The Beard

In 1996 when I was re-hired here at Bill and Dave’s company, I had solid inside information from a number of employees. I kept in contact with a few people during the two years after I quit to go work at the Optical Coating Lab, and later at TDS. Thanks to them I got the inside scoop on a few job openings, and I also got the lowdown on which supervisors were total losers so I could avoid working for them. That was a huge help. I was warned specifically about Miss Malta, and The Beard numerous times.

There is a good old boy club of managers lingering around inside some product divisions here. The Beard is one of those managers in the club. He’s been here for twenty plus years consistently making poor business decisions. He’s reached legendary status for treating almost everyone who works for him like pieces of shit. The Beard is rude, condescending, manipulative, arrogant, petty, vindictive, and most importantly, completely incompetent. He has nothing to fear from his superiors though. Nobody ever calls him on his behavior or holds him responsible for his actions. The Beard seems invincible and he knows this so he has no problem sleeping on the job whenever it suits him.

You can’t miss The Beard around here. No matter where he’s assigned in the company The Beard sets up his cubicle with a small table covered in a red and white checkered cloth and on top of that he places a silver candelabra. I have no idea what the significance of that crap is to him, but passing by in the hallway I’ve noticed it many times. It strikes me as pure arrogance as well as being really weird.

Imagine yourself working for a boss who doesn’t even have the common courtesy to seek you out and call you by name. Walking into the area wanting to speak to you he will simply shout “YOU!” and hold out his arm with a finger pointed at your face. As soon as you see this, he aggressively curls his finger like an inch worm on a hot plate and quickly heads for his cubicle. You have no choice but to follow him there. The Beard enjoys berating and humiliating the people who work for him at every opportunity. Picture this person as a short, fat, little man with a scraggly unkept salt and pepper colored beard that wears his shirt collar unbuttoned so everyone can see his tacky gold chain necklace. Think of him as a 1970s style reject that comes complete with aviator sunglasses. He looks much like Kris Kristofferson did in the supremely shitty 1978 film, “Convoy.”

Many of us have noticed that when The Beard is cruising through production lines, items mysteriously disappear without a trace. We have numerous theories about this unusual phenomenon. Boomer thinks there is another arm hidden inside that scraggly pelt of chin fibers and when no one is looking it shoots out lightning fast like the inner jaws of the Alien to steal torque wrenches and other tools. Dave thinks it’s a bunch of mice living inside his beard. I think the jerk is nothing more than a kleptomaniac.

The Beard uses many of Bill and Dave’s management tools for helping employees to grow in their careers in the exact opposite fashion. Instead of empowering people to make decisions about their future career path, he places obstacle after obstacle in front of them. He tries to keep people mired in his department so they are unable to transition into more challenging (and rewarding) work. It takes a good amount of skill to hop over his blockades, or figure out how to sidestep him all the time. One of the tools he uses to keep employees under his thumb is what we refer to as a “Development Plan.” Annually each supervisor is required to sit down with his employees one on one and go over a plan for their future. Where does the employee hope to be with his or her work in six months to a year from now? And how can the manager help facilitate this? That’s what it’s about. The Beard uses these plans in such a way that no one can achieve their goals. He doesn’t support his employees or give them the necessary resources. When those goals are inevitably not met, he sees this as failure and he frequently holds this against the individual. He will even go so far as to demote people for this. It’s a ridiculous no-win situation.

So nobody wants to work for the asshole.

Employees generally begin to jump ship as soon as The Beard is assigned to a new area. Lateral job moves from product line to product line are frowned upon by management but not totally impossible to rig up. Mostly what happens when The Beard takes over a line is everyone who can find a promotion elsewhere in the company takes it because as a rule your immediate supervisor cannot stop you from accepting a better job. He has to let you go whether he’s happy about it or not. Sometimes The Beard likes to boast to groups of employees that thanks to him many of his people move up in the company which is comical. It’s true, but what he’s too stupid to realize is his people were promoted because they were trying to get the fuck away from him. Over the years I have never heard one single positive thing from anyone’s mouth about The Beard. Many of my friends at work have been stuck with that guy and have nothing but horror stories to tell. I’ve never worked for The Beard and I can honestly say I hate the man.


~ by factorypeasant on February 20, 2006.

5 Responses to “The Beard”

  1. You must be talking about the person who would walk down the hall and ignore you even if you said Hi to him? Reminds me of a beer mug?

  2. I was gonna type a comment, but it started turning into a missif.
    We all know how much I loved The Beard.

  3. TC- you are correct.

    Paul- there are plenty of people out there who do not know how much you love The Beard. feel free to enlighten them…

  4. OOOHHHH boy “The beard” what a winner I have worked for many idgits in my day and people I just could not stand, but this guy takes the cake. Let me amplify some about the development plan you touched on.

    When I first started working for the beard he broke out with this development plan thing, I didn’t give it much thought just a supervisor doing his job besides it looked somewhat promising. When I first looked at it I didn’t understand what exactly it was asking me, “Don’t worry” beard tells me ” we will be meeting once a week to discuss it until you get it filled out properly.” Ok whatever so I fill it out take it to the beard the following week and he takes a red pen to it (like a school teacher does when its wrong) and tells me this will never do and he gives me ideas on how to fix it. Well this goes on back and forth for several weeks until I finally get it to his satisfaction. “Now you just have to make progress on it to fulfill your goals” beard tells me. By this time I had made my decision to get out of there so I just file the work and forget it.

    Several months later as the beard’s line grows it becomes apparent he needs more techs so he gets some from the other lines in the department one of which was Dave. When Dave got there I had already given him the low down on the beard and he took note. One day I saw Dave walking around in the production area with a very familiar paper in his hand, it was a development plan. Well first I laughed then he gave me the finger and told me he didn’t know what to write. So I go to my old locker bust on my old plan give it to him and tell him just to copy it the beard said it was a good one and I don’t need it anymore. So he does, but the next week I noticed he was a little disappointed and he shows me his development plan, the same one I wrote and the beard approved, and the beard had went to town on it with his little red pen again telling Dave it was no good and he would have to try again.
    Luckily Dave got out of there quickly and didn’t have to worry about it.

  5. Sorry that last topic was me forgot to sign it.


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