Think your boss is bad? Odds are, he has nothing on Edward “Tiger Mike” Davis ― the meanest boss in the world.
Davis was so surly even a quick hello would be out of the question. In a memo, he once wrote:
“Do not speak to me when you see me. If I want to to speak to you, I will do so. I want to save my throat. I don’t want to ruin it by saying hello to all of you sons-of-bitches.”
As owner of the Tiger Oil Company, Davis turned nasty interoffice memos into an art form.
It all began in 1959 when he married “one of the earliest cougars ever,” as his obituary states.
At the age of 28, Davis wed 69-year-old Helen Bonfils. He was a high school dropout and her limo driver until her husband, theater and film director George Somnes, died in 1956. She was the owner of the Denver Post newspaper.
When the two divorced in 1971, Davis received what the book Here Lies Colorado called “a substantial settlement,” which he used to start his oil exploration business. And that’s where his memos entered the picture; these notes developed almost a cult following years later when they began turning up on the website Letters of Note.
For example, he didn’t like guys with hair below the ears:
Anyone who lets their hair grow below their ears to where I can’t see their ears means they don’t wash. If they don’t wash, they stink, and if they stink, I don’t want the son-of-a-bitch around me.
Davis had a potty mouth, but he made it clear he was the only one allowed to cuss in the office:
There is one thing that differentiates me from my employees. I am a known son-of-a-bitch, and I care to remain that way. I have the privilege of swearing publicly, in front of anyone, or doing anything I want to because I pay the bills. When you work for me, you don’t have that privilege.
On the other hand, Davis was open to new ideas:
If you have a suggestion on how we can improve our methods, your suggestions are more than welcome. The best way to submit a suggestion is to put it in writing, sign your name and send it to me by registered mail ― then you can’t say it got lost. I DON’T WANT ANY EXCUSES.
“There was no one else like him; there was only one Tiger Mike,” spokesman Marcelo Anevcua told the Las Vegas Sun. “Things had to be done his way all of the time. That’s just the way he was. And he spoke the way he felt.”
His way included no “shabby attire” in the workplace. According to his memos, Davis was also opposed to “birthday celebrations, birthday cakes, levity or celebration of any kind,” in the office.
While the infamous memoranda were written in the 1970s, Davis remained active in the oil industry. In 2012, he settled a multimillion dollar lawsuit over a finder’s fee he received for a deal that went sour. And he continued to work as recently as this year.
“He was working until about six months ago — still drilling oil wells, mostly in the Wyoming and Nebraska area,” friend and colleague Kevin Trujillo told the Denver Business Journal.
Davis died earlier this month of complications due to prostate cancer, The New York Times reported. He was 85.
His obituary in the Las Vegas Review-Journal insisted there were two sides to the man, the one in the memos and another Tiger Mike.
“If he loved you, it was Heaven. If he disliked you, it was Hell,” the obit noted. “If you were powerful and arrogant, he would destroy you. If you were down and out, he would pick you up, dust you off and change your life forever.”
Read more of his memos on the Letters of Note website, or in the book “More Letters Of Note.”