Friday, July 8, 2011

Not Horrible Bosses

The alleged comedy Horrible Bosses comes out in theaters today. I have no interest in seeing this movie. From the TV ads alone it looks about as funny as a severe hernia and I have a lot of trouble swallowing the plotline that some undersized nerd would complain about Jennifer Aniston putting the moves on him. I have been surprised though at the favorable critical reaction the movie has been getting, particularly from unexpected sources like Rex Reed and Leonard Maltin.

One note struck in most of the reviews I've read bothers me though, that everyone can identify with this film because everybody has had terrible bosses they wanted to see come to a bad end.  Oh really? Maybe if you're in your early 20's and balk at the idea of anyone telling you what to do, but us older folks?  I've only had one boss in my life that I really considered a disaster and that was only for three years.

Then again, I have a sort of unique situation. I work for the Navy and have had an officer in the LT/LCDR/CDR range as my supervisor since 1985. The unique part is that military people don't stay in one job forever. They do three to four years at one post and then move on to another job somewhere in another part of the world. Therefore in the last 26 years I've had 13 military bosses and the great majority have been fine to work for. They've all been different, some quiet, some the type who'd go out to a bar with you after work. One was a college football fanatic. One always decorated the office for holidays and brought in cakes for peoples' birthdays. One called me into her office one mid-December, told me I had a ridiculous amount of use-or-lose leave on the books and that I was going on holiday leave immediately until January 8th, a three week period. The point is most of them have been genuinely nice, decent people who have treated me fairly and respectfully and been a pleasure to work with, not the Wicked Dragons of this movie.

Between 2005 and 2008, I did have one boss who was a terror.  I don't want to go into detail about what she did but she made my life miserable. My consolation was that I wasn't alone. She treated everyone in our office badly driving some people to tears and she even treated other officers like crap and drove the most mild-mannered, even-tempered people into profane tirades. Fortunately in the fall of 2008 she left and our entire agency breathed a collective sigh of relief. The three people who have held that job since her have been saints in comparisons and have even all joked with me at times about the bad old days.

So even when I had a horrible boss, it wasn't for very long,  one of many reasons why I'll be avoiding this movie like the proverbial plague for now. Actually if there's one thing I want to do this weekend, it's finally get off my fat ass and go see The Tree Of Life.

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