Employees Share Stories of Worst Bosses Ever

Written By: Anita Bruzzese
August 16, 2012
3 min read

So you think you have a bad boss?

You may not think so after reading tales submitted by employees suffering delusional, narcissistic, idiotic and nasty managers.

For example, Employee Surveys solicits stories about bosses gone bad. These stories are real – the names are removed to protect the innocent. (In other words, the innocent employees.) Each submission is paid $10, probably in recognition of the pain and suffering by these woeful workers.

Want to see how your malicious manager or snarky supervisor stacks up? Here are some of the stories shared:

  • “After working feverishly one week to complete a $12 million loan package, my boss (an avid gambler) returned from Lake Tahoe and called me into his office. Thinking I was going to be acknowledged for the exceptional job I did on the loan package, I was horrified when he began screaming at me for not dusting his office while he was gone.”
  • A worker told the boss of a dying grandmother and time off was needed. “My boss replied, ‘Well she’s not dead yet, so I don’t have to grant your leave,’” the worker wrote. “ And, I was told to complete my workday. Suffice to say I did not finish my workday.”
  • “The final straw for me was the day that he (boss) told me, ‘You would be much cuter girl if you just lost some weight.’ I was subsequently fired when I responded that “I may not be thin, but I can lose weight and you will always be shorter than I am and your hair will not grow back.’”
  • One boss yelled at a hardworking employee for keeping her desk too clean. He said that if her desk was clean, then she “wasn’t working hard enough.”
  • “I went to work and slipped on a wet floor. My ankle swelled up. My boss wouldn’t let anyone take me to the emergency room until I finished processing daily invoices. She told me to stop moaning and just put my foot up. Five hours later, she had someone take me to the ER. It turned out that I had broken my ankle.”
  • “A boss of mine (I was the chef of a catering company in San Francisco), during a performance review said, ‘You are not doing anything wrong per se, there is just this intangible vibe that I can’t really describe that is keeping me from feeling like you deserve a raise.”

But the bad work experiences don’t stop there. The Washington Post recently asked readers to give their own ideas on how to “completely, utterly destroy an employee’s work life.” Among the contributions:

  • “Only take credit for successes. When things go wrong, make sure you know who to blame.”
  • “Just keep those pie charts and glossy presentations coming.”
  • “Give the employee of the month award to the guy who stayed in the office when told his son was in a car wreck.”
  • “Keep people in the dark and then criticize them for not knowing what is going on.”

Do you have a bad boss story to share? Or other things that drive you crazy about your boss?

Anita Bruzzese
Written By: Anita Bruzzese

Anita Bruzzese is a syndicated columnist for Gannett/USA Today on workplace issues and the author of “45 Things You Do That Drive Your Boss Crazy.” She has been on the Today Show, and quoted in publications such as O, The Oprah Magazine, Glamour, Self.com and BusinessWeek.com. Her website, 45things.com, is listed on the Forbes top 100 websites for women.