An Ode to my Bosses

I’m the only woman in an office full of men. I’m the assistant. I go by a variety of titles, depending on how fancy I feel. In practice I’m gatekeeper, mom, drill sergeant, shrink, nanny, maid, switchboard and savior—to five executives. Occasionally I’m drafted by the sales guys or IT, but generally it’s the usual crew.

I love my guys. Let me make that clear. Most days they squabble over my time like little girls, which is always gratifying. But I wonder sometimes, are they weird? Are other people’s offices like this?

  1. The Belter. He doesn’t believe in the intercom. He simply shouts for me until I either respond, or someone else in the office shouts back that I’ve gone to Kinkos. He has all his phone conversations on speakerphone, and he yells. A lot. His biting sarcasm has driven 3 people from my job, but he takes as good as he gives, and he often makes me laugh. He wears flipflops to work and calls me dude—like a surfer on meth. My Birthday Wish: One word. Decaf.

  2. Mr. Nice. He’s nice. He radiates niceness. Also pretty dorky but very well dressed. Seems afraid of confrontation. Pouts when angry. Will not ever let me do anything for him, but always worries about things getting done. Is extremely nice. He’s completely and totally unable to operate the office equipment—and therefore grins like a little boy when he manages to send a fax without my help. (It probably goes without saying that he has a Harvard MBA). My Birthday Wish: When you’re pissed, tell me. Don’t bottle it up and have it spew out randomly when it’s too late to fix. I don’t bite. Really.

  3. Grumpy. Like the dwarf. Only actually fairly tall. When closing a deal, he could sell ice to an Eskimo. But he seems to use all his charm on that, and I get the leftovers. He’s obscenely disorganized, and will leave me voice messages saying: ‘That guy, from last week. Set up a call.’ It’s up to me to pick through his calendar to decipher this. I spent my first few months there getting yelled at regularly before I discovered he actually likes being handled & managed, and we’ve gone on better from there. But just when I parcel him in my mind as a jerk, he brings me souvenirs from business trips. My Birthday Wish: Take one mug. Return it to the kitchen when done. There’s no prize for having six dirty mugs on your credenza.

  4. The CEO. He has finally begun accepting that he needs more administrative assistance than a palm pilot can provide. Likes to explain things (especially trivia) to whoever is listening. He sends me on some bizarre errands (like driving about the bay area looking for Tang). Seems surprised that I have a personal life and am not available to go to the airport at 1 AM. I think maybe it’s like little kids and teachers, and you’re startled the first time you see her in the grocery store. Like maybe he thinks I live full time at my desk? My Birthday Wish: Please don’t park your Porsche crooked and four centimeters from my car door. I hate having to crawl over my gearshift and out the passenger door for fear of my job.

  5. The Pacer. Asks me to do something. Paces in front of my desk. Wanders back to his office, returns to check on it. Again. And again. But I forgive him because he gives me real responsibility and stimulating work instead of treating me like a servant. But I do wonder if he’d be happier if I got him a baby monitor to sit on his desk. Maybe a walkie-talkie? ‘Obsidian, please check in? Are you done yet? How about now?” My Birthday Wish: Stop bringing lunch that smells so good. You nuke whatever your wife made for you, and the yummy scent drifts to me. I really was happy with my turkey sandwich before.

Other than the CEO, of course, there’s no pecking order. I’m first come, first serve. Like a drive through. All these personalities converging at once. There’s always someone who’s unhappy. Is it bad that they remind me of when I was counselor to a group of 4-year-old boys at a summer camp?

Just wanted to say that’s a cool OP, Obsidian. Yep, I could just picture those guys … :slight_smile:


I started to make my guess list of who does what, but didn’t get far, and I suppose it doesn’t matter anyhow. Interesting characters. And you strike me as a paricularly good and nice person to be around.

Why thank you. <g> I try to be.

I should also add that number 2, Mr. Nice, has not really embraced the whole California/ dot-com attitude. I’m in jeans. The CEO is in jeans. The Belter declined to wear shoes today. Why are you wearing a tie? You don’t have any meetings today, and all you’re doing is making me feel guilty for not wearing a skirt.