Sunday, April 17, 2005

You Aren’t The Boss of Me. (Oh, Wait…)

Sherry at The Michigan Humane Society. I would have to say Sherry was my favorite boss - which makes very little sense on the surface. Sherry was one of those people with very little patience and a style that could be casually condescending - and very intimidating.

Maybe that’s the point; when all those qualities were directed at someone else – like an animal abuser – it became a thing of beauty. A friend of mine saw an Animal Cops where Sherry laid done the law with someone who’d neglected their dog. (“Wow, she’s tough, I like her.”) Then I had to point out that her demeanor with employees could be similar. (“Yeah, try calling in sick.”) A little too similar. But yes, she could scare the crap out of most anyone.

She once stood down this Mr T. look alike. (He might have been rabid.) He's yelling at her about getting his Rottweiler back - muscles tensing, spittle flying, eyes blazing - and she's telling him he needs to leave. And this is after hours with very little staff to come to her assistance. If anything ever scared her I never saw it. I never saw her panic either, and in a busy animal shelter, there was always a good reason to panic.

If there was one phrase associated with her it was, “Does that make sense to you?” It usually was not rhetorical, but actually demanded an affirmative. And if the answer was affirmative, and yet the meeting was about something you did wrong, then why was it that you hadn’t done the logical thing?

Just as the only right answer to that question was, “Yes Sherry, perfect sense!” there were other questions with clear expectations. I wanted to refuse a guy once and she didn’t agree. “Better in a home or better in the cooler, Nicolette?” I answered her honestly, “This time its better in the cooler, but I’m just opting for a less crappy home.” She was pissed, and I was right.

She missed pretty little, but the things she did miss were due to the sound of her heels clicking impatiently as she walked done the hall. They were like an aural red carpet. “All hail the queen, long live the queen!”

One time she made me so angry that I began to cry. She’d also warned me that, if I discussed the matter, I’d be fired. Of course, I’m crying and everyone wants to know why. Someone guessing the source of my upset told me to just imagine her tits on fire. It helped.

I remember going in for the job interview and thinking it would be a breeze, having been a volunteer for two years, but she stared me down for a few. “I see you like Shelties.” … “Yes.” … We have a Sheltie puppy with a broken leg, you should foster it.”… “Oh, okay.” And no offer of a job right then. And the puppy had mange, although it hadn’t shown up yet. I ended up having to treat my dogs, and if I had asked for reimbursement she would have said, “That’s crazy, you knew you were taking a risk taking him home, you want the shelter to give you a discount at the clinic for a risk you willingly took? Does that make sense to you?”

Sherry left about, hmmm, a year before I did. The shelter was not the same because, all differences aside, nobody could do what she did. I’ve had bosses who were a lot easier to work for, but I didn’t miss any of them nearly as much when they left.

I should give her a call.
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