A Critic's Meta-Review: 4/5
If you happen to be a human being who has found a little alcove for yourself within the modern-day occupational landscape, odds are you have had at least one boss that made you wonder whether your mother was correct in her assurance that most people are fundamentally decent. While I, thankfully, have been lucky enough to work for some fairly nice folks over the years, I have certainly come across a few managers here and there that take the role they have been assigned and drape it around their ego, wearing it like some sort of merit badge, riding around the office on their proverbial bicycles in order to serve citations (in the form of stern looks and harsh words) to anyone who is not conforming, to a T, to their rigid instructions.
My previous role, prior to becoming the twenty-first century’s literary answer to Pauline Kael, was a teacher at a homeschooling program for a seven-year-old boy on the autism spectrum. It was one of the most rewarding experiences I have ever had professionally, at least in terms of what it did for my soul. However, the lady who was running the program (not the boy’s mother, who was the sweetest - God bless her) was, for lack of a better word, a real...Nah. Mama wouldn’t approve. But she literally would spend the first fifteen minutes of each session verbally berating me for something that was almost always inane; one particularly egregious earful came as a result of me using the word “jacket” instead of “coat” to describe a picture, which was apparently going to set the boy back years in his development.
I did not realize the gravity of such an error until I was made to feel really bad about it for a sizable chunk of time.
That being said, with all the horror stories I have heard about bosses, none come close to the one Bram Stoker tells about his boss, Sir Henry Irving, in Dracula. While it is obviously a tad hyperbolic (I am pretty sure that Mr. Irving did not actually suck blood from the necks of young women), it is still a brilliant expose on a man that, despite allowing Stoker to advance in his career significantly, put him through quite the ringer and made him question, more than a few times, whether or not this was indeed the right line of work for him.
If you don’t have at least one boss in your life that does that to you, you probably won’t do anything great. It’s just a notch you really need to have on your belt in order to have that hunger.