Who's The Boss?

Adorable Boss


Throughout my working life, I’ve experienced a variety of bosses, and I paid attention. Some of them made me cringe each time they entered the room with their "respect me, I’m your boss’ attitude," which often meant they hadn’t a clue how to treat people, and those who I greatly admired for their skills in leadership and appreciation of their staff. Whichever, due to my gobbiness ambitious nature, I usually ended up in the boss’s office 😲 And I’m glad. I learned so much, which helped me to become the type of leader I wanted to be in my teaching career – obviously the good kind 😊

Now, as an author, I recall the traits of those people who passed through my life to create my characters, as well adding a flavour of my own eccentricities, of course. Do you do the same when developing characters?

Here is a snippet from my book Ultimate Principle, introducing DCI Lane Rivers’ boss. Their relationship is loosely based on the type of relationship I had with one of my bosses many years ago. Enjoy. 

Superintendent Adrian Nelson was a formidable man, and anyone who dared enter his office had to be prepared for anything. Lane took a deep breath before knocking on his door and tugged at the hem of her jacket to eradicate any unwanted folds. He was meticulous about dress and always donned a perfectly laundered suit, silk tie and highly polished shoes, looking and acting more like a politician than the head of the CID department.

‘Come in,’ he called in his deep, raspy voice.

Lane entered with her shoulders back and head held high and firm. She faltered at the mellow smile with which he greeted her, setting off alarm signals. He was sitting behind his desk, which was too small for him, and didn’t rise from his chair as she entered; another bad sign. He usually paid her that courtesy. Even though his reputation within the police services was next to none, working his way up the ranks through sheer hard graft, his “no messing” approach had caused many an inferior officer unnecessary distress. He was ruthless. Lane’s spine tingled.

‘Take a seat,’ he instructed calmly.

‘Thank you, sir.’

Lane sat and watched in anticipation as Nelson ran his large hands through his silver hair. He then edged forward, placed his forearms neatly in front of him, and linked his short fingers. Lane couldn’t help but notice the black, onyx cuff links glistening at his chubby wrists. Without a doubt they were a gift from his wife, who had impeccable taste. The man peered over the top of his frameless glasses, indicative for Lane to begin her brief.

Lane explained the initial factual findings in as much detail available. Nelson relaxed back in his chair, light relief washing over his face as the notion of terrorism was dismissed. She informed him of Howie’s confirmation of the identity of the victim and the evidence suggesting this was a targeted murder. He stood and stepped to the window, adjusting his suit jacket as he did so.

‘Hmm. You seem to have the investigation side of things under control, for now.’ He removed his glasses and chewed on one of the ends. Lane’s stomach churned. Something bad was coming. It was like seeing her father again, just before he told her the news of her mother’s Alzheimer’s. The same stance and removal of the glasses, as if to filter out the vision of the person receiving the news.

Lane’s body primed itself for impact, her core muscles tightened. Nelson’s broad shoulders appeared tense, almost bulging through the seams of his jacket. This was going to be one of his notorious unreasonable assaults. However, she was not prepared for what spewed out his wide mouth. 

He turned to Lane. His eyes narrowed, causing a deep crease across his forehead – one of his Jekyll and Hyde moments. Not for the faint-hearted.

‘A word of warning, Rivers, control your sister-in-law.’ His voice rose as he continued. ‘She causes me and my department a lot of unnecessary criticism. The commissioner interrupted my breakfast this morning. Given her past role in the counter-terrorist unit she’s bound to be more intrigued than ever. The last thing I need is for her to be too involved in my department, breathing down my neck. She’s fully aware of Dr Shakespeare’s scaremongering. She won’t tolerate it. And to be clear, neither will I! And, how the hell did a despicable floozy of a reporter assess my crime scene before you got there? This looks bad on me and makes you look incredibly incompetent. I have worked far too hard to be at the brunt of criticism. Our response time should have been better. I hold you responsible!’

Lane knew better than to try to explain the situation out loud and remained as composed as possible, even though her insides were screaming out in anger. I wasn’t officially on duty! I made it there in eight minutes from hearing the blast and I’d just come from a funeral, you pig-headed idiot! Oh, and I’d done a twelve-hour shift! Breathe. And, the CSIs had pulled an all-nighter to get the information necessary; the night staff had worked their butts off chasing every possible lead and angle. What more do you want? He interrupted her private rant.

‘A press conference will be held at 13:00. You will be responsible for making the statement at this point, and it had better put the commissioner’s mind at rest, get the ball buster off my back.’

‘Yes, sir,’ Lane replied, a hint of disdain seeping into her words.

The superintendent returned to his spot, staring out the window. Her cue to leave. She shoved herself out of the chair. ‘And, Rivers, make sure you clear this damn mess up quick!’

‘Of course, sir.’

Lane closed the door behind her, firmly enough not to be construed as slamming but enough to ensure the almighty Lord Nelson knew he’d pissed her off. 

Comments

  1. LOL - I think I'd quit if I had to deal with a boss like that. No way I could hold back a response.

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    1. Sometimes a response is necessary. I'm sure Lane will give him a piece of her mind in the next novel :) Thank you for popping over. It's always lovely to see you.

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  2. Hi Nicola - oh I'd be running out of the door ... probably about to burst into tears - I'm glad some people can manage their emotions ... great excerpt - sounds like Lane is in control overall though ... well done - cheers Hilary

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    1. Luckily, I grew up with a wonderful woman, my mother, who was a strong and brilliant leader (still is) who taught me how to cope with the less favourable people encounters. I never cried in front of them - that's what they want to make them feel powerful, but many a tear was shed out of sight :) One of my toughest bosses was actually the best boss I've ever had and he was someone I could aspire to, even though some of my colleagues had a different experience of him. Thank you for popping over, Hilary, and thank you for your praise. It's always lovely to hear.

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  3. Nice snippet! If Lane's response reflect your own, it looks like you've learned to hold your tongue in some nasty situations.

    I hope there's not a lot of me in my characters! It would certainly bring out my worst traits. :D

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    1. Thanks, Loni. I can hold my tongue to a certain extent :) It took years of practice though :)

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  4. I like it! It definitely reminds me of experiences I've had, but I think there's a universal human element to it as well that makes it so compelling.

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    1. Thank you, Mark. I hope all is well with you.

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  5. Lots of character there. I enjoyed meeting the boss. Not that I'd want to hang out with this kind of man in real life, but he fits the page well. =)

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    1. I'd love to hang out with the superintendent - just to wind him up LOL!

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  6. He's a nasty piece of work. When i've worked for awful bosses, i've tried to find a better job fast!

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    1. He is a bit unsavoury, isn't he. It's such a pleasure to write the more ... 'challenging' characters :)

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  7. Hi, it's my first time visiting your blog. You story snippet was very interesting, but I do sympathize with the poor young lady. Hopefully, she'll have her day in the sun soon. :)
    Happy weekend everyone.

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    1. Lovely to 'meet' you Deanie. Don't worry about Lane - she's tough cookie :)

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  8. Wow, Nicola. You really nailed the boss:). It's not easy to add depth to characters and make them come to life. Kudos.

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    1. Thank you, Sandra. I hope you are well. Have a lovely weekend.

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  9. You've breathed life into that character for sure! What an unpleasant person he is...
    I had an issue some years ago with a woman at work. She was constantly having dalliances with the men in the company, sometimes two or three at once. I have to say her antics gave me a lot of material, especially as she was the most unlikely type to be having office affairs. I confided to a fellow writer where my ideas were coming from, and he wrote a poem about her, and it went on to win first prize in a well known writing magazine!

    The people we meet feed our imagination. Maybe not today, but who knows about tomorrow...

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    1. Wow, there is a lot of material to draw upon there :) Thank you for sharing, Maria. I hope all is well.

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  10. That was an interesting excerpt. Bosses come in many forms.

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  11. Well done! I have a friend who is huge into wearing shirts with writerly slogans. A favorite of mine says "Be careful what you say. You might end up as a villain in my next novel." ~grin~ Happy Writing!

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  12. One thing about having people like this in your life, you can come up with some very authentic and distinct characters. Job well done! Congrats on your book, Nicola.

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  13. I've been lucky enough to never have had a boss like that. I suspect it would have made the job intolerable. Good job at making me hate this Nelson guy even though I've never met him.

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  14. I've definitely had a manager like that, was not an enjoyable job. Nice post! I'm excited to read more :)


    www.ficklemillennial.com

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  15. Great write up about your boss and I love the styling of your written words. My boss loves to intimidate and if he says 5 words in a day, I am shocked. When I say "Bye" he says ...."yup". He reminds me of the Warner Bros. Frog.

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  16. I'm grateful I don't have a boss like that. Enjoyed the excerpt!

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  17. I really like your writing style.

    You did a great job with showing Lane and Nelson's relationship.

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  18. It's great when we're able to use inspirations from the people (and bosses) from our past in our stories. At least to craft our characters personalities. Great excerpt!

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