When trying to decide a topic for this week’s column, the subject of dealing with bosses and, indeed, being a boss, jumped out at me. This is a subject that I know a great deal about, since I tend to “vent” to my bosses faithfully. It also means a lot because for the past two weeks, I have been the “substitute editor” while Brenda has been on vacation.

During my years working at the Ada Evening News, I have discovered the dos and don’ts of speaking with my bosses. For instance, I have discovered that, no matter how calmly you approach your boss, and no matter how politely you ask, he will never give you permission to exercise physical violence on a fellow employee. So don’t even bother broaching that subject.

When using humor, one must be careful to use just the right amount of humor, while still giving the boss respect. I am against “kissing up” to the boss, so do not confuse the issue of respect and the issue of “kissing up.” Two completely different things.

But, one must also be just as careful with the amount of humor one uses with fellow employees. If you use too much humor, your fellow employees will laugh and laugh, but will not fear you. If you use too little, you get talked about, they dislike you, and, in some cases, ostracize you completely.

I discovered that I apparently use too much humor with both my bosses and my fellow employees. My bosses tend to laugh slightly at me, then follow that with an eye roll, and occasionally a threat or two. To my co-workers I am not a forceful and powerful leader to be reckoned with. According to one, when I cover for Brenda while she is out, “it’s like having a substitute teacher and the students know they can get away with murder.”

I try to be “fierce” but, alas, it’s too late now. The damage is done. My stupidity has been my undoing. Me and Rodney Dangerfield, we get no respect.

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