This was to no avail. Eventually he dismissed me from the site and decided to fix it all himself. After months of working for Ben, I was fed up, so I let him take over as he'd demanded and went home.
Two hours later, he called to tell me that he was at home and had given up -- and I needed to go back out there the next day to fix it.
I listened to him rant for a bit, then passed along the call I had taken an hour before from someone at the customer's company who did not know that Ben was the owner of the consulting firm they'd hired: "They said they were really displeased. They wanted me to tell you that whoever that guy with the salt and pepper hair was, they don't want him to come to their site anymore. He was rude to everyone and disrupted what was going on."
"We don't have any employees with salt and pepper hair," Ben said.
"Look in the mirror" was my reply. "They specifically requested that you never return to their site ever again."
He was taken aback at first, then let me have it. I listened to another of his lectures on "proper Novell setup procedures," despite his being completely unaware of the new server's requirements and configuration.
It wasn't too long after this incident that Ben's poor business and people skills caught up with him. Customers bailed, the money dried up, and his business failed. His technicians found work with the customers, his salespeople left for greener pastures, and I started interweaving management jobs with IT jobs to get better experience -- and better ideas on how to avoid working with such a person in the future.
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This story, "The boss who thought he knew it all," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Read more crazy-but-true stories in the anonymous Off the Record blog at InfoWorld.com. For the latest business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.