I love owning a home based business. And I love working for myself. One reason is I only had few bosses that I really liked – the rest were idiots. Here’s a quick story about one of the idiots, and a sneaky little thing he once tried to pull:
Years ago, I worked as a tech support person for a customer service company. People would call with computer problems, which were almost always the result of their incompetence, and not the fault of the machine. So essentially, my job was to guide people through double clicking the mouse and such. It was mind-numbing work, to be honest.
One time, this lady called, and felt I didn’t help her enough. She wanted to back up a 150 MB file to one floppy disk (1.44 MB capacity.) I told her (nicely) it couldn’t be done. She got angry, and insisted I was wrong, and that her brother (a truck driver) told her it COULD be done, since he’s a “computer genius” (to which I replied “guess he just drives trucks on the side, being a computer genius and all.”)
Anyway, she writes a nasty letter to my boss (perhaps my sarcasm didn’t go over too well.) My boss gets the letter and calls me into the office. He shuts the door, and says:
“This is unacceptable. One more, and you’re gone. Now, this is going in your file, as part of your PERMANENT RECORD. It will be there FOREVER. In fact, in thousands of years, when archaeologists find this place, they’ll know that Dan gave lousy customer service!!! BWAAAhahahahha”
Ok, I’m making the archaeologists part up. But my point is this – my action was so bad, so unforgivably terrible that it could never be forgotten. Ever!!!!
Sigh… fair enough. I was rude to the angry computer illiterate lady. It’s one of the lessons you take away from customer service – you learn how not to be rude. I guess I was still learning at that point.
But I learned quick.
Two weeks later, I got not one, but TWO letters saying what exceptional service I gave. I felt really good, because I really made an effort and tried to be nicer and better help people, and obviously, my efforts were paying off.
My boss beamed at me as he showed me the letters. Then he did the most underhanded thing in the world – he handed them to me to keep.
At first, that didn’t seem so underhanded, but I then remembered being in that same chair two weeks earlier. Then I thought about my reputation with the archaeologists and such. So I asked him “wait – can’t THESE be a part of my permanent record too?”
Turns out, that’s not the way it worked in his eyes – only BAD things go in the file forever. Good things are given to you. Because the boss knows you’ll lose them. It also makes it really easy to fire you when your file has nothing but negatives in it.
Not a day goes by that I’m not thrilled I work for myself. The above illustrates just one reason why.