The Shrubbery
September 1999
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Adventures in Maturity

By Gordon Dymowski

First, an apology - last month, in my article on Monty Python, I mistakenly referred to Y.L. Ng as a "he". Actually, it's Ms. Ng, and I made an assumption. So I would like to apologize for any confusion I may have caused, and if you're her boyfriend, or considering so, go for it. I will not, however, take back my comments about Adam Sandler's parents being siblings, or his sexual obsession with animals. If you don't like it, Adam, sue me. I have no money. Honest.

Anyway, normally in September you get all sorts of back-to-school articles and stuff. However, since I haven't been in school since January of 1998, I'd talk about what comes after school - work. This month I became a boss, and had hired someone to be my employee to help out in linking homeless people with substance abuse treatment. I have to tell you, being the boss is...interesting, to say the least.

I've never had a position of power, outside of being a crossing guard, and yeah, there's a stepping stone to the Presidency. It's tough being a boss - I'm trying hard not to be one of those hardline "Do what I say 'cause I said so" bosses. You know, like those guys who think they're hot stuff because they graduate from the McDonald's grill to the cashiership. However, I also don't want to be one of those namby-pamby "do whatever," extremely codependent bosses. I also haven't had the greatest role models coming up, so there's no one I can riff off of...

I also have to admit that I envy where my employee's coming from - she's just out of grad school, just moved to St. Louis, and has her life ahead of her. I, however, am bitter and cynical and all those other good things. Of course, now we're office shopping and I'm trying to move out of lone wolf-ishness to actually working with someone. It's one of those tricky transitions. Of course, there's a lot of literature on how to be a boss, like books such as The Art of War, or Leadership Secrets of Attila the Hun. There's even a book entitled Make It So, which shows you the leadership secrets of Jean-Luc Picard. I am not making this up (click the links!)

These books are good, of course, if you want to conquer Europe, or kick some Klingon butt, but they don't make much sense in the social service field.

Who knows? Maybe there's some great well of leadership in me that's untapped, but here's another unrelated thread I want to hit on. Some of my colleagues seem to think of themselves as...well...there's one woman in particular that I shall not name publicly. However, she always talks about how much more they do for clients than other agencies. Of course, I am limited by time, funds, and whatnot, but this (fill in favorite expletive for a woman) seems to think of this as a competition, and I'm willing to bet that, at some point, she's said, "Boy, that Mother Teresa is a selfish b****." Just because we're in a field that allows us to help people doesn't automatically qualify us for sainthood. Trust me, there's enough black marks in God's book on me to automatically disqualify me. Let's just get over it and move on.

There's another addition to my ever-growing pile of rantings. If you want to e-mail me, please do so at As you've seen before, I actually do read and respond. Maybe next month, I'll be dry of inspiration, and do one of those "responding to reader mail" columns like Ann Landers did before she got caught. Thanks a lot for reading and remember: if there is a hell, there's a special section of it for the stars of "Dawson's Creek".

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