The best boss I ever had was this woman who knew each and every job that she was responsible to manage. She took it upon herself to work files and make calls and do all the paperwork that went with it. Whenever the big bosses would throw a change into the system she would not have other people test it. She would test it herself. She would get her hands on everything so she could not only relate to it, but appreciate it. Even if the new system did not work but it had to be used, she would speak up and make sure the bosses knew it. They came up with a new software that, when it worked, was easier and it revolutionized the process. But it was not a perfect world and far from a perfect system. It actually slowed down the process which ended up slowing down business and pissing off the clients. It was a situation where we could not do anything about it at the time. We could not scrap it. They invested millions into it. All of us having to use it got frustrated and upset because we could not do our jobs right or fast. The saving grace for us was that our boss understood because she worked it first. She tried to work it while talking to clients or customers. She would always come to us with an "I understand guys" or a "I know you are doing your best".
She appreciated us because she understood. Even when there was nothing she could do. Some jobs are like digging a ditch that you have to start over each day. You know that you have to go in and dig at least 50 yards a day. Some days you are able to and some days you are not even close. You start off with your shovel and good intentions. You start digging then you realize that you have to stop your ditch and hop in and help dig at a ditch for someone who didn't show or for someone who just doesn't know how to use the shovel right. Then there are times where you are working hard and it starts to rain... it starts to flood and all the work you have done has been refilled with more dirt. At the end of the day you have multiple ditches that are nowhere near that 50 yard mark. If you are lucky you will have a boss that hops in the hole with you and grab a shovel. But most of the time the boss is up in the yard under an umbrella with a nice cold drink meeting with other bosses...
The worst part is that you dig and you dig and you sweat and your back hurts and you are sunburned and you are tired. Hopefully your boss is there and says "I understand guys" or "I know you are doing your best". My old boss would be in the dirt with us. She would appreciate the work we did because she dug the ditch too and she never forgot how it was to dig. She would appreciate us.
I thought I was appreciated. I really did. I know I dug hard and I know, if needed, I would help someone else did their ditch even when I knew they were digging slowly intentionally. When I threw down my shovel and said I was done I thought someone would ask me what it would take to pick it back up and stay.... Would anyone show appreciation? Nope. Sad part for the company is that all the other ditch diggers said they were sorry to see me go and that they were jealous. So many diggers have thrown their shovels down and many more to come... sad as it may be because it is not the worst field to dig in.
I was disappointed walking away from my well dug ditch without the big boss even saying "good job" or "will you reconsider?"... No tears shed here... I learned that sometimes shed tears are only for show... Disappointed in that.
Eventually I will dig my ditch in another field. Yes it will be the same kind of digging with the same kind of shovel. Hopefully it will be for people who don't just remember what it is like to dig that ditch but it will be for people who still have hands soiled with the dirt of the job.