One of my bosses and I have a love-hate relationship. I love him — he hates me. Well, maybe he doesn’t hate me. But I apparently annoy the hell out of him. Without even trying. And even when I try to not annoy him. And that’s not good. It’s not good at all.

TAMMY! That’s how he usually starts a sentence when talking to me. It’s so obvious that I irritate him that my friends at work have started making jokes about it. I used to let my feelings get hurt, but not so much any more. I don’t think he does it on purpose. He can’t seem to help it. I just annoy him. Plain and simple.

Except for every once in a while, when I get a glimpse of something else. Something almost like normal behavior toward me. It’s those glimpses that give me hope. It’s one of the reasons I’m still with the company. Well, that and the wonderful friends I have there who give me encouragement. They make the work day fun.

This boss of mine has worked for the company for over twenty years. He is a company man. He knows the ins-and-outs of our business like the back of his hand. And while I don’t always like his methods, he has taught me a lot. I must admit that I wasn’t always the most willing of students.

This is the second time that I have worked for him. I guess I’m just a glutton for punishment.

When I first went to work for the company, I had owned my own businesses and had worked for myself for over ten years. I had been the boss, and liked it that way. I didn’t like rules and didn’t like being told what to do. Not the best combination when working for a man who likes rules and likes to tell people what to do. And so the battle began.

In looking back, although I still don’t agree with him on everything, I can see that I was a very difficult employee. I was cocky. And much too proud. I thought that I always knew best. I was wrong. I’m pretty good at what I do, but I had tons of things to learn. What is it they say about pride before the fall?

After all these years, he has become like family to me. He has a good heart underneath his gruff manner. I admire him for conquering personal challenges in his life that many would not have been able to. And he is good at running the business. He has a lot to teach someone who is willing to learn. He’s not perfect by any means. But then, who is? And who could stand to be around him if he was? Heh.

Being an unflinching optimist helps in my endeavors. I still don’t like rules or being told what to do. But I deal with it in a different way now. And even though I’m sure there have been times he would have liked to kill me, no one has died. That means that things can always get better. Things always do.