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Sarcasm Aside

random thoughts of a self-diagnosed neurotic with the attention span of a five-year old... a blog by Alternati


Saturday, October 07, 2006

It was Ma'am Jan's birthday last Thursday. She is my PI boss. I am using boss loosely here because with her laid back supervision and cheerful disposition, an onlooker may look at us as colleagues.

I've always thought that "boss" is a fairly modern term. Aside from the current association with adjective+color perfumes, the word itself is very succinct and minimalist. According to Etymonline, "boss" was coined in 1649. Notable people during the 17th century include Miguel de Cervantes and William Shakespeare. "Boss" doesn't fit in this era. Don Quixote didn't say "My boss, my boss, my kingdom for a boss". In Hamlet, Polonius never called Claudius his boss... Juliet never said to Lady Capulet "Alas, Thou aren't the boss of my life!" in Act I.

Further reading makes my previous statements ridiculous. First of all the term was coined in America, a long ship ride away from Spain and England... and unless they had internet access then, the proliferation of this word would have taken a century and a day. Second, and more importantly... Both Cervantes and Shakespeare died in 1616, a good 3 decades before "boss" came to existence.

Am I boring you yet with this pointless etymology of "boss? Anyhoo... It came from the Dutch word "baas" which translates as master. In the theoretically classless democracy of the States, the term "boss" became very popular. It served as a egalitarian euphemism for "master". Now, we don't call our superiors masters unless:
  1. You're being sarcastic
  2. You're learning jujitsu, judo or some other form of martial arts
  3. You're into S & M
  4. You're playing Dungeons and Dragons
Now, bossy is an adjective we use for people who like to bark out commands. "Bossy" was first recorded in 1882 as a common cow name. How appropriate.

I have only gone through 3 companies when I started working. In the first two, I developed a friendship with both my bosses, I seem pretty lucky (or picky) with companies I apply to. In the third company (my current employer), I have 3 bosses. My PI boss, my boss from Guam and The Godfather from Oregon. They vary so much in their manner of administration that I feel like I'm three different employees switching skins depending on who I'm talking to. I get along pretty well with all three of them, but if my current job has taught me anything about bosses, there are 3.5 million species of them:

Random Boss Sampling:

The Charles Montgomery Burns
He is rich, powerful and above the law. He owns a huge corporation where employees don't usually know each other. He is pure evil and would steal candy from a baby if he were strong enough to do so. He wouldn't think twice before pushing a button underneath his desk that opens a hatch where you fall into and later find yourself in Timbuktu.

The Dr. Miranda Bailey
She is "the Nazi". She is frank, brutally honest and remarkably talented. She knows everything that happens in the workplace. She doesn't want people sucking up to her and treats her subordinates impartially. She is a mom and a professional. She is a tough boss but she always protects your best interests and you learn a lot from her.

The Donald Trump
He is rich. He is influential. He has a comb-over. He is business-savvy, successful and isn't inhibited to tell you so in a robotic cadence. He is conceited but you can't blame him... but you could hate him. He likes to exaggerate. He doesn't like any form of failure and wouldn't think twice before saying "You're fired" in the boardroom.

The David Brent
He wants to be everyone's friend and mentor in The Office. He thinks people find him hilarious and would give anything to be around him (yeah right). He is irritating and hovers above your work station. He is totally oblivious of what employees think of him. On a good day he is tolerable, but on most days... you just wanna stab him with your #2 pencil.

The Gil Grissom
He is eccentric. He is very intelligent. He doesn't believe in politics in the workplace. He has a collection of bugs in his office. He develops intimate relationships with his employees without being touchy-feely. He doesn't mind sharing the limelight. He is very passionate about his job and as a result has a semi-existent personal life.

The Horatio Crane
He is very good with his job to the point of impossibility. He seems to always have the answer and know everything which is quite sickening. He is always in the spotlight. He makes everyone one he is the boss. He delivers alot of puns and cliches and always wears sunglasses regardless of weather conditions or amount of sunlight.

end of sampling...

Trivia: A number of countries celebrate National Boss Day on October 16.

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posted by Alternati, 1:37 PM

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