In case you haven’t checked your calendar, next Thursday is National Sarcastic Columnist Writers of America Appreciation Day.
Forward flowers, candy, large cash donations and cases of imported wine to me, in care of this newspaper.
Wait … sorry folks … I looked at my calendar wrong. Next Thursday is actually National Boss Day. That changes plans for this column. Cancel the flowers and take out the sympathy cards. Besides, my editor, David Stevens, doesn’t let us accept any freebies, and with good reason.
So, in case you haven’t looked at your calendar beyond this week, next Thursday is, in fact, National Boss Day. As we working peons excitedly look forward to National Boss Day (please ignore the grumps in the background), I dedicate this column to all the bosses, jefes, patrones, CEOs, managers, administrators, commanders-in-chief, executive directors, company presidents, head honchos, bigwigs, big cheeses, top dogs, fearless leaders — or whatever you chose to call your supervisors. Other terms may not be fit to publish.
This is a great opportunity for me to thank all my former bosses who have fired me or threatened to, but didn’t.
My first thanks goes to the former owner of a fast food drive-in. Thank you for cutting short my career in curbside fast food service. I was fired — I mean, conveniently written off the schedule — because I was too slow. I blame it on the hamburger buns. They were too high for short little me to reach. This same boss, however, did not fire my sister, Becky, when her foot landed in a drum of chocolate ice cream.
I worked at three different newspapers in just my first year out of college, but that’s a whole story in itself. At my third newspaper, which happened to be this very publication, The Portales News-Tribune, where I worked from 1990 to 1993, I wrote my first newspaper column. It was about my family’s wacky Thanksgiving rituals which almost made me wind up as the basted turkey on the table.
Anyway, Scot (with only one ‘t’) Stinnett, who’s now publishing his own newspapers and selling boots, was a great editor. He showed me how to dummy news pages while also developing film in the darkroom. He showed me the safest place to stand while photographing a basketball game, which I don’t remember. And Scot showed me how to deal with the grumpy lady with the flower hat. All skills which I have never had to use again, but thanks anyway, Scot.
One of my favorite jefes was Manny Marquez, former sportswriter-turned-editor of the Hobbs Daily News-Sun. I was low on cash when I began work at the Hobbs newspaper, so Manny wrote me a personal check and I paid him back when I got my first paycheck, only for the check to bounce. Imagine my embarrassment. But Manny patted me on the back and said to pay him back when I could, and I did. But that’s not why Manny was my favorite boss. He also shared my love for Tejano music and patiently helped me become a better writer.
Finally, thanks to my current boss, David Stevens, editor for Freedom Newspapers of New Mexico (that’s Portales, Clovis and Tucumcari). Thanks for allowing me to keep working for Freedom part-time, with flexible hours so I can work on an advanced college degree and be home with my daughter after school.
Thanks also, to Portales News-Tribune Managing Editor Mike Linn, who also has to put up with me. And I can’t forget our publisher, Ray Sullivan, who doesn’t have to put up with me nearly as much, but has probably had to handle a complaint, or two, or three, about me from readers.
Now that I’ve thanked my head honchos, don’t you forget to either, on National Boss Day. You only have to kiss up, I mean show your gratitude, once a year. After all, they do sign our paychecks.
Helena Rodriguez is a staff writer for Freedom Newspapers of New Mexico. She can be reached at