Generally, I would bet that most of us don’t spend a lot of time reflecting on Labor Day — the last of the three-day summer holiday weekends.
Those who have jobs are thankful for the brief respite. For those dealing with unemployment, Labor Day is not unlike any other, and they most likely don’t want to be reminded of the challenges of living without a steady income.
I’ve always liked to work; make that, I’ve always liked earning money.
Some of my jobs have paid very well, but have been less than fulfilling. Others have lacked perks and benefits but, with hindsight, have been true character builders.
The same can be said about bosses. Among the worst for me was one who, instead of guiding and encouraging his workers, enjoyed belittling and tearing them down.
Through verbal abuse, he tried to cover his own inadequacies by making others question their self-worth.
Among the best was Syd, my boss when I worked in banking. Syd had a clear vision of the mission of his department, and he articulated that vision to his employees. He never barked orders, screamed or pounded on the desk.
Syd was a consummate professional who expected no less from his staff, and we all worked hard to live up to his standards.
Good or bad, we can learn from each. Who were the good and bad bosses in your past?
Sadie Fetzko, Cedar Lake: “I’m retired from nursing now but, by far, my best boss was my last. She was a big believer in passing along to all her staff — young and old alike — things she learned over the years.
“But the great thing was that she also was open to learning new things from us, too.
“The worst was just the opposite. Summers in college, I worked for a large professional office. The office manager was one of those people who never wanted to teach anyone anything new.
“It took me a while, but I came to realize it was job security for her. She didn’t want anyone proving they could do her job better.”
Carole Hoffman, Munster: “Body odor — the worst had body odor that he tried to mask with cologne. Nice guy and good at his job, but the company lost several employees because it became unbearable after a while. Upper management seemed unwilling to do anything.
“My best boss was the man who held the philosophy that family was of prime importance. As long as we didn’t abuse the privilege, he understood about sick children, parent-teacher meetings and dance recitals.
“In turn, we worked hard to show our appreciation.”
Jonas Robinson, Merrillville: “In the late ’60s, I had a woman boss who couldn’t keep her hands off the male help. In those days, sexual harassment wasn’t a legal thing. And, if it was a woman doing it to a man, it certainly wasn’t something you reported.
“Luckily, I moved on to something better after a couple of months.
“The boss I appreciated the most was my first sales manager. He became a real mentor for me, and I drew on his wisdom all through my career.”