I’ve posted before about my soul-sucking time as an assistant here. To give you a better verbal portrait of my boss before sharing my triumphant yet gutsy (rare for me) comeback, I’ll give you a little context. He is a narcissist that feels most important when putting others down, specifically by calling them ignorant or indirectly implying it. He also doesn’t articulate what he wants very well. I have followed him from room to room in the office asking him five times in a row which exact file he had asked for because he had simply said “get me the file.” Considering we have four rooms with files from floor to ceiling, that’s pretty f$%^ing broad. Sometimes (ok, maybe more often) if you ask him a question or to clarify his instant reaction is god%$#^ it.
Now, armed with that information, you are ready for the split second my filter from brain to mouth broke. I think I got a little piece of my soul back in the process.
He calls me into his office to say, “Call [name of person] and tell him the attachment to the email didn’t work.”
Me “Ok, that person has sent several emails today and the attachments aren’t labeled so what document specifically do I need to ask him for?”
Boss “The god*&$% document.”
Me, in a complete deadpan voice and expression “You want me to tell him we need the god%$^& document?”
I realize I’ve said this aloud, even though completely unintentional. But hey, it’s already out of my mouth and I can’t take it back, so I just continue my dead faced stare. He is actually speechless for a few moments, which in itself is an accomplishment.
My awesome coworker tries to somewhat fix the situation and not laugh “You did tell her to tell him that.”
Boss, quieter “You’re being sarcastic” [Nooo, I’m really going to ask someone that, jeez.]
Boss “Tell him we need the [document name]”
It sounds like a little, insignificant thing but I feel it was a minor victory on multiple levels:
-He got a small taste of what it was like to have profanity coming from someone other than himself.
-He heard what he sounds like because I just repeated exactly what he had said to me. I honestly think he has no clue how he speaks to us.
-I made him speechless and was doing a little inner badass happy dance.
-I made my coworker laugh, which in that place we are all grateful to any piece of joy we can glean from each other.