I have finished.
I know that I promised you the Dumb Boss chronicles, and have woefully failed to deliver. I’m so sorry. Just before Christmas I signed a Deed as part of my departure that says I can’t say mean things about the Company, Dumb Boss included. I kind of feel that new posts about his evil escapades might be in breach of that, even though I’ve remained anonymous this entire time.
So, I thought I’d wrap this blog up, even if just for now, as I am free. Free of him, free of the Company, free (for now at least) of Corporate Lunacy. On Thursday, I fly out for 5 months’ travel. I will still be blogging, but under my real name, and for me and friends only. If you have been reading this blog, thank you. If you’d like to stay in contact, please leave a comment and your email and I’ll be in touch.
It’s time to wrap this puppy up and let you know how things finished (which of course they never really do: this is Corporate Lunacy, after all).
With the change in ownership, and after I was told my role was redundant at the end of February, my reporting lines moved to a great group of people – both in our business, and our new holding company (ie 2 reporting lines). All of these people were wonderful, supportive and ethical. My local Business Unit line went to a man I have admired and been in awe of since he arrived nearly 2 years ago. Suddenly, there was someone to follow; to learn from; to admire. Someone who calls Dumb Boss “evil”. I wish I could report to him for longer. On Thursday he said to me: “if you had been reporting to me for the last year none of this would have happened.” Leading me to conclude that Dumb Boss was absolutely behind my demise.
I told my new bosses at our new owner about the problems I had with DB. I worked closely with them to hand over the team and wish them well. They are already getting feedback like mine from elsewhere, and their Group General Counsel already hates him.
Yesterday was my farewell, and there were tears, and hugs. I had turned that team around, and my job was done. Not without its dramas though: someone had called the restaurant and tried to cancel my lunch. This was most certainly the Manipulator, of 2 1/2 years ago, who had kept in touch with those lingering evil-doers who remained in the team. You see, when she had been escorted from the premises for her evil deeds, which was done a couple of weeks before she was due to leave, I recalled she had a farewell planned and, in a panic, rang to cancel the restaurant as I thought the farewell was off. Needless to say, it was still on, and this was her way of telling me she knew what I’d done.
Our Company Secretary, also free of Dumb Boss, had grown brave and told Dumb Boss’s new boss (who she admired and trusted) that he should speak with me. Two days ago, I met with him and unfolded the evil. I had been so worried that I needed to NOT sound like a lunatic; to NOT seem to be spraying on Dumb Boss on my way out; but to convince this man that he needed to at least watch out for DB’s evil ways. As it turns out, I needn’t have worried. He had already seen the evil, the bullying, the manipulation. His own team had told him they would not work with DB, and he asked me the very question I had been wondering for the past 2 years: do I think DB is stealing from the Company? You know my answer. This honourable man, though, might be becoming a victim of Dumb Boss himself. DB has already convinced this man’s boss that he is invaluable and must be looked after.
I wished him well, and offered to help in future if I could. It was like passing a mantle – the legacy lives on, but the good news is that a great many people at the new owner have worked Dumb Boss out.
My other focus has been on helping my team work out how they will do without a General Counsel. Not any easy task for them, and they have already started to suffer. I will miss them, and don’t want what has been built on my sweat and blood to crumble as I go. Time will tell, though.
Of course, Dumb Boss struck one last time. At the end of last year, I held a team building event that was a Treasure Hunt, with everyone receiving a prize. We had money left in the budget after a year of cutting every corner, and morale was low. Since Dumb Boss had also cut our budget for 2010 before he hived off our cost centre, mainly so he could fund more flying monkeys, I also bought a “pool” of gift vouchers for use in Reward and Recognition after I had left.
Dumb Boss saw this expense come through and went straight to the CEO, who agreed it was in breach of policy and I should pay it myself. My new boss found out and he and the head of HR told the CEO that should not happen. My new wonderful Boss broke the news to me. “Don’t spend one ounce of negative energy on this. I am going to sort it out. Send me an email telling me what this was for and leave it to me.” Naturally, I did and (after my new wonderful boss amended it to remove my ranting!) he sorted this out with the CEO and told him it was Dumb Boss’s over-reaction. At my farewell, I thanked him, not only for the things I know he’d done to help me, but also for those I will never find out.
When I went around yesterday to say goodbye, I went by Dumb Boss’s office. He said “This has worked out well for you. If I could get a redundancy, I’d take it. You are used to running your own show – the new owner would hav changed that.” I quietly told him I thought it would have worked; they are good people. At some point I think he kissed me on the cheek, but I may have blacked out for that bit. I smiled, the pretense kept up till the very end.
Most importantly, I know that I achieved my goal. I turned this team around, and am proud of it. From the most dysfunctional legal team in the industry, one who no-one would join, and some recruiters refused even to place lawyers within, they are now strong, and unified, and talented. Both from within and outside, this has been recognised. Sure, there’s still some cleaning up to do; this ownership and structure change can give them the ability to remove the last remaining vestiges of the old cancer within the team. So many individuals told me how I’d inspired them, touched their lives, changed them. What could be more humbling, and more joyful, than hearing that?
In the end, even I enjoyed great leadership there, and Dumb Boss recedes. A year off now stretches before me; I can barely comprehend it. Free. Free. Free.