My first boss

One of the benefits of working for yourself is, of course, being your own boss. But having a boss isn’t always bad — in fact, I’ve been blessed with some great bosses in my career. My most memorable, however, happens to be my first boss. In fact, Henrietta tops my personal “Most Unforgettable Character” list.

Henrietta (known as Bubbles to her husband Herman, whom she called Barney. I don’t know what’s more priceless: Herman & Henrietta or Barney & Bubbles) was my boss when I was a student worker at Pitt over the summers and part-time during the school year. She was in her mid-60s at the time, and there was nothing she didn’t know how to do or couldn’t find out by making a few phone calls — from unbolting and moving a 30-lb. typewriter to unjamming the Xerox machine to finding out the ZIP code of Little Rock. (Remember these were long before the days when the Internet put all the information that exists at your fingertips. You had to be a detective to get answers.)

She was amazing on the phone, never hesitating a second before saying “I’ll just call and find out” whenever anyone asked anything she didn’t know and taking everything in in her one good ear (the right — you’d always have to remember to talk toward her good ear). All this as she dashed around the office in typical mom-style stretch pants and untypical four-inch Candies.

Read the rest of this entry »