When your boss ought to know more than you about certain things (probably most things) related to your employment, i.e. all the things you need to do at your job, the most important thing becomes your boss’s own competence, and yesterday, not only did I learn that my boss is highly competent, but also, she’s unlike any other boss I have ever had before. Of course, I am a new employee (still under a probationary period), and perhaps, the boss is capable of seeming competent for a short period of time. I do not believe that this is the case, but obviously, anything is possible. And so, I tread optimistically with caution, as I have been brutally disappointed before, after exactly this sort of employment excitement.
Thus, my point seems to be circling around thoughts about how I am feeling validated in my personal ideologies about how to be a boss. This is, after all, the reason why I am working at the place I am working under the boss for whom I am working, to learn from her, everything that I can for my own business. And yesterday, she validated my natural proclivity for being generous.
One of my greatest fears in life is having someone take advantage of me. I hate it. There’s nothing worse than working hard for someone who could not give a shit. There’s also nothing worse than offering an opportunity to someone who does not see it. Also, there’s nothing worse than being taken for granted as either a great employee or employer. And this is where, so far, my new, current employer has everyone beat. She is not ungrateful. She does not let hard work go unnoticed.
As the snow fell and swept through Colorado yesterday, I thought, for sure, that I would be called to not come into work. As a newbie (and thereby unnecessary to daily operations, as of yet), I figured I would be the first to be cut or set free for the day. I was wrong. Not only did I have to come in, I was under the impression that we would operate for regular business hours (luckily we closed early), but this is not my point. My point is that I had no problems going to work. I thought that it was a bit strange, since I knew (without a doubt) that it would be slow (nearly dead), and it was. However, my boss made it clear that the lack of busy-ness would be perfect training ground for me, and it was. The day ended up going super fast because my boss was able to train me on things that I would not have been able to do during normal levels of customer traffic. And, since I was able to train as slowly as needed due to the slow dribble of customer arrivals (which I still cannot believe that anyone would willingly trudge into the snow, but I know that I am guilty of this all the time on snow days), I feel really confident in my newly-acquired skills.
Herein lies the lesson that I truly learned yesterday by trusting and not fighting against a boss to whom I have willing turned to learned—I finally have the competent oversight I’ve been searching for my entire life. Not only is my boss highly competent as a business owner and operations manager, she is also full of heart, love and warmth. I feel like a person when I work with her. And my coworkers seem as equally happy to work there as I am beginning to feel.
I have my own plans for owning and operating a business similarly complex as the business I have joined. And one of my greatest fears is that I will be too nice, too generous, too easily taken advantage of because of my niceness. At the exact same time, I also greatly fear demanding too much of people because I am demanding. Both of these fears have been greatly diminished because I am witnessing, with my own two eyes, that not only is it possible to balance these two seemingly conflicting ideals, but also, it absolutely works as a way to make employees feel good.
My boss was tough yesterday in demanding that the business be open, but she thanked us (the skeleton, bare-bones staff that came in yesterday, despite the feet of snow) for going out of our way to make sure that business was open for the community in which we live. Every customer who walked through our open doors was very grateful that we were open. Our boss was grateful that we all came in to make her business functional for the day. I am grateful that my boss is human enough to understand that she had requested something from us that went above what is needed from us as employees of an establishment that could have just as easily been closed. She thanked all of us who worked with more than just words, and for this, I cannot help but feel seen and cared for. It’s a simple thing really—seeing people as people. And yet, the task seems nearly impossible for most.
And so, the lessons I am learning hardly have anything to do with my actual job description. I know how to do the work for which I have been hired. I am merely being run through the ropes of this particular establishment. What I do not know, however, is how to be a boss to a lot of employees, but this is why I have chosen to work at this particular business. I’ve entered the business at the bottom of the chain, but I am taught by and interact with the top of the chain every single day. And the person at the top of this chain is teaching me all of the lessons I will hopefully need to learn before I start and open my own complex business; she’s teaching me not only how to treat my employees like people, but mostly, she’s teaching me that it’s okay to inject a lot of humanity into the rigorous work of hourly employment.
Obviously, I do not think that she is perfect (nobody is), nor do I think that the owners run a perfect business (nobody can), but I do think that I have greatly lucked out in being able to learn from someone who is setting an amazing example of what business ought to be … a place where people trade their time for the work that needs to be done, while they build a life from the sufficient amount of money they earn in exchange for their time and work. Business owners, to me, have a huge responsibility. And so really, all I’m saying is that it’s nice to work for someone who feels that burden of responsibility and who does the right thing by maintaining the loyalty of employees through gratitude and thankfulness, by acknowledging that a business is nothing without its employees.