Thursday, December 11, 2008

And then suddenly you realize that stepping beyond this one particular line would make you officially crazy

I don't know if this is TMI according to LiLu. But it is something I've kept secret for the better part of a year.

The following took place last spring. I kept this quiet because my boss was still my boss. She quit a couple months later.

It had nothing to do with bugs. Just so you know.

So I don't know if you have ever had a super control freak boss who gave you nitpicky ((nit? heh heh), seemingly unnecessary tasks and constantly made detailed lists of minute tasks - each with its own little deadlines? And then every week or so, for no actual reason ,readjusted them to move all deadlines up a day or two? Which made your job a constantly moving target? And just generally made you pure bitter crazy?

And the straightforward, this style of management just doesn't work for me, kinds of conversations were met with verbal aikido. Her way or nothing.

You liked her before she was your boss. And you like her now. But there are some people you just can't work for. And that span of time made you sheerly and utterly miserable.

And you know when someone you work for makes you dread, absolutely dread, going in to work? And makes you all clenchy and bitter while you're at work? Even though you work at a non-profit where no babies will die of one particular thing doesn't happen on time, much less three days earlier than its due date?

You get to a point where it's just not worth it. It's time to look for a new job.

But then, you might stop and think, I like it here. What can I do that doesn't entail quitting?

You might sit yourself down and consider weaknesses.

You might think about the fact that your boss, she is terrified of germs, and this manifests itself daily in the incessant hand-washing and the opening of doors with the special retractable hook ordered from the Internet (although that proved short-lived, as it was cumbersome).

You might think about that time you, Chuck, David were sharing a piece of cake. Off the same plate. And how this clearly made her throw up a little in her mouth.

Someone might even remind you of the time that she found a cockroach on her floor in the old office. And completely lost her shit.

This would all probably lead you to The Bug Plan.

The Bug Plan was as follows: Find dead bugs, bring them to work in a plastic bag, and place them strategically in her office. She would see them, lose it, and, at very least, demand to work from home for all eternity.

So. I shared the Bug Plan with Betty. She immediately headed for the dank little lawnmower cupboard where the creepy brown speckled spider crickets live. Turned out she'd effectively poisoned them a few weeks prior. Not a single dead one to be found.

I kept my eyes open as I walked around the next couple days. Although, truth be told, I was a little scared of the plan as well.

And then later that week, the last time that Chuck hung out with us at the downstairs bar, I told him about the plan. Chuck, even with oversight of HR, was all kinds of enthusiastic.

He rubbed his hands, cackled with glee. "Bugs! Awesome! I'll bring some from home!"

How many VPs do you know like that?

But I am getting off track.

What ultimately happened was this. I spent a number of days looking for bugs, thinking about how I'd sneak in and plant them, whether I'd be so obvious as to put one on the keyboard or just strew some about on the floor. . .

And then I stopped. Because seriously? I was going to collect bugs to strew about someone's office?

An intelligent, well-educated, constructive, professional woman. Running around trying to collect bugs?

I felt like this is probably one of the lines between Not Crazy and Officially Crazy.

I decided at that point it was time to find a new job.

She, however, found the new job first. It had nothing to do with me. Or bugs.


  1. I thought about doing something similar to one of my officemates. She can't stand loose hair. I was considering emptying my brush on her desk every once in a while to get rid of her. She took a voluntary severance before I could shake the notion that sabotaging another person with my own hairbrush was more than just a little bit out of my mind.

    It's amazing what some people will rationalize to make the 8-plus hours you spend at work more peaceful.

  2. I think it says something that various people in your life immediately set about helping, rather than pointing out the crazy. I, for one, would have helped.

    Possibly with ladybugs. You don't realize how awful they are until they've started to multiply.

  3. man - I had that EXACT SAME boss!!!!! Damned if you do, damned if you don't. It must be because we are both beautiful and brilliant - ha! I remember starting to feel anxious right before walking into the office . . .

    luckily you didn't need to use the Bug Plan (which was brilliant, btw)

  4. This is a Secret Shame, it totally counts! Incredibly creative as well, you little devil.

  5. Jo - The hair thing probably would've worked in this case as well. I never thought of that! It really is astounding what we can come up with in desperation.

    Jessica - I want to hug you - of course you would look at it in a way that says positive things about me. :) And I have heard that about ladybugs! I've never seen a swarm, so still have happy visions of them!

    LJ - Thank you. I came up with it all on my own. :)

    LiLu - Secret Shame! I love it!

  6. at least you know there is a line... i think the REAL crazies have no clue

  7. I had a boss who would follow me into the bathroom and yell questions and such over the stall. I began to fake all sorts of bowel issues as revenge.

  8. I am constantly constructing elaborate revenge plans...and then abandoning them. Thinking is one thing, doing crosses the line to crazy town. Sometimes the ideas even scare me, frankly.

  9. This is so ridiculously funny. And not at all a little scary about how your mind truly works.

    Glad that the bug plan stayed on the shelf, because thinking about you foraging for dead bugs, while hilarious, is just kind of gross.

  10. "It had nothing to do with me. Or bugs."

    So you say...

  11. I had a roommate in the Marine Corps who liked to listen to his music really, really loud. He refused to turn it down because it was his "cultural music."

    I gave him a taste of "cultural music" early one Saturday morning by introducing him to the pipes and drums of the Scots Colstream Guards.

    It's amazing the power bagpipes have. We never had a music problem in our room again.

  12. Is it wrong to be disappointed that you didn't do it?

    Glad you got good blog material out of it anyway.

  13. I love your blog a little more each day.

  14. notsojenny - You make a good point. I'm relieved to know I'm still on the not-crazy side of the crazyline.

    Shannon - Good for you! I had a boss who'd make you walk with her to the bathroom and bellow over the stall, but never one who followed ME. That's horrible.

    Lemmonex - I am exactly like that. Sometimes I scare myself with my terribleness.

    Slightly Disorganized - It's really gross, I know. I wonder if I'm constantly skittering along the edge of gross in a variety of ways?

    saratogajean - And I'm sticking to it.

    FoggyDew - Bagpipe music. You are hard core.

    lacochran - It's the kind of thing I get all worked up about and then later am releived that I didn't do. Someone would've found out. And losing your job for planting bugs would be so humiliating.

    Kate - Hugs to you! :)

  15. remember the whole cicada infestation from like 5 years ago? A coworker and I smuggled in like 10 of them in a cup with lots of ice in it. The ice kept them quiet and passive. We secretly placed them all around the office, and when they warmed up, they went a bit... uhhh... crazy. My favorite part was when one went nuts and smashed into the ceiling and fell directly into the lap of a co-worker who was also phobic of germs. The ensuing scream made the whole thing oh so worthwhile.

    I'm sorry you never got to see your plan in action.

  16. At first I struggled with the defintion of crazy. Then I had lunch, and continued to think about it, then wasn't hungry anymore. If you'd suggested releasing LIVE bugs, that would have been over the line in my book. Dead bugs? Harmless. Mainly, to you, the collector.

  17. Sometimes it's just the thought and the plot that make it all better. Seriously. Nothing wrong with entertaining it - it gave you a little relief!

  18. does it count if it's with fake bugs? because I've done that... does that make me crazy?

  19. This may be one of the funniest sabotage plots I have ever heard. I really wish you would have put the bugs in her office to slowly drive her crazy. Awesome!

  20. you. are. awesome.

    I should have planted an "infestation" in my ex-bosses' scrunchies circa 1984.

  21. Doug - Holy cow. Just reading that made me all twitchy squeamy in my seat. And I would definitely have been a screaming woman in your office.

    HKW - I heart you so much, I really do.

    Kate - It was pretty compelling to think about, and I spent a whole lot of time planning.

    JoLee - Gosh! I don't know. I am not such a good judge of actual crazy. But I'm impressed that you did.

    lifeintheleftlane - Ha, thanks! Although I am glad I didn't actually put them in there.

    Brett - Haha - scrunchies! That would be truly dreadful.

  22. How I wish I knew you better when I was at my last job...and looking for ways to, ahem, interact with my ex-boss. ;-)

  23. I am always happy to concoct an unreasonable plan - so let me know next time you need one!

  24. Haha! Well, given that all the co-workers you shared the Bug Plan with were entirely on board with it, it raises the question of whether sanity is defined by a moral absolute or adherence to the majority rule. If the latter, you were clearly sane.

    But maybe it was a good thing that the timing worked out so you didn't really have to test the soundness of that definition. ;-)

    P.S. Chuck's reaction is great. I wish he's still alive and well.

  25. You are so devious, you crack me up!


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