Why I was grateful for having strict bosses

In my almost 10 years of working, I stayed in the same company, hopped to different offices and I guess the highlight of everything, survived four different bosses. It does not really count as an achievement or even an accomplishment. One thing I can be proud of myself though, I peacefully parted ways with them. I can still face my previous bosses without a drop of hate or apprehension, except for one  (God bless her soul) who already went ahead to heaven.

This post was inspired by a supposedly professional advice given by a local DJ.  Apparently, the avid listener is exhausted with all the criticisms made by her boss. She felt belittled and futile. I was quite surprised with the advice given by the DJ.

Here’s an edited and enhanced version of the DJ’s advice

You should be thankful for having a strict, demanding and unappreciative boss. The DJ reasoned there’s no point of recognizing tasks that has been successfully accomplished. You should never be commended for fulfilling your responsibilities. However, mistakes and shortcomings deserve all the criticisms. We need to be bombarded and awakened to improve.

I was expecting some sympathy or the very least, a little comic relief for all employees placed in the same predicament. Surprise of surprises, the DJ appeared like a spokesperson of all the cursed bosses in the world.

Admittedly, part of me agrees with the response of the DJ. I will not deny that at some point, the strict and unreasonably demanding bosses brought out the best in me.

I had a boss who wanted everyone to speak English at workplace. The good side of such practice, I was able to exercise my more than 10 years of taking English classes. I was able to prove to everyone that I can speak the language, even after passing the recruitment interview.

Barely months after graduating from college, I had a boss who baptized me with fire. I was asked to present my first research to the community of employees. Some months passed, I was asked to present the results of a critical study to the members of the management committee. I forgot what stage fright meant. I realized that I was meant for greater things. This I guess prepared me for teaching and that one great endeavor in Taiwan.

I had a boss who was very strict with attendance. Back then, I almost qualified for perfect attendance award. I developed good sleeping habits. I leave home early, I feel more relaxed and refreshed before starting another work day. I escape the unnecessary stresses from the unpredictable travel time from commuting. I was very observant and compliant with company rules.

When my boss is very keen on details, mastering perfection and infusing a little creativity in preparing technical reports became a habit. This demands time, patience and pressure but at the end of the day, I feel fulfilled. I surpassed a great challenge.

I used to belong to an office who handles events and seminars. With a very obsessive compulsive boss, I learned coordination, collaboration and doing things without being told.

I also remember starting with an office that wasn’t allocated with working scholars. I never had assistants. I managed to accomplish even the smallest detail of my job. I photocopied my own materials. I sort my own documents. I route letters and memoranda across offices and buildings. I do follow up calls on my own.  I survived without depending on other people.

Although at some point I also believe that excessive strictness does not always breed positive things. I definitely had my own share of this injustice. I had a boss whose demands demeaned me. I was losing my self esteem. I suffered emotionally that translated to my health. I had unexplained sicknesses. I lost weight the unhealthy way. Had it not because of my concerned parents, I would not have discovered that I’m an inch away from developing a fetal blood related disease.

At the end of the day, I would like to believe that my strict bosses made me competitive. I didn’t become one of those employees who exist for payday. My greatest gain and learning from my strict bosses, I was trained to make things happen.


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