In Enterprise, Alabama, in 1915, a tragic event took place. The cotton crop, which was the mainstay of economic stability for many in the area, failed. An infestation of boll weevils destroyed the livelihood of the community. This led one entrepreneur farmer to plant a new crop—peanuts. The peanut crop was a success, and soon the entire county’s income was more diversified. The economic well being of the area was vastly improved.

In 1919, the citizens of Enterprise erected a beautiful statue in the town square. A lovely Greek goddess, draped in a flowing gown, held up an ornate plate on which was a very large boll weevil. The historical marker reads, “In profound appreciation to the Boll Weevil and what it has done as [our] herald of prosperity.” The statue remains the only such monument dedicated to an agricultural pest. Without the boll weevil, the town would not have prospered.

Sometimes talented leaders run into career boll weevils. The existence of really bad bosses is not funny, particularly if you are reporting to one.

Most of the truly bad bosses have some deep-rooted psychological hang-up. One mean-spirited boss was finally decoded by his new administrative assistant. Her Caesar-esque boss could not read…yes, he was illiterate! He made up for it by being a tyrant to keep everybody off guard. What a revelation it was to understand the why behind the what.

Regardless of their underlying motives, sometimes, these psyche cases win. They can exhibit enormous power because of their position. Some very talented leaders can find their successful career in leadership scuttled by a bad boss. As we tell our children as they grow up, “Sometimes, bad things happen to good people.”

If this happens to you, just remember, you will land on your feet. You are the one with the ability. You will someday look back and see that your boll weevil did you a favor although it did not seem like it at the time. If you don’t let such an all-too common scenario knock you down, someday you will see that your career boll weevil was your herald to prosperity.

The Biz Bucks Guy knows this firsthand. He is grateful for a boll weevil that temporarily ruined his career many years ago. The past fifteen years of creative, meaningful, difference making, exciting professional life is the result of being awoken by a boll weevil.

In profound appreciation to the Boll Weevil and what it has done as [our] herald of prosperity.

The preceding is an excerpt from Chapter 17 of the book Leadership for the Recovering Quantoid by Robert N. Llewellyn. Used with the author’s permission.

About the author:

Robert, or Bob “the Biz Bucks Guy” as he is more commonly knows, has taught basic business skills in his live “Biz Bucks” training to over 5500 people since 1996. In addition to his leadership book, he has been published in numerous magazines and newspapers. Bob also has an online business basics boot camp course at BizBasicsOnline.com where you can learn basic skills in statistics, accounting, finance and economics and then implement those skills in The Decision Making Methodology to make sound business decisions.