Sunday, November 6, 2011

The Boss From Hell

So, what the hell is the Middle Damned blog? In the end it's just a lame attempt to promote a book I'm writing. And what is that book's name? Why, it's the "Middle Damned". But, at a deeper level there lurks a deeper meaning, as is true in the book as well.

My boss stalked the halls of the office, patrolling, his radar set to detect disparaging remarks. He whistled, like the preacher from Poltergeist, an off key drone strategically putting those in range on edge. At one time a brilliant engineer, his greatest asset was now the power of manipulation. Cultivated over a forty year career of dealing with government bureaucracy and greedy investment capitolists, he would get your mother to feed you to the lions on a dare.

I hadn't been with this particular division of the company long. I'd transferred from Tucson, up to Salt Lake City in order to be closer to family. Changing jogs is an adjustment, but this turned out to be something else entirely. I'd always prided myself on being honest, regardless of the risk. This attitude had worked well in my previous position, and suited my personality, but as I was learning, some people don't want to hear the truth.

My boss, The Boss, looked for the grand invention to enshrine his memory into the annals of history. The Boss searched for this one ephemeral thing, in the twilight of life. He'd already accomplished amazing things from a business perspective, but he wanted more, believed of himself better.

We worked toward developing an infinitely variable gear ratio. In essence, when given an input power this device would transform the output into any desired torque or force desired. It's a bit like saying you want to build a perpetual motion machine, but he believed. I had been tasked with developing and testing in the computer the physics of the invention.

One day the dissonant whistle approached from down the hall. The Boss walked into my office.

"What's the simulation saying today?" The Boss asked.

"That physics won't be denied," I replied enigmatically.

"How do you mean?"

"Well, you can't get something for nothing. The power required to change the gear ratio basically wipes out any advantage of varying the output torque," I tried cautiously.

The Boss turned beat red. "Bring your results to the conference room so we an peer review the results," and he walked out of the room.

It was going to be bad, the stench of ire circling in his wake told me as much. I uploaded my simulation to the company repository and headed to the conference room. It had only been a few minutes, but The Boss had already assembled every senior engineer in the building. PhDs and thirty-year-veterens inspected me with pity as I walked in. I took the only seat left, across from The Boss.

"Okay Shane, so you think there's something wrong with my idea?" The Boss began.

"Well, when I ran the simulation it-"

"Wait," The Boss interrupted, "don't say 'I'."

"Okay... I, umm, aah, don't understand what you mean."

I started to panic. The meeting felt like a witch hunt or something where someone ended up tarred and feathered at the end. Come back tomorrow to see how things turned out.


  1. I've never heard this story before! I can't wait to see what happened. I hope you stuck it to him. :)

  2. You should listen to the this weeks episode of this American Life.

  3. Duble,

    Oh yeah, that maintenance supervisor in New Jersey. I didn't make the connection when I wrote this post, but you're correlation is too true.

  4. This sure is a wonderful blog.


  5. Way to keep us in suspense! Nicely written Shane. Oh yeah you might want to come see what I did on my blog today... It's about you of course. Just trying to help a brother out. :)

  6. I think The Boss's brother is my boss, except he's an accountant. I feel for you.


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