This is a story about bad bosses, books,blogs, movies and the influence they have on mass media. The book is The Devil Wears Prada. Until last weekend I had vaguely been aware of the book. Yes, I knew it was about a ridiculous boss but I just hadn't bothered to read it.(And, if I had not decided to wash my duvet cover on Sunday morning I would have finished the last 150 pages of the book before going to the movie.)
Let me just ask, "Do you know what happens to a paperbook that goes through the washer with a Duvet cover?" While I'm at it, "Do you know how to get the pulp off the duvet cover after it's gone through the dryer?" Your responses will be greatly appreciated. The experience has given me a whole new appreciation for pulp fiction.
I picked up the book on Saturday afternoon after I noticed a media storm of attention on the topic of bad bosses. First, there was the contest on MSNBC.You can vote on Bad TV Bosses From Hell .There are 10 bosses to choose from ranging from speakerphone "Charlie" on Charlie's Angel, to Danny DiVito in Taxi,and C. Montgomery Burns on the Simpsons.
This contest is tied to a report scheduled for July 7th:Real Life Bosses You Have to See to Believe. For those who want to share their real life stories, MSNBC is inviting readers to share a bad boss story. They do have this disclaimer,"remember your emails may be published." They then ask people for their names, city and state and email address.
I would be very surprised if many people share their current stories. There's something about giving your real name when asked to write about your boss that puts the fear of being dooced in people.
If it had just been MSNBC I might not have read the book, but then, as I was driving around Saturday morning,I heard an invitation from NPR to go to their website and share bad boss stories. They are putting a slightly different twist on the story. They want to hear from people who have been bad bosses as well as from people who've had bad bosses.
The Bad Boss. Ever had one? Ever been one? Sometimes Hollywood inspires us. The new film The Devil Wears Prada is about an assisant to a powerful and difficult fashion editor, and it got us thinking. We want to hear about the bosses you've worked for -- and if you've ever been a bad boss yourself.
Not to be left behind, the AFL-CIO has just launched MyBadBoss Contest which promises readers they can win a free vacation by telling their stories. The first winner is called Wounded Healer. Confirming my theory, Wounded Healer is sharing a story in the past-tense.
He paints by the number," was the excuse I was given when I wanted to okay a psychiatric hospital stay for a patient who was out of state. My patient was a veteran suffering from trauma triggered by watching news coverage of the war in Iraq. He had been taken to emergency and when they called for authorization, my boss said they cost too much. I tried to get the hopsital to bring the price down. So, they discharged my patient after making him put $5000 on his credit card. I tried to get the money back for him and get my boss to okay paying the hospital. It went back and forth for too long. The patient committed suicide. He shot himself in the head. I couldn't quit crying when I heard and took the rest of the day off. I used my personal time to do it. My boss complained to my supervisor . He said, "I don't know why she had to take the day off. People commit suicide everyday." I no longer work there. I'm in therapy now.
So far, over one thousand people have written their stories. The website is featuring an article by Barbara Ehrenreich, journalist and author of the New York Times bestseller Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America,who says the problem isn't bosses by bossism.
Much as I'd like to see all these miscreants brought to justice--in something like the "thought reform" camps of the Chinese Cultural Revolution--I tend to think the emphasis on bad bosses is a little misguided. The problem isn't particular bosses, but what I call "Bossism"--the hierarchical system that governs all known bureaucracies, both public and private. Giving one person huge power over others is like giving a 3-year-old a hose: Not everyone will get soaked, but the chances of coming out dry are slender.
The Devil Wears Prada had a very successful weekend at the box office. Since I am not an entertainment writer I will refrain my sharing my review only to say I'm aligned with the Claudi Puig's review in USA Today.
I will watch Dateline Friday with lots of interest and I will look forward to listening to the report on NPR. The issue of bad bosses is important. I've had them. I've been one.
I once thought that simply sharing the stories of awful bosses would help change attitudes and behaviors. I believed that if people had an opportunity to tell their real stories that corporate cultures would change. I'm not so confident. How many bad stories do we have to hear before we say-- you can't do that? As bloggers will attest, writing about bad bosses is risky business.Heather B. Armstrong, who coined the phrase Dooce shares---
I started this website in February 2001. A year later I was fired from my job for this website because I had written stories that included people in my workplace. My advice to you is BE YE NOT SO STUPID. Never write about work on the internet unless your boss knows and sanctions the fact that YOU ARE WRITING ABOUT WORK ON THE INTERNET. If you are the boss, however, please don’t be a bitch and talk with your hands. And when you order Prada online, please don’t talk about it out loud, you rotten whore.
Then there was Ellen Simonetti, the Delta Airlines Flight Attendent who was fired for some photos she shared--she is now writing a book. And, there was Opinionistas who quit after she landed a book deal--just days before she would have been dooced for her tell all tales of life as a lawyer in a New York law firm.
And now there is J.Y.N's Pagan Girl In Corporate America. As far as I can tell she still has her job...but if the past predicts the future, it's only for the time being.
Elana is a Contributing Editor for Business & Careers at Blogher- And, at one time she too had a job that "a million girls would kill for this job."