“THIS is what I expected when I joined this program,” I told my copilot fervently, wistfully. “Just… Good people driving around a good place doing good work with other good people. No bureaucratic bullshit, no controlling boss, no menial tasks, just… this. Right here. This is all I wanted to do.”
She made an affirming noise in response. We were driving along a winding desert road, headed to a campsite where we would finish our work for the day. I was playing The Rolling Stones, my teammates were in the back talking or being silly, and I felt so content I was glowing with it. My boss had been gone the last four days: a great working Friday, a relaxing weekend, and then Monday as a bonus. It was such a RELIEF not to always be watching what I was saying or how I was driving or being worried about the way her behavior was affecting my teammates…
It’s not that my boss is a bad person, not in the slightest. But I think, at some point, she forgot that she is, in fact, just our boss. Not our life coach or moral compass- just our boss with a lot of paperwork. Her controlling behavior, the way she negates other people’s feelings and actions, and her sporadic, hypocritical standpoint on some of the rules of AmeriCorps NCCC just twists me up in ways that it normally wouldn’t, except that I have to be with her 24/7. The fact that she never listens when I bring some of these things up to her only makes it worse, and makes me feel powerless.
It’s amazing how good everyone feels after four peaceful days of her absence. One of my teammates remarked, “It just goes to show how much she influences us with these seemingly little things.” I’ve told my teammates before that they’re what’s keeping me here, keeping me sane. It’s never been truer than now. We are all bursting at the seams with amazing potential, potential that we hide so our boss can’t drag it out of us and then utilize it, leaving us barren. It sucks how much we feel we can’t be ourselves and can’t voice our opinions, just because we fear our boss’s self-righteous wrath or snippy opinions.
Friday and Monday were full of good music, laughter, hard work, and a feeling of peace and camaraderie at the end of the day. It sucks how seldom I find that here… Especially since it’s exactly what I came here to find in the first place.
Here’s the truth: I thought AmeriCorps NCCC would help fuel my burning passion. Instead, it’s smothering it.