Some years back after a decade and a half of being a firefighter/paramedic I tried retirement.
What a damn mistake.
I dove back in to old hobbies and interests. I began my writing career in earnest. I set up an old drafting table in the corner of the office and broke out all my tools to start scale modeling again. I cleaned up, dusted off, and set up my shop tools in the basement to begin wood working, gun smithing, and ammunition reloading. I located, purchased, and have begun customizing my 1983 Jeep Cherokee Wide Track. I've gotten in to Cowboy Action Shooting with Sarahs cousin.
And I spent three years being frustrated out of my mind because I was not contributing to the world. I was not helping someone...anyone.
So I started a business or two. Apartment ownership and a painting and turn key company. It turned out to be a good combination of businesses. People will always need a place to live, and when those people move out those apartments will always need painting and cleaning. A combination of luck and knowledge set me up in a business cycle that has allowed to me not only turn a profit from day one but to keep my profit margin high even during the worst part of this recession.
The most important aspect of my success, however, was not my own finances but the fact that I could give others jobs in these lean times. It wasn't quite the same of pulling someone alive out of a burning building or a mangled car or knowing your attempt at CPR brought someone back to their life and family. It was, however, the knowledge that I could help other people pay their bills and put food on their families tables during hard times.
It has taken me several years to learn the most difficult lesson of all about being "The Boss".
No matter how well you treat your employees they will almost all hate you!
I consider myself a good boss and I believe my actions bare this out. In fact I'm told almost daily that I am too good to my people. Let me list some examples.
1) One employee whom I treat like one of my own children but never in a condescending manner. The steps I've taken to help this person? Helped them make rent when short, paid their phone bill, helped them get caught up on the electric bill before it was shut off, and had them out to dinner at our home many times, and even just at times to hang out.
2) The second employee came to us during some very hard times. They'd been living in a single hotel room with their five kids. The second day on the job was the day before school started and this person did not have a single dime to get the three school age children any supplies. Sarah and I surprised this person on only their second day when we not only went, got the lists from the schools of required items, and bought them but also helped buy the kids school cloths. We've also loaned them money and other things.
3) A third employee was days away from being evicted when they had their car repossessed and subsequently lost their job as a delivery person. This person had precisely zero skills at repairing anything yet we gave them a job in maintenance.
4) Employee Four I moved from the paint company to Agricultural Engineer (lawn person), got him reduced employee rate, and helped them as well as they are a single parent. They also have their own side business on weekends doing lawns and home repair and I have always let them borrow any work equipment they need to do those jobs. When they became sick I, personally, took hours off work to take them to doctors appointments and tests.
I have listed three examples just as a sample. Their are others. I treat every employee like this. Now...what happened in each case?
Employee One has, on too many occasions for me to deny some grain of truth, accused me of racism.
Employee Two has, at every opportunity over the past two years, made horrible accusations against me and bad mouths me constantly to try and convince people they are better suited at running my company that I am (they have never once been correct when claiming I am wrong about how to make certain repairs, and I have never been wrong), he attempts to make me look bad on many levels to my wife for painfully obvious reasons, and I have residents ask me all the time when I promoted this person to supervisor. I have not.
Employee Three takes in every private business matter they overhear and makes sure to spread it like a public broadcast throughout the complex within hours.
The Fourth Employee, while he remained loyal in most ways, just up and quit and moved out the other day. He never, though, spoke a bad word about me.
As I said, all these actions are typical as to how I treat my people...and this is typically how I am treated in return. It has been the hardest lesson to learn because it's true.
People hate their employers for no better reason they I am the boss, and nothing changes that.
I guess if there's a point to this article it would have to be this: Sure, there are some really bad bosses out there, people who should never be in management. I've worked for a few and yes, they can be despised with some grounds. On the other hand there are some really good employers who don't deserve anything but respect...
...The real root of this hatred is people them selves. People no longer want to work, so realizing they must work they despise those who give them the chance. Society has become ungrateful, and it has become acceptable to talk badly about those who create jobs to allow them to live indoors, eat, have light and heat...you know, those little extravagances in life.
I won't change the kind of man or the kind of boss I am. I guess I just have to learn to let it slide off and accept what so many spoiled Americans have become.
It would be easier if I could be shed of all emotion, but that's not the kind of man I am either.