Horrible Bosses

According to the Washingtonian, a survey by management consulting firm Accenture showed that a third of workers who leave their jobs say that not liking their boss is one of their main reasons for switching companies.

In our survey of 13,500 area employees, we asked about truly horrible bosses. Among the common complaints: supervisors who yell or throw things, who take credit for an employee’s work or micromanage, who emotionally or sexually harass, who expect staff to be on call 24-7, who show favoritism, and who are incompetent.

Here is what some things people said about their horrible bosses:

“A guy at my old company used to make his employees ask before they could use the restroom—and he would time them. If they were gone longer than five minutes, he would add the time up at the end of the week and make them use vacation time.”

That’s insane, and I would move on to another job ASAP.

“I had a boss who would stand behind me and watch me type. When I made a mistake, he actually shook my chair while I was in it. I left that place in a hurry.”

I would too.

“A manager wrote all the female employees’ cycles on the whiteboard so the team would have a warning of when the women were in a bad mood.”

Get out.

“My old boss would walk around with a small baseball bat and a huge switchblade. He kept pictures of the employees he had terminated pinned up in his office.”

Goodbye forever! More here.

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24 Comments / Post A Comment

Allison (#4,509)

How does the menstrual cycle guy stay employed? (most of these guys, really but wow that one)

wrappedupinbooks (#1,426)

@Allison yeah seriously. I can smell the sexual harassment lawsuit brewing from here.

@Allison Given the horror stories I have heard and seen (some committed by HR managers! seriously!) relating to pregnancy, I am neither surprised that this happened nor that he managed to stay in his job. People get away with some appalling stuff.

EvanDeSimone (#2,101)

@Allison Yeah, my first thought was hello friendly law suit.

A-M (#4,317)

My worst: my boss was the classic intense micromanager, telling me what to do and blaming me for anything I did (which of course he had told me to do). The worst part was that his mother was the girlfriend of the head boss, so there was no way any of the behavior would change. Yikes.

EvanDeSimone (#2,101)

In my first job out of college I reported to a supervisor who irrationally disliked me. There was paperwork we were required to file and each month she would remove all of my work from the file and claim that I hadn’t done it. I had to make copies of everything and keep them at home so that I could replace the work she destroy.

She also used to make outrageous claims about things I had allegedly said to clients over the phone even though our calls were recorded and our department leader could easily verify that she was lying. Three times I had to have client calls pulled and reviewed. Even though I was vindicated each time our department leader continued to indulge her every crazy assertion. This went on until someone new joined our department at which point she transferred all of her harassment to the new junior associate.

andnowlights (#2,902)

My last boss (the one who stared at me for 30 seconds without saying a word when I quit) was… interesting. She wasn’t the worst, but she was just so bad at managing people and her life. Work was secondary to her and we were lucky if she actually showed up more than 3 days a week and double lucky if she showed up before 11. Then made such a big deal about the fact that she worked til 6 PM. Aside from that, she was just crazy in ways I can’t describe. We functioned better as a team without her, and she made 3x as much as any of us… I got to the point where I was crying every day in my car before work (for about 3-4 months til I transferred). I am so much happier in my current job!

muffintoplowfat (#1,667)

@andnowlights You don’t happen to work for a well known non-profit in the Pacific Northwest do you? This sounds exactly like my friends old office. She would come in at noon and talk on the phone with her daughter then complain about personal stuff and blame others for work that she never told them to do because she is never there.

andnowlights (#2,902)

@muffintoplowfat I do not, but that sounds pretty spot on! I was at a major university medical center in the south. Now I’m on the university side and am SO in love with my job

I’m sure this article is a hoax perpetrated by mediocre bosses to make them seem less horrible.

Right?

EvanDeSimone (#2,101)

@stuffisthings The Secret Order of Mediocre Middle Managers will be deeply displeased that you’ve revealed their plot. Fortunately they’re probably to ineffective to take meaningful action against you.

@EvanDeSimone shit I’m going to get a poorly-spelled memo aren’t I?

EvanDeSimone (#2,101)

@stuffisthings Your doom is a fax away my friend.

Caitlin with a C (#3,578)

@stuffisthings A poorly-spelled memo, emailed but then also hand-delivered (by the office intern).

garli (#4,150)

I recently had a terrible boss.I’ve been at my current job for about 3 years and he started about 6 months ago. I almost quit but instead I documented all of the insane/abusive things he did in front of other people (which were like not nearly as awful as shit he pulled when no one else was around) and went to HR with a list of dates, times and witness and told them I considered his actions to be bullying and creating a hostile work environment.

Now I still work here and he doesn’t.

aproprose (#1,832)

@garli There IS justice in the world! Go you. That’s great.

EM (#1,012)

@garli Hooray for you! Now celebrate by sharing examples of the horrible things he did so we can all feel better about our bosses. (My boss is perfectly lovely, but I like horror stories anyway).

sunflowernut (#1,638)

@garli Awesome!

garli (#4,150)

@EM Ha, how long do you have?

Here’s one. Our company (like many others) has an ERP that in theory helps us run the place but in practice it’s a shitty cut rate system compared to a lot of other programs out there. I happen to be the expert/champion on the engineering part of the system. I was hyper involved in the implementation (while not making any decisions), went to conferences to learn some parts of it and in a company of 300 people I can honestly say 2 of them know more than I do about how to use the program.

So the first week or two new evil boss was here he calls me to his office and says “I want you to teach our department how to do X using our ERP”. I was like “That functionality is not built into the system and it will take our SQL writer a few weeks to pull that all together.” His response? “That can’t be true, make a meeting tomorrow to show us all how to find out the needed information”

So I figured out how to find all the stuff he needed but there was no way to get it all on one screen at one time. I have the meeting as requested and started going through all the steps to find what he wanted. He lost his shit. 100% temper-tantrum. He was yelling and slamming his papers down THIS IS NOT WHAT I ASKED YOU FOR WHY ARE YOU WASTING EVERYONE’S TIME I THOUGHT YOU WERE THE EXPERT IN THIS PROGRAM WHY DON’T YOU KNOW ANYTHING. And on and on and on.

I was pretty speechless. I mean…what do you do there? Clearly you write it down and go to HR.

aproprose (#1,832)

My first boss after college was a super sweet 70+ year old woman who had founded the nonprofit 30 years prior but was simply not fit to run the organization anymore. She insisted on printing every single one of her emails and her office quickly became overtaken by towering stacks of paper. She didn’t manage me, I had to manage her. I found an uncashed, 6 month old $50,000 grant check under a stack of papers once, for example.

Eventually I figured out that she had absolutely no idea what I was doing on a day to day basis. I started to take long naps in my office and come and go whenever I pleased until I left the company a year later. An absent boss can be just as demoralizing as a micromanager.

sunflowernut (#1,638)

“My sister’s old boss made the female employees wear tiaras and sashes around the office when they were on their period.”

OH MY GOD

Jinxie (#2,987)

@sunflowernut How is such a thing even enforced? Was the boss following them to the bathroom and checking on whether or not tampons were used? BONKERS.

Kthompson (#1,858)

My previous boss drove me into a mental breakdown, for which I had to be medicated and hospitalized. The final straw came when he told me in front of my a coworker that I was fired, and “I’ll hold the door for you, and I’ll give you a treat in the parking lot.”

I went immediately to HR, in tears, telling them what had happened, and was told that I wasn’t fired as he didn’t have the authority to do that, and also “he doesn’t speak English well so I’m sure he didn’t mean anything.” (Yes, he was Indian, and true, he hardly spoke English. Doesn’t explain why he was manager here in the US.)

Other things he told me include but are not limited to: You’re an aggressive bully; don’t associate with so-and-so because they are a virus and their ideas will infect you; don’t be friends with so and so because I don’t like them; everyone here hates you; I would never have hired you (he was assigned to be manager of my unit two days after I started); you’re a terrible person; you have destroyed everything I’ve worked for. I spent another three months there, sitting eight hours in a cubicle, with zero interaction with anyone–not a single word said to me, ever–before HR finally decided the boss did nothing wrong, and I told them all to go to hell and quit. (It pretty much went like that, too: “Thanks for the severance, I’lll see you in hell.”)

He was also incredibly sexist: his wife gave birth to twin girls while I worked there, and when I congratulated him, he said, “What the hell am I supposed to do with girls?” Another time we were gently teasing him about staying up late to take care of the babies, and he said, “That’s women’s work. I don’t touch them.”

And yes, he still works there, in management. Really Evil Insurance Company. I guarantee you know them.

muffintoplowfat (#1,667)

I had a boss who was so unqualified for her job, but she was completely unaware of this. She would ask me to proofread documents then get super upset when I would make corrections,and in turn would retaliate by making me change silly things like margins by a 1/8″ on a form letter then change it back. There were days where I would only be allowed to work on one flyer then she’d scrap it and go with some Word created monstrosity with clip art angels. Her favorite thing to do was to count the spaces on my emails from the greeting to the body to make sure there was a correct number of spaces and give me a lecture on how details were so important to appearing professional.

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