It took years of questionable chemistry and devious experimentation for me to land a job at a top techmaturgical firm. I love what I do, I love my coworkers, and I thrive in the environment – with one not-so-minor exception. My boss is one of the most notorious tyrants in the industry, to the point where he's known in many corporate circles as a madman. He's prone to screaming, throwing things and the occasional horrific murder. Most of the time it's not directed at me, but he brought me to an investor meeting last week and things got scary.
I noticed that my boss was looking less brutishly terrifying than usual, so I asked him if he wanted me to get him a booster shot. He usually goes through around 30 of the things a day, but apparently he's on some gluten-free cleanse, and the compatible formula's still in the works. He kept it together in front of the investors, but really let me have it once we got out the door.
Now, I'm working on being more brutal and unforgiving in my professional life, but I'm a sweetheart in my personal life and old habits die hard. After we left we took separate dirigibles back to the office, and I almost immediately got a techmaturgical telegram from my boss informing me that I should, "never offer patented stimulant product in front of investor again [stop] otherwise downsize with extreme prejudice [stop] you sleep with fishes [stop] Zaun fishes reduce entire cow to bones in seconds [stop] you not get much sleeping done [stop]"
Now I'm scared for my life as well as my dignity. This has caused me to question my upward mobility at the company, along with my overall capacity for ruthless, cutthroat careerism. Am I too soft for this profession?
Corporate and Confused
Dear Corporate and Confused,
You're looking at this the wrong way. All aggressive, self-made industrial tycoons have a bit of a temper, but most of us can see when we've crossed the line. The trick is knowing how to call us out on our nonsense after we've calmed down.
I once lost it at one of my top inventors, only to have him stop by my office with a bottle of Jarvan Walker 18 year later that week. As we dipped into our third glass, he said: "I almost lost my temper with one of the lead techs today. When I get pissed, I can't think. People like you and Ziggs and Heimerdinger – you all have legendary tempers, but you control them most of the time. How do you do it?" In that moment, I felt pretty stupid. Here I was, getting compared to some of the foremost minds of our time and getting called out for acting like a jackass at the same time!
Of course, if your boss is who I think he is, you should probably go ahead and disregard everything I just said. Instead, pack up as much of your stuff as you can carry and catch the next ticket out of town. I've heard that particular gentleman's preferred method of "downsizing" involves a plastic bag, a meat cleaver and a pool full of angry piranhas, so you're probably not going to solve your problems with a bottle of whiskey and an ego boost.