The Specter of Our Horrible Bosses

Once upon a time, I had a horrible boss. There were many components to his horribleness, including manipulation, name calling, threats, and other grandiose assertions of power. I defended him, even to those who knew exactly what was going on. I stayed with this boss for far too long—four years too long—and I worked really hard at hiding his horribleness from other people, because I didn’t want to fail, and because I thought I needed this job to get to where I wanted to be. (There is not enough therapy in the whole, entire world.)

A month after I left my job with the horrible boss, I had my first supervision session with my new boss, in a different city, 800 miles away. I was a mess. The New Boss noticed the intensity of my anxiety pretty quickly—maybe it was my tense posture that gave it away, or the fact that I was shaking, or the tears I was holding back in anticipation of being screamed at (yes, screamed at), or given a list of everything I’d done wrong since arriving on the scene, or told that I was inept. It took me a while to tell my new boss what was up, and even longer to realize that I could be good at a job.

I asked some people about their experiences with horrible bosses—how were they coping and moving forward in their next jobs? What, if anything, did they learn?

J: “Mostly I recovered from it by quitting. The experience really changed how I view depression—sometimes there are all sorts of things that we need to work on or work through … and sometimes there is one thing that needs to change, and change immediately. Almost as soon as I left that job I started feeling better. The difference was especially stark because I loved my next job. I’ve also just accepted the fact that I hate this person. I generally don’t hate people in my life, but she’s the exception, and that’s fine.”

F: “I had a boss get drunk in his car at lunch and sexually harass me. I’d told him that if he ever ‘accidentally’ fell against me again, I’d accidentally break his nose. He backed off completely, and I thought the issue was over … until I saw him harassing one of our temp employees. It’s made me much more vocal in future jobs—especially on behalf of people who don’t feel they have the job security to speak up.”

Jess: “It definitely still follows me—even three jobs later, but it’s less than it was. So, I still get a little anxious when I get called into my boss’s office, even for just a progress meeting or whatever, which sucks. My boss likes me, I’m doing fine, but I’m suspicious still. My first job immediately after that one, I was definitely feeling down on my abilities as a worker—like, what if I really am as terrible as she clearly thought I was? But it’s not true. She was just a terrible boss, who hired me without knowing what the job was, and never worked with me to develop skills, teach me protocols, etc. I have a lot of perspective now, especially after grad school, but it was really rough on me and my confidence at the time.”

M: “My second semester of grad school we had these mini internships and I remember totally stressing out about which one I wanted. It’s sort of embarrassing because it shows how colossally fucked up I was, but I remember going to talk to the professor and telling him—shaky and practically in tears—that I didn’t care which one I had as long as it was a supportive environment.

I always ask about team dynamics and supervision in interviews and I’ve been pretty upfront with my current boss (who is amazing) about past supervision issues and about what I need and want support-wise. I think also that I’m just more mature and better at asking for help. And I think I’m also more cynical and hardened in general and I’m sure that carries into my work.”

What about you? What have you learned from your horrible bosses?

 

Chanel Dubofsky lives in Brooklyn and is interested in your personal decisions

---
---
---
---
---

34 Comments / Post A Comment

ragazza (#4,025)

I had a terrible experience at my current company about three years ago. We were/are growing quickly so there is a lot of organizational shifting, and I ended up with a boss who I suspected was a bit awkward around women and kind of an arrogant jerk, but OK, whatever. He worked out of a different office so I didn’t see him often, and when he did fly in he wouldn’t tell me beforehand, would never suggest lunch, etc. I got barely any feedback of any kind, and then to my surprise got a totally scathing performance review. Luckily I had a friend at the office who gave me guidance: go to HR, save any files and emails that contradicted his claims, and request an official performance improvement plan. He clearly just wanted to fire me (blew off meetings/deadlines for the improvement plan) and was undoubtedly frustrated that I didn’t just quit. Anyway, long story short, I got transferred to a different (much, MUCH better) manager and he got all of his direct reports taken away from him, ha ha! He quit to go graduate school a few months later. After all this I found out that everyone knew he was a raging misogynist and that he regularly showed up late and left early, but because he was seen as an “up-and-comer” and made sure to stay on the higher-ups’ good side, he got away with it.

I learned that I can and should stand up for myself, and I can be successful at it. I give credit to my company for addressing the situation. However, I have not come close to forgetting this incident. His report is still in my file, and I don’t really trust anyone at this company, or indeed in any type of corporate situation.

alex_geedee (#2,230)

The interesting thing with my horrible boss from a couple of jobs ago is that he wasn’t REALLY that horrible to me – I mean, I ended up picking up the slack when he didn’t do the work he was supposed to do, and I spent a lot of time trying to smooth things over with other employees – but he seemed to like me for some reason. However, observing him yell at other employees, send harassing emails and avoid many of his responsibilities was pretty jarring, and taught me a lot about what not to do. He ended up moving and I got his job. I’d like to think I was a much better boss than him, and at least some of that came from choosing to do the opposite of what my former horrible boss would have done.

lapgiraffe (#1,336)

Did you know that I’m going through this right this very moment?! I see myself in almost every story above, most recently telling someone that my top need for a new job is to work for “good people.” I’m interviewing a little and trying my best to not let the crazy come out, but my current manager has warped my thinking and I know I’m in the danger zone, mentally and emotionally. As a 100% sales commissioned salesperson, and my direct manager having power over my accounts, it’s gone beyond bullying and is affecting my paycheck – he’s sabotaging some accounts, unfairly taking me out of others, and to top it off when he’s at his worse and I’m having a low point, I have panic attacks that sideline me and only make the money situation bleaker. What’s the worst, though? Not having HR at my company, knowing that the majority of upper management will not my sympathetic, and essentially having no support at work other than my colleagues. It’s also not easy looking for a job when you’re this desperate, thankfully I’ve got a lot of smart friends, both in my industry and outside of it, who help keep me objective, encouraged, and healthy.

Allison (#4,509)

@lapgiraffe Good luck finding something else! And I’m glad you have a support system. Having to go into toxic situations every morning takes a real toll.

gl (#5,458)

@lapgiraffe “most recently telling someone that my top need for a new job is to work for “good people.” ” YES THIS. That’s what I tell people. I want to work in a place where communication and respect are key.

Kthompson (#1,858)

I had a terrible time at Evil Insurance Company. My boss was placed over my department of technical writers about a week after I had started; he had no say in my hiring process. I think that was a huge problem. He told me numerous times, “I never would have hired you. I hate having you here. You shouldn’t have been hired. I don’t want you on my team.”

Part of it was cultural, I think. He is Indian, and he is extremely sexist, and I am an opinionated woman who doesn’t mind speaking up. (One of my close friends is married to an Indian man (they are in their 60s) and she has helped me understand a lot of the culture.) He’d come up with an idea in a meeting, and my two coworkers would immediately tell him it was great. But I’d say, “I like this idea, but we previously discussed doing X and Z, and I’m not sure how this would fit in with those goals. Should we re-prioritize them, or should we revisit this idea?” Apparently it infuriated him, and he punished me for it.

“You’re a bully. You’re aggressive. No one here likes you. I hate you. I’m going to get rid of you. You don’t belong here. Get out.” He stomped. He glowered over my desk. He called me numerous times a day, calling me to his office and berating me. He stood outside my cube door and watched me. He kept time exactly–if I wasn’t at my desk at precisely 8 am I’d hear something. If I tried to leave work at 4:59, he’d march me back to my cube. He timed my lunch, so I stopped taking it. He followed me to the bathroom, stood outside the door, followed me back.

I sunk deeper into the depression I had always had. I started getting violently ill before work, and hiding in the bathroom and at one low point under my desk to avoid him. At home I could do nothing. I sat on the sofa for hours staring at the wall. I neglected my family and my cats. I didn’t cook or bother with laundry or clean my house. I could hardly sit up in the morning, let alone scrub the tub or something. Finally in early November 2011 it broke. He was berating me over something, and I said, “You are a problem. You are hurting me. I don’t like you. This has to stop.” He broke out in this long laugh I will never forget.

“What are you talking about? I told you, everyone here hates you. They like me, but you, you are a bad person.” Then he got angry. “I can’t stand you. Get out. I’ll hold the door open for you, and I’ll give you a treat in the parking lot, like you deserve.”

I went to HR and told them everything. I lost my composure, crying, sobbing, in a way I never had before, and it was humiliating. I told them everything he had said and done. Four months later, they decided he did nothing wrong, and told me I could either work for him, or quit. I told them to go to hell and left.

It was mind blowing because I am not that kind of person. I have always been strong and opinionated. I’d had teachers in school who tried to push me around like that, and stood up to them, never afraid to call them out, and learning along the way different techniques to use to get people to understand and change. I’m one of those women who could never understand how someone gets into an abusive situation, and why they didn’t leave. I thought I had too much self respect to let someone treat me that way, but I let him do it. t never minded saying what I thought, but I tried to phrase it in a polite way, and be proactive. I don’t kiss ass, ever, and he clearly wanted me to; in fact, my coworkers several times advised me to “just say yes” but I couldn’t let it go. How could people have no respect for themselves? How could they just bend over like that to someone who was a monster, who had no idea what he was doing, whose ideas were meaningless?

I had a complete mental breakdown. It took more than six weeks for me to get out of my depression. I finally saw a psychiatrist after confessing to my doctor that I was going to end my life. I was 25 years old. Once the medication got worked out and I started regular therapy, I got stronger. At work, I was blackballed while HR “investigated,” so I had plenty of free time. I taught myself Photoshop and Indesign. I learned HTML and CSS and built a website advertising myself. I searched endlessly for new jobs. No one spoke to me. For four months, no one at work uttered a word to me. I never received an email, I never did one modicum of work. I got there at 8 am, I sat there until 5 pm, five days a week, for four months. Finally HR told me I had to go back to him or leave, so I took their severance and left. And luckily, endlessly luckily, got my present job, being out of work barely two weeks.

It’s been two years. I still have nightmares. I mean that literally–I’ll be having an ordinary dream, and he just appears like an evil genie, grinning and laughing. I cry, “You don’t belong here, get out,” and he says, “I’m always right outside.” I like my new job much better, and my boss is a much better person–but she doesn’t ever give praise or compliments, and she keeps a running list of everything I do wrong because she micromanages. It’s a much different situation from my previous boss because she’s not physically intimidating, and she is intelligent and productive, but there are enough similarities that I still have mini-panic attacks and struggle with insecurity. My situation has come a long way, but I am not the woman I was, and may never be again. And I hate him for it.

@Kthompson “I’d had teachers in school who tried to push me around like that, and stood up to them, never afraid to call them out, and learning along the way different techniques to use to get people to understand and change”

This sentence is problematic.

Allison (#4,509)

@Kthompson you’ve mentioned some of this, but oh my god I’m so glad you got out of that.

Kthompson (#1,858)

@Jake Reinhardt Grammatically, or in content? I was trying to express that if a teacher/boss said something that I knew to be incorrect, or was advancing information I didn’t agree with (I was an English major, so there was a lot of arguing about textual symbolism and meaning) or didn’t think was a good idea, then I would say something. I wouldn’t just roll over and accept their word to be that of God. Over time, I learned how to observe people better and learn what techniques worked to get them to accept change or alternative points of view. Whether it was being nasty, or providing lots of evidence, or using multiple questions to make the person come to my point of view. With bosses it was a lot more subtle, and had worked pretty well at my previous place of employment. With this guy, I could never do anything at all to talk to him. Even if I wasn’t trying to debate with him or change his mind, even just general conversation, he was very defensive and rude, soon bordering on cruel.

Lyesmith (#4,385)

@Kthompson This is so horrifying, I’m sorry you had to go through that.

@Kthompson My read on the “problematic” part of your post called out by @Jake Reinhardt is that there is a difference between being opinionated and being disrespectful and borderline manipulative. The fact that you list “being nasty” in a list of ways you deal with someone telling you something you disagree makes you seem immature and also seems to indicate that you are the type of person that has to be right and acknowledged as right all the time. An authority figure, whether it be a teacher, a boss, a cop, or whatever, telling you something you don’t agree with does not always equal being “pushed around”.

Don’t get me wrong – I am very sorry that you had such a terrible and abusive boss, and I am glad that you are in a better place. It’s just that sometimes not being The Boss means doing things you don’t want to do or think are the “right” thing to do in a situation–that’s just a part of life (exception for a boss asking you to do something illegal or unethical).

ETA: I also know it’s especially hard to accept direction from a bad person who treats you terribly and whom you don’t respect. I’m not meaning to be confrontational and obviously I don’t know the whole story–this is just what I’m getting from the word choice in your posts.

WayDownSouth (#3,431)

@Kthompson this sounds like a dreadful situation. I’m sorry to hear that it happened and continued for such a long period of time.

I hope that you don’t mind a small suggestion, I follow a general rule when dealing with supervisors: agree in public and disagree in private. You don’t have to agree if you don’t think it’s a good idea. But disagreements are usually best held in private. If you’re in a meeting and you don’t agree, then you probably can avoid committing in public and speak with the supervisor in private. (Obviously, if you’re specifically asked about your opinion, then you’re free to agree or disagree.)

This advice isn’t universally applicable, of course, but I’ve found that it’s been helpful over the years. Most supervisors that I’ve worked for are open to different points of view in private, provided that I present the evidence to support my perspective.

On the other hand, sometimes nightmare supervisors will be awful no matter what you do. I’m certainly not trying to criticise your decision at the time — I wasn’t there. I’m simply providing a general policy that I follow.

@WayDownSouth Well said, and in a much more gentle and reasonable manner than I did.

@Kthompson Though this is directed at your post, I suppose it would apply to many people on this thread. I work as a secretary at a plaintiff litigation firm in the Bay Area, so we represent a lot of people who go through work place harassment and discrimination. What it sounds like is you were subjected to is discrimination based on definitions as described under constitutionally protected class (being a female and all). Even 2 years might still be within the Statute of Limitations, so were I you, I would at least try contacting the EEOC &/or DFEH for a right to sue letter to preserve a statute & git that paper. I don’t know how other states do, re: workers’ rights, tho… I’m happy you got out alive :)
p.s.–Ironically for working in a plaintiffs’ rights/employment firm, my manager is a real jerk to me all the time. To the point I don’t sleep at night :(

gl (#5,458)

Yeah, this is sort of the position I’m in right now. Except it’s not that my bosses (owner of the company and the second in command/successor) don’t like me or appreciate my work (they do) it’s that they are a) not good at their jobs which makes my job infinitely harder and b) they are terrible people. But because I am one of the people they *do* like they try to buy my loyalty. It’s like the story of the poor little rich kid who gets everything she wants except the love and attention of her parents. But, you know, on the whole I don’t care if that I get the day off for my birthday, I care much more about the fact that from September to December the building my boss owns and that I work in didn’t have working heat.

And the fact that they like me is almost worse because it means that I am the one they talk to about how they think particular clients are c*nts or pedophiles (because, uh, the client asked for a quote; truly damning evidence of their sexual proclivities and perversions!) or when they speculate about the sex lives of my coworkers. Even when I say that I don’t want to hear that kind of thing, I still do because they don’t respect boundaries. I’m the one who has to soothe ruffled feathers when the dates they promised clients for delivery are pushed back weeks and sometimes months later or when my bosses just lose any and all information about what the client ordered from us which is basically a daily occurrence. Basically my two bosses have created a culture of disorganization (one! e-mail! address! for! the! entire! company! WHAT IS THIS MADNESS) and disrespect and because it’s a small office and they are in charge there is really nothing I can do to change that (HOW I HAVE TRIED) except grit my teeth until I quit.

qwer1234 (#4,140)

@gl So frustrating to work for people that can’t run a business, especially when you’re that close to the source. I too work for imbeciles.

qwer1234 (#4,140)

I’ve had a few horrible bosses, but the worst by far was at I job I stayed in only four months. I had a Life Happens moment that have me an excuse to quit that shit and never look back. Except I look back all the time because I still have nightmares about it regularly. As someone who was raised in a way very much informed by the women’s movement, I had no idea I could find myself in the situation I was in, in the 2010s. He was so pervvy and abusive, too small a firm for HR and he was the boss at the top, so there was nowhere for me to turn. I commuted three hours a day for that job and cried the whole way there and back every day.

Mae (#1,769)

@qwer1234 I hear you. This is why I hope to never work for a small company with no HR ever, ever again.

Susan Tidebeck (#5,691)

I’ve had three despicable human beings as bosses. Each of them had dangerous psychopathic tendencies. The most recent one owned a small print shop and was an alcoholic. I pretty much ran the shop and she wandered in during various times of the day to scream at people. I didn’t even last six months. Recently, I found out that she was arrested for driving under the influence. Hopefully this will force her to make some changes that will benefit the rest of us.

sony_b (#225)

My horrible boss was horrible in a pretty typical way – he treated me like his secretary when that wasn’t my job description. I was actively looking for another job to get out of there when the company was purchased by a bigger one. New company kept me and let him go, and new boss was awesome. Win for me! Except, in one of those incredibly awkward coincidences in life, last fall I boarded a completely packed flight from Paris to New Jersey, and guess who was sitting in the next seat! We made small talk for about three minutes and then aggressively ignored each other for the rest of the flight.

sherlock (#3,599)

@sony_b That is insane! I can’t imagine how pissed I would have been. (At least it sounds like it was at the end of your trip, not the beginning.)

garli (#4,150)

My worst boss was a secret woman hater (as in subtly treated the women and men that he managed differently when other people were around – but very clearly when it was one on one), a micromanager and some one who always had to be right even when he was super crazy wrong.

What I learned from him is document everything. I did (at the urging of my husband) with times, dates and witnesses of his hostile behavior. I spoke to all my witnesses and took the list to HR. Also with some embarrassing tears. Which is why after the worst 6 work months of my life he got fired. Two months later I got promoted.

Olivia2.0 (#260)

I had an Executive Director throw a stack of papers in my face after threatening me if I didn’t falsify grant reporting information. I laughed in her face and walked out.

Caitlin with a C (#3,578)

Details not needed here, but I would basically echo what everyone else has said. What did I learn from my worst boss? 1) Stand up for yourself AT ALL COSTS (and be willing to leave over it), and 2) document everything. Everything.

qwer1234 (#4,140)

@Caitlin with a C DOCUMENT ALL THE THINGS!

Oh, I have so much job sadness right now. :( I have been looking for about 3-4 months and had some interviews, but nothing yet. So right now I’m just sitting around waiting for something good to happen.

I was hired into a situation with an awful boss. He was (still is) going through personal stuff and was just entirely checked out. Until he wasn’t, and suddenly became an angry, kind of scary micromanager. He didn’t support any of the staff and we were all on our own and at risk of being thrown under the bus at any moment. He was (fortunately) reassigned and we’re getting a new boss next week. Finally.

Unfortunately his lack of mental presence in the office let my (horrible, bullying, awful people) coworkers fill the power void. It’s been a depressing disaster since the first week I started. No guidance, no autonomy, no authority, surrounded by a bunch of frustrated coworkers who hate me and have run rampant with their bullying and meanness. One of them applied for my job and didn’t get it, and I’ve been feeling the fallout.

It absolutely has affected my performance and my well-being. Panic attacks, depression, trouble focusing, etc. It makes it even harder to stand up for myself and try to get things to change because I know I’m not doing a good job. I feel like a complete wreck.

With the new boss starting I’m trying to be hopeful, but a part of me feels like this is a bad situation and it’s never getting better. I just need more jobs to be posted. :( Sympathy to everyone else in this situation.

qwer1234 (#4,140)

@Koko Goldstein You need to do anything and everything in your power to quit that job. That is a toxic culture that will not be solved with just a new manager. Take care of yourself and GTFO.

I still make fists when I think about this. I once had a manager call me at 5:45pm to discuss a press release. Five minutes into the conversation, I tell her that my boyfriend is waiting outside the building, in his car, with NHL tickets for a game that night. She says, “oh, ok” and keeps me on the phone for 45 minutes going back and forth on nearly every word in one particular paragraph. In the end we decide to change two words. I learn the definition of ‘ragestroke.’

Several months later I called her boss and requested a new manager, saying I felt completely unsupported, and she got in trouble for that. Ha!

qwer1234 (#4,140)

I’m curious what portion of bosses are these psychopathic, toxic, molesty, assholes? There was that recent story about toxic leaders in the military, and in my experience, there doesn’t seem to be an industry they haven’t cornered. I’m sure it’s just a “hey, some people are just assholes” thing, but on the other hand, I kinda feel like you’d have to be a crazy asshole to want to be in charge? I don’t know. Thank goodness for the awesome bosses, though, amirite?

baxlala (#5,736)

I left my horrible boss about four months ago and I still have anxiety dreams about her. We were a department of two and I’m fairly certain she’d never managed anyone before. She was constantly giving me conflicting orders, micromanaging everything I did while insisting that she wanted me to be proactive (and yet questioning everything I did afterward), and basically undercutting me whenever she thought my confidence was getting too high. I was so depressed for two years while I dealt with her BS but didn’t even realize how fucked up I was until I quit.

I don’t know. It’s hard to describe what at the time felt like emotional warfare. Even now I wonder if I imagined how bad it was, or if I was weak for not being able to put up with it.

She told me, toward the end, apropos of nothing, that I wasn’t a threat to her. Which…great? I wasn’t trying to be? I think she was just insecure and she takes her insecurity out on others she feels she has power over. I feel sorry for the person who took my job but maybe she has a thicker skin than I do.

fsmith (#2,097)

I’ve been in a few bad boss environments, and I don’t think I’ll ever fully recover. One boss was the classic bully — mean, loud, rude, and volatile. Then, he’d be super-duper nice to compensate for it. He mellowed out eventually and occasionally reaches out to invite me to drinks and shit like that, but I’ll never trust that guy again or allow myself to be in any way vulnerable to him. If I cared that much about it, I’d regret hurting my “career” by escaping from him, the job, and that environment, but I don’t. It’s worth it to never have to deal with him again.

I just recently extracted myself from another bad boss environment — like, daily panic attacks bad. The job was demoralizing with lots of bullying and an impossible workload — so one fed into the other and I just never felt secure. I have nightmares (no joke) about the place still.

I’m in a good environment now, and it’s hard not to be defensive sometimes. At the new place, my big big big boss (who is nice) asked me for an update on some stuff and I got super defensive, like an abused dog. He was just like, “OK, well, sounds good. Let us know if you need help with any of that.”

One thing I think about, from being in abusive work environments, is you just don’t need it. If you can get out, go. An abusive boss can make you think you’re not worth anything so you better stay put. There’s also the fear that the next place will be just as bad — the devil you know. As I tried to tell some of my former co-workers, just get out however you can and however makes sense. No stupid boss — and if they’re that mean, they’re always a stupid person — is worth the damage.

themegnapkin (#444)

I won’t go into specifics about my previous terrible bosses, just to say that after 3 years with them, I left thinking I was terrible and the best I could hope for was to hide how bad I was at my next job for long enough to build a safety cushion.
Turns out, it was totally them, not me! At my next job (I managed to get a job at a place that’s both more prestigious *and* more demanding), they like me! They think I’m really good! And it’s a positive reinforcement cycle — the more positive feedback I get, the more I believe I’m actually competent, and the better I become.
I can’t believe I wasted 3 years of my life at that other place. It sucked my soul and self-confidence. If it’s at all possible to get away from your horrible bosses, do it.

stinapag (#2,144)

It’s been nearly a dozen years since I left my horrible boss. He was a Jekyll and Hyde type. One day, I was brilliant and he wanted me to have equity in the firm and be a partner. The next, I was lazy and shiftless and just awful. He was a “as I say, not as I do” type, making up his timesheets off of everyone else’s at the end of the month. There wasn’t enough work for 150 hours of billing every month, but somehow I still needed to come up with it. At some point, he changed my compensation from a set amount to eat what I kill, which meant I was really hungry for the last half of my working there. The breaking point was, about a week or two after 9/11, he brought everyone into the conference room. We all thought it was finally an opportunity to talk about what we were all going through. Instead, he yelled and told us all to stop procrastinating. The country was falling apart financially, and especially the Bay Area (where we were working), but it was somehow our fault that there wasn’t much work. There were five attorneys that worked in the firm, including him. Shortly after that we started looking for new jobs. In a six week period in early 2002, three of us had left. The other was on a visa and couldn’t leave. I felt terrible for her.

Leaving felt like leaving an abusive relationship. I really couldn’t believe what normal, sane bosses were like for the first year or so afterwards. It was just strange to come to work and not have to jump every time my boss came into view, wondering which version I’d get.

Just a few months into working there, I checked out the letterhead when reviewing some file that was pretty old. It changed almost every six months. And it wasn’t just attorneys. In the 26 month period that I worked for the firm, I think 20 people left it’s employment. It wasn’t a big firm. My boss hadn’t been able to work with anyone else for years and years. Every now and then I go to his firm’s website just to see what’s going on, and almost every time there’s someone new and someone else has left.

A few months ago, I was interviewing for a new job, and they were looking for references. I was in a bit of a pickle, since I’ve been at my current employer for a dozen years and the people who know my work best are all people I didn’t want knowing that I was looking elsewhere. The recruiter asked if there was anyone at the old firm. I laughed, and then very quickly said “no, absolutely not.”

My horrible boss was horrible in a unique way. He did NO WORK. Well, I guess not literally. He did SOME work, but it wasn’t the work that needed to be done, at all. The work he chose to do was to keep rearranging our system, making it more complex and difficult to manage…and guess who had to manage it? Me! It made my job impossible and whenever I would suggest simplifying everything, he would sit on the request for a few days, then send out an email to everyone announcing that he was adding a step to the process. ALSO: he often would not show up for work. No email, no phone call, nothing. His boss would ask me where he was and I would just shrug. I was finally vindicated after quitting and leaving–the whole system fell apart without me there to support it. My boss got fired, finally. But it took me leaving to expose his complete incompetence / laziness.

Comments are closed!