Advice / Succeeding at Work / Work Relationships

My Workplace Disaster: Bizarro Boss and the Tale of the Pizza Party

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This essay is the first finalist featured in The Daily Muse’s essay contest, “Surviving a Workplace Disaster.” Want to enter your own Office Horror Story? We're still accepting essays! Get all the details here.

My professional existence comes with such a cornucopia of horror stories that it's hard to know where to begin. Let's just say I'm early in my career and still waiting for the day when my workplace role will evolve beyond being The Girl Who Knows How to Un-Jam the Copier, so most of my stories involve things I've done for my bosses, including but not limited to such tasks as inventorying liquor closets, babysitting children, changing industrial light bulbs, and being sent out in a snowstorm to fetch an apple with peanut butter.

Many of these stories I must unfortunately decline sharing the details of, being bound by such things as non-disclosure agreements and personal relationships I'd like to maintain. Pesky, I know.

Instead, gentle reader, this is the story of Bizarro Boss and the Pizza Party.

"Bizzaro Boss" was the term of endearment I used in conversation with my significant other to reference this particular colleague. You know how sometimes you discuss people enough that your S.O. comes to know their names, but other people just end up being forever known by funny nicknames that stick?

So, Bizarro Boss. Everyone knows that type of person who is incredibly intelligent, but lacking in social skills to such a severe degree that you can only assume he or she was raised by a pack of hillbilly llamas. That was this guy. You can go on Amazon and buy a textbook he authored on his area of expertise, yet once at a meeting he unbuttoned his shirt and rubbed BENGAY on his shoulders. I almost threw up.

So, anyway. He worked remotely but paid occasional visits to my office, where a team he supervised was based. It was during one of these planned visits that he got the idea for the pizza party.

Email #1:

"Sarah, would you mind ordering a pizza lunch for when I'm in the office next Monday? I think it will be a great way to buck up the team."

Sure, yea, pizza. Hooray. (At this point I am sure I replied to his message indicating that it would be no problem.)

A few days later, Email #2:

"Sarah, don't forget about that pizza for when I come to the office."

Wow, OK, I got it dude. I appreciate the guidance, but I'm not terribly concerned over my skillset when it comes to such things as placing a 30-second call to Domino's. My $80,000 education covered such topics thoroughly.

Sent in the middle of the night, on a weekend, Email #3:

"Sarah, just a reminder to order that pizza. Thanks."

This is where things got weird for me, and I'm picturing this guy laying awake at 3 AM lusting over these pizzas. Pictures of pizza slices on the mantle. A pet pizza slice dressed up. Frolicking through a grassy meadow with a slice of pizza at his arm.

Basically, Bizarro Boss was kind of a weird eater. Because I did his expense reports, I knew that he did not actually eat meals, but would instead make hourly stops to Hudson News or Rite Aid, where he would purchase a diet coke and an energy bar of some sort. Once, I did nine months and $50,000 worth of expense reports for this guy, mainly comprised of $5 transactions of this nature. Like I said, horror stories. They abound.

Anyway, enough idle chit chat. Pizza day was here!

The pizzas were set to be delivered at 12:30, and at 12:32, Bizarro Boss is in our lobby pressed up against the wall of windows that look down on the building's driveway below.

"Sarah. I thought you said the pizzas were getting here at 12:30. The, they, the pizzas, they... are not here the pizzas are not here. Where. Are. They!"

"Um, well, with it being 12:32 and all, I would be... inclined... to possibly... give them another few minutes?"

I wish this story had a more climactic ending, but the pizzas did arrive seconds later, and they were duly enjoyed and forgotten. For one individual, though, we will never know the extent to which this day is etched in emotional memory. Here's to you, Bizarro Boss, until we meet again in the great break room pizza party in the sky.


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Photo courtesy of Hajime NAKANO.