Good Boss, Bad Hair by (3 Stories)

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My boss, Holly, raced to her office and closed the door. I had not been working long at the radio station, but I knew this was a bad sign. She had come back from her hair appointment. I didn’t actually hear sobbing, but then again the doors in our offices were pretty solid.

Holly had hired me as her Promotion Coordinator in spite of the fact that I had no experience in media. We were close in age, but she was way ahead of me in her career. I admired her: she had a cool apartment, a great wardrobe and perfect nails. Holly knew about graphic design, had worked in TV (with Oprah!) and seemed to know all about Corporate life. We were friendly with each other, but still professional.

On this day, however, Holly had a bad haircut. A work colleague came by, so the door had to be opened. It wasn’t that bad. But any woman knows that if SHE hates her hair, what others say brings little solace. Throughout the day I ran interference –tried to keep “unfriendlies” from coming to her office, and soon we were making jokes about how to get short bangs to grow out. I think the stylist that massacred Holly’s hair kind of did me a favor: my boss and I bonded over what looked like a really bad “Rachel.”

After The Haircut, our relationship grew. We trusted each other and became good friends. We started nearly every day with a walk to a local café to get lattes. This was the 1980’s, so Holly got the station involved in local running events. We ended up training together; Holly even got us featured in the local newspaper. It doesn’t always work out for bosses to be friends, but for us it did.

When Holly left the station for a great new job, she recommended me to replace her. It was the start of a great career for me at CBS and ABC, and I have Holly to thank for it.

As we moved to different cities and our lives reached those key milestones, we kept in touch. We still talk nearly every week; in fact, I  just bought her birthday gift. (Her hair always looks great and the nails.. still perfect!) I’m grateful for meeting a wonderful friend who just happened to be my boss many, many years ago.


Profile photo of Deb Reno Deb Reno

Characterizations: been there, funny, right on!


  1. Susan says:

    The exception to the rule about not being friends with one’s boss. So glad you two bypassed corporate hierarchy and found trust and friendship.

  2. John Zussman says:

    Isn’t it amazing how a personal setback like a bad haircut can lead to a deep friendship that lasts for decades? Great story.

  3. What a tale of woe and friendship! You set up the story beautifully inside the concentric circles of corporate life and then delivered this genuine, small, but significant scene. Enjoyed reading this, DR! BTW: When I was in 6th grade my mother decided she was going to cut my hair. I cried, too.

  4. Patricia says:

    A friend of mine used to say that a good haircut can cure a bad mood, and it’s true. The reverse is also true. I apparently have perplexing hair, so for a long time I’d sooner go to the dentist than the stylist. Priceless are the friends who understand this!

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