declassified: ernest's piano

When the job offer came from Microsoft, I was already a two-year contract writer there. The offer came from Ernest, with whom I had previously worked. I huddled in my office with Katrina. "It's a good offer," I told her. "But I neither like nor trust Ernest." Despite my misgivings, I took the job. Unbeknownst to me, John's First Law was born that day.

Never willingly associate with people of poor character.

I got what I deserved two years later, when he wrecked my team tried to wreck my career. I have carefully hand-picked every boss I've had in the years since. I suppose I could write about his meandering trail of slime, but really, in corporate America he's pretty unremarkable. Grandiose, petulant, lying. Worried about everything—except the customer or making the stock go up. You know him.

What is worth sharing, though, is that Ernest was what every woman and minority fears white male managers secretly are. For a time I "enjoyed" the status of being his good ol' boy; thus I similarly got to "enjoy" his racist, sexist, and (most especially) crude remarks.

He would lasciviously comment on the breasts of the woman he did not know I was dating. Yep. That was a laugh riot. When I would go on vacation, I would return to find that he'd hired some utterly talentless, unqualified young cupcakes and assigned them to my team. He encouraged me to play "hide the puppy" with Rochelle and graphically imagined her mouth...ugh. I can't finish that sentence. Lita, he wanted for himself, bent over his piano. She was dating my buddy at the time, but that wasn't even a speed-bump to Ernest's sleaze.

"Ugh. This is not cool," I snapped, walking out of his office.

He flashed his sleazy, snaggletoothed grin and doubtless planning to break up my team. Because as he would tell his boss, I'm not management material.