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Bad, Bad Bosses

Jul-Dec 2004 Archive
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This happened about 2 years ago. First off, I want to state that my boss "Bill" (not his real name) was usually a good person to work for. He was one of those British guys who had a very dry English wit - he could always make you laugh.

On the last day before the office closed for Christmas, it snowed. This is in BC, where snow only comes once every five years, and four inches is enough to close everything down for a week. Bill decided that we shouldn't have to come it to work, as it was the last day before the break, and it was only going to be a half day, anyway. So he calls everyone and tells them not to come in, except for me. Now granted, I lived only ten-fifteen minutes away at the time, but I didn't have my driver's license yet, so I had to take a cab to work every morning, at the cost of $9 a day. Let me tell you, that really adds up when you work full-time. He was well aware that I had to pay for a cab, yet he never bothered to call me. When I did straggle in to the office (my cab driver wasn't good at driving in the snow), I was informed that we wouldn't have to work today, and I could just go home. This after my cab drove off. After I spent $9 for nothing.

Bill's son, "Jerry" insisted that I must have gotten a phone call from his dad. But I knew this wasn't true because 1) I didn't leave the house before 8:30, and everyone had been called by 8:00, 2) I have an answering machine, and there was no message on it, not even a hang-up, and 3) My brother in law and his wife were over, sleeping on our living room floor, next to the phone, and they said it never rang, not even after I left. Both of them are light sleepers, and would have heard our very shrill phone.

I know this story isn't as bad as some, but still, it hurt that Bill didn't think I warranted a 1-minute phone call. After all, I had to trudge out through foot-high snow to get to the curb where the cab was (getting my feet wet, as the snow level was too high for my ankle boots - remember it doesn't snow very often here), I had to waste $9 that didn't have to be spent at all, my time is just as valuable as everyone else's (even if I was the youngest one there, I was often treated as an insipid child - which I'm not, I was over 22 and act like an adult), and I had guests over (family, with a young child that I hadn't seen in almost a year) who we hardly ever got to see, given that they live over 15 hours away in another province!

Just because someone is young doesn't mean they aren't entitled to the same consideration as their co-workers, who are all in their forties.



A few years ago, my husband and I decided to move to the small town he was originally from. I had recently discovered that I was pregnant and was concerned that it might be difficult to find a job. Imagine my relief when my mother-in-law called to tell me about a job managing a small office. I applied and was offered the job at my interview.       The job was incredibly easy. Basically, I was a glorified secretary for an older couple that ran their own business. They were often out of town and really just needed someone to take orders when they were gone. I did a little bit of typing, some filing, and answered the phone. I almost felt guilty for being paid to work 8 hours a day. Most days, I had finished most of my duties by noon and spent the rest of the day trying to look busy. This worked out rather well when I needed to take a few hours off to go to my doctors appointments.       

For the most part, I enjoyed my work, but my boss was a bit odd at times. (Though the couple were supposedly equal partners in the business, the husband was obviously "In Charge".) One day I came back a bit early from lunch and found him digging through my trash. He seemed embarrassed, but he explained that he was afraid I might have "accidentally" thrown away some messages. I assured him that I had given him the messages and he later found them in the heaps of paper on his desk. Though it was clearly his mistake, he still seemed annoyed at me. I went out that very afternoon and bought a book that had duplicate copies for messages. That way, if he lost his copy, I would still have another one.

There were still occasional incidents like this one, but I just decided that my boss was a somewhat fussy man and that I could deal with his idiosyncrasies. Then it came time to have the baby.       I had not been there long enough to have much vacation time saved up and I did not get a paid maternity leave. However, since most days, it was just me in the office, my boss said that I could bring the baby to work with me. I could not believe my luck and promised that if all went well with the delivery, I would return in about 3-4 weeks.       

All did not go well with the delivery. Both the baby and I had an extremely difficult time of it and I had to have an emergency c-section. My doctor later informed me that he was truly afraid that I would not survive the birth. Given that with modern medical care, it's extraordinarily rare for a mother to die, this brought home for me how difficult of a birth it had been. My daughter and I came through it just fine, but my doctor stressed that I would have a longer recovery time and really needed to wait a while longer than I had planned before going back to work. My husband called my work and told the wife all of this. She seemed very understanding and offered to do anything she could to help out. Though she'd never had children of her own, she seemed excited about the baby and sent flowers for me and some adorable outfits for my daughter.      

 TWO WEEKS after the baby was born, the boss called to ask if I ever intended to come back to work. Yes, his wife had told him about the difficult birth, but he couldn't see why I couldn't come on in and start working. Mind you, my doctor was still telling me that I should be out of bed only when absolutely necessary. My boss finally grudgingly agreed that if my doctor would write me a note, that I could stay out a bit longer. This should have been the sign for me to resign then and there.       

Once I went back, things seemed to settle down quickly. My boss still seemed slightly annoyed that I had taken a few more weeks, but privately, his wife told me that I'd had the "good sense" to have a baby during their slow season, and that they'd managed just fine. About the time my daughter hit 3 months, they went out of town for one of their buying trips. They would be gone for a week and would be back in the office on Monday. I assured them that I could handle it. The week passed uneventfully and I had little to do. By Thursday, I had done everything that could possibly get done. That meant that Friday, I would just have to answer the phones, and on Fridays, we got few, if any calls.       

Friday morning my daughter seemed fussy, but we went on in to work. By 10 that morning, she was running a high fever and was miserable. I called her pediatrician and he told me to bring her in as soon as possible. I tried to call my employers to let them know that I would have to leave the office for the afternoon. I couldn't get them, but left a voice mail explaining the situation. I took my daughter to the doctor, who diagnosed her with having a respiratory infection. He told me that it was good that I brought her when I did, as something like that could get dangerous very quickly with a small baby.       

That evening, I left my daughter with my husband and went back to the office to check the messages and see if there were any faxes. Nothing. Not only had I made the right call on taking my daughter to the doctor, but I hadn't missed anything at the office. I left another voice mail for my boss, explaining everything.       

Monday morning, I got fired.   My boss actually said to me, "Friday's little incident shows that you are not fully committed to (name of company). I was concerned when you took such a long maternity leave," (I took 4 and a half weeks.) "but you clearly don't understand the importance of being at work when you need to be."   He went on in the manner for several minutes. I wasn't sure if I should cry or chew him out. Amazingly, (well, maybe I was just in shock) I stayed totally calm and informed him that if he expected me to put any job before my 3 month old baby, then we needed to part ways. I gathered my things, and my daughter and left. On the way out, the boss asked me if I knew what I was going to do to make a living. I mumbled something about having a few ideas and went on my way.       

A few days later, my husband ran into my former employer at a local coffee shop. Now, my husband isn't the calmest of people and he had shown an unprecedented amount of restraint over the whole situation. His first instinct was to "go kick that idiot's ass". So when he saw the ex-boss, he tried to pretend that he hadn't seen him. He knew I didn't think it was worth fighting over, and he was going to try to abide by my wishes.       Here's the part that truly takes the cake.       

My ex boss tells my husband that once he thought about my answer to his question as to what I was going to do to make a living, he got concerned. He had somehow convinced himself that I intended to get in touch with some of his vendors and would try to put him out of business.       ????????         I just said that I had a few ideas about what do for a living and he has turned it into me trying to put him out of business? My husband told him exactly what he thought. Every time I've seen either of them, they have gone out of their way to avoid me.

They harassed the woman they hired to take my place when she wanted to take a few days off to attend her son's college graduation. I hear they can't find anyone who will work for them now. Word gets around quickly in a small town.                



After high school, I went to college in another state- about 500 miles from home. At the beginning of my second year, I got a job at a local grocery store as a cashier. The "managers" at night were ridiculous. They were, I kid you not, high school kids. Some teenagers can be very mature, but these two boys had no integrity, management capabilities or ethics. They would take hour + long lunches when we were supposed to take half an hour. I actually heard one of them say he wasn't going to clock back in from lunch and was going to tell the manager he forgot. His intent was that the manager would adjust his time punches for a half hour lunch and he would get paid for the extra time he spent with his friends in the break room. The other "manager" avoided this problem... he hadn't bothered to clock out because it wasn't his lunch time anyway. Time theft and other incredibly unethical things like this went on all the time, and this is just a small example of the character of these kids.

Anyway, on to the main event for this particular story. It was nearing Thanksgiving and the main daytime manager had already told me that I couldn't have any time off other than the holiday itself because it wouldn't be fair to everyone else who was required to work peak shopping days. This would have been more sensible if my home wasn't 500 miles away. I was the only non-local working there, and I felt it was pretty cruel for the manager to not give me time to go home for the holiday. I further explained that I went to a small, private college, so the dorms were shut down for all holidays. The manager's reply was that I needed to find a friend in town to stay with so I could work. It would take me the good part of a day to drive home and my mom had already purchased plane tickets before the school year even began. Even explaining this didn't help.

Both of my grandmothers died within less than four months that year. One died in the summer when I was at home, and the other died just before Thanksgiving. Even though I never did sway the main manager into giving me time off at Thanksgiving, I of course, ended up going home anyway for my last remaining grandparent's funeral.

I was back to school in less than a week, and went to pick up my paycheck from work (I was also broke!) The girl working the office window couldn't give me my check because it had it note saying I needed to talk to the main manager who was gone for the day. I insisted that I needed my money right away because I truly was out of money and groceries. Finally, one of the aforementioned night managers grudgingly agreed to hand over my check and told me I was fired for missing work. I was astonished and explained that I had gone home for my grandmother's funeral. He replied that "even if" my grandmother really had died, I had missed too many days within my initial 90 days probation time. He further continued that they didn't believe she had died because it fell so conveniently at the time I wanted off.

I suppose I could have brought in the obituary, memory cards etc. as proof, but it wasn't worth it to fight for that job!



I worked for a small accounting firm owned by this Italian guy named Sal right out of the Sopranos. He regularly turned the air gray with profanities. If anyone so much as took a paper clip off his desk, "F--- YOU!"

When I started there he showed me how he wanted me to document corporate files. I did things his way. Another guy named Steve was supposed to be my direct supervisor. I'd give the file to Steve, done exactly as Sal told me, only to get it right back on my desk telling me to put in some schedule or something Sal hadn't asked me to do. I'd ask Sal to clarify, and he'd say, "Do it the way Steve showed you."

Of course, Sal would regularly get into shouting matches with Steve and other employees because he pulled the same thing with them. Two others left during that tax season. Now in the accounting industry, in general you are frowned on if you leave between Jan. 1 and April 15 (tax season). Steve threatened to quit several times.

Sal's wife, Tania, worked there on Mondays and the weekends and she was nasty too. For example, the firm ordered lunch for the staff on Saturdays (passed around a take-out menu). One Saturday, close to noon, I asked Steve when the take-out menu would be passed around. Steve went upstairs (we worked in the basement) and came back and told me that Tania had told him "Get to work." Like what the heck did they think we were doing down there?

In those last weeks, Sal used to say that he felt he needed to micro-manage everyone and everything. Yes, that's right, he used the word micro-manage.

About the beginning of April, the father of a friend of Sal's died, and Sal said, "Why the f--- couldn't he have waited two weeks to die?"

I'd decided to quit on April 15. I felt nothing good could come of following the traditional advice to stay where you were until someone makes you an offer. So I typed a letter of resignation, signed it, and put it in a sealed envelope. But on April 7, Steve gave me a hard time for the third time over a file about something no one had told me to do in the first place. I decided I'd had enough and began packing my personal things together. Sal came roaring down the stairs and shouted at me. He grabbed my purse away from me and gave it to Tania to search. There was a floppy disk in it of files that I'd made before starting that job and I had not added to it since. He stole the disk from me while accusing me of stealing since I'd taken some papers from the garbage and used the backs for scratch paper. He accused me of trying to corrupt his computers and steal his data. Total lie. He also had Steve block the door while he searched the rest of my things. Then I finally left and I've had nothing to do with them since.

I've never been so glad to just get out of a bad situation.



I've got 2 stories for you. The first one is from about 20 years ago, when I worked as a waitress/server in an old restaurant, that was made 'semi-famous' by an old, deceased, semi-famous actor from the old, ancient, Spaghetti Westerns. I took the job, making only $1.50/hr+tips. The owners of this eatery were VERY cheap. So cheap in fact, that they demanded that if any rolls, that had been placed on a table for customers, were not eaten, they were to come back to the kitchen, to be used again for other customers. The same went for garlic toast, certain desserts and pieces of fried catfish! If it didn't look like it was touched, back it went, to sit under the food warmer, for the next time it was ordered that day! They told us to NEVER tell anyone about it, or we would be fired on the spot. Needless to say, I didn't work there very long at all!

The second job that had a horrible boss, was recently. I worked for an answering service. Our office was not in the same town as the 'home office', which is where the main answering service was located. Our office was 75 miles away from the main office and we had only 3 employees. One supervisor, and two employees to answer the phones.  I worked there for almost a year, and then the calls seemed to drop off...not very many calls came into our office each day. So, they had us split our shifts and there was only one person working at a time.

They always had a monthly meeting, which took place at the home office and we were required to go to this meeting, then work a shift there, the same day. The meetings were nothing more than a chance to pick at ALL the employees, which included the 3 of us, and more than 20 of the ones that worked at the home office. We all sat through 4 hours of 'picking', in shifts, as they needed half the people to answer phones while the meeting was taking place. So, they had 2 meetings on the meeting days.

One day, we got a call from the home office, telling us that our jobs have been phased out, and if we wanted to continue working for the company, then we would have to travel the 75 miles (That's one way. NOT a round trip!) to work and back home each day, with NO pay increase for gas mileage or anything...or, we would be fired.

There was NO WAY we were going to travel that far for a job that didn't pay too well!  So, all 3 of us were fired, our supervisor included,  when we told the owner that we didn't want to take him up on his offer.



I love your site, and after reading quite a few of your boss stories I had to submit I work as a chef at a local cafe/restaurant.  I love the staff, l like the menu, I like the fact it is a 20 min walk from my house, I love the creative freedom I have there.  I HATE the owner/boss.  I started out liking Barrie (not her real name). When I started the job last year I could do no wrong in B's eyes, she went as far as to tell me that I would get a profit sharing cheque at the end of the year for at least $3000.  I should give you some background on B, she bought the cafe 5 years ago with money from a lawsuit.  She lives in an apartment below the place, with no kitchen (so she comes up at night and makes food {while drunk} and leaves a total mess for the morning person).  B is crazy and a drunk, she regularly comes up to the bar and takes beer out of the fridge, she smokes pot all the time, and is on pain killers. 

 During classy Friday and Saturday night dinners she comes up and sits with guests and tells them all about her "female" problems (she needs a hysterectomy).  If she sits with a table they get 30% off because they are her new friends.  Anyone who is a friend gets 15% to 50% off, and her friends make up most of our regulars (go figure). So B is always loosing money and is always stressed out.  Because of her medical problems she stays downstairs all the time.  When we get a delivery we phone down and she shoves a cheque out the cat door of her place.  If she has had a bad night (because she drank too much and took pain killers as well) she will not answer her phone or the door, which means we have to ask the delivery guys to postpone the payment.  

I worked with two other chefs and we work really well together.  We have two chefs to call if we can not cover a shift.  About three months ago one of the regular chefs "P" got sick and had to take 3 weeks off.  We tried to make due and I ended up covering most of her shifts.  This meant working 15 days in a row some times (without overtime).  The shifts I did not cover were covered by our call in chefs.  Because we had a very definite team effort going on before "P" went off sick, the guest chefs were not a perfect fit, but I was glad they were there.  I thought I was doing a good job of holding the kitchen together, doing scheduling, ordering food, filling in on shifts and putting at least two hours extra off the clock to keep things running ( I wanted a profit sharing cheque). 

Along comes payday and B hands me my cheque and tells me that I have been putting in too many hours and I need to do more in less time, and that my cheque is more than she has ever paid anyone (it was $900 for two weeks work, 60 hour a week).  So what does B do?  She hires 4 more cooks and cuts us all back to 14 hours a week. 

Now she pays out about $200 every two weeks to each of us but her labor costs are $700/pay period more.  She does not see it because the amount on the cheques is less. This is only a small look into the crazy world of working for B.



I worked at a pizza place in town near a military base, to supplement the inadequate income my husband made as a soldier in the lower ranks.  My boss had an obsession with "The One-Minute Manager" book.  I came into work, clocked in, grabbed my apron and headed for the floor.  It was the time of day before the "rush", so I stood approx. center and took a sweeping look, making a mental checklist of what was needed to bring out from the back to make sure everything our crew needed up front was fully stocked.  My boss looked out his office window and saw me "just" standing there, came out and began to ream me with volume and voracity, in front of my co-workers. He concluded his rant with "you give me a headache", turned and returned the office.  I was momentarily stunned.  I calmly walked to the back, took off my apron, clocked out and placed my time card gently in front of him, said I wasn't feeling well suddenly, turned and walked out.  

The next two days were my scheduled days off, and I spent them stewing about the incident trying to figure out how I could approach him about his boorish assault in a manner that showed class.  On my next day on, I stopped at the 7/11 nearby on my way to work.  As I was preparing to pay for my selection, I spotted one of those small metal boxes with aspirin for sale, and asked the clerk to add that to my purchase.  I walked into work, put on my apron, clocked in, and checked the new work schedule.  I then walked into the office, handed my boss the aspirin, informing him that we were working together for the next three days, then walked out.  About ten minutes later, the boss came onto the floor and said to me, "I like your sense of humor", to which I responded without skipping a beat, "I wasn't joking!".  Although his abrasive nature wasn't cured, he didn't berate me like that again.



This is a story of a pig-ignorant, racist vulgarian of a boss.  It happened in a town in the far north of Western Australia.  The town had quite a few "fringe dwellers" - a loose community of itinerant Aboriginal people who tend to be impoverished, beg for money and cigarettes and have major issues with substance abuse, violence and personal hygiene.  Understandably, no business likes having fringe dwellers on the premises but they're still people, and Australia has some pretty heavy laws against racial discrimination.     

Anyway, I was working as a barmaid in the local pub.  One night a woman fringe dweller staggered in with blood pouring from a head wound.  She'd been attacked and had run to the pub for help.  I locked the door, called the police, sat her down, gave her a glass of water and administered first aid.  She'd come into a bar which was completely empty, so none of the customers even saw her and we lost no business through the door being locked.  Once I saw she was safe and comfortable I continued to serve customers; in other words, the pub lost nothing but the cost of the phone call to the cops.  They arrived within a few minutes to take her to the hospital and that, I thought, was that.  Not so!   When the manager (who had been drinking) found out, he went ballistic.  In front of several regular customers, he shouted abuse at me, demanding to know what sort of stupid f***ing b**** I was, letting a f***ing dirty filthy (Australian equivalent of the n-word) into the place.  I explained that she was hurt and in danger, but that cut no ice.  I had shown the pub up as a f***ing soft touch and all the filthy stinking c**** in town would be swarming in, you stupid f*** get the picture.  Remember this was all in front of customers.   He finished the tirade by saying that, if I ever did the same thing again, I would be sacked.  I asked what I should do if a white woman ever appeared in the same circumstances.  This started him off again.  Obviously, if a white woman needed assistance I should give it to her, only Aboriginal women were to be thrown out when they were injured and desperate (insert the obscenity of your choice every few words).  

 I waited until he ran down, then said "So let me get this clear.  In front of all these people, you have just threatened to sack me if I fail to carry out a racially discriminatory policy.  Have I got that right?"  He looked like he'd been hit on the back of the head with a plank.  I watched with interest as he blathered and dribbled for a couple of minutes, then continued with my job.  Nothing more was ever said on the matter.  I was rather disappointed that I never got to help another injured fringe dweller on the premises, I would have loved to rub  the jerk's nose in it...           



I used to work in a floral department in a popular grocery store in the South. When I started working in the floral dept., the current boss had just been fired (she liked to drink on the job and store her liquor in the floral cooler) so the super sweet clerk took over as manager and she showed me the ropes. Well, we had a few other girls come and go and eventually we had another permanent clerk and the super sweet manager was taken to another store to be promoted. This somewhat left me in charge since there was no one else willing or able to do the job. Eventually the store manager decided to hire an actual manager since they wouldn't promote me to manager since I had only been working there for 4 months or so, despite the fact that I had been the one doing all the design work, record keeping, ordering, cleaning, and basic up keep of the dept. This is when the 'fun' started.

The new manager was Russian and VERY set in her ways. We'll call her Ms. Know-it-All. She seemed very sweet at first, she was very quiet and reserved but very good at what she did. The second week or so she started working me 6 days a week about 10 hours each shift (keep in mind I was still a college student at the time). The other clerk, Mandy, started slacking off and calling in sick a lot, and she was eventually fired. So that left me with Ms. Know. Soon after this Ms. Know started coming in late on very important days, such as when our shipments would come in which was on Mondays and Fridays. For one person to process all of the flowers and put them out, and then begin working on opening the department AND servicing customers was a lot of work and the shipment usually didn't get put away until noon or 1pm on the days she wouldn't come in on those mornings, which left our store manager quite peeved at ME for not doing this more efficiently. I told the store manager that if Ms. Know hadn't ordered twice as much product that we normally sell, I would have no problem with getting the shipment put away on time.

Well, a month later I became pregnant. Ms. Know didn't like this one bit. By the fifth month of my pregnancy She was still having me work 6 days a week doing 10 or more hour shifts. (still in college!!) Ms. Know decided that since she couldn't get a hold of her mother in Russia, then she would just have to GO to Russia to find her, leaving me to run the department without help (because of the extra product SHE ordered, there was a HUGE waste of the department money and they couldn't hire a helper for me). I asked her how I was expected to work here, by myself, lifting the boxes of product twice a week while 6 months pregnant, and still keeping up with the department, and she told me to just deal with it. So that's what I did.

On shipment days I would have to recruit any available employee from other departments to help get the boxes of product from the back of the store, to my dept. in the front. I went about my business normally, when ordering came I ordered a more reasonable amount of product and sales improved immensely because I was able to focus more on designing and keeping the other flowers looking beautiful. Ms. Know is not to be heard from for 2 and a half months!

She finally comes back, the first thing she says to me, 'My how you've gotten so FAT!' (Uh no Ms. Know! That would be an 8 and a half month old fetus in my belly!). No thank you for keeping the dept. looking great, no explanation of why she was gone for SO long! By this time Halloween was coming up and I had not been able to redecorate the dept. for it. So the entire day she is back she has me moving huge displays (8 1/2 months preggo) while she stands about and snaps orders at me. (not to worry, most of the moving was done by me scooting the display along with my feet or occasionally asking help from another employee, a CUSTOMER even started helping me since I had a huge belly and was obviously tired!)

The next week my doctor tells me I definitely need to start to take it easy. I tell Ms. Know this and she reluctantly agrees. Mind you she's more than able to do all this lifting stuff herself, she is just lazy. So all that week she continues to bother the boys in the meat market, package boys and any spare employee she can snag to help her with ANY lifting or moving she has to do since I'm 'useless to her until the baby pops out'!! The end of that week on Friday night I go into labor and have a beautiful baby boy. The store send flowers and balloons and a huge card signed by everyone in the store. Well...almost everyone. Ms. Know didn't want to sign it because she was upset with me for having my baby on such an important weekend. (Halloween)

 I actually came back to work on Monday, planning on doing mainly design work, which means I can sit on a stool behind the counter and make bouquets all day. Well, I shop up at a quarter of nine in the morning, and there is no sign of Ms. Know. I wait until 9, when she was scheduled to come in, and still no sign of her. Well, the shipment is waiting on someone to get it, so I gather some assistance and get them to put the boxes in the back room so I can start pulling roses from them to make arrangements. 11am, still no Ms. Know. I call her at home, she answers the phone with a big yawn and I ask her why she is sleeping and not in the store, she says "Oh honey, I'm not coming in today, now that you're back, I can take my vacation, I was so stressed with you being pregnant and seeing you left all those heavy things, it sure has taken a weight off my shoulders knowing that thing is over with. Well, have a good day honey, buh-bye!" I was speechless. I stood there with the phone in my hand, mouth gaping. I had just delivered a baby 2 days ago! I don't know how they do things in Russia, but here we usually get maternity leave, or at least a few 'easy days' before resuming a normal work load. I marched (well limped) to the store manager's office, Told her that Ms. Know would not be coming in today because she is taking her "Well deserved vacation," and that I would be going home to be with my new born son.

I got a phone call from Ms. Know a few hours later asking me why I would do this to her, that now she would have to find a replacement for me and work all of my days, etc., etc., etc.... I just said to her "Well have a good day honey, buh-bye!"



I managed to have a miserable string of horrible bosses. It started with my first job at eighteen as a part time fast food server. As soon as I was hired, my boss told me he'd sabotage any future job I held. He let me know in no uncertain terms that I was in fast food for life. We were terribly understaffed and in place of hiring on more part timers, he forced me to run from one place to another, all the while berating me for my incompetence despite his patchwork "training." 

On my hiring, he had agreed to give me time off to attend a college seminar, but once I was hired, he saw no need for me to attend, as I didn't need to go to college to work there. When I got upset, he forced me to train two new employees who I later learned were my replacements, then he changed my schedule without telling me, and had an underling fire me for being late. I should have reported him, but I was young and just eager to be away from the job.   

The second job was at a gas station. My boss was Indian, and hired other Indian workers for nearly twice the pay as everyone else, and promoted them over employees who had been there for years. He constantly flaunted his money in front of us, changed our schedules biweekly without telling us, and refused to listen to his subordinates, making life tough for us and making visits unpleasant for customers. Also, he never wore deodorant and in the 120 degree Arizona desert, he could clear the building.   

I was "saved" from this job by a poacher trying to fill a customer service position for an auto glass repair facility. I was to answer phones and set appointments for nearly twice my current wages. I informed everyone I knew nothing about cars and had never answered phones before. I was told by the woman who had poached me, by my manager, and by my boss that they would train me in everything I needed to know over the course of two weeks, but they needed to fill the position immediately and I couldn't afford to give my boss notice. I agreed, as my stomach had been empty for months. 

"Training" consisted of two hours of watching an employee answer phones, and I was thrown into work with almost no explanation of what I was supposed to say. I asked repeatedly what to do, but instead of tell me, the others would come over and do everything for me. After five days, I was called into the office and let go. They cited the reasons as I could not identify whether car brand XYZ, model ABC had a built in antenna in the windshield or not and other such ridiculous model-specific trivia that I should not have been expected to "just pick up" in five days, and that I did not know (literally, no exaggerations) all the major streets in Phoenix, despite having never been to Phoenix, and only living near it for about a year. I pleaded that no one had trained me, and I had been promised two weeks of training, that I had been encouraged to leave my last job without notice and could not go back to it, and that it was the middle of the slow season and no one was hiring. They informed me that they knew all that, and they didn't care.   

My next job at a large electronics store was for a terrible bully who delighted in throwing her weight around. When my car was broken into just before my shift, I called in tears and told her I'd be late. I scraped that glass out of my car and high tailed it over as soon as the police report was done. I was only an hour late. She told me I had done everything right, but being late was inexcusable and I'd have to be written up. Despite the fact that I was the only new hire pulling my weight, she constantly told EVERYONE what a slacker I was and how I was always on break. She made no mention of the employees who ducked into the back stock so managers wouldn't make them work, or the employees who went on break ten or so times a day. To make matters worse, when I was exhausted and DID need a break, she berated me, insulted me, and guilted me out of taking them.   

Thankfully, I transferred to another department where my bosses are really great. They trust me to make my own decisions without running everything past them, and for the first time I'm treated like a real employee, not just a paycheck leech.



Ok  My boss from hell.  I work for a *very large* world wide airplane manufacturer.  This was my first boss there. He was a short man, shorter than me.  I'm barely 5'2" so that tells you what attitude this guy had.  Also, if I knew then what I know now, I wouldn't have to work, because I would have sued the company because of this creep.   I was a single soon to be mom. He kept saying that I had a man to help me somewhere, because being female, I just did.  I kept telling him no, I don't but he was right!  He was the boss!   

This was back in the days before Windows.  Everything was DOS driven.  He told me how important he was to the company, how the company asked his opinion, this group in *city* would call him and ask him to set up a data base, the computer techs called him for help, he set this program up, he did this, he did that.  Then, in the same breath, he demanded I go into his office and delete DOS since he never used it.  I tried explaining that was like the engine in his car. You may not go in and touch it, but it runs  your car!  I refused to delete DOS (because doing so would violate our computer rules and I'd be fired instantly) but suggested he call the help line and tell them.   He told me if I didn't support him in this, he'd find someone who would, implying I'd be fired. I still refused, and again, told him to call the help line.  He backed off.  

 If he wanted to talk to one of the women, he'd go and sit on her desk, right in front of her.  He would *always* need a pencil, so would spread his legs apart to open the pencil drawer.  Even if we tried to hand him a pencil, "no no. I got it!"  If he needed to talk to a guy, he'd wait until the guy was gone, then go sit in the guy's chair and put his feet on the desk and wait.  When the guy came back, boss would continue sitting there with is feet on the desk.   

Another time, a friend and I were leaving for lunch.  My boss somehow got this teeny office building away from the larger building, and it was just big enough for his empire... I mean group.   This building was on the corner of a rather busy intersection.  As my friend and I were pulling out into the 6 lane road to turn left, a guy going about 60 ran the red light and hit us. We were knocked across all 6 lanes and the car spun around at least 3 times.   Everyone in the office saw the accident, and 911 was called.  The fire department had to cut the car apart to get my friend out.  The other driver hit her side, the driver side.   (quick note - at the time, this company had time cards we had to fill out each day.  Technically, we could do them once a week and turn them into payroll, but my boss was a stickler for detail.  If we were sick, we had to come in and fill out that damn card.  In emergencies, other bosses would sign it for us.)   

Ok.  So here I am, on a backboard in a neck brace, after just having been pulled out of a very serious accident.  My boss ran out of the building to flag down the EMT's who were trying to put me in the ambulance.  He refused to let me go until I signed that card, because I probably wouldn't be in for the rest of the day, or the next day.    

Another time, we had a large potluck.  It was for the holidays, so we had all the trimmings - ham, turkey, all the side dishes.. and my boss insisted on cutting and serving the ham.  He'd cut a slice, pick it up with his fingers, place it on someone's plate, then lick his fingers, slice again, pick it up, place it on the plate, lick.. and honestly didn't understand why nobody wanted ham after that.   

When my son was being abused in daycare, he refused to let me leave to pick him up.  He told me to call my mom (who worked) to get him.  Then he told me to call my dad (who worked).  Then he said to get another family member, or a neighbor.  everyone I knew, worked!  He threatened to fire me if I left.  Being a single parent on a single income (poverty wages to boot) I was terrified, and waited till the end of the day.   He would also say in staff meetings, "I'm not saying who messed up, but DAVE!!! (point) did (fill in the blank) and JOHN did (fill in the blank).  These were usually such minor things nobody cared.  Things like being a minute late to the staff meeting, or being a minute late to turn in information, or not pushing in a chair, or not saying good morning Mr. Boss man.  I mean minor things!   

He was also notorious for taking credit for work he didn't do.  He did this to me many times.  My job was making charts.  This was in the days of the 8 pen plotter.  No high speed inkjet for us!  He'd always take credit for doing the work.  Remember, this is the man who insisted I delete DOS!  He would take credit for anybody's work if it made him look good.  He kept saying we were getting credit, but um... no.   He would also open our sealed pay envelopes that came from Payroll.  He said it was on accident.  Not every week, it wasn't!   

I got my boss back.  He had a presentation to give to about 1000 people.  He had me make lots of presentation charts to put on the overhead projector at the theater where this large function was.  Other managers also had to give presentations.   I worked for weeks making the charts.  I worked on 2 different computers hooked up to 2 different 8 pen plotters to do all this.  Once I finished, he saw I put my name on each chart.  He went ballistic on me, and demanded I remake them (on OT, no pay) without my name.  He promised me I'd get credit.  Um... I'd heard that one before!  so I remade the charts and changed just one word on the cover page.  (evil grin)   

Presentation Day!  There my boss stood, in front of 1000 people, clutching this stack of charts to put on the overhead.  He beamed at everyone and said proudly, "I made these myself!  I worked really hard!  I worked on 2 computers!  It took me weeks!  I did this!  It was me!!" and put the first slide up.   The audience erupted in laughter.  My boss then *read* the chart.  "Airplane Production in the Pubic Sound"   My boss tried yelling at me for that, but lucky for me, his boss was behind him and said, "Don't you dare yell at her.  I heard you say you did all that!"   I'm so glad this guy has since retired!  I now have the best boss in the world!



Our company’s director of HR requires all employees to attend an all day seminar at a hotel about an hour’s drive away. Yes, it was extremely lame and extremely boring, and no, we, the part time employees, didn’t get paid extra for attending. All we got was mileage and a wasted work day. We read pages of company policy, broke up into groups and parroted out the information table by table. 

Then, somewhere in the mind-numbing middle of the seminar, the HR director gets up to the podium to begin a talk on sexual harassment. It is interrupted by a young female employee who was instructed by him to disrupt his speech by demonstrating how someone might sexually harass (him) by touching him inappropriately. (on the shoulder) The young woman looked shy and uncomfortable and as if she has made the decision to follow “the request” of the HR director to participate in the demonstration in order to keep her job. She touches him and runs back to her seat. “You see,” he says, “any one of us could be sexually harassed in the workplace and I just want you to know that this company has a zero tolerance policy regarding sexual harassment. You are to report violations to me and I promise you they will be dealt with swiftly!” 

The next line of his speech went like this: “Men have traditionally held administrative and executive positions in the workplace, while women have traditionally held sexual positions…I mean, um…secretarial positions!”



I work for a company that has a contract with a major coffee company to service the water filtration system they have in their stores, which my company builds and sells. These systems which are simple do have complicated components so a lot of training is required to understand and fix them .  

After only a week of "training" if you can call it that, my trainer we will call him "LAZY!" would sit in the van and tell me to go in the store and "do my thing".  Lucky for me I am sort of a quick learner and did not have too much trouble "doing my thing". The thing that made me mad as heck was the fact he made me do this very complicated and involved repair job by myself at a very well to do store only after seeing it done once! I guess I should pat myself on the back or realize I am not as dumb as I thought but the kicker was after I finished the job I called him on his cell and said I am finished can you come in and check my work to make sure I did every thing right. He asked me "Is it leaking?" I said "no" he replied "Well it's fine then hurry up I want to go home!"

After getting back into the van and heading back home Lazy  told me, "Now if anything breaks or goes wrong with that system its on you not me!" I just looked at him and said "NO ITS NOT! YOUR ARE TRAINING ME!" I had only been there  a week and a half, and  company policy dictates that a technician must be trained for at least a month before being let out on their own.

Well after that little scene Lazy called the main office (In front of me!) and told them I was not a good technician and if I could not change "insert complicated repair" after only a week by myself that I should not be allowed to stay on. In which the service manager asked" Why was I by myself? and Lazy replied, "Well he has to learn somehow!"  The manager just said "Ok I will talk to him about it." Well with a smug face Lazy said "You might want to start looking for another job!"

When I got home that evening ,I received a phone call from my manager. He asked what's been happening the whole time. I told him everything in the most tactful way I could muster! He ask me what repair I had done after that he said, "That's impressive it took Lazy a month and a half to learn that!" Needless to say I was not training with Lazy anymore and started training with the manager which I have learned more from him in a day than a week from Lazy.



I worked at an office for about four years with a young lady, "Mary," and she and I got along quite well. She was a law student, and I planned to become one very soon. Last summer Mary graduated from law school, took the bar exam (and subsequently passed), and continued working at the office doing new "lawyerly" duties and still getting paid what she had been paid as a law student. I was still working there one day a week while in my second year of law school, and she had attempted to talk to the owners of our company about a pay raise due to her new status as an attorney and her new, stressful duties. It seemed only fair, but she could not get a sit-down meeting with the owners. Finally she did, and she informed them that she would be seeking a job with the county prosecutor's office, since criminal law was what she really wanted to do. They claimed they understood but that they appreciated her work and said they would be very glad to have her in their office as much as they could.

Thinking she had left things on a good note, Mary proceeded to continue working hard, as usual. Then she actually *did* get a job in a prosecutor's office. I was very happy for her, since this is truly what she wanted to do with her law degree. She gave her notice, and on her last day, some of our co-workers bought her a cake. They simply wanted to wish her well, not throw her a huge bash. (I was not there, as I had class.) Well, one of the owners was out of town, but the other one who was there told our co-workers NOT to bring out the cake, as he was completely bitter that she was leaving, on to bigger and better things. Of course everyone felt too threatened to ignore him. Mary ended up taking the cake home with her. After hearing about how both owners wished her well on her potential new endeavors, he acted like a complete child about it!

A few months later, I left for another position in another state with a law firm (where I am currently working before I start my last year of law school). I called my former boss (one of the owners of the above-mentioned office) several weeks before my departure to tell him I had taken another job and to explain that it was not a reflection on them but it was really nothing but geography, as I will be living here (800 miles away from that office) after law school with my husband-to-be, and it would be best for my future career if I took a summer position here. I called and left several messages, asking him to call me back, and offered my services at the office once school started up again and I was back in town. No phone call back, nothing. While I did not expect them to re-hire me, I at least expected a call back or a good luck or something. For all I knew, he never got my messages and didn't know that I was leaving! But I had tried, so it wasn't my fault if he was caught off-guard when I didn't show up after final exams.

I've since heard from friends who still work there that I have been badmouthed by the owners around the office; meanwhile when I was there, they did nothing but rave about my job performance, sometimes during office meetings. My former co-workers are so sorry that I left, and much has gone downhill since. Thankfully they are all wonderful people.

I know they are just being bitter about my leaving for something better. Really, it had nothing to do with them. IT'S BUSINESS, NOT PERSONAL! I wasn't going to stay in a state where I was miserable just for them! I just can't believe the complete lack of professionalism-- it is so infantile!


This past summer, I was told that my position with my company would be eliminated in 2 months.  In fact, the company was closing our office all together.  How did I find out?  I was in another city for said company 8 hours away from my home office and conferenced in on a phone call while my boss (who wasn't losing his job) and the HR guy told everyone else in the office. 

Not such a big deal, I guess, but I was 5 months pregnant at the time.  Finding out you're losing your source of income and health insurance when you're pregnant is not pleasant.  Slightly panicky, I started calling contacts at other companies to see if they had openings, even though I was going to be needing 2 months off for when baby came. 

I didn't have much luck at first, but then found a small company who did some subcontract work for us in a city 1.5 hours away from where I lived and worked who thought it would be a wonderful idea for me to work for them, as the time I needed off would be during their slow period.  Pay would be great, I could work some from home, drive to the other city 2 or 3 days a week as needed, they offered paid maternity leave, full health benefits, the option to come back only part time after baby was born, I could stay with current company until I got laid off and received my severance package, the works.  I considered myself very lucky and stopped looking for other work. 

They sent me a formal offer of acceptance, but before I signed it and sent it back to them, I had a few minor questions and wanted them to clear them up for me.  So I called owner #1 (Curt) and left him numerous messages asking him to get back to me so we could discuss my start date and the questions I had on the contract, etc.  Never heard back from him. 

My unofficial start date came and went (after being laid off from other company) without hearing back from Curt, who until now I had a conversation with once a week discussing my (supposedly great) future with the company.  I finally found the number of owner #2 (Jeff), and called him.  He seemed very surprised to hear from me.  Jeff was stammering on and on while on the phone with me about how he thought Curt had gotten ahold of me, but that they had decided NOT to hire me.  Note at this time, I'm 7 months pregnant and pretty much hysterical.  Says so sorry for the mix up, I thought Curt was taking care of this, etc.  Jeff proceeds to give me the phone number of 2 other companies he "knew for a fact" were hiring and wishes me luck.  I called these 2 companies and upon hearing I'm pregnant and so far along, say no thanks, we're not looking.  Wonderful.  Jeff calls me again and says Curt will be calling me to explain why they decided not to hire me right now, but are hoping to hire me sometime in the future, etc.  This was 6 weeks ago.  I have never again heard from Curt nor Jeff, and I'm not expecting to.  I was not only angry they would do this to a pregnant, hormonally imbalanced woman, but that they wouldn't even call to tell me, that if they just ignored me, I'd go away and leave them alone, but the fact that I wasted 2 months thinking I would have a job when I got laid off and didn't bother to look for anything else just about killed me.  My husband was so upset, he, unbeknownst to me, called Curt and left him a very nasty voice mail.  Not professional, I know, but what Curt and Jeff did wasn't professional either. 




My first day at my new job, I show up 20 minutes early. ( I like to be prompt if not early the first day.) The receptionist tells me that my attorney isn't in yet and neither is his partner, so I decide to go down stairs for a smoke. (Which she suggested.)

I come back up about 10 minutes later, right on time now. Still he's not in, and neither is the partner (whom I've never met) or the secretary I'm replacing. I think that's odd but I wouldn't want to train my replacement either so I chalk her up to that. And in my forgiving nature I decide that obviously both attorneys are caught either in court or traffic. (something very mundane.)

At 9:30am the partner shows up and the receptionist introduces me to him, I find this bad form since he didn't even expect me and I had to tell him 3 times I was replacing "Sam", the previous secretary.

So he shows me my desk and tells me that he and "Doug" don't really work together much, they just basically share office space and one case. I think nothing of it and try to make sense of my desk. He also recommends I got out and get some coffee or have a smoke....

That's odd usually employers don't want you taking company time to smoke. But I think, what the hell, maybe he's just trying to be polite.

I decide to stay in. Doug show's up at 9:50am (I was told to start at 9am, btw and it was stressed) with no apology and say's simply he'll set me up on the computer system.

At 12pm he leaves for lunch and doesn't tell me anything at all. I don't even know how long I get. So I just sit and wait. Finally the other partner comes up and tells me I should go get something, he and I leave.

I come back and still no Doug, around 2:30pm he calls me from his cell and tells me that he'll be going home and he'll see me tomorrow.

Mean while I still don't know what I'm expected to do for him or what needs to be done. So I sit at my desk and read the company manuals till 5:30p.

The next day lunch comes around and he asks me to get him a very specific salad from a specific restaurant. I say sure and hike down 4 city blocks attempting to find said restaurant. Also I'm doing this on my 1/2 hour lunch break. After 15 minutes I can't find it so I get him a similar salad from a similar restaurant. Well when I show up with it, mind you this has left me with 5 minutes to smoke a cigarette really quickly and grab a diet coke for lunch, he yells at me for about 5 minutes telling me that I obviously didn't go to where he told me to and NEVER go there again. He proceeds to keep telling me throughout the day that I should "never go there again".

The next day he tells me to go get his salad and to find the restaurant but don't take more then my lunch break doing it unless I intend to make up the "lost time". I have a bit of a temper but I manage to keep it in check and answer sweetly that I'll do just that and be back before he knows it.

I look up the restaurant in phone book call to confirm it and fly out of the office. I manage to find it 2 blocks away with a 2' x 3' sign. This is just ridicules for a large busy city in the Financial District.

I order his salad, rush back bring it to him and try to slip out to get my diet coke and cigarette (which is becoming my daily lunch) when he storms out of his office and shaking the salad at me demands that I take it back and have it "tossed" with the dressing on it. NOT on the side! While he's berating me that I shouldn't over look details like this and how "Important" it is... blah, blah, blah.

Well I've had enough, so I take the salad and storm out back down the 2 blocks in my tiny skirt and heels to have the salad tossed. Once there I'm subjected to the glares of the other people just trying to get lunch and the workers who keep telling me in broken English that if I wanted it tossed I should have asked for it the first time.

I bring it back, still piping mad and he says absolutely nothing! No apology for his rude behavior no explanation. I can't believe him! So I try not to storm out of his office as he grumbles behind my back, "you should have had tossed the first time." I just manage to not slam the office door and go back to my desk to rant to my friends on line.

Needless to say I quit that job after about 2 weeks of fetching his salad.


Page Last Updated May 18, 2007