Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Best boss ever

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.


Elsie said...

God bless Bob. I'm sure he thought he was as lucky to have you as you felt to have him.

Anonymous said...

You were lucky to have a guy like that as your first boss. If he had been a jerk and you had a miserable work experience, it would probably have negatively affected your entire life. Plus, from that point on you knew what a boss SHOULD be...

chux said...

good people are hard to come by.....but good bosses are harder to find

Liz Hinds said...

A lovely tribute, Mary. It's reminded me of someone I should mention on my blog.

Gee, I could spend all day blogging.

(Gee?! How did that slip in?)

Anonymous said...

It's nice to hear someone have something really nice to say about their boss.

MaryB said...

I was indeed lucky to know Bob and have him as a boss. I've really only had one terrible, awful boss throughout my work experience, so I guess I'm pretty fortunate. I know there are real terrors out in the world o' work!