Do you work for a bad boss? If so, I have good news.

You may not like your bad boss. You may want to fire your bad boss. You may be looking to replace your bad boss with a good boss. Despite all of this, you can be learning some valuable lessons from that bad boss.

It is not even necessary for that bad boss to be your boss. You can also learn from someone else’s bad boss.

I learned many good lessons from other people’s bad bosses.

When I was 16 years old I learned from my father’s bad boss. My father was a receiving clerk in a warehouse for a large tire manufacturer.

My younger brothers and I wanted him to go somewhere with us after work one day. As usual, he had ridden the bus to work that morning. We called him, told him what we wanted and he said. “Drive the car and come pick me up when I get off from work. I will ask my boss if I can leave a few minutes early.”

When we arrived at the warehouse about 30 minutes before the end of the workday, I heard my father ask his boss, “I have finished my work, my boys are here to pick me up, may I leave a few minutes early?”

The boss’ surly reply was, “I don’t care if you finished early, you’ll leave when I tell you to, and that is not one minute early.”

We all stood there and waited for the workday to end so Daddy could clock out.

When we got in the car and left, we all discussed the incident in detail. It was obvious to us boys that the boss wanted us to know that he was in charge and that he intended to make Daddy look inferior in our presence.

We were distressed that our father tolerated such an abusive boss. Even though we realized that Daddy had very little formal education, we didn’t think he should have to put up with that boss. One of my brothers said he should have given the boss a bloody nose.

After hearing our opinions, he said, “Boys we have to learn to accept people as they are; we may not like the way they behave, but we can’t change them. Besides that, a man needs a job.”

I learned two valuable lessons that day.

First. I resolved; if I ever find myself in authority over anyone else, I will not treat him or her the way that bad boss treated my father.

Second. That abusive boss may have intended to portray my father as spineless and unmanly, but he failed. What my brothers and I saw was a strong man who cared so much for his family that he could, without showing resentment, tolerate that bad boss without yielding his pride and confidence. Never before had it been so clear how much my father loved me. I wanted to be more like Daddy.

To me personally, the second lesson was priceless. However, that takes nothing away from the importance of the first lesson.

Today, over 60 years later my vivid memory of that afternoon is still guiding my thinking and behavior.

Learn From Bad Bosses

You can learn from bad bosses, even someone else’s bad boss. Bad bosses provide valuable life-lessons you will always remember.

– Jimmy Collins

Want to find out more? My new book, Jimmy’s Stories is now available on Amazon:

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