Monday, May 25, 2009

Xenophilic Xylograph 5/25/09

I got myself out of harms way and got no place except out of harms way, which was good.

DB - The Vagabond
Come in, come in.
There is a certain type of person who, though they seem to be reasonable and agreeable to be with, when vested with some authority become oppressive and tyrannical. To work under such a person requires great patience and compassion. To a sensitive yearning soul such a person can be devastating. I don't know why people become that way. Maybe they are afraid of the power they have and so compensate. Maybe they think that is the way they are supposed to be and act accordingly. Or maybe that's the way they really are and it doesn't show until they gain the authority and freedom to let it out. Whatever the reason it is harmful to human relationships, a sabotage of an effective and harmonious work environment and a permanent scarring of a persons feelings.

I have seen people turned to pulp, being ground under the heel of some suppressive boss. One day, at work, I found a gentle woman crying in the hall. It seems she had asked her boss if she could leave a little early to attend a memorial service for a dear departed member of her family. His answer was to give her an hour and a half of extra, overtime work to do before she left. It makes me angry right now just to think about that.

I volunteered to perform a scene for a directing class at a large film school. The teacher felt empowered to be as insulting to us as he wanted to even though he was completely ignorant about the scene. He didn't know what he was talking about but because he was the "authority" we had to sit there and listen to his offensive drivel.

I was doing a classical play in Massachusetts. The director was brutally critical of me. Everyday he tore my work apart, even in front of the children in the play, with some savage and inappropriate language. Another actor in the show and I had the same agent. Evidently the actor called the agent and told him what I was going through, because the agent called me and asked me if it was true. Then my agent said "Get out of there. Give your notice. I'll get you a better job." So i gave my two weeks notice, played through my final performance and the next day, as I was packing to go back to New York I got a call to do another play, starting immediately a scant 100 miles away. I did that play and it was a joyous experience.

Later I learned that the actor who took my place was getting the same abuse as I had received. And I also learned that the director had tried to play that same role himself a few years earlier and failed at it. So, naturally, he wasn't going to allow anyone else to feel successful in it.

Life is too important to allow anyone to damage my self respect if I can help it and when I can I will promptly get out of the way.

May your memories today be happy ones.


Joann said...

Hi DB!! I have worked under some HORRIFIC bosses... a couple, in particular, come to mind.. they tried SO HARD to make me quit (like they'd done to others before me)... I outlasted them both (with ALOT OF PRAYER to get me through the days), they're gone, and I'm still there!! But the mention of their names still makes me cringe! I don't understand how people could get away with treating people SO BADLY, so CRUEL!

Rose~* said...

Stopping in for a nightcap, here. I often wondered who supervises the boss? Unless they owned their own company, one would think that they would want to retain their employees, not drive them away. After all, they can't do the work alone. I was fortunate to have very understanding ones.

Gerry said...

Power corrupts maybe because one can indulge onn's worst traits and the better results may take sustained effort. I think when people think they have 'made it' they tend to slack off and do what they want to do which might not bode well for those they now command. I remember when our genial theater critic became king kong when he was hired by the main paper.
He wasn't trying to please any more, he could not set the standard, and his standards turned out to be pleasing him was required to get a good review. A clash of opinions meant you got punished more severely. Self indulgent theater critics are the pits for local playwrights as they will get the brunt of their disdain.

Linda's World said...

Hello my friend. Great describes my last supervisor to a 'T' she's the reason I retired 9 or 10 month earlier than I wanted to. She made the work day totally unbearable for all but her "buddies." She was a bully, mean and very vindictive. She was adopted as a child and I often wondered if she had a bad case of low self esteem along with a real mean streak. After over 2 1/2 years of being retired, I occasionally have a nightmare of this person. Hope all is well and the weather is pleasant there in PA. Linda temporarily transplanted in southern California. I'll send you a San Diego postcard if I can find a good one.

Rose said...

Wow, your entry brought back memories of some awful bosses I had that destroyed my self-esteem until I learned how to walk out the door and like myself better!

This is an excellent Post my dear friend.

I too,never understood how another individual could make a co-worker feel so bad because of "Power" of the Title!

Cathy said...

Wise words my friend. So this emasculated power-hungry director suppressed your artistic side did he? More fool him. I left you a note of thanks at my place so folks would be directed to your words. Wanted to thank you for standing up and not saluting the corporation. Yes, I've come across these folks but just can't say "O look how power corrupts" when I use my own power too. But it's SELF empowerment, these jerk-weeds think we agreed to let them play the King. When did we do that exactly? Keep on truckin man.