Joe Choi's Stories and Advice on Writing, Health, and Living a Happier Life

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The Best Boss I Ever Had Was a Criminal

“I just got canned. Can you get me a job there?” Steve called me up and asked one time.

“Ummm…what happened at the old one?” I asked.

I was reluctant to help Steve so I was using delay tactics. I just started my new job and didn’t want to make a bad impression.

I knew Steve liked to smoke weed on the job. And, he missed work one day because the cops pulled him over and booked him overnight. He took a personal day that day and nobody at work every found out. I never found out what he did exactly.

Another time, he was wearing a hoodie and jumped over the turnstile gate in lobby because he forgot his swipe card. The building had to go on alert for a suspicious man in a hoodie who entered unauthorized.

But now, Steve needed help. He said, “Something I did a few years ago came up. Can you believe it? All this time passes, and now they finally say something.” 

“Well, what was it?” I asked.

“Eh, no big deal,” he said, “but you think you can help me out?”

“I gotta run to a meeting now,” I said and hung up the phone.

I searched Google for Steve’s name and a bunch of results came back for a crime he did. It made national news headlines and his name was even on a Wikipedia page for this particular category of crime.

I couldn’t believe this guy was my boss at my old job. Well, technically, he was never my boss because I left before all the duties were officially handed over to him. But he was still vetted and hired as a manager for my team.

In college, I always thought “manager” was an impressive title. But when I got to the real world I learned it was a bullshit title that usually wasn’t based on merit or competence. Steve getting hired as manager confirmed my beliefs.

Steve kept calling and texting me asking about jobs for the next few weeks. I ignored his calls. I felt bad because Steve was generally a nice guy aside from his occasional delinquent behavior. He once gave me a living room lamp when I moved to my new apartment because I didn’t have one.

We used to get bagels and coffee every morning. He introduced me to everything bagels toasted with lox spread. He was great at striking up conversation with the cashier and other workers. They all laughed at his jokes when he was waiting in line.

He was also forgiving. Once, the guy making my breakfast sandwich screwed up my order. I was pissed and told Steve about it. He said, “He’s tired just like you and me. Give him a break. He’ll get it right next time.”

Another time, I finished all my daily tasks. I wanted to be productive so I started looking for other things to do. Steve said to me, “Fuck that! Enjoy times like these. You don’t get them often. Go get some coffee and go for a walk.”

He was right. You don’t get down time a lot so it’s best to enjoy it.

In a way, Steve was the best boss I never had.

I just hope he’s doing okay now.

Going to get diesel for the pickup truck

Vivek took off his pants and threw them in the corner of the room and took a seat next to us. We didn’t even have to tell him what was going on. He looked in the center of the room and saw Faye, a girl from our dorm standing there. She was dressed in redContinue Reading

Obese People at McDonald’s, Startups, and Incest

If you go to McDonald’s at lunch hour, you’ll find obese people who need nutrition counseling and personal training. But trying to sell them these services is a waste of time. Why? They’re obese precisely because they don’t care for nutrition and fitness. One day they might have a scare or some other event mightContinue Reading