My first job in the publishing industry was not in book publishing but rather in journalism. I moved to
“Who’s Steve Brill?”
The editor’s worried response that all calls for Steve Brill should immediately be forwarded to the
Long after I’d left, GQ magazine did an article about Brill. It began something like this, “So, you think your boss is bad?” Here you go: the only thing I’ve ever had published in the print media was a letter to the editor in response to that article. Unfortunately, the editor cut it to pieces. Thus, my letter railing at the media for giving the likes of Steve Brill the time of day sounded like nothing more than a rant from a disgruntled former employee. I stand my ground, though. Why do jerks like Steve Brill and Donald Trump get all the attention in society? Why don’t we see articles in national magazines about the good bosses out there?
I was drawn to think about all this a while back when Bloglily wrote about her job she so loves. She made special note of her perfect boss, and I remember thinking, “could it be there’s more than one perfect boss in the world?” That’s because, for the past three years, I’ve been working for a perfect boss. I am, once again, working at a terrifically fun place, a place where people have a real passion for what they do, where we are all idealistic, where we work hard and have a great time. Her leadership has, of course, contributed to this environment, and it has been invaluable (although I can hear her “aw-shucks-it’s-not-me-it’s-you-guys” response to that echoing in my ear as I type).
Everyone should be fortunate enough to have a boss like this at least once in his or her lifetime, the sort who ought to be featured in the media, the sort who trusts her employees and would never, ever stoop to bullying and demeaning tactics. That’s because she’s wise enough to know that those kinds of tactics don’t engender hard work and loyalty, but it’s also because she’s just too kind. She’s the sort of boss who knows it all but would never let anyone think she knows much of anything. She leaves her employees alone, lets them make their own mistakes, but never lets them fall under her watch, always reaching out both hands to catch them. She doesn’t breathe down anyone’s neck, but if you happen to need her, she will drop everything to help you. Oh yeah, and did I mention, she’s also someone you’d want to know in real life? Someone you’d like to kick back a few beers with and be there when she lights up a room (or a building) with her laugh?
And now, much to my horror, I have to accept the fact that my perfect boss is leaving. Not only is she leaving, but she’s moving all the way across the country. To say I’m not extremely happy for her to have this golden opportunity would be to lie. I am. However, that doesn’t negate the fact that I’m extremely unhappy for those of us left behind. Since this is our last week with her, and we’ve known now for a month that she was leaving, I think I’m beginning to get past the stage at which I want to grab onto her legs and say, “No, don’t go! Don’t leave!” Maybe in another six months or so I’ll be completely through the stage?
Anyway, here’s to L. I was very, very lucky for three years. I wish it had been longer. Meanwhile, based on the tear-filled going-away party I recently attended, I know I speak for all my colleagues when I say she will be missed. Her new company’s gain is our loss. And I hope all those of you reading this post are one day lucky enough to have such a boss.