An open letter to the boss who had it out for me

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Dear boss,

When I interviewed for the position of your personal assistant I was told you were difficult. Yes, I was warned. They said you were very demanding and that you liked things done a certain way. I didn’t let the warnings scare me, though, as I knew what I was capable of and that I was a good personal assistant. I also knew that I needed this job because the hours were perfect for me as a full-time college student and I needed the paycheck to make a living.

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However, dear boss, what I didn’t think was going to happen is your outright disdain for me. You liked making me feel small and stupid, not to mention incompetent and unworthy. In the beginning I took it very personally and found myself crying in the bathroom wondering if I could handle working for you, but after every time where I would allow you to make me feel this way, I wiped my tears and got mad. You know what’s good about getting mad? No self-pity and a new resolve to get thicker skin.

I knew that I was good at my job and that there is a reason you didn’t fire me – you don’t do anything from the kindness of your heart so I knew I was doing something right. I have to thank you, though, as you are the reason I am who I am today, both professionally and personally. I did grow that thicker skin, not to mention the ability to handle difficult individuals who intimidate me to death but never show it. After working for you I learned I was capable of working with and for anyone. Working for you reminded me to be nicer to people and never to assume that everyone is just as happy as they seem and always go about in a respectful and grateful manner – something you never did.

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So thank you for having it out for me, boss! I learned so much from handling you and everything you threw my way. When I told you I was leaving you suddenly looked so panicked and small, the way you made me feel, that I almost felt sorry for you. Almost. My last day remember that toast you gave about what a wonderful assistant I was and how you didn’t know what you would do without me? I was internally laughing at your words since they could not have been sincere, otherwise you would have been more appreciative of me and not taken every chance you had to make me feel like a total failure.

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Alas, I left my position as your assistant with a glowing letter of recommendation and three years of intense work under your tutelage. I hated almost every minute of the work but I learned more in those three years about myself and about business than any other position I’d had. So once again, thank you for your harsh words and belittling behavior, it made me the nice (!), hard working, creative woman I am today.

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