Etiquette Hell = Where the ill-mannered deserve to go


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Bad, Bad Bosses

Jan-Jun 2003 Archive
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I used to work as a temp for a small temporary help agency.  One day, they informed me that they needed some help compiling surveys they'd gathered for a soft drink company.  Would I like to handle the assignment?  I promptly agreed (work was work, and I had tuition to pay for).   On the first day of this new assignment, they showed me and another girl a sample of the survey.  They had been filled out by managers of restaurants, motels, and stores, and they indicated which soft drinks those places sold.  I was told that we'd have to count up all the results and come up with a report that would indicate which soft drinks were most popular in our city.  Fair enough.  I asked if they had any particular method in mind.  My supervisor looked vague.  

"We had two girls do this last year, and I don't know what they did.  I just remember that at one point they had the surveys spread all over the floor."  Um, okay. That was no help at all.   These days, the work would probably be aided immeasurably by a computer and a spreadsheet program, but in those days all we had were pencils, paper, and calculators.  It turned out that there were hundreds and hundreds of those surveys, and we were expected to have them all compiled by the end of the week.   Halfway through the week, it became obvious to me and the other girl that the work was going far too slowly.  I asked the supervisor for help.  She frowned, and then she brightened, saying once again that the other girls from last year had the surveys spread all over the floor - which still wasn't helpful!  She then added that, if we got the work done in time, we'd receive a fat bonus.  With that incentive, we knuckled down and started working twice as hard, skipping breaks and working past normal office hours.   We finally finished the report by working until 9:00 p.m. that Friday with no meal breaks.  We never did "spread the surveys all over the floor"; nor did we get the fat bonus we'd been promised.   The temp agency went out of business shortly afterwards.



I had been working in a restaurant for a couple of months when we got a new boss/chef. She was just out of culinary school, only 20 years old. I was about 29 years old at the time, and felt that while she was a good chef, she was a little green at the job of managing people. She was snobby and aloof at times, and talked snidely about her employees to other employees. Being older, I felt like I was launched back into high school, and New Boss was the "mean girl," calling the shots.        

One very hot summer afternoon, we had to set up an outdoor food tent for a special event. We  dragged around a BBQ grill and all the supplies to make hamburgers and hot dogs to sell along with chips and bottled drinks. Not something any of us wanted to be doing, especially New Boss (she resented that she, a chef, had to do such lowly work) but it hadto be done. It should have been a fairly simple endeavor.  In my experience with these outdoor events, we should have started out with cooking a decent supply of burgers and dogs ahead of time (and have them in buns and in those metallic "envelopes," keeping warm in a heatbox), then as those were being sold, we could keep on cooking and packaging, so the food would be always relatively fresh. That way the customers could order, pay, and have their food handed to them with no wait time. I told my boss this plan, but she disagreed. New boss figured we could just start cooking the food on the grill last minute and we'd be fine.        I was working with two teenage boys getting the burgers and dogs cooked, put on buns, and packaged, while New Boss was taking orders and calling them out to us. 

We're under a small, open-sided tent, all of us visible to the customers. Surprise surprise, the line of customers was huge within minutes, and you just cannot speed up the rate at which a hotdog or hamburger cooks on a grill. We were backed up. Customers were ordering food and having to stand aside for a few minutes to receive their food. New Boss had no system to keep track of who ordered what, and nowhere for people to really stand and wait for their food. New Boss just kept taking orders, while we were left with the task of trying to figure out who, among the waiting customers, ordered first and who ordered what (among trying to keep up with making and packaging the food). The customers were complaining to us that their food was taking too long. The customers in line were mad that they had to wait in line so long. They were mad if we gave out a hotdog to the person who ordered after them (understandably). And it was very hot. We were outside in the heat by the grill sweating like pigs. We were moving as fast as humanly possible to get this food to the people. I've worked in other high pressure food service situations, and this was the worst because we knew the problems could have been avoided if my boss had  agreed to get some food prepared ahead of time.        

So here's the kicker. New Boss, frustrated at the way things were going, turned around and yelled at the three of us, "YOU GUYS ARE TOTAL RETARDS!" I looked up from my oh-so-dignified job of putting hotdog after hotdog into hotdog buns. And I looked at her, and around at all the customers who heard her. I froze. I was so very angry. But everybody was staring, so I just smiled and laughed it off and said something sarcastic so that the customers might think we were just joking around. I didn't speak to her for the rest of the day, until we were cleaning up and she sheepishly asked me if my co-worker was having a bad day because he seemed to be in a bad mood. I said "well, we could have avoided the problems if we'd made the food ahead of time. And it was miserable and hot out there, and then you called us 'retards,' in front of all the customers. I think we're all in a bad mood." She got defensive and said she was just kidding about the name-calling, and then she left. We never talked about it again, and she quit a couple months later. Good riddance! 



As a paralegal with 20 years of experience, I spent four months looking for a new position and had received two job offers.  Unfortunately, I chose the wrong position.   I worked as a paralegal for a Plaintiff's personal injury law firm.  My duties were drastically altered within a 1 week period of time.   During the next seven months, I was handling 80% of the paralegal functions in the office while the other five paralegals sat around either playing on the internet or talking on the telephone all day long.   After being coerced into putting in numerous hours of unpaid overtime, I was called into an office and spoke with two of the partners and told I was going to be receiving a $5,000 raise and a $2,500 bonus.   

Two weeks later, I spoke to the managing partner, who I had previously stayed away from due to the fact that the man seemed to be constantly sabotaging my work and did not know a thing about law (everything he did seemed to smack of malpractice).   He attempted to force me to believe that a bonus had never been promised.   I refused to lie to the man and told him if he wanted to go back on his word, that was his choice, and I went back to work.   The man followed me back into my office, started screaming like a demented lunatic and got my boss (the owner) on the phone.   All of a sudden, the managing partner slaps my hand and the phone goes flying and he fires me - and gropes in all the wrong places as I leave the office.   Due to this situation, 3/4's of their cases have been irrevocably screwed up due to the fact that I did not leave readable notes regarding outstanding work I was drafting and this firm will loose hundreds of thousands of dollars.   I researched the firm to discover the reason for the ridiculous behavior and found out that 1 of the people had been disbarred in 2 separate states regarding conducting a major automobile insurance scam and a 3rd state had set up a fund to assist clients who had been screwed due to this person's malpractice.   So now, after placing a request with the State Department of Labor to assist me in getting my unpaid money back, I am back to looking for a job and wonder if there are any good and ethical lawyers in the state of New York to work for??



As a newly separated, divorcing single parent I was elated when after interviewing with the owner of a very successful real estate company I was offered the job of admin. assistant at $14/hr. The company was a husband/wife team that boasted several million dollars in property sales annually. They lived in a lavish home and drove expensive cars. I quit the cashier job I had and began the new job at the posh real estate office. I worked mostly with the wife (we'll call her Cruella) who praised my work and commented several times how relieved she was to have someone in the office who she could trust to "leave things to". She had me do things I thought were a little odd (but what the heck she's paying me decent money) like take her car to the car wash and clean out the 2 feet deep fast food garbage from the floor-boards (did I mention Cruella was obese?). Things seemed to be going well until two weeks later when payday (a Monday) came ... and went. I asked about getting paid and was told I would be paid at the end of the week. Hmmm. Now mind you this couple was turning in receipts for dinners that totaled more than my rent AND Cruella knows that I'm newly divorced with small children to support and not receiving child support yet.

On Wednesday Cruella suddenly announces that I will be expected to "keep the office running" as they will be leaving on Thursday to go to Hawaii for a long (impromptu) weekend. I can handle a couple of days in the office on my own - no problem. Before leaving for lunch I ask Cruella if I can expect my paycheck before they leave for the weekend (since I'm completely broke at that point and don't even have milk in the fridge). She becomes incensed and snaps that she'll take care of it. Upon my return from lunch I find an "employment agreement" on my desk that is back-dated to my date of hire and a post-it note stating that when I sign the agreement I will receive my paycheck. The agreement states that my wage is $8/hr (fifty cents an hour LESS than I was making at my other job). I panic and dig out the paperwork from the state employment service with the job posting on it. It clearly states the pay is $14 per hour. I took the job posting and the employment agreement into Cruella's office and confronted her about the discrepancy. She became livid and told me that since I was a single mother I qualified for WELFARE so I didn't need to make $14 per hour since I could get food stamps, etc. and I should be happy to even have a job. (That *thunking* sound was the echo still reverberating around the earth from when my jaw hit the floor). 

I stood my ground and explained that I had accepted the job for the rate advertised and expected to be paid $14/hr for the hours I had worked up to that point. Cruella threw a full-scale, snot-flinging, hissy-fit screeching that I was dipping into her "vacation money", called me filthy names and then threw a real estate guide book at me. I called the state employment office and asked what I should do. I was told Cruella had to pay me the $14/hr for the days I had already worked but could change my wage as she desired as of that day forward. I went back and told Cruella that if I had contacted the state and if didn't have a check for the full amount before she left that day I would resign immediately and contact an attorney. The screaming and slamming continued for another half hour or so until Cruella's husband (let's call him ... oh.... I dunno ... simpering weenie boy - SWB for short) arrived at the office. 

SWB spoke in hushed tones with Cruella for a few minutes (He was hushed - she continued to screech) then came into my office to tell me that I wasn't working out. Cruella didn't think I was performing at the full capacity that the $14 pay rate was for (interesting since I was performing well enough that she was going to leave me in charge of her business and her clients for two days completely unsupervised). I would need to look for another job *but* my termination wasn't effective until after they got back from Hawaii. Oh, Pa-leeze! Bwaaa-haa-haa-haa-ha!!! Yeah right. I told him to give me the check for the full amount (pleading poverty and no gas to get to the office unless I was paid) and I would work while they were gone then we would discuss the change in pay when they returned or I would resign. He gave me the check (sucker) ... I went into Cruella's office and called her a psycho B**** (not my finest moment) then walked out of the office without another word to either of them and went straight to THEIR bank and cashed the check. I did not go back - ever. Shortly after that I got a great job with a wonderful boss making (and actually getting paid) $14/hr plus benefits.

I finalized my divorce from the toad, met a prince a few years later and am living happily ever after. Cruella and SWB, however, fell into a fiery Hawaiian volcano on their impromptu vacation ... no they didn't really but wasn't that fun? :oP



First I love the site! Thank you for all the time and effort you put into it! As far as the bosses from hell go.. Do I have a story for all of you. I moved to a new city to be with my now husband. I left a VERY! upscale department store that one might find on 5th Ave, and went to work for a mortgage law firm. I have worked in law firms before and found the experience little stuffy but very professional. My first clue should have been, when I interviewed I was told that they did not hire people for a specific position, but that we would be trained in all positions and the one that "fit" us best would become permanent. So the first day I started with about 5 other people. I had previous experience with multi-line phone systems so I started out being the receptionist. There was girl who was my trainer, lets call her Jill, was somewhat uneducated and did not have a very professional manner on the phone. I had worked for a professional phone answering service so I stay very professional while working. Jill and I didn't ever have a verbal conflict but I suppose there was some tension between us as I didn't feel that she handled situations very professionally. 

Within a week the immediate supervisor for our area, lets call her Sue, calls me into an empty office to talk. I was informed by Sue that I was too uppity for herself and Jill and that if I wanted to keep my job I needed to find a way to make Jill my friend. Additionally, my manner of dress and make up were making other people in the office uncomfortable, "everyone" felt like I was showing off. I had just left a job where I was required to dress not only with flair but in clothing that was on the same scale as what was available in the store, so my wardrobe was somewhat, for lack of a better term, upscale, and I actually did not have the funds to go out and buy a whole new less expensive one! I took all this in stride as I needed to keep my job. I stopped wearing make up at all and tried to keep everything I wore as simple as possible. That seemed to solve that problem for awhile. 

So the owner of the firm, who by the way was not a lawyer and had not even graduated from college, hired and fired an executive assistant while I was there. I had been waiting to be trained in one of the other 3 areas that it was possible to work in but had thus far stayed a receptionist. It was decided at some point by someone that I would be the new executive assistant. With this new fancy title and work load came exactly no raise. Jill thought that she would become the executive assistant and was quite upset at being passed over, which made Sue upset that her pet was unhappy. I, luckily, was out of both of their reach professionally. To some extent I now had some control over them. For a staffing update, of the 5 people that started with me now only I remained, of the 22 people that worked there when I started about 14 where left. The atmosphere was somewhat oppressive and high tension. Until this point I had not had a lot of contact with the owner. He worked in the same office with all of us but he was somewhat aloof and I had never had the occasion to speak with him. 

My first "task" was to create a spreadsheet that tracked the times a file entered the firm until we sent out the documents transferring ownership of the property to it's new owners. We were marketing a very speedy turn around time, something like 24 hours as opposed to the week it would take normally. So I did this one project the entire rest of my employment with this company. I was never allowed to take on the tasks of my executive assistant position as my boss was something of a control freak. I would be shown how to do the tasks, but they would require installing a program on my computer or to have additional access granted to the network, or SOMETHING and those items where never done. So I started to have some very strange assignments. I was supposed to drive to the same fast food restaurant everyday to buy my boss the same lunch everyday. I was given the privilege of returning his movie rentals. I was directed to return his, and his wife's unwanted clothing purchases to the stores where purchase. I was not given a way to be reimbursed for gas/mileage, and if these tasks went beyond the assigned work time then that was my problem, I guess I should have driven faster! 

Then I was planning the family trip to Mexico. The boss's wife was technically the vice-president of the company, so when she came in the office with their three children in tow she like to make her presence known, despite the fact that she never actually worked there for even a single hour. In front of the entire office staff she told one employee that she could "fire his A$$". Lovely considering her children where there. On one occasion she came in the office with only the 2 oldest, I was just getting around to wondering where the infant was, when I was told to go sit in the parked car where the infant had been left strapped in her car seat for the last 20 mins. I went and sat in the parked car with the infant for over an hour! 

Next we had the company Christmas Party, now through having been in the room while he went over various accounting tasks that I was supposedly going to be handling, I knew that the company had well over a million dollars in cash in the bank. The boss was supposed to plan a fancy party at a nice restaurant where of course the company would pay. Well he didn't make plans in time, or at all I believe now. We ended up having the company party at one of the employee's homes, as a pot luck. Now because both he and his wife were extraordinarily pretentious even this turned into a major faux pas all on its own. I had the opportunity to visit my employer's home on one of my strange little errands and it was nice, enough cluttered, 3 bedroom home, not anything fancy or even very big, maybe 2000 sq ft. The employee who hosted the event had a huge 5 bedroom, 3 living, 2 dining home that was almost 4000 sq ft. I was witness to the boss's wife calling this woman who generously offered her home and asking her if she was sure that she could pull off an elegant sit down dinner. If not she would be happy to come over to make sure everything would be in order. The poor hostess was horrified. I, by the way, was dispatched to said home to help with preparations. 

Later in the evening everything is going well and the dinner, home, serving, everything was elegant and well thought out. The boss apparently had a few too many drinks. There was a young man employed with the firm who had been in a terrible car accident about a year and a half prior. He had the whole upper bone of his leg replaced with titanium. The boss knew this as he knew the family of this young man quite well, and also knew that he was in need of an operation to take out some of the screws in his thigh because they were quite painful. So, when this person goes to sit down, the boss pulls the chair out from underneath him causing him to fall on the floor which is hard wood. Of course this was excruciating for the young man. Later the boss kept saying it was a joke, which of course no one found funny. 

So a few weeks later and its off to Mexico again. This time things got really weird. First after planning the trip I am call into his office. He shows me an envelope he has put together. It has signed blank checks for all of the bank accounts both company and private, has copies of all his credit cards front and back with his driver's license and notes authorizing me to use them, and he gives me the spare keys to his house, both SUVS, and an extra work truck he keeps at his home. This man has never so much as trusted me to do MINOR bookkeeping tasks he would be supervising, now I have access to everything he owns. In addition he admonished me repeatedly not to tell the two supervisors that I had any of this available to me. Both of these supervisors he had knows for many years, and considered personal friends. I took the envelope, secured it and never looked at it again until he asked for it upon his return. 

Then I was directed to go to his house because he had some more paperwork he needed to give me. So I drove out to his house yet again. When I arrived he didn't actually have anything to give me, but I could go ahead an help out by feeding and changing the baby while his wife finished packing. So all three of the children are sitting around the table. They are 5, 7, and the infant. I feed the baby, and take her into the living room to put her into her travel outfit. While I am in the living room the mother comes down and is telling the children to hurry so they can leave. The 7 year old is proudly saying how much of her breakfast she ate, when apparently her mother sees food on the floor. She then directs the 7 year old to eat the food dropped on the floor. I have to say I was frozen in place, I didn't know what to do! Meanwhile the 7 year old is crying telling her mother she's not a dog, it was horrible! Finally they are gone! I have been directed to stay at the house until the maid gets there, wait while she cleans, then lock up the house. 

At this point I'm completely drained. Once the maid comes and goes, I went back to the office and got upbraided for being gone so long from the office, clearly they needed me to help out there! At this point I start seriously searching for another job. There are about 8 employees left and I didn't think I could take another scene like the one in the kitchen again. 

Pretty soon the family is off on another trip. I have been directed by my boss to find someone to hang deer screen in his garden. I tell him that I know a friend of mine that could use the extra cash and that if it's ok with him I'll ask my friend to do it. It's fine, he doesn't care who does the work. So the day comes I drive my friend out to the home, show him were everything is, give him the keys to the truck where equipment is stored and so on. He calls me when the work is done and I go pick him up, make sure everything is in order, tools are put away, and the house is locked up. When the boss gets back he wants to know why I have clocked hours on that Saturday. He didn't think it was necessary for me to go to his house with my friend. I should have just handed my friend the keys and let him go. There was no end to why I didn't think that was appropriate, not the least of which is that the boss didn't even want his 2 close friends and work associates to have access to his property but I'm supposed to assume he wants someone he doesn't even know to have the run of his house, vehicle, and any number of expensive work tools! 

About two weeks after that incident I was told by one of the supervisors, the only one left as Sue had already resigned, not to be alarmed that they were going to start interviewing for my position! Thank goodness within a week I had a job offer I could live with and left. When I gave my resignation, the boss took it then told me they would not need me anymore after that day, I was welcome to leave immediately. In the state where I live this is illegal, if a person gives a two week notice management must either let them work the two weeks OR compensate them for that two weeks. I knew this but let it drop. When I left there were 4 employees left. I ran into one of the people that was still there a while later and was told after I left the boss told everyone I was a traitor and walked out on the company. 

This is a BRIEF account of what happened there, there was incidents with Christmas decorations, $10,000 of art work and an interior designer, other OFFICE employees being dispatched to his home to work in the garden, a highly trained computer programer being used as a receptionist, and many of the employees that left where fired for no or little reason. The only thing I still feel badly about is the 7 year old. Unfortunately I know the laws in my state regarding what constitutes child abuse/endangerment. This kind of thing would be considered verbal abuse and not have any consequences for the parents if reported. I still worry about those kids though. I, happily, have moved on the a state agency where if nothing else I'm not babysitting! 



My sister, Anne, got engaged a couple of weeks ago. She came in to my room to tell me all the details the morning after it happened, but asked me not to tell anyone in our large immediate family because she wanted to wait and surprise everyone over dinner. So my mom planned a dinner in honour of Anne and James. I scurried around, bought a cake and flowers and made sure the house was clean. On the day of the party (3 days after her engagement) the whole family was over for what they thought was a regular family dinner.

Anne and James arrive fashionably late, and I can tell they are obviously excited and just dying to tell everyone the news. Before they can say or do anything, the phone rings. Anne answers it and then leaves the room. She and her fiance do not come back in to the room with everyone else for about 45 minutes. Strange behavour for a couple about to announce their engagement at a party thrown for them.

When they finally return, Anne is not her usual, bubbly self. Anne and James make no grand announcement, but simply wait until someone notices the ring on Anne's finger. Throughout the rest of the evening, Anne is strangely quiet and withdrawn.

Here's why:

The person who phoned her was her boss. Boss opened by saying "Hi, how's the Engagement Party going?" Anne, thinking that Boss was calling to send her good wishes, responded that we were just about to sit down to dinner and that they hadn't announced anything yet. Boss: "Well, you need to come in to work immediately." Anne, thinking she was joking, just laughed. Then realized that Boss was serious. Anne works at a coffee shop. She had asked another girl to cover her shift. There are many other part-timers on staff who would have been very happy to pick up another shift... *especially* since they all knew it was Anne's once-in-a-lifetime engagement party. It was also a Sunday night and the coffee shop was not busy. Boss-from-Hell did not care and *demanded* that my sister come in, but eventually conceded that my sister was *allowed* to eat dinner first, if she was quick about it and got to work within 20 minutes (including 10 minute driving time)

The reason Anne was out of the room for 45 minutes is because she was bawling in her bedroom. This is how she will remember her engagement party for the rest of her life.

Anne quit the next day, hurt and saddened because up until then she thought that Boss actually cared about her as a person. Boss told her that she was being "unreasonable". As if a 4 hour shift, easily covered by other staff, on a quiet night, for minimum wage was more important than a once-in-a-lifetime event as guest of honour.

I sentence Boss to the fires of etiquette hell for being such a heartless, uncaring woman.




My story won't be too long. My boss annoyed the hell out of me. I used to do a programming job for him. He was owner of that small IT company. Sometimes he would sit behind my back watch me program and give me advices. I just could not focus, but little he cared. The guy thought he was the perfection itself. The other flash point was his instructions. He would tell me what to do and how he wanted it done. I would take notes and read them back to him just to make sure we are on the same page. Then I would go ahead and code. After a while he would come, look what I did and scream bloody murder that everything is wrong, he had meant just opposite, that I should stick my useless notes to my butt because I am asshole and I have huge ego. So no matter how hard I worked, how many hours I spent there I was wrong-wrong-wrong, I was an idiot and how he was always right, and how he predicted my downfall in this project and how... you f@%$*ng name it. He was like psycho self-starter - the more he screamed, the more he wanted to scream. 

Since then I really hate sayings "devil is in details", "it's all in putting". Don't get me wrong I was not right all the time. But I was not wrong all the time either as he wanted this to look like. And I don't think I did something so outrages for him to call me names. I quit when my blood pressure started going out of control and I started having nosebleeds and going temporary blind every week. Just couldn't take it anymore.


I'd like to share a Boss story with you. This happened over a decade ago, when I was very young (20), very new to the working world, and too foolish to realize that, no matter what, one should *never* make friends with one's boss. Never. Ever!

"Lissa" was a transplant to my state, newly separated from a man who still adored her; and I was new to town, so neither of us had many friends. Lissa was obviously lonely and so my co-workers and I, who reported to her, were her only "girlfriends" that she had to chat with. The workload was pretty light sometimes, so we all spent a lot of work time in her office giggling over the sorts of things girlfriends talk about: guys, sex, diets, the usual stuff. We'd go out together for lunches or in the evening, sometimes with the other girls from the office or with my roommate or sometimes just the two of us; and in fact I was with her when she met "Dave," the man who would become her second husband.

The first clue that there was a problem should have been the fact that, if we were out together at a club and someone asked Lissa to dance, she'd "order" me to dance with him if he didn't appeal to her. I always treated it like a joke, and for all I know it was, but in retrospect it's pretty horrifyingly inappropriate.

Well, time rolled on, and Lissa's new relationship with Dave was really heating up. They decided they were going to get married. They planned a wedding for the fall, shortly after her divorce would be final (it takes six months in my state) and so for several months the lengthy afternoon "meetings" in Lissa's office were really wedding-planning sessions--looking over books of invitations, discussing flowers and food and dresses, etc., etc. I was happy and excited for her, as I was planning my own wedding for the following June. Giddy with excitement, we promised to be bridesmaids for one another.

Second clue: Lissa and I go clothes shopping. I'm a BBW, so I can't shop in the same stores as Lissa. I traipse around after her for hours as she tries on outfit after outfit; and finally when she's done, we duck quickly into the only store at that mall that I can buy clothes in. I quickly pick out a couple of dresses off the rack, try the first one on and go to find Lissa to show her. Lissa is sitting on the floor, obviously bored, and says, "It looks awful on you. I'm tired; can we go home now?" Sheesh.

Third clue: If your boss, no matter how close you are, ever asks you to "score some pot" for her, get yourself a tape recorder and ask her to please repeat that. I wish I had.

Well, Lissa's wedding comes and goes. Plans change several times; I'm 'uninvited' as a bridesmaid; it ends up being a cheap affair with bargain pizza and not much else; but she's radiant, and we're all happy for her. She departs on her two-and-a-half-week whirlwind honeymoon, and we all work hard filling in in her absence.

The first day back, Lissa calls a staff meeting. Because of "insufficient coverage," a new policy has been laid down: No one can be out of the office longer than five consecutive business days. Surely that doesn't mean me, I ask; after all, I put in for my wedding and had it approved almost a year ago, and I've been saving vacation ever since! Nope, that includes me as well. Never mind that I'm planning a wedding in my own hometown, 400 miles away--difficult to do even with a week or so on location. Never mind the fact that there is no logical reason for this new policy, as there's a light workload and we're all familiar with one another's files. There it is; suck it up.

About a month after the honeymoon, Lissa announces her pregnancy; and everyone is thrilled for her. Unfortunately she's having some health problems; so she becomes extremely absorbed in her medications and such things. Understandable, of course--it's a scary time for her.

Shortly thereafter, unbeknownst to me at the time, a new company reorganization is planned. As I said, there wasn't a heavy workload in our department; but the company has a "reputation" for never firing or laying off anyone. (Translation: They "encourage" you to quit, by any means necessary.) Shortly before this, there had been two new hires in the department, because another girl had been "gotten rid of" by this method and our co-worker had resigned in protest. So currently I'm the highest paid admin with the most seniority in the department--which meant it would be my head on the chopping block. I wish I'd known that at the time; it would have saved me months of grief.

Lissa suddenly begins treating me like I have leprosy; and soon the entire department is following suit. I'm confused and depressed, blaming my psycho "friend's" change of attitude on her illness; and I'm so stressed out I'm having health problems myself--I actually need to have surgery to have a (thankfully benign) tumor removed; plus I'm having migraines and regularly vomiting from all the stress. Not only am I now forced to keep a log of everything I do all day every day in 15-minute increments because I'm "wasting time" (remember those hours-long marathon sessions planning her wedding on company time?) but Lissa has assigned an employee full time to do nothing but check my work and report to her if there are any problems. (No one else is placed under this scrutiny; just me.) I'm written up several times for, really, nothing at all (it's hard not to have a "negative attitude" when the entire department is verbally assaulting you daily). I'm even called on the carpet for taking too many bathroom breaks--to vomit from all the stress! By this time my wedding is only a month away, and I have no choice but to quit and go get married--starting my future without a job or any hope of a good reference from this psycho or the company I'd spent three years at. Sadly, we skipped the honeymoon; I've still never had one.

Needless to say, I reneged on my promise to make this two-faced harridan a bridesmaid. Instead, I invited the ex-coworker who'd been "gotten rid of" and some of our mutual office mate friends; and we had a great time! Shortly after I left, by the way, the reorganization was announced; and I was never replaced. Big surprise--not!

Ironically, years later I ended up working for the same company as the psycho ex-boss's first husband. What a sweetheart of a guy! We ended up becoming really good friends... primarily because he was NOT my boss! 



I have a great candidate for e-hell, specifically for your bosses section.  My ex-boss, Howdy Doody (so deemed for his looks).  I'll call him HD for short.  HD was a poor manager and extremely rude, often leaving the floor and leaving one employee to basically manage the fast-food store where I worked at the time.  If he returned and things were behind, he would scream at the employees.  He was fond of epithets and used terms like "stupid b*tches" or "dirty wh*res"-right in front of customers.  

One day he disappeared, leaving me to run the drive-thru, the front counter and do all the cooking by myself.  When he returned and I was all backed up, he screamed at me for so long that a customer actually walked up to him and told him she wouldn't work for him for a million dollars!  He also liked to talk dirty and was always making innuendos to our mostly female staff.  One time he even pulled his pants pockets out and asked me if I ever kissed a rabbit between the ears!  I snapped back:  "No, but I've kicked them in the nose!"  He would come in the back room when one of us was climbing the shelves to get something and comment on "the view", etc...very icky and perverted.  HD was also taking money from the till, and we all knew it.  Our corporate office had noticed it and was monitoring the situation, but wasn't aware at the time that it was him. 

Well, the kicker came when I went to work for a competitor.  I was just tired of taking his abuse.  After I quit, he had one of my friends/coworkers call me and tell me that if I came back in the store he would have me arrested!  I was dumbfounded and I asked her why.  She said that he told her that I was a "f*cking thief".  Well, that did it.  It takes a lot to get me mad, but no one calls me a thief.  I got in my car and drove over there and confronted him.  He refused to speak to me at first.  When it was clear that I wasn't going away, he said that I shouldn't come back because my presence was a "distraction to his employees".  I told him that I heard that he called me a "f*cking thief".  He snickered and said "well, maybe I said that too."  Well, throw me into e-hell, because my temper snapped.  I had put up with his crap for 2 years and after begging me not to quit, he's going to treat me this way?  Not bloody likely!  I left the store, telling him he's a "f*cking b*st*rd" and he's going to be "f*cking sorry".  Did I mention that there was a line of customers so long that it actually went outside onto the sidewalk?  You should have seen his face when the meek and mild-mannered little girl gave him what-for. The real come-uppance came though when I called our corporate office.  Everything would have been fine if he had left me alone when I quit, but he had to mess with me at home.  They referred me to the labor board, who were at the store within 48 hours to investigate.  They suspended him on the spot, and took statements from all the employees, who corroborated my story, and supplied their own.  He was fired in less than a week!  Karma is a b*tch!



At my last job, caring for infants in a childcare center, I had a boss from hell. I also had an ulcer, but I didn't know it yet. One day I left my classroom to speak to my boss, who was in the hallway. I asked to speak to her in private, but she told me to go ahead in front of those she was with. I told her that my stomach was hurting to the point that I couldn't stand up straight, and I thought I had ought to go home and try to call my doctor. She said, in front of those who were also in the hallway, "Are you sure you aren't just having a panic attack because the babies are crying?"


In the course of time I learned that I had a "pre-ulcerous condition" and needed a prescription antacid, not anti-anxiety medicine. My boss's response? "You're too young for that."

I'm sure you can understand why I am no longer employed at that center. 


I had been working for a certain lobbying group for two years when they hired a new executive director.  At first, we got along perfectly.  Then, things started getting a bit out of hand…  Her business etiquette went to hell.

A lot of incidents come to mind, but this one stood out the most for me, as it was hurtful and completely inappropriate.  I had recently joined a gym, and was losing a lot of weight rather quickly; so quickly, in fact, that my budget couldn’t keep up with it.  I needed to buy new clothes in smaller and smaller sizes faster than I can afford to.

I had bought a pair of pants, which I found to be very professional, and flattering.  The line was crossed the very first time I wore them to work.  My boss came up to me and started berating me on how they were ugly, unflattering, and I really should be wearing a skirt instead, since I was losing so much weight, and pants don’t suit me.  I’d JUST bought these!  She knew my salary, since she signed my paycheck, and she knows how expensive business attire can be.  I was meeting the company dress code.  Her comments were uncalled for.


About 3 years ago, I worked for a casual restaurant that is quite popular in my area as an assistant manager.  I had worked for this company for about 4 years, in 4 different locations.  I had always been praised for the fact that I was a team player and for the way I handled myself, as I was rather young to be an assistant.  The last 2 locations required me to drive from my home city to adjoining towns about 30-45 minutes from my home with no mileage compensation.  This story takes place in the last location. 

It had been about 2 months since I had been moved to this store, and it was early Christmas Eve morning, just a little bit after 2 am (this restaurant was also a local bar, and even if there were no customers, we were required to stay open till 2) and the last server and I were walking out to our cars.  Just then, a man in a ski mask steps out of the shadows with a gun and proceeds to rob us, thinking we were carrying the deposit (we were not).  We were also subjected to the humiliation of stripping to prove that we did not have the money and were made to lay on the ground face down till he ran away, although at the time, both of us were expecting to be shot.     

Naturally, I was extremely traumatized by this, but when my district manager called me the next morning, he said he expected me to be at work my next scheduled shift (the day after Christmas).  At no time was any offer of counseling made, and I stressed that until appropriate security measures were taken I would not be able to work any closing shifts, which I was told would be accommodated.     

A mere 3 weeks later, I am pulled aside by my general manager and told that I would be needed to go to a full time closing schedule.  When I asked what security measures would be implemented, I was told that I would have to "get over" what had happened and that business would go on as usual.  I informed him then that I would like to be transferred to my home city as I was not comfortable closing in this location without simple security precautions that were available in many other restaurants in the chain, and if that was not possible, to just let me know and I would seek other employment.     

A few days later, I show up at my regular time, and work for about 3 hours getting the store ready to open, when I see my district manager come to the door.  When I let him in, he sits me down and informs me that my "failure to close" showed a lack of maturity, and as such I was fired and needed to give him my keys immediately.  I do so, and then tell him that I need to get my purse out of the locked office.  He lets me in and proceeds to stand over me to make sure I didn't "tamper" with the computer or safe.  I am also told that I need not come back for my last check and that it will be mailed to me, as I am not wanted on the premises.     

Of course, the week of payday, no check comes.  When I call to inquire, I am told that the DM had not informed my general manager of mailing the check and that I would have to drive the 30 miles to pick it up if I wanted my money.  Of course, at this point, DH (who is waaaay beyond angry) yells "Tell the SOB that I will be there shortly to speak with him, and that he BETTER have that check ready to go!"     

45 minutes later, DH calls from his cell and laughingly tells me that the GM gave the check to the other assistant and had locked himself in the office until the staff told him DH was gone.  DH of course, had lingered, talking to the staff that inquired about me and expressed how awful they felt for what had happened.     As a side note, I sought counseling and was diagnosed with PTSD shortly after this and to this day I am still nervous in parking lots after dark.  I also heard that the DM was later fired, although I never found out for what exactly.  I can only hope that he one day has a boss as unfeeling and cold as he was to me.



Page Last Updated July 30, 2007