On 13 January 1978, Edward “Tiger Mike” Davis wrote one of his typical memos to his staff. Davis was the CEO of Tiger Oil Company, back in the good old days when a CEO could say and do just about anything he wanted, and if anyone didn’t like it, they could pick up their paycheck and leave:
Don’t take advantage of me, because I am going to be looking down your throat. You need the job — I don’t!
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.
Lest any employee think that the CEO’s usage of colorful language signified a corporate approval of swearing in general, Davis had sent out this memo one day earlier:
Transcript: “I swear, but since I am the owner of this company, that is my privilege, and this privilege is not to be interpreted as the same for any employee. That differentiates me from you, and I want to keep it that way. There will be absolutely no swearing, by any employee, male or female, in this office, ever.”
Letters of Note has 22 of these memos online, and they make for some entertaining reading. Although Tiger Oil Company filed for bankruptcy in 1980, I’m sure a significant number of executives would read these memos today and sigh in nostalgia for the days when managing staff was so much simpler.