Boss or slave?

Sometimes I worry about being a success in a mediocre world. ~Lily Tomlin

I feel bad right now. Just minutes ago, I called for a short meeting with our editorial assistant and graphics artist regarding the backlog in our August issue. I was told by the editor-in-chief to sit down with them and relay her disappointment.

Since I am new in the job, I felt like an infant educating my older siblings on proper decorum. It was tough, I tell you. There were times when I had to plant my hands firmly on the table I was sitting on for they were shaking uncontrollably from sheer nervousness.

I looked at their eyes and saw a misty reflection of myself back in high school. I was then the leader of our class’s group speech rehearsal. There were a few unruly classmates who needed some discipline so I rounded them up and gave them a verbal beating.  Within minutes, I saw their faces turn red, their eyes brimming with tears. Some of them had the tenacity to speak up and challenge me but I remained calm and reiterated my concerns. I was back in that moment and I felt shame.

Everything is new in my new job. It doesn’t help too that I’m in a position of relative power. On one end, I want to gain friends, on the other I want to gain respect and my editorial team’s confidence.

Should I turn the other way if I see my staff being lax and nonchalant about deadlines? Should I spoon feed them pleasantries and pat their backs from time to time, never mind if they’re growing horns and tails from behind? Or should I remain firm, step up to the plate and be decisive for once.

It’s hard being the boss (or mini-boss), partly because I feel more like the slave.

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