shitty bosses (as my former coworker vibrotronica can attest) and it’s horrible.

I, on the other hand, spent the last three years working for a guy who was hands-down the greatest boss in the world. He was up-front with us about absolutely everything; he stood up for us in Higher Management disputes; he made sure that we were well-publicized around the company when we did well (which of course made us strive to do well); if there was a problem with my work he told me in private; he loved his job and made me love mine.

And then two weeks ago he died, at age 56. In addition to the awful sadness of losing such a great person, I’m now at the mercy of his underling, formerly my “supervisor” or something, who has as much knowledge of how to run our department as I have of how to build a fucking particle accelerator.

I suppose I should take heart: At least she’s only incompetent and not actually evil. Or a turd-fondler.

Since Rusty never threatens his underlings, i.e., “If you don’t sabotage the database I’ll fire you and you’ll never work in this industry again,” he just acts and talks like a jackass, and that may fall short of a legal definition for Hostile Work Environment.
Rusty, the Little Napoleon

A few years ago, when Rusty had been recently promoted to Director and still had three departments under his domain, he wanted to absorb yet another department with similar job functions to one of his other departments. Call it Department C. On the surface, combining Department C under Rusty’s domain made sense by reducing some redundancies, but he needed more information to support taking them over.

Since both departments deal with the same outside business partners, vendors, he wanted his underlings to call their vendors and small talk with them, then, subtly ask questions about how they transact business with Department C, but never let the vendors know they were fishing for information, just make it like small talk, act like it was nothing you’d be truly interested in finding out.

Of course, they were to keep the calls completely secret from Department C. There would be panic in Department C if they know Rusty wanted to take them over. One underling openly refused. He told Rusty he didn’t think it was an ethical way to conduct business. Rusty shook his head, as if in burdened with deep regret, and said, “Sometimes this is the only way to do business.”

Nothing much came of Rusty’s little corporate coup d’état manqué. Maybe because none of the underlings really bothered to do what he asked them to do.

During a routine company reorganization a year or so later, the possibility of combing Department C under Rusty was considered by the high muckamucks, but the employees of Department C went en masse to the VP in charge of the reorg and said they’d rather quit than work for Rusty.

To this day the departments remain separate.