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How She Excused Herself From the Boss From Hell

July 09, 2006

I enjoyed Liza Monroy's essay "Don't Leave Your Desk, Unless It's for Good" (The Rules of Hollywood, June 18). I worked for someone similar to her boss at a boutique talent agency. I had worked there for six years when the agency hired a man who would be my boss in business affairs. He immediately asked me to write down what responsibilities I was given for the drafting of an employee handbook, which turned out to be just a ruse. There would be no employee handbook.

After he read what my responsibilities were, he advised me of the following: I was no longer going to be doing any work for the agents, their assistants or the owners without his express permission. I was not to go to the file room, the mailroom, the bathroom, to lunch or leave for the day without his express permission. If I was away from my desk for two minutes, he would summon me to his office and demand to know where I was.

This happened once when I was sick and throwing up in the bathroom. A page went out over the loudspeaker that my boss was looking for me. When I went to his office, he wanted to know why I was taking so long in the bathroom. When I told him, he responded with, "That's no excuse. You have to ask permission next time."

I told him this was not the military, and I refused to ask permission to do my job, go to the bathroom or leave for the night, etc. Shortly thereafter, I was fired.

Elizabeth Brown

Los Angeles

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