I punched my boss in the face

I punched my boss in the face

A delivery driver's account of, well, punching his boss in the face after being threatened with a pay cut. Which strangely enough got his boss to reverse the cut!

“You just punch the clock / Too scared to punch your boss!” - Dead Kennedys

I punched my boss in the face. He told me he was going to lower my pay. I invited him to suck my dick and walked out. He followed me into the street and got in my face demanding to know why I was leaving. I told him that he was far too much of an asshole to be tolerated for any less than I was already being paid. Short of anything else to say, he offered to fight me. So, to quote Muhammed Ali, “We got it on, because we did not get along."

We threw down right on the Bushwick sidewalk as dudes cheered us on in Spanish. I found out afterward that he didn’t expect me to actually fight him; he was just talking shit. But I got right in there and roughed him up pretty good. I grabbed him by the hair with one hand and blasted him over and over in the mouth with the other. A big chunk of his hair came out in my hand. But he toughed it out and only called a truce after his left eye swelled shut.

By then I’d had enough and I accepted. I told him “Nice working with you!” and tried to walk away. But he called me back. He had experienced a mysterious change of heart and he would let me stay on for the original pay rate. I had collectively bargained like a true Boston asshole.

I should have been suspicious of this guy to begin with when he spent half my interview trashing all his other employees for being lazy and incompetent. But I’ve come to expect that everywhere I work. Bosses and their workers have opposing interests, the bosses know it well, and workers need a serious case of Stockholm Syndrome not to recognise it. Anyway, I’ve worked for plenty of major dicks over the years and none of them paid as well as this guy, so he had that going for him. Most of all, being unemployed sucks. So we shook on it, and I was welcomed aboard.

On my first day a co-worker gave it to me straight. The owners make delivery schedules that are impossible to meet and blame the workers when things don’t go smoothly, hurling paranoid accusations around when the real culprit is everyday NYC traffic. The workers put up with it because the pay was good, but they hated the bosses, and it was mutual. I got a taste of this right away. The dispatcher accused me of not knowing how to drive a truck and of conspiring with the other drivers to lie about how long the deliveries took. And it only got worse after that. Before long I was being told that I had lied about my experience and my pay would have to go down. The rest is history.

At first the feeling was euphoric. After years of taking shit from a bunch of losers because they were my bosses, I thought I had no other choice. This time I felt like I had finally stood up for myself in a meaningful way. But even before my knuckles healed up I began to think otherwise.

The late 20th Century saw one defeat after another for organised labour in the United States. Ronald Reagan’s firing of the striking air-traffic controllers in 1981 was only the most public example of a vigorous anti-union backlash that continues to the present day. The result has been a devaluing of labour in many skilled trades, the loss of benefits and full-time positions throughout many sectors, and a diminished standard of living for the American working class. And it’s tough to reverse this trend, as anti-union legislation makes it difficult to organise, and the unions we already have are constantly under attack.

Most workers are now profoundly alone. They’re deprived of job security, isolated from their co-workers, and stretched so thin by juggling multiple jobs and taking care of loved ones that there’s no time for anything else, even if they decide that organising is worth the risk of being fired. A friend of mine got a job at Wal-Mart, and the first thing they told him in orientation was that unions were necessary 100 years ago, but nowadays the manager’s door is open to grievances, and that’s how they should get things settled.

Isn’t that exactly what I did?

So no matter how amazing it felt when I punched my boss in the face, I just embodied the profound impotence of the 21st Century worker. Instead of cooperating with my co-workers to form a union capable of fighting for our common interests, getting higher pay, slowing down work, and going on strike if we don’t get what we want, I stood as one.

The fact that I got what I wanted is irrelevant; This won’t work 99.99 percent of times it’s tried, never mind the million reasons why workers would be unable or unwilling to blast their boss like they were Mark Wahlberg on the Red Line. I’m not a Christian; I don’t renounce violence for moral or tactical reasons; and I don’t have an ethical objection to what I did. But punching your boss is no alternative to fighting back for real, and that can only be done together.

@jarrodshanahan
From Vice magazine

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Posted By

Steven.
Jan 7 2013 20:28

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  • No matter how amazing it felt when I punched my boss in the face, I embodied the profound impotence of the 21st Century worker. Instead of cooperating with my co-workers… fighting for our common interests, getting higher pay and going on strike if we don’t get what we want, I stood as one.

    Jarrod Shanahan

Attached files

Comments

mateo smith
Mar 30 2014 23:04

Bosses are generally low paid egocentric assholes being used by the real bosses, who also are ego centric assholes but make a lot of money because they write the checks. These are the real assholes to get.

Chilli Sauce
May 10 2014 10:01

If anyone comes across this who's teacher (TEFL in particular), there now exists a lesson plan around this article. PM me if you're interested.

Steven.
May 10 2014 11:38
Chilli Sauce wrote:
If anyone comes across this who's teacher (TEFL in particular), there now exists a lesson plan around this article. PM me if you're interested.

that sounds great! You could even tweet the author about that, they might be pleased to know…

Chilli Sauce
May 10 2014 15:22

No tweetin' for me I'm afraid, Steven.

But if you wanted to, or even if you had their email address (PM me), that'd be awesome!

jef costello
May 10 2014 19:41
Chilli Sauce wrote:
If anyone comes across this who's teacher (TEFL in particular), there now exists a lesson plan around this article. PM me if you're interested.

I'm interested in the lesson plan, but this comment is painful.

Chilli Sauce
May 11 2014 00:10

Grammatically or otherwise? Probably grammatically.

Emailing you right now in any case, Jef....

jef costello
May 11 2014 07:40
Chilli Sauce wrote:
Grammatically or otherwise? Probably grammatically.

Emailing you right now in any case, Jef....

A little bit of grammar. I'm marking exam papers so I'm even more pedantic than usual smile

Silas Fennec
May 12 2014 00:45
Chilli Sauce wrote:
If anyone comes across this who's teacher (TEFL in particular), there now exists a lesson plan around this article. PM me if you're interested.

Edit: PM sent. Thanks, Steven! smile

Steven.
May 11 2014 22:31

(You not being able to send PM's is due to us tightening up our anti-spam measures, which mean we have to manually approve people to be able to post content and private messages. You have now been approved)

Chilli Sauce
May 28 2014 09:21
Chilli Sauce wrote:
If anyone comes across this who's teacher (TEFL in particular), there now exists a lesson plan around this article. PM me if you're interested.

Now available on libcom!

http://libcom.org/blog/i-punched-my-boss-face-tefl-lesson-28052014

jef costello
Mar 1 2016 19:11

Looks like this guy got arrested during black lives matter protests a year ago, not sure what has happened about it. There was a fundraising page for bail money but it didn't raise anything.

http://bullettmedia.com/article/exclusive-alleged-nypd-cop-fighter-jarro...

http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/nyc-crime/protester-charged-assault-...

http://theconservativetreehouse.com/2015/01/02/vice-news-reporter-jarrod...

https://fundrazr.com/campaigns/0vGa3

He doesn't seem to be in jail based on his blog, so I'm assuming the case was dropped. He doesn't mention the case at all.

http://jarrodtheblog.blogspot.fr/p/home-page.html?view=timeslide

the bail was 20k cash or 25k bond, I'm guessing the bondsman made some cash out of him before the case was dropped.

Steven.
Mar 1 2016 22:35

Yeah, I remember the fundraising for his defence. I hope he's okay

klas batalo
Mar 2 2016 01:06

he's aight enough

Noah Fence
Mar 2 2016 05:49
flaneur wrote:
It's more I'm not silly enough to believe whatever I or anyone else says is going to change your mind.

Hahaha! Wrong! I win!!!

spacegrrl
Feb 16 2017 22:37
Quote:
'The owners make delivery schedules that are impossible to meet and blame the workers when things don’t go smoothly, hurling paranoid accusations around when the real culprit is everyday NYC traffic.'

Similar to how they laid off employees at my previous work. Wait until holidays come around - as two of their stores are on uni campuses and don't run during the holidays. Tell you that shifts are getting cut due to the amount of work available and the amount of employees, stop giving you shifts, make it impossible for you to get any shifts, then fire you for not taking any of the shifts.