"Don't worry," my friend Jim used to say. "You're not totally worthless--you can serve as a bad example." Today, as a counterpoint to my post-Labor Day post, an ode to workplace tyrants and bullies, and the "benefits" thereof. (Sorry, not naming names, eh.)
Most of us aren't in the working world terribly long before learning a lesson: No matter how tough your parents were, you have no idea what's in store once someone is paying you to obey, whether they're a freelance client or a full-time employer. There are maybe a half-dozen of them that stick out in my own career, ranging from garden-variety micromanager to full-on, desk-pounding, neck-vein-bulging maniac.
From a bully at my first job, I learned (daily) that titles don't necessarily equal talent, and vice versa, and so never to assume one from the other. Another taught me that tyrants can come in unassuming packages, a rule underscored by yesterday's parade of fools at the UN. And yet, several of the most-demanding managers, coworkers and clients were also the wisest, and pushed me to a higher standard, taught me innumerable tricks of the editorial and marketing trades, and provided insights about business in general. I guess you could describe such a dynamic as unpleasant but worthwhile--a rite of passage.
How you deal with the various incarnations of bossy behavior requires recognizing that what motivates you and deciding whether the best course of action is to stand your ground or catch the next bus. Because one thing is for sure: You're not going to change them.