09 October 2008

"Oh I want to thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you"--Natalie Merchant

[EepyBird's Sticky Note experiment. Credit to Urban Bohemian for spotlighting this gem.]

The first boss--of seven and counting*--I had in my current organization was the kind of person who left multiple stickies on your door, a voice-mail message, and an e-mail for you, all on the same topic and all before 7 A.M. Then he'd catch you in the hall before you got to any of these things in order to talk to you about the topic that was burning a hole in his brain.

It was different, to say the least.

This is the same boss I had this conversation with:

Me: I feel like I've got way too much on my plate for the next few weeks and I need your help to know what the top priorities are.

Boss: Okay.

Me, showing list: Okay, here's all the things I'm working on. Which one would you say is priority A, which is priority B, ...

Boss, scanning list of over a dozen things: They're all priority A.

Me: *blink* Let's start over...

Despite this kind of stuff, he turned out to be one of the better bosses I've had.

Long before the priority conversation, after only a few months on the job, I went to Boss and knocked on his door.

Boss: Hi, LA. What's up?

Me: I just wanted to thank you. You and [coworkers names] have been really great. I feel like my transition into this organization has been pretty easy because you've taken the time to really help me understand what I need to know and not that many people would do that. I know you're my boss and that's technically your job but I've been other places where that didn't really happen. You've clearly taken a lot of time to show me how things work around here and I just wanted to say that I appreciate it. A lot. ...So, thank you.

Boss, looking horrified: Oh my god, are you leaving?

Apparently, the only time Boss got a thank you was when people were on their way out the door. Sad, no?

So let me say first, I have no plans to leave.**

Second, thank you! Thanks for taking the time to listen to my rambling stories and to help me understand what I need to know. You've been swell.

That's all. Carry on. Oh, and you can disregard the four stickies I left on your door.

* I will outlast them all! *insert evil genius laugh here* followed by *sigh of depressed realization here*

** Doesn't mean I won't get booted. Say La Vee.***

Go on. Say it. You know you want to.


Kristin said...

Way to keep 'em guessing. Saying "thank you" is nice.

Bilbo said...

I think we had the same boss at one point. I was one of the division heads under the director of the organization...he had a habit of picking up the phone and dialing direct to my staff folks to task them directly. Then he'd call me and ask the status of the things he'd just tasked them to do...then he'd be upset because I didn't know what my staff was doing. Likewise, he'd call me to his office and tell me to do something...and by the time I got back to my desk, he'd be on the phone asking if I'd gotten it done yet. He's still around, and is the reason I refuse to take any jobs at the organization where he now works. I don't want to attract the attention of the coroner unnecessarily.

Mike said...

Great video!

fiona said...

I'm amazed. The humble sticky note has sticky note Mardis Gras.
The best boss I ever had told me daily, " I've taught you everything I know and what do you know? F@*k All"!

Kate said...

I smiled during that whole video. No joke! It was a "feel good" thing! Thanks for sharing.

And saying thank you is super awesome by the way...

LivitLuvit said...

I lurve the moment when a casual-yet-genuine "thank you" goes so much further than you realized it would, and you really touch someone without knowing how much they needed it.

Your karma is up, even if your 401K isn't...

rs27 said...

Usually when I tell people Thank You, they ask me if I'm ill.

SingLikeSassy said...

Nothing burns my soul more than for someone to meet me at the door with a whole bunch of questions and whatnot. I have snapped off many a person over that. Let me take my coat off, put my purse down and boot my computer up! If it's *that* urgent you should have started on it yourself rather than leaving me a bunch of messages and whatnot as that would have been a more productive use of your time. Grrrrr...

But yes, I tell people thank you all of the time, too, cause I have to counter the evil version of me and keep 'em guessin' if I'm crazy or just slightly unbalanced.

brian said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
brian said...

I mainly just have a crush on the shorter bearded EepyBird dude. ;)

We try the priority game at my office too and it goes just about as well. And our boss that was the worst would call, e-mail, print out his e-mail and leave a copy in your chair... Needless to say, no one liked him.

I have to admit that excessive thanks would make me worried as well, but if I want to scare my co-workers, I just come in wearing a dapper outfit that includes a tie. I did that on Monday and the next day all my managers asked if I had an interview the previous day. *muahahahahaha!!

Herb of DC said...

Didn't Shirley Partridge invent the sticky note? Or am I thinking of one of the Monkees and Whiteout?

Oh, but thank you for your blog! Please don't ever leave us!

Gilahi said...

Herb - Michael Nesmith's mother invented Liquid Paper. He was rich long before the Monkees.

Back to bosses: I once had a boss whose mantra was "A good boss is never liked by his employees". He kept saying that until one day I assured him that he must be one of the best.

Reya Mellicker said...

Everything is a priority is not helpful, is it? Typical though.

Love the vid - makes me miss my slinky.

lacochran said...

Kristin: Throws 'em every time.

Bilbo: Nice to be able to pick your bosses.

Mike: Glad you liked it!

Fiona: Sticky mardi gras... marvelous image. I'm picturing Bourbon Street the morning after. Pretty sticky.

Kate: Glad it made you smile. Me, too. :)

Livitluvit: :) Anything that adds to my portfolio is a good thing.

Rs27: Well, it's possible.

SingLikeSassy: Right on all points.

Brian: I'll bet the evil laugh makes 'em nervous!

Herb of DC: Thanks for your kind words!

Gilahi: Self-fulfilling prophecy for him.

Reya: What walks down stairs, alone or in pairs...