What Came First, The Manager or the Asshole?

horrible bosses

When you’re climbing the career ladder in any field, you quickly learn that the higher you get, the less direct contact you have with the people you serve. This became a sobering reality to me as I made my way through the humbling world of non-profit work in positions were I worked as an educator to teens and young adults.

In 2008, I found myself fresh from college volunteering at the city’s main Planned Parenthood headquarters in The Gayborhood of Philadelphia. It was there I became fascinated with the sex educators. To me, they were the “cool kids”. While we coordinated schedules for canvassing on Broad Street or approached anxious patients asking them to donate to the cause while they waited for their annual exams, the sex educators would cascade in all worldly with their sex ed kits of full wooden penises and flavored lube. They’d tell graphic stories they heard in the classroom of the creative ways teens thought you could prevent pregnancy like douching with Coca Cola. It was then I knew I didn’t want a career that in any way resembled my senior internship where I spent most of my days looking at a computer screen drafting press releases about National Condom Week. I wanted to be the cool condom lady on some small liberal arts college campus making co-eds play Sex Ed Jeopardy at a health fair.

For the past 5 years of my career of I’ve been able to be in positions I love, educating and interacting directly with the young people’s lives I hope to make a difference in. But as I’ve grown with different organizations and witnessed all the budgeting, office politics and program planning that goes into making it possible to make change, it’s became abundantly clear: There’s something about management that brings out the asshole otherwise normal individuals. For me it’s nothing personal. As angsty and bitter as I may be coming off right now, it’s honestly just the business I’ve witnessed.

Or it might be that management positions attract assholes. I’m still undecided on how that works yet. I’m sorry if anybody with a management title takes offense to that, but there’s a reason why co-workers go to happy hour and complain about the boss and not the intern or administrative assistant. “Horrible Bosses” is a real thing and a majority of you guys really don’t have clue what the fuck you’re doing.

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