My former boss, the prophet, felt that his calling was to leaders in ministry, government, and the marketplace. As such, he occasionally “ministered” (I have my own thoughts on what ACTUALLY went down in those ministry meetings, but I’ll save that for another post) to wealthy individuals. And by wealthy, I mean wealthy: multimillionaires.
Each time, it played out the same way: Wealthy Man would somehow meet my boss. Wealthy Man would then get a “word from the Lord” from my boss; if the word panned out, Wealthy Man usually didn’t give squat to the ministry. As a result, my boss would get angry and often stop taken calls or answering emails. He once asked me to craft a form letter to use in these situations about how there is supposed to be an “exchange between prophets and kings” (apparently my boss felt he was of the Old Testament prophet variety).
Often Wealthy Man would come back to my boss sometime later wanting another word from the Lord, suggesting he would give to the ministry once the next big deal worked out. My boss would minister to him again, and of course the promised money would never materialize. It was like two enablers in a relationship.
My boss did manage to create a more lasting relationship with one multimillionaire, who apparently used to own one of the largest and most lavish homes in Minnesota. We’ll call him “Mr.A”.
Mr.A seemed like your typical hockey jock Minnesotan who made it big as an entrepreneurial, using his charm and, using DiSC Profile speak, his “High I” to make it big. I don’t think I ever had an unkind word from Mr.A, but I tended to live in fear of his phone calls or office visits. This really had more to do with my boss than Mr.A, however.
While my boss felt his true calling was with church, government, and business leaders, he did actually minister and meet with people of all walks of life. If I can say anything positive about him, it is that he did not refuse to minister to someone based on job or lack there off, size of paycheck, gender, race, age, or you name it. That being said, he definitely treated those with money and power differently. They were always ushered to the front row during public ministry meetings and had long private meetings with him afterwards.
In particular, whenever Mr.A called the office I was always afraid I would somehow answer the phone in a way that my boss felt was unprofessional. Or, if Mr.A called and I couldn’t get a hold of my boss immediately, I was afraid he’d ream me out because he missed an important call. Meetings at the office were even more stressful; I had to make sure that there wasn’t a single hair out of place, dust on a plant leaf, or a tiny piece of paper on the floor. Any tiny imperfection was magnified on days that we had Mr.A, or any other wealthy businessman, in the office.
One particular day, Mr.A and his wife were coming to meet with my boss at the office. It was a Wednesday, which was filming day: the day my boss would shoot a bunch of footage to air on our cable access TV program (*rolls eyes*). He tended to be pretty short on those days as well, so the combination of a meeting with Mr.A + filming day = potential disaster.
The ministry was located in a warehouse with the main office in the front and double doors leading back into an open 2-story warehouse that was slapped up with a little paint and velvet draping. Filming was done back in the warehouse, which had it’s difficulties. Because of the acoustics and the cement floor, even the most minute sound would get picked up on the audio. Worst of all, the only bathrooms in the place happened to be back in the warehouse, so if you had to use them, you had three choices: wait it out, try to catch a break between shoots, or if you were really desperate and could not wait a moment longer, you took your shoes off and snuck back, hoping you didn’t get caught. Flushing was obviously not an option.
The day Mr.A came to visit, my boss gave me some extremely particular instructions for when he arrived, including, I kid you not, implicit directions to refuse Mr.A access to the bathroom during the filming. UM, WHAT?
This did not sit well with me. Because, sometimes ya gotta go when ya gotta go, you know? And I knew that applied to multimillionaires just as much as it did to little assistants like me. I also knew that there was no way on God’s green earth that Mr.A would take kindly to me telling him he could not use the bathroom. Them’s fighting words.
Folks, this is not the kind of power I seek in life: telling rich guys they can’t use the commode.
I earnestly prayed to God that Mr.A would have an empty bladder that afternoon. Alas, he did not. Shortly after he arrived, he informed me he was going to use the restroom. At my bosses’ direction, I actually blocked the door with my body and refused to let him through. Granted, I did this with a really apologetic tone, letting him know it was at my boss’s instruction. I’m sure the look on my face betrayed my utter mortification at the situation.
Mr.A then told me he was going to leave because he couldn’t wait any longer. This is when the “Ah, Crap!” Alarm went off in my head. I had two options: let Mr. A leave and do nothing or go back and tell my boss, before Mr. A left. Both had there issues.
If I let Mr.A leave, a couple things would likely happen:
1. My boss would be angry that I didn’t tell him that Mr.A was going to leave before it happened and he could stop him.
2. If Mr.A left, he probably wouldn’t come back… and my boss would be mad at me again.
However, if I did go back to tell my boss that Mr.A was going to leave because I refused him use pf the little boy’s room, my boss may freak out because I interrupted his filming.
In the end, I went with the money. I asked Mr.A to please wait a moment while I went to talk to my boss, taking my shoes off and trying so very ungracefully to tip-toe back to the make-shift studio. Of course, my boss saw me, stopped filming and called me back. Apparently I had made the right choice: he thanked me, stopped filming to let Mr.A use the restroom, and then had Mr.A back during the filming for the rest of the afternoon. It was all pretty ridiculous, and I strongly suspect it was some weird power play on my boss’s part.
Hmm… maybe I should add this to my resume: Potty-trains multimillionaires.