Celebrating Our Bad Bosses
By Bailey Robbins, Creative Coordinator
When we say we’re celebrating 25 years of business, we’re also celebrating the number of years before business. That’s right. We’re grateful for every experience. Every odd job and quirky, terrible boss. Because without that time for trial and error, it’s hard to say whether Stewart Transportation Solutions would be the company it is today.
“He would yell at you,” President Karen Robbins says about a boss she had after college. “He had a ficus tree that I could not keep alive. He swore I was killing it. He would berate me. He’d take me into his office for 30 minutes and talk to me about the purpose of the ficus tree. He’d ask me why was I killing it until I was in tears. I was in tears all the time.”
She smiles at the memory of it, but wasn’t laughable then. It wasn’t funny at all. But that never got in the way. A few tears couldn’t blur her vision to do something greater.
“I could have wallowed in a lot of that stuff, but if I were going to make life better, I couldn’t have stopped,” she says. “I have something in me that just keeps going. I don’t know what it is. I would rather fight a little harder, work a little harder than to give up.”
Instead of giving up or giving in, she found better solutions to bad problems and smiled through the mean. And now, she has a lot to show for it.
“Some great things came of it,” she says about working for difficult employers. “[Eddie and I] learned how to not run a business, how to not treat clients, how you don’t treat employees. We learned a lot, but we went through a lot.”
This time in-between easily helped lay down the foundation for STS and especially inspired the company’s policy that “nice matters.” From each experience, Eddie and Karen noted the impact of treating employees and clients with a heart and were sure to create an environment based on that principle.
“You never know who you’re going to meet at any given time and what’s going to help you along the way,” Karen says. “Never, ever trample on people on your way up. I’ve seen a lot of people do that. I’ve taught everybody in this company, no matter your station in life, everyone is important. You treat the bus driver exactly like you treat the client, exactly like you treat the attendee, exactly like you treat the CEO of Microsoft. We have drivers and companies that will refuse other work just to be on our team’s shuttle because of how we treat them, and I’m really proud of that. Nice matters more than anything else.”
What kind of lessons have you learned along the way? Share your stories with us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. We’d love to hear from you.