– by Jake Ten Pas
The revenge comedy “Horrible Bosses” opens this weekend, and I’m kind of looking forward to seeing Charlie Day, Jason Bateman and Jason Sudeikis stick it to Kevin Spacey, Jennifer Aniston and Colin Farrell. Not necessarily because I’ve had a lot of bad bosses in my day, mind you. Sure, there was my white-boy-thug-life boss at the Eugene Toys ‘R’ Us, who loved to point out my unflattering swoop-part hairdo by constantly calling me Little Nicky in reference to the Adam Sandler movie. But he was the exception rather than the rule.
I’ve probably been blessed with more cool bosses in my 34 years than most folks get in their whole lives. I worked at a new and used record shop called Happy Trails in Eugene and Corvallis, and my bosses there were total music geeks who loved to party, so you can imagine how bad that sucked. Then there was my boss at the fruit stand, who always had two kegs on tap in one of the coolers. I even lucked into a string of nice bosses at the corporate movie chains I worked right out of high school and the newspaper I worked at after college. Sure, my publishers/editors and I went head-to-head over some of my more controversial columns, but that’s just because I’m a rebel maverick renegade bad boy hell raiser with thunder in my soul and hot lava flowing through my veins. They can hardly be blamed for making the mistake of trying to contain the human equivalent of weather patterns.
All this brings me back to my current bosses, a plucky father-and-daughter team that gave me a shot at the glamorous world of public relations when I was still just a street urchin selling newspapers to buy a crust of bread for my purebred dog. Many of you reading this are familiar with Pat and Allison, so I’ll spare you the bios. If you want them anyway, click on their names.
Late last week, I set out to write a blog about our year anniversary party, but got sidetracked talking about the experience of starting a business. I ended up scrapping it and starting over, and the results were posted Tuesday. As for the aborted version, it basically said that when the McCormicks proposed the idea of leaving our old firm to start a new one, I not only didn’t bat an eye, but my eyelashes actually froze with a sense of inner peace and stillness the likes of which they’ve never before experienced. Especially not during The Great Four Loko Binge of 2010.
While starting a small business has undoubtedly been a lot more stressful for Pat and Allison, who’ve born the economic brunt of the endeavor, it’s been a lot of fun for me. I knew that I’d follow them wherever they went for two reasons. First, they’re both energetic and creative, loyal and savagely witty (wait, is that more than one reason?). Second (or fifth), they recognize my strengths and let me do the jobs around AM:PM PR that cater to those proclivities. I get to write constantly, meet new people, brainstorm and come up with creative ways to market our clients and company. And, as several friends have noted, there seem to be an absurd number of opportunities to drink on the job. I don’t want to paint myself as a lush or anything, but if the tumbler fits, drink it. When your job entails doing stuff you’d do for fun anyway, you’ve probably found a pretty decent fit for yourself.
I think that, on some basic level, Pat and Allison realize that happy employees make for productive employees. Workers who are fulfilled in their jobs do their best work. Another great boss I know, Juan Fernandez of 7 Apps, recently shared a video with us that said it perfectly.
So, take that Mr. Toyz’N’The Hood. And to anybody who goes to see “Horrible Bosses” in the near future, remember to take a moment and appreciate the good bosses you have or have had. If, on the other hand, your boss reminds you of those portrayed in the movie, just remember: There are plenty of ways to get revenge that don’t involve murder. As I mentioned, I love to brainstorm.