August 23, 2006
Boss? The Joke’s On You, Newbie Entrepreneur!
Tell me the
best thing about being an entrepreneur, said the joker to the thief.
of my boss, from whom I can’t get no relief!
Ah yes. No
boss. I remember that pipe dream too. I will make my own rules and set
my own destiny, and the best thing is I can never be fired and I will
always get a fair performance review!
I have had more bosses than most people have weekends. And I’ve probably
been fired more times than Billy Martin, although in fairness he kept
getting fired over and over again by the same guy.
bosses are known by day as “customers” or “clients,” and by necessity,
they are many in number. (If they’re not, you will soon return to having
only one.) Because you have so many different bosses, you are virtually
assured – at all times – of having the best boss, the worst boss and
every kind of boss in between.
recent worst boss waited until I drove two hours to a meeting at his
office to inform me that I am completely unqualified for the task I was
hired to perform, and that everyone in his company hates my work.
He is thorough. He followed up in writing and told me all the same
things, helpfully carbon-copying his attorney.
he fired me.
your horrible boss fires you, at least you don’t have a horrible boss
you’re an entrepreneur, Bunky! There’s still the one from two years ago
who never paid me, then ran up my legal bills while he opened
online casinos out of Venezuela. (Hugo Chavez gets a cut of the action
and I get nothing? Oh that is so unfair, boss.) In between Mr.
Hypercritic and Mr. Black Jack, there was the real estate broker who let
his secretary send me a memo saying: “I am troubled by your poor
asks if you’re available for a meeting in 45 minutes. That one sends you
a memo giving you a week’s notice on a requested meeting, then isn’t
there when you show up. A week is too long for him to remember! One
fired me after a week because of my close, professional connection to
the evil power brokers who murdered her father and stole his brain. I
could probably use connections to people like this, but as far as I
know, they exist only in the brain of my erstwhile boss, which is
regrettably still inside her skull.
the entrepreneur has some great bosses too. They appreciate your work,
pay you fairly don’t make a federal case out of it when you make the
occasional mistake. And fortunately for most of us, the good ones
comprise the vast majority of the bosses for whom we work.
entrepreneur beware. Going off on your own does not free you from the
scourge of bad bosses. Quite the contrary, it makes them a permanent
fixture in your life. If you have several customers, one of them has
to be the worst. So, you say? Quit that account! Does you no good. You
merely shorten the list, and the next-worst boss takes over the position
the bad-boss experience for entrepreneurs is filled with variety. Bad
business relationships rarely last long, so you get to quickly file them
into the memory bank or – as we call it at my company – the Hall of
to have a sense of humor about such things in business, and not to judge
yourself too harshly because of the inevitable fact that someone,
somewhere, will find you to be a complete and utter hack.
they can’t all fire me at once!” says the undeterred, fresh-faced
newbie. That is generally true, although if anyone can do it . . .
seven years into the no-boss experience, and knowing full well that the
next bad boss is only a soon-to-be-regretted phone call or e-mail away,
you might think I’d rethink the whole idea of being an entrepreneur.
work for somebody else? What kind of crazy arseclown idea is that?
© 2006 North Star
Writers Group. May not be republished without permission.
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