For years I worked as an executive assistant to the head of a large school. He was an incredible boss and an easy person to work for – until he wasn’t.
He wasn’t always nice to people he didn’t like – and you could get on his bad side easily. I was on his good side because he needed me. I was also privy to some of his private life, and I found out about something he wished to keep secret.
But I watched the way he treated his employees, how he dealt with parents, and students he didn’t particularly care for. There was no abuse, or anything untoward or damaging, so I kept quiet and did my work.
I had a few friends in the building, but I could tell he didn’t like that, so I kept it quiet. It was clear that everyone was afraid of losing their job with one negative word from him.
One day I witnessed him treat two students completely differently for the exact same misdemeanour. I spoke to him privately, and he replied vehemently that it was none of my business and I knew nothing about running a school.
From that day forward, he was unkind, harsh and demanding. I lasted two months before I felt forced to quit. He was horrible during the process; he threatened that I would never work in a school again.
Now that school is out for the summer, my friends are all telling me really horrible stories about this man.
What should I do with my knowledge?
You need to talk to the Board of Directors. It is wrong to run any business like a dictatorship. Sometimes, power gets to people’s heads and clouds their thinking. Sometimes, a reining in is all the person needs; sometimes, it’s gone too far.
It sounds to me like this person needs to be removed from his position. Two children, who get caught for the same misdemeanour may need to be spoken to differently, but their punishment should not depend on how much money their parents give, or who they are in the community.
And personality differences with admin should not affect your job if you’re a good teacher and the kids are successful under your guidance.
My daughter is a distracted driver. She gets in the car holding her phone, on a video chat with her bestie. The car then picks up the conversation, which is legal as it’s now through Bluetooth, but she continuously looks at her phone.
I have told her several times that this is considered distracted driving, that she could get pulled over, ticketed, but worse, she could easily get in an accident. She’s not paying her fullest attention to the road.
I have been driving for 40 years and know full well that driving is a 360-degree activity. You have to be totally aware of the drivers beside you, the drivers coming at you, the cyclists, the pedestrians, the traffic lights up ahead, etc. And it doesn’t matter how fabulous a driver you may be; it’s the terrible driver behind you who can smash into you.
How do I get through to my teenage know-it-all?
I’m going out on a limb here in assuming that whatever car your daughter is driving, you gave her. That makes you responsible. So, if you feel that her driving is hazardous not only to herself, but others around her, then take her off the road. For everyone’s sake.
Insist that she drive with you and proves to you that she is capable of paying attention and driving responsibly. When you feel she’s ready, give her access to the car. Upsetting her may save someone’s life.
FEEDBACK Regarding the golf club shopper on Mother’s Day (June 1):
Reader – “I had to write after reading about the husband who took his wife shopping to buy new golf clubs, on Mother’s Day, and she doesn’t play golf.
“My husband tried a similar thing the day our first child was coming home from hospital. As we were getting ready to leave, he casually mentioned he wanted to pick up a tennis racket that was on hold at a nearby store.
“I was shocked at his skewed priority. I calmly suggested that once he had the two of us settled at home, he could go get his racket.
“He has no memory of this but I think he was freaking out about becoming a father.
“As for this writer’s husband, I think he forgot it was Mother’s Day and then was too embarrassed to go for dinner.”