As much fun as I have writing (and, apparently, as much fun as some of you have reading) my blog posts that reminisce about my experiences with employees who behaved badly, it’s important to remember that these are human beings we’re talking about. None of us are perfect, we all have our faults.
It’s just that sometimes some people’s faults are more entertaining than others, and make better blog posts.
In the end though, we’re just trying to have a good time here, and not necessarily vilify anyone.
The reason for that preamble is this: Word recently reached me that a person I used to work for passed away. He hired me back in the ’90s, and thus can be held solely responsible for inflicting me on the CE industry.
Not only was he my boss, but he was also a pivotal mentor. I learned an enormous amount about the CE industry and business in general working for him. I was enormously fortunate to benefit from his experience and expertise.
That said, despite that fact that I’m going to make a tribute (really, kind of a celebrity roast) to my old boss, mentor and friend in today’s blog post, since what I’m going to share is at least a little scandalous, I’m going to keep it anonymous.
My colleagues from the old days will know EXACTLY who I’m talking about. For the rest of you, just enjoy the stories.
Before I begin, let me just state that he was liked and respected by his peers and salespeople, and absolutely beloved by his clients, not to mention frequently recognized by our company for his performance and achievements.
That said, we all have our bad habits; heaven knows that I have mine. One of his was that he was not only a chain-smoking nicotine fiend, he smoked these vile filterless cigarettes that he hand-rolled himself out of some horrid blend of pipe tobacco.
During store hours he would nip out the back door for his fix, but at closing time after the front door was locked I’d be cashing out our till and printing our reports, and he’d stand there in the doorway to the back room and light up one of his vile hand rolls and smoke it while I did all the end of day stuff.
Months later, after I had passed some sort of secret test, and apparently proved I could keep my mouth shut, on some of the nights we worked together he’d forego his usual cigarette, and spark up a big fat joint instead.
As if that weren’t enough, he had an extraordinarily broad and crude sense of humor, one that I still appreciate, make no mistake, but there’s a time and place for that, and it’s not necessarily during store hours.
Along those same lines, his lechery was almost a caricature of the Dirty Old Man stereotype, and it was only the fact that our store was an entirely all-male environment that kept him from being a giant HR-trainwreck just waiting to happen.
I’ll be honest: Based on the fact that he looked exactly like you’d expect a middle aged guy who smoked and drank way too much to look I dismissed the frequent boasting of his Lothario-like behavior as just that — empty boasting.
It was only in the weeks after he left the company and a shocking number of good looking women, young and old, came around the store looking to get in touch with him that it became apparent to me that he did more than just talk a good game.
RIP, my friend. We all miss you.