The Ark

Whatever floats your boat...

Aside from quitting, there isn't much you can do to fight back against a bad boss. But sometimes the devil slips on a banana peel, and when such karma happens, why not enjoy it?

Fifteen years ago I was employed by a tyrant in a little hellhole custom photo lab. The owner, Greg, was a (self-described) commercial photographer whose lab printed his own work in addition to taking outside orders. Greg was slow thinking, petty, racist, and mean. He cheated his clients and his employees. His photography was shockingly bad and overpriced, and I was always puzzled that he had repeat clients.

One day, Greg was shooting cargo containers in his studio. He asked me to come into his studio to pose my hands gripping and unlocking the crates. I said, "Greg, Rod [a co-worker] has much nicer hands than I do. It would be better if you used him." Greg explained that he wanted to show that the products were so "easy" to lift and use, that even women could handle them.

I suggested that in that case, he should contact a modeling agency and ask for a professional hand model. That way, he would get a woman with young, lovely, "feminine" hands. "Wow!" he said, "I never thought of using a modeling agency before. That's a great idea." (Yes, as I said, the man claimed to be a professional.)

A modeling agency sent a woman over within an hour. I'm sure that Greg shopped around by phone, getting the lowest rate from the cheapest modeling agency in town. The following day, I developed Greg's film from the shoot and proofed it.

I suppose the woman thought of herself as a hand model with the same lack of self-reflection with which Greg thought of himself as a professional commercial photographer. Her hands were stocky and hard with stubby, calloused fingers. Worst of all, she had ridiculously long nails that were clubbed, a phenomenon that happens when a brain suffers a long period of slow oxygen deprivation.

The images Greg shot were jarring. The hands diverted the eyes from seeing anything except the scary claws. No one in their right mind would use such images as an advertisement for their product.

Two days later, Greg was setting up the containers for another shoot. "They're ordering more?" I asked. "Not exactly," Greg said. "They want it done over, this time without hands. They decided that the containers shouldn't have any visual distractions.

"But hey, that was a great idea you had about calling a modeling agency," he said. "I'm going to remember to do that more in the future."

"Don't worry, Greg," I said. "I'll be sure to remind you."

Of course, you can never know where the devil will misplace a step. That's why it's good to be prepared with a supply of banana peels.

Views: 19

Comment by photo2010 on August 6, 2009 at 3:38am
During my career as a professional photographer, one boss in particular treated me very badly. After I became seriously ill from the toxic air in the basement i worked in, (which he knew was contaminated), he treated me even worse. When I called in sick once, he sent two of my co-workers to my house to see if I was faking. Then an awful thing happened, his two sons died within a few years of each other. One of cancer, the other from a heart attack. However he did not become sympathetic to my health problems, even after that. He just didn't get it..
Comment by Pypermarru1 on August 6, 2009 at 10:42am
LOL. Great Story NJ. Sounds like your boss was a real jackball. ridiculously long nails This just slays me...what is the deal with women and long ass nails. To my mind it would be a handicap to daily functions....aparently that handicap extends to the hand-model as well. :0)

Love it when you blog.
Comment by NatureJunkie on August 6, 2009 at 10:13pm
@ nobodyschild: Karma, poetic justice, what-goes-around, it's all deeply satisfying!

@ Christine: I adore my current boss too. My co-workers and I make a point all the time of telling him how much we appreciate him.

@ Photo: Some people never get it. That's when it's best not to wait for karma to make an appearance and just quit 'em.

@ Pyper
: Yeah, I really don't get the long, long, long nails. Might as well wear handcuffs.
Comment by Jim on August 7, 2009 at 5:22am
Robin, I'm surprised your boss didn't reprimand you for your hand-model idea after it didn't work out for him.

Kevin, I always wondered why your username was photo. Now I know.
Comment by NatureJunkie on August 7, 2009 at 1:41pm
@ Jim: I mentioned he was slow-thinking. He didn't connect the idea with the results. In fact, I don't believe he even understood why the work was rejected by the client. He was totally clueless about most things, but too mean-spirited to elicit any sympathy for his stupidity.

@ SisterNan: Ain't it the truth? The Peter Principle explains why so many incompetent people end up being managers or supervisors.

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