Friday, April 20, 2007

Napoleon and His Chairs

Over my career I’ve worked for all types of dysfunctional bosses. In fact, I’ve written about a few in my previous posts (Stalin & the KBG & A Day in the Life: My Boss). I was recently talking to a former co-worker of mine and we were reminiscing about a former diminutive boss we had and all the quirky behaviors he exhibited. It was only 5 years ago that I and my former co-worker had the pleasure of reporting to a short and incredibly bossy Director named Brad.

Brad was appointed as our temporary boss after our VP was terminated (that’s another story to be told). Brad was known in our company as being hot tempered, crude, and over-bearing. He was the kind of guy who would shoot first and ask questions later, always running head first into decisions without fully thinking them through. Because of his behavior and the fact that he stood a mere 5 foot 4 inches tall, we appointed him the nickname Napoleon (note: he never knew of the nickname) We also gave him this nickname because his actions seemed to reflect a man exhibiting “Napoleon Syndrome”; a type of inferiority complex associated with short people, who perceive their height as a handicap and try to overcompensate for it somehow.

The chairs Napoleon had in his office are the best example of his height inferiority complex. The chairs in Napoleon’s office were overly cushioned and when you sat down you would slowly sink downwards into them. It was like sitting on quicksand. In addition to the cushions the chairs were very low to the ground as there were virtually no legs on the chairs. It looked like the legs on the chairs had been sawed off somehow. The quick sand cushioned, legless chair resulted in you sitting so low to the ground that you would actually be looking upwards at Napoleon. I am over 6 foot tall and when I would sit in his chair I would sink so far down that my knees would almost be even with my chest. In addition to our chairs being low, Napoleon’s chair was raised up as his feet barely touched the ground when he was sitting in his chair. I guess he raised his chair to further create a feeling of superiority over us. It was completely ridiculous.

My coworkers and I had to deal with Napoleon and his chairs for a little over a year. He then was exiled to an assignment in our Minnesota office. He took his big personality and his chairs with him.


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