When I took on that styling job three years back, I didn’t know what I was getting myself into. My boss who personally hired me was firm, but friendly. I went in for a trial the next day and performed so well that I didn’t have to be trained. Previously, I had managed another styling house in the city, and I was rewarded several times as a valued employee and a great stylist. I seemed to be a perfect fit for the job and was considered a full-time employee on that same trial day.
The hours are long and the job is tiresome but, nevertheless, the money is enticing. I deal with women everyday tutoring them on how to look their best for various aspects of their lives, whether they are the powerful CEO of a prestigious corporation; the friendly, bright-smiling TV anchor or the down-to-earth, stay-at-home mom that needs to revamp her appearance. Any outsider would think that it’s all glamour and fun. On the inside, it is a very frustrating and mentally draining job. Don’t get me wrong. I love what I do. However, the environment where I perform my art and display my skills feels just like a big deception. “Why would you admit so?” a client that later became a friend asked me. I told her, “My boss.”
My Boss…The Scrooge
I work for an archetypal Persian guy that looks seventy, although he is just fifty-years-old. He acts just like Scrooge, and he is, in fact, a big bully. His unhappiness shows from miles away and his negativity is toxic. Is it possible to be that wealthy and be that unhappy? That man owns about thirteen stores in Manhattan and across the country but is still so grumpy.
Thank goodness, I don’t have to see him every day; but on the days that he shows up at the work place we all know that we are in for a roller coaster ride to hell. He complains, screams and curses about everything. He has no respect for anyone, especially women. A display that’s wrong to his liking or the way a stylist handles an appointment, can trigger his madness. He kicks things around daily, whether it’s a mannequin that’s in his way or display tables that are not fixed correctly. If he could, he would slap his employees too. There were even two cases that led him to court: he assaulted a police officer who tried to give him a parking ticket once, and a former employee sued him for hitting her on the head with a hanger.
He is a master manipulator. He criticizes other people’s capabilities as they perform their jobs, as if he could be more competent, yet he can barely speak proper English and doesn’t even know the difference between a triangle body shape and a pear shape. Seriously, the guy needs anger management counseling. All that he has is money left to him as an inheritance. Nevertheless he is a hard worker. But, all that matters to him is money. He never even takes a vacation because he is scared to leave the business to his two other brothers /partners to manage. He once admitted to me that he has never been to the Statue of Liberty. His businesses have been established for three decades.
We all know that in business money is the drive, but if a client is unsatisfied with the consultation, there is no way you are going to see her again. Words of unhappy clients can travel fast. He even screams at them as if they were his kids. The guy has a serious ego power issue. Sometimes, some flashes of sanity get him to down to mother earth , but anything can disturb that hour of peace and quiet, from a client that calls to reschedule an appointment or an employee that takes too long to book an appointment.
He’s never satisfied, either with an earning of $5,000 per day from each of the stylists (we are twenty-four all together) or a $10,000 a day per stylist. His business is doing well, but it’s not enough for him. As a matter of fact, it’s never enough for him. I have seen him calling people stupid and ignorant, “whores” and “bitches” in front of the clients. People have asked me why do I work and deal with that kind of work atmosphere. I am guilty to say: the money.
How to Block A Bully
I go to work with a big smile on my face every day and pretend that everything’s perfect and that I am good with the world. Anyone who knows me, knows that I have a strong personality and don’t tolerate injustice. I keep doing my best pretending that my bully boss doesn’t exist. I block him out. In my world, he doesn’t exist and that seems to work. He doesn’t even come near me anymore. My positive energy suppresses his dark aura. God knows how much he has tried to mess my emotions up but again you only get what you allow to be done to you. I cut his agitated dry and cruel words with the pleasant surprise of my silence and top it with a smile. Way back in my life, I would have run to cry in my corner. Like him, I am in it for the money I make, and I will not let him win over my happiness. I do my job, and that’s it. Anything more is not of my concern. All the screaming, cursing and intimidating moves don’t even hit the parameter of my iron shield. I practice breathing and go for a walk between my appointments. After all, it is just a job and I refuse to go home with the weight of my boss’s toxic attitude.
By: Christelle Laferriere