NPD Chronicles: Get Out!

My boss suffers from NPD, Narcissistic Personality Disorder. I'm no doctor, but I'm pretty convinced that's what's going on with him. I thought I would share my crazy work stories and title them the "NPD Chronicles". Here is the first...of MANY.

I clearly remember the day my boss kicked me out of his office.
Oh yeah, you read that right. He kicked me out of his office.
Even as I write those words my hands tremble with the unfulfilled desire to punch him in the face.
This is also the occasion in which K, my old supervisor quit. It was a sad and crazy week.

So here’s how the story begins. K's son’s pre-school was closing for some professional development and so she had no child care for a week. She has no relatives living in Chicago, other than her husband, and therefore was forced to request that week off. Nothing was going on that week, no deadlines, no proposals, nothing we couldn't take care of, and she had time available, so she figured no big deal. She figured wrong. Oh did she figure wrong.

For whatever reason, my boss was feeling like being an asshole and decided to make a big fuss about her request and denied it. In the process of denying her, he mentioned that if she were on welfare, he’d train her on how to properly acquire childcare, managing to rightfully offend her as well as piss her off. I had never seen K so upset. And the thing that my boss didn’t understand is that she didn’t have a choice. He couldn’t deny her, as she had NO ONE to watch her child. She couldn’t take no for an answer. I still, to this day, don’t understand what he expected of her. She had NO child care, and still he felt like he could deny her request and she would figure out a way to magically find someone to babysit and come in to work to do NOTHING of importance because, as I had already mentioned, there was nothing important going on at that time.

Once he got the hint that “no” was not an acceptable response, as K's hands were tied in regards to the situation, he decided to act as if he were doing her a huge favor and giving her permission to take this time off, that he had previously tried to deny her. For this, he drafted this ridiculously condescending memo. As my boss is an old geezer who is technologically challenged, he needed someone to type out the memo for him. That someone was me.

He calls me into his office and proceeds to give me “his side” of the story, forgetting that I witnessed most of it and knew exactly what was going on. He told me K walked in there and “demanded” the time off and acted as if she was entitled to it, which I know is a lie. He then proceeded to read me this memo, parts of which I have included below:

I am not approving this as a regular vacation request because of lack of “adequate notice” and because this is a high need time of year for admin support “availability”.  However, based on our conversations is it clear to me that an unanticipated family care need has abruptly arisen that you have no practical alternative way to deal with. (This is code for…I know I can’t deny you, as you have no choice, but I’m not just going to let you get your way. So I’m going to say I’m not approving it as a regular vacation request, even though it doesn’t freaking matter what it’s called.)

The requested leave is approved based on our understanding that you be available on an “emergency, as needed, contingency” basis during the leave period and will, as you have done so well in the past,  provide an outline of pending issues for myself and (me) prior to beginning your leave. (She had already told him, numerous times, that there was nothing pending and that she would be accessible if an emergency came up. He just had to throw that in there because he needed that control, to demand she be available for him, as he was unwillingly approving this “non-vacation” request.)

You are approved to take all available comp time and vacation time as necessary. (But didn’t you say earlier that this wasn’t a vacation request? Make up your mind!) Please do not hesitate to request additional “regular” vacation time this summer and fall. I know you need and deserve a vacation.(Since you decided to make this request a pain in the ass for her, I’m sure she’s really eager to take additional time off. Even though you claim to know she deserves a vacation, you give her so much shit for this one week, why would she believe you?) Because of your unique role in the agency, please provide a longer lead time next time. Sorry for any misunderstandings that may have arisen in our communications about this matter. (Sorry I was a dick, would’ve been a better ending to this memo. Oh, and next time you have an UNEXPECTED event, give me more notice.)

So there it was, his condescending memo. After he went over it with me, I just stayed quiet, ready to grab the handwritten memo and go back into my office to type it out. Buuuut no, this wasn’t enough for him. See, he knew that K and I were friends. So it wasn’t enough for him to write this memo to her, reluctantly agreeing to letting her take the week off, he needed someone to pat him in the back and congratulate him for being an a-hole. I don’t know if it appeases what little droplet of guilt he may feel when he’s a jerk, but I really don’t know what his purpose was. He looks me in eye and says “What do you think?” He knew damn well what I thought, and knowing him, he didn’t want to hear it. One thing (among many) about my boss, is that he can’t handle the truth. Ever. If the truth is him not being a genius or right, then he doesn’t want to hear it. Knowing this, I knew better than to answer him honestly, but at that point, I was so drained because of the negative energy in my department, that I also didn’t have the strength to b.s. my way out of that one. All I could say was:
“Okay, so this is the memo you want me to type up? I’ll get right on it.”

“But, it’s okay right?”, as he pulls the memo just out of my reach, “You understand where I’m coming from, right?”

“Oh, it doesn’t matter what I think, if you want me to type out that memo, then that’s exactly what I’ll do.” - This was said in a joking manner, as to not offend “The Great One”

“No, listen to me, kiddo. I don’t want you to think that your opinion doesn’t count, I want you to feel comfortable talking to me and letting me know what you think.”

So knowing that these were lies coming out of his mouth, but tired of restraining myself, I drop the bomb on him:
“Well honestly, I think she would’ve been better off lying.”

“About what?”

“I think, that she would’ve been better off lying to you about why she needed the time off, then it would’ve have been this big deal.”

“What is that supposed to mean?”

“Oh, if only you knew the amount of people here that cheat the system and abuse their time off by lying and scheming. She’s getting punished for being honest.”

So he interjects, my opinion no longer important, as it wasn’t on par with his, and proceeds to yell about me implying that people lie and why would I do that, and some other stuff I’ve since blocked out. I tried to keep talking, but at this point he was so worked up that he was like:
“Out, get out!”…he said this to me, as he literally waved me out of his office, his hands inches from my face.

I fully understood the meaning of “seeing red”. I was livid! I couldn’t believe he was acting like such a baby. I mean, I knew he was crazy, but at that point, I was still capable of being surprised. I wanted to punch him, I almost did, I came really close. Even a swat would’ve made me feel better. I exercised all of my self control and said: “Oh, you’re kicking me out? You’re kicking me out? Okay, I’ll leave”…then my anger got the best of me and as I stood up, I leaned really close to the top of his head and in a voice dripping with sarcasm said “Reeeeal mature there, Mr. Executive Director",  and then as I was walking out I heard him “Hey, come back here!”….the hell I would, I stormed into my office shaking with anger. Turns out, he wasn’t done yet. He followed me into my office and said “Get back in my office right now,  you’re being borderline insubordinate”. He had some damn nerve. I was done at this point. “How am I being insubordinate? You just kicked me out!” Then his tone softened and he said “Come into my office, please.” Not in a nice tone, just a softer tone than before. So I just let out a loud sigh and peel myself off my chair and storm past him and walk in, as he closes the door behind him. I was ready for a fight, verbal or otherwise.

He repeats his “You are borderline insubordinate!”
“How so? You kicked me out, I did what you asked me to do”.
“Well I needed you to calm down because you were talking about staff lying and obviously you’re letting your emotions affect you.”
“Kicking me out is definitely NOT the way to get me to calm down. Who does this? (imitating his hand gesture) My own father doesn’t speak to me like that.”

And it goes on until he realizes that I’m not going to see things his freaking way and finally he tries to appease me by trying to blame it on K, as if it was her fault he pissed me off.  In the end, he did apologize for kicking me out of his office, but the damage was already done. K was leaving, and things wouldn't be the same.

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