I don't know whether it was my good fortune or bad luck to have the best boss ever very early in my work-life. He was nice as nice can be but could give a wonderfully drawn out Southern "bullshit" when the situation called for it. He knew his stuff and knew when folks weren't pulling their weight.
For those of us eager to soak up any kind of learning and experience, he gave his whole-hearted support for whatever we wanted to do to hone our skills. He had a carved, wooden "name plate" on his desk, which, upon closer inspection, spelled out: "Awquityourbitchin." We eagerly worked double-shifts for this guy, who often added hours to our timecards because he knew we weren't getting paid enough.
His name was Bob Doty, and I found out the other day that he died January 21. He gave me a job at WTCG-TV, Atlanta, Georgia, in October 1975 (before many of you were born). It was the days of Earth Shoes and wide bell-bottom jeans, 2" reel-to-reel video tape, and well before anybody knew who Ted Turner was. This little po-dunk television station cranked out all sorts of weird little things and ran whatever old TV shows and movies we could get our hands on (cheaply). Who knew it would grow into the Turner empire?
Bob put me to work in two departments to test my mettle - the film department (ha! all we did was clean the film and put in yellow leader film to alert master control about where to stick in a commercial) and master control. I worked all shifts and volunteered for any new effort that came along. Bob's attitude was, hell - go for it!
That's when you learn the most - getting your hands dirty, trial-and-error ooh!-let's see if this works!, making (honest) mistakes without getting fired. We learned more about television in a couple of years under Bob Doty than anyone else could learn in 10 years. That's what a great boss does - finds good, enthusiastic, smart people and puts 'em to work. He trusted us. We trusted him.
I've had very good bosses in my various careers, but they all fall just a tad short when compared to Bob. It was a positive, fabulous way to start my life-long journey of work.
Thank you, Bob Doty. May the angels of classic sit-coms and K-Tel/Popeil commercials watch over you. Bet you don't need your "Awquityourbitchin" sign in Heaven.