One of the two "notorious" bosses that I worked for, this one looked like something out of a Jim Henson movie, with her bugged-out eyes, wobbling head, lanky figure, and mouth that took up two-thirds of her face. She was the very definition of awkward, and never seemed to say the appropriate thing at any time. Regularly insulting the staff and patrons, I can imagine her being genuinely baffled as to why people disliked her. But all this is commonplace: What really made her stand out was that she moved to a new house right before I started working with her, and she was a complete wreck. Every day that I came in, she complained about how cold her new house felt, and said how wonderful her old place was. She would have shaking fits while describing it, which made it rather uncomfortable having to break away from this to help an on-looking patron. She even fell into a long bout of crying in the back, clearly audible from the front desk. I felt bad for her, until she came out and made some snotty, demeaning comment to me. Favorite moment: Though I wasn't there to see it, apparently she came into work one time without a bra on and with her hair wild and uncombed and worked an entire shift that way. This story was confirmed by everyone who worked that day, and I can only imagine the looks of horror that the weekend crowd had when parents brought their kids to the desk to ask for "Clifford" books.
Probably the most hated person I worked with among my friends. A friend said that this woman looked like a piece of candy corn, but her habit of wearing purple outfits made Grimace a much more suitable nickname. In addition to being a petty, mean-spirited cunt, she also made light of the fact that she was constantly cheating on her husband, went to see male strippers with female staff members, tried desperately to be twenty years younger than she was, bragged about getting my closest friend fired, stole people's food from the refrigerator, sexually harassed male staff members (who were obviously too embarrassed of the fact to report it) and invited another employee to go smoke some weed together. She was the most thoroughly repulsive person I've ever worked for, and she still smiles at me and tries to "make nice" every time I go into the library. Favorite moment: One of the sweetest coworkers I've ever known, on her last day of work before going to college, took out Grimace's lunch while Grimace was at the reference desk and spit it in, then mixed it in with her finger. I never knew that a girl this nice would actually do something like that.
The Pound Puppy
This lady looked like one of those old Pound Puppy toys, except that she was in desperate need of some Rogaine, since she has as much hair on her head as I have on my arms. Even though I worked at the same place for seven years, she thought I was an idiot and didn't know how to do anything. During my second year as a page she scolded me for not putting some books in the proper rough-sorting place, even though on that same day I worked mainly with new hires and had trained most of them. Taking my breaks, needing to request days off, and even something as simple as when I wanted to take my lunch were all pain-in-the-ass ordeals with this woman, who always sighed when I asked something as if I were trying to borrow twenty bucks or something. I later discovered why this lady had such an attitude with me: She told my friend that I reminded her of her ex-husband. Favorite moment: A coworker beat me to a promotion and The Pound Puppy bought him a ridiculously oversized congratulation card and threw him a nice going away party at work. On my last day, after over seven years of working with this bitch, a coworker had to make a banner herself and organize a going away potluck without her help. A few weeks later I got a card in the mail from her, almost as an afterthought. Before you ask, yes, I am bitter. Very, very bitter.
The other "notorious" boss I worked for. This lady was a long-legged, gap-toothed, pale-skinned, curly-haired sexy beast of a supervisor, and from the moment I was hired I had an enormous crush on her. She wore cowboy boots and tight skirts, and whenever she'd walk into the work room there'd be a loud clacking noise from the boots. She also had the supremely erotic habit of calling everyone "Mr.," "Miss," or "Mrs." It was widely known how I felt about this woman, and the question I always got was, "why?" The reason for this confusion was that most people hated working for her, since she was the strictest boss I've ever had. She was the one who told me that people from other branches compared the library she worked at to a concentration camp. I had no problem with her strict work ethic, and actually preferred it to the laid-back atmosphere that I've had at other libraries. The best part was that when things were not going to her liking, she would organize little staff meetings to chew us all out, and remind us that we need to stop talking to each other and do our jobs. She would also have little "private meetings" with the work snitches who would complain about other coworkers. These meetings were held in small closets with the door shut. Whenever I saw that door closed, I felt embarrassed for her. Favorite moment: Even though she was going through a divorce and talking to almost everyone on the staff about it, she still told us during a meeting that we had to stop discussing our personal lives with coworkers while on the job.
Honorable Mention: The Rare Male Supervisor
Ever since I started working in libraries, my direct supervisors have always been women. I have had a couple supervisors who were men, but they were usually in charge of other aspects of the library, and were never in charge of my schedule, when I took breaks, or anything else. When I briefly worked for the Orange County system, I never once worked with another man, and the entire workplace just oozed with estrogen. I think I may have had a grand total of four male supervisors, as opposed to the over twenty female supervisors. This will be a tribute to one of them. When I started working at the library, the library manager was an old man who wore a Woody Allen-style cap and looked very frail. He was quiet, hardly spoke to anyone, and I think he only said my name one time while I worked for him. One day some staff members bought him some ice cream to take home, and if I remember correctly, I think his wife made him throw it away because he wasn't allowed to eat it. He retired from the library and died a few months later. His quietness and business-like attitude reminded me of the stereotype of what a librarian should be. Even though we never talked, I felt legitimate sadness when he died, like he was the last remaining relic from a time when libraries were quiet places of information. Now, with the influx of younger staff members and a change in the concept of what a library is, he will always represent for me something that's slowly on the way out. So I tip my hat to his memory.