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Tough love at work

Even at the most miserable low points in my professional career, I never sat around desperately wishing I was my own boss. I've had some really tremendous bosses, like the one I have now, and I've had some horrendous ones.

Ranking among the worse was my supervisor when I was a pie-baker at the tender age of 18. His name was Ted and he was awfully fond of saying, "Are you stupid or what? Is it just because you're blond that you're an idiot?" It always left me in tears and it took a good six months before I could find another reasonable job to replace it.

I had another boss not too many years ago in Prosser that was about the sleaziest, most dishonest person I'd ever met. I was told when I was hired on to the night shift it was temporary and within a month I'd be on day shift and would get a significant raise. Day shift was important to me because my son Dennis wasn't even in kindergarten and the wages were important because I'm a single parent.

That creepy old man, who was enamored with staring at my chest when he talked, lied. And when I called him on it, he fired me. Long story short, his wife chewed him out, demanded he hire me back and as soon as I found a more reasonable job, I was out of there.

Naming two of the best bosses I've ever had is easy. Bob Story, my current boss, and Gaye Hedley, my boss back when I worked as a certified nursing assistant.

I've had similar experiences with both Bob and Gaye.

Gaye cared about me tremendously. But that didn't stop her from heavy doses of tough love now and then.

I got mad one time at the higher-ups at the Christian nursing home I was working in and said something to the effect of, "If they don't change their tune, I'm outta here." I'll never forget her response. She said, "You're good. But don't go thinking certified nurses aides aren't a dime a dozen. You can be replaced."

Ouch.

The first winter I got hired here, Bob wanted to send me to Yakima to cover something. I was scared the roads would be icy so I emailed him and said I wouldn't go, that I didn't feel safe.

Bob's response? "If you can't handle driving around, you're in the wrong business and don't belong here."

He meant it, just like Gaye meant what she said.

What makes Bob and Gaye stand apart from other supervisors is they give credit where credit is due. And they chew you out when it's well earned.

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