Today, my boss made me prize up carpet tiles with a cheese slice.
Actually, the cheese slice was me, improvising. I think he wanted me to use my hands, or possibly my teeth.
There was an ink stain beneath my chair and, after positioning his face so close to mine that I could count his blocked pores (seven, by the way), he told me that how I kept my work space was a direct reflection of how I felt about my work- “If you don't give a fuck about my business, why should I give a fuck about you?” “
...Should I get a cloth?”
“Fix it. Swap them around. Now.
” It was whilst I was on all fours, having my arse appraised by a man who switches daily between trying to father me and fuck me, sawing away at carpet with a blunt kitchen utensil that I started to suspect that my boss might be a sociopath.
I tried to recall anything that I learned during my Psychology A Level that might help me to diagnose him, but it seems that all I learned during those two years was that dogs salivate to the sound of a bell, or something, so before applying a generous layer of Sudocrem to my carpet-burned palms, I googled the traits of a sociopath (sidenote, a lot of the stuff on the internet seems to be about dating sociopaths. Datingasociopath.com is actually a thing- who knew?) and tried to think of any evidence I had to suggest that my boss fit the profile. Here's what I came up with-
1.Displays a lack of empathy
I've found that, in a business environment, emotion is not really 'done'. This is difficult for me, as I can get pretty fucking emotional. I once bawled my eyes out watching an elderly man load up a month's worth of Tesco Value ready-meals onto the conveyor belt whilst telling the cashier that his wife had just died and he didn't know how to cook. When I told that story at work, someone said “Well, he'll probably die soon, so I wouldn't worry about it.”
So, as I went into my boss' office to tell him that, over the weekend, my aunt had died and that I would soon need a day off for the funeral, I knew that he would handle it with about as much sensitivity as Dan Bilzerian's dick is capable of summoning up, but still, it had to be done. I was right. He clapped his hands together and said “Well, there's no point dwelling on things, you have to just get on up and carry on.” I would have actually liked to dwell a little longer in order to, firstly, actually arrange my day off and secondly, check whether he really did just quote 5ive at me a bit.
There was no time, as he then proceeded to play 'Happy' (you know, the Pharrell song?) for 176 minutes straight to “pump up the mood in the office”. I can tell you that, after 176 minutes, I really did feel like a room without a roof; incomplete and fairly unstable. And cold. Also, I'm now incapable of walking anywhere without hopping from one foot to another and swinging my arms.
2. Has an oversized ego
This guy has his own clothing line, as well as an array of merchandise, so that's a big ol' tick for the ego.
It takes a certain kind of person to think that people will pay £12.50 + p&p for a mug just because it has your face on, doesn't it? That, when stressing over a spreadsheet or searching for porn, it's your face that they'll want to drag their mouse over. I work for that person.
As for the clothing line, I can't provide a link unfortunately, as he will find me (sitting at my desk, about 9ft away from his office) and kill me, but if you're looking for shirts that look like they were inspired by that creepy test card with the girl and the clown from the eighties then you're really missing out.
In fact, you know when you first used Paint? The MS programme? You went to town with the bright colours and played it fast and loose with the spray can tool? Well, imagine that there was a company who secretly saved all of those pictures and made them into clothes. It's that. The clothes look like that.
3. Exhibits signs of irrational thinking
Not too long ago, my boss launched himself from his high-back swivel chair and marched out of his office, straight towards my desk. Before he could reach me and, given the look on his face, push his thumbs into my eye sockets, his attention was caught by the water cooler. He stared at it for a while and then began to wrestle with it- I mean, really wrestle with it, hard. Finally, he pushed it against the wall with a bang and addressed the room- “You guys don't give a shit, do you?”
He continued, “What the fuck do you think that water cooler says about your attitude? What do you think it says about this business? About each of you, as people?”
That we don't give a shit? “It says that you don't give a shit. Anyone could have walked in here and seen the back of that water cooler. And do you know what they would have thought?”
That we don't give a shit?
“They would have thought that you don't give a shit.”
Apparently, the water cooler not being completely flush against the wall means that we don't give a shit, so yeah- IRRATIONAL.
4. Shows disregard for societal norms
In my second week with the company, I was asked to come into my boss' office to discuss our latest email campaign. His assistant told me that he was just “having an impromptu photoshoot”, but to go right in.
To cut a long story short, I ended up discussing opt-in rates and click-throughs with a man wearing giant, neon pink, blue-lensed sunglasses. At one point he looked across his desk, stared into my eyes (often tries to hold uninterrupted eye contact? Check) and said “We have to take our marketing campaigns, and their results, seriously.” I knew then that societal norms were no concern of his. He had, I noticed as I left his office quietly, decided not to wear a pair of those plastic Kanye West glasses, also known as Shutter Shades apparently, that everyone (twats) wore to neon rave themed Fresher's events in 2009, so I left thinking that, maybe, there was hope.
There's obviously the big 'un; shows a lack of remorse or shame. I think, if you can do all of the above, still turn up for work every day and walk in like a fucking cruise ship compare then you have no shame. You are immune to shame.
I'm not. I feel shame every time he says something about 'poor people', or 'fat people' or when he describes himself as 'noble', because I work for him. I write down the shit he says and send it out to people. However, on days when I'm thirty seconds away from getting up off my hands and knees, kicking the carpet tile sulkily and announcing 'I quit' whilst prodding the air with the cheese slice, I think; I work in a place that has a cheese slice as part of its basic staff-kitchen equipment? What the fuck am I complaining about?