"These two are the worst thing that have happened during my time at work. My boss asked me to take his visibly pregnant girlfriend to a vendor party because his wife came too and he wanted to hook up with the girlfriend in the back room at the party. The same boss asked me to come to his house on a Sunday and snoop around his wife's computers because he thought she had an affair (I quit that day)."
"While living in Orange County, CA, I had a boss hand me a huge jug and ask me to 'collect water' from a list of specific companies in Southern California. I think she read in one of her 'spiritual books' if you pour water from other businesses onto your business, their success will be absorbed into your company. Crazy. She wanted me to go to the front desk of each company and request some water from a fountain or water fountain. I was not to collect the water myself. I explained how much driving this would take and suggested I take two or three days to get the water collecting done. She agreed so I spent the next three days by the pool and filled up the jug in my tub. My boss was so happy. You can't make this stuff up."
"I was working as a junior executive of a private corporation in the mid 70's. I was headed out to a festive lunch on Dec. 23rd with some of my colleagues to celebrate the coming holiday. As I was preparing to leave, the CEO stopped by my office to beg me to pick up a Christmas gift for his wife on my way back because he 'was running late and didn't have a clue' what she might like. He dropped his AmEx credit card on my desk on his way out of the office. I knew better than to say I didn't think it was part of my job description. His wife got a $1,400 hand tailored leather designer purse for Christmas that year. I heard later that she loved it. Funny, my boss never even asked me to get him coffee after that."
"I was a lifeguard and my boss was drinking with our (underage) summer workers and bragging about how he could win anything. Eventually this resulted in him and an 18-year-old female intern stripping down to their underwear and swimming across a small lake in the middle of the night. No, I can't imagine how that would raise any red flags!"
"Worked for a non-profit organization whose director was, well, a megalomaniac, to put it nicely. When the organization relocated nearly 800 miles away, he made a few of us act as his movers - loading furniture and boxes, driving them in U-hauls, then unloading them into a giant, three-story house. This was supposedly a big cost savings, but the cost of wages, hotel rooms, etc., meant that it really saved only $400... not taking the car accident, injuries, and breathing problems that we incurred into account."
"My boss berated a coworker because she hadn't finished stuffing envelopes for a mailing. Two of us skipped our lunch break and worked with her to get it finished. He then called us to his office and threatened to fire us for 'undermining his authority'. Two hours and several drinks later, he called us back to apologize (it was the only apology I ever received from him)."
"Look busy. It was summer, I was in high school, and I had a summer job as a busboy. My job, clean the tables, sweep the floors, take out the trash. If I finished, just pretend to be doing the same thing. Customers don't like seeing employees idle. I would have liked to chat with the other employees or to talk to the customers. No. That looks unprofessional. Just look busy. It reminded me of the Disney film Cinderella, in which Cinderella has finished her tasks, and her stepmother says, 'Then do it again'. It helped me understand why solitary confinement is the worst punishment for prisoners. Boredom is worse than pain. Of course, for many years (decades) now I have not had a boss. That's a fortunate position for a tenured professor; even our nominal bosses know they can't really tell us what to do. I think I am pretty lucky that this trivial problem is the worst a boss had done to me, compared to the other answers I read for this question. "
"When I was 18, (a lifetime ago) I got a job working in a Holiday Inn laundry. I'd previously worked as a maid, so this was a step up for me. I loved the routine and the simplicity of the job. On Wednesday nights the hotel offered special food and drinks at the bar. They called it 'Hump Night'. It was a really popular night. Unfortunately people got extremely out of control and messed up the bathrooms (if you can get my drift). The laundry opened before 7 am, much earlier than the regular staff. One day the hotel's night manager came in and ordered me to clean the ladies' room in the lobby. He said the morning cleaning staff had not come in yet ... and the bathroom was a mess. He gave me a cleaning cart, and sent me on my way. I've never seen the kind of mess I saw in that toilet. Vomit on the walls, urine on the floor and worse. In the corner of the last stall I found a pair of pantyhose, a woman's bra and three used condoms. The next week the night manager asked me to clean ALL the lobby bathrooms. I politely refused, at which point he told me I was fired. I said OK, grabbed my purse and started walking out the door. He stopped me, and said he'd clean it himself. I didn't say a word. A couple of hours later the head of housekeeping came in and told me the laundry chute was backed up to the 6th floor. Seems a LOT of 'Hump Day' customers had taken hotel rooms for the night ... and had left HUGE messes all over the hotel. She wanted know if we could work faster. We ended up working all weekend to clean a mountain of laundry. The hotel stopped having 'Hump Night' bar night, and I was NEVER asked to clean up the lobby toilets again."
"My boss fired our administrator (or scared her into quitting) just as the rest of us relocated, so he decided I would handle all payroll and accounts payable. This worked for a couple of months, until I asked him why he was charging his expensive monthly cigar shipment to the organization. He told me it was 'in his contract' and then switched me back to my original position and had someone else do the job. The staff who chose not to relocate had been kept on as employees for a couple of months without actually having any work to do, in theory so they could look for new jobs, even though not all of them succeeded in that. When we received the unemployment forms, he told me to fill them out, then yelled at me for not indicating that they had been terminated with cause (which wasn't true, but would have made them ineligible for benefits). He then threw the forms in the garbage. The organization's lack of response meant that everyone who filed was approved for unemployment payments, which led to another raging tantrum when we got THAT notification."
"'Turley, secure that man's weapon', the lieutenant instructed. 'Why me?' I inquired sincerely. A couple of other medics were standing there looking like they supported the officer's selection. They nodded expressively toward the armed KATUSA standing there blankly eyeballing this exchange. The KATUSA (Korean Augmentee to the U.S. Army) soldier in question had recently expressed some views that put his good judgment and unit safety in question. We were preparing to escort him from the Korean DMZ to a hospital in Seoul for psychiatric evaluation. In view of the plan that I should be his combat buddy alone in the back of an unlocked ambulance for the next hour or two, relieving him of his rifle did seem a pretty reasonable bit of planning. 'Hey there, troop,' I said casually as I stepped closer, 'that's an M16, isn't it?' 'Yes', he confirmed. 'Good weapon, good weapon; it'll serve you well if you keep it clean.' 'Yes?' 'You know about the Manual of Arms?' I inquired gravely. He regarded me with some some mix of confusion and disdain. I proposed a practical demonstration: A couple of commands from the manual. When I said Present Arms, he handed the rifle over for my inspection. I don't recall that he executed the maneuver to demonstrate the rifle's chamber was empty, but I don't recall whether I checked either. I handed the weapon back to another medic behind me and told my new friend that our ride was ready, and I'd sit with him the whole time. We were going to Seoul, and he'd love it. We spent more than an hour discussing in broken English the sociopolitical and economic ramifications of an American presence in South Korea and the spiritual relevance of the color green to him. Thus began my training and professional career in behavioral health care."
"My boss was the worst. He didn't believe me when I told him that the cook he had hired for our on-site residents was unstable, telling me that I was 'clearly racist' because I didn't like him (I'm white, the cook was African American). The cook told outrageous stories, stole items from people's rooms, stumbled around the kitchen in a rage most days, and was very touchy-feely (read: totally creepy) with the female employees. The cook ultimately got the ax when he went to the boss family's Thanksgiving dinner, where he threw dinner plates and hit on the boss' nieces."
Not me, but a work acquaintance in 1993. He was a repo man, quite used to arguing with people over why he needed to take their cars and other property away from them. He was big and imposing, so there wasn't much that could scare him away from doing his job. What ended his career as a repo man had nothing to do with physical threats from people unable or unwilling to pay for whatever they'd bought. It was a man who couldn't possibly do him any harm. Simply put, he was sent to repossess the wheelchair a man depended on to get around. He succeeded in getting the wheelchair, but he felt terrible about it. He quit his job the next day. Apparently that was his breaking point. He became a cheesy wedding DJ, a job with fewer ethical dilemmas."
"I got a phone call about 10 p.m. one night from my boss, who was slurring a bit on the phone. He said he needed me to fly to San Francisco that night to attend a conference with him starting the next day. My ticket was waiting for me at the airport. I asked about the hotel, and that's when he said I could share his room 'because he didn't bring his wife on the trip like he normally does.' Needless to say I declined the trip, and he must have been appalled by his behavior and never said another word about it."
"When I interned at a family owned wealth management firm, the CEO had me make him his meals everyday. This included making his daily quinoa and his 2-week supply of brown rice in the office kitchen. Occasionally, I was also responsible for mixing in imported canned fish when he felt like he wanted some omega 3. I walked around our Park Ave office everyday smelling like what I imagine nursing home food to smell like. On the plus side, I now know how to make quinoa."
"One day I went to work feeling extremely ill, literally turned green at mid-morning and I asked my boss if I could leave work to go to the doctor. She informed me that I was NOT going anywhere and I was NOT leaving work until the project she needed was finished. At 1:30, I began vomiting and hiccuping and had the worst pain I'd ever felt in my life. A coworker called my partner and my doctor, who got me in on an emergency appointment. It turned out my abscessed appendix had finally ruptured and I had a serious case of peritonitis (which caused the vomiting and hiccuping) and what would have been an overnight stay and two or three days' recovery had I gone to the doctor eight months earlier when symptoms appeared, meant emergency surgery, a colon resection, seven days in intensive care to deal with the peritonitis and three weeks in the hospital to recover from the infection. OBTW: my heart stopped in the middle of surgery. There really Is a tunnel and white light which appears! While I was in intensive care, my boss would 'visit' every day and bring work for me to do - well, until the intensive care nurses saw what she was doing and barred her from my room. When I finally got back to work a month later, I found I had been written up for 'excessive absences' and for missing deadlines during the month while I was gone, three weeks of which were in the hospital. Alas: she was implicated as part of a scandal involving $7.6 million of misappropriated public funds and quit her job abruptly. The morning after she resigned, I ordered, and had served an elaborate breakfast for everybody in my unit to celebrate her resignation."
"True Story: During the financial crisis, a head of one of the departments in the financial institution was told to read the layoff list to the employees. The list was so huge that he couldn't look through it. He gathered them all in the conference room and began reading a list. At the end of the list, unexpectedly, he read his name. 'Well guys, put your hats on and lets go home...', he said. Several months later he was brought back to the company. That guy is still working in the company, even more... He has moved up by several positions."
"The most awkward thing I was asked to do was to find the details behind an employee's reason for leaving a previous position - employee said it was personal. My argument was that we had already hired her, that her productivity and job performance was stellar, so we didn't need to know details about something personal. VP and President of company thought differently. Then having to tell them it was directly related to her knowing the promiscuous activities of a superior and being blackmailed to keep those details to herself. Yeah. That was awkward."
"Loading frozen dead animals into my car and then unloading defrosted dogs back into the same freezer several hours later. When I was a freshmen in college I had a job walking and caring for the pets at the local animal hospital. One HOT July day they asked me to take the frozen dead animals from the freezer and drive them ACROSS TOWN to the humane society for cremation. I loaded my PERSONAL car with very heavy, very cold, and very dead cats, dogs, hamsters etc. Let me point out, I was a 120 pound female doing this by myself while other employees watched from afar and frozen dogs are EXTREMELY heavy. At the humane society, they claimed no one had called and their cremators may be full for day, but asked if I could wait for a moment while they checked. 20 minutes later..... I drive my car back across town filled with thawing, smelly dead animals and unloading the softening bodies BACK into the freezer. After telling my boss the situation at the humane society he commented on how unfortunate that the freezer is filling up and told me I'll have to do it again the following week. Needless to say I quit and my car smelled like decaying dead bodies for the remainder of the summer."
"A manager fired me when I refused to sleep with him. That has got to be the worst thing a boss has ever asked me to do. He told me that I wouldn't even have to come in to work, that he would pay for my apartment. All I had to do was go out with him. Wink wink. Yeah. I politely declined. I told him I was not interested in drawing a paycheck without actually working for the check. His response? You would be earning it. That still makes me feel dirty just to recall him saying it. The next Friday, instead of a paycheck, I got a pink slip in the envelope to go to HR. I was told I was being fired for not showing up to work on Saturday. Except for the fact that I wasn't on the schedule for the prior Saturday. I should have handled that situation so much differently. If it were to happen today, the outcome would have been HIM being fired. Not me. Oh well. I was young and naive at the time."
"This is hazing, not horrible: As a young teen immigrant from Russia in the early 1900's, my grandfather spoke almost no English. On his first day at his first factory job when reaching New York City, he was sent on an errand to collect a bucket of steam. Each person he approached with the bucket claimed to be all out of steam, and sent him somewhere else. Eventually, my grandfather had mastered 11 languages."
"Commit fraud, plagiarize content, and commit copyright violations. The fraud was at a job many, many years ago. The owner couldn't get one of his customers to pay him for an order. I don't remember the exact circumstances but there was a dispute about the amount actually owed. When that customer placed another order, instead of insisting on payment of the previous order first he wanted me to take the customer's money up front and apply it to the previous order then only ship the amount of the second order that the leftover money would pay for, basically shorting the customer. He figured that would make them even. I refused to do it, stating that he should either straighten out the first order with the customer before filling the second order or should just fill the second order as requested and keep battling it out over the first order. The plagiarizing and copyright violations were at another job. The owner believed that everything on the internet can be used on his website regardless of things like copyrights or content ownership. I didn't do that either. Irritated the heck out of me and I still hope he gets caught for violation of copyright, trademark, or content. Thankfully, I'm not there any longer."
"One of the many strategic managers of strategic strategy 'reviewed' my work. I could immediately tell he didn't understand my work at all and would never pass a phone-screening as candidate. After some 2 hours of intense 'review', he felt the need to ask something. He tried, but the words did not compile into a question, it was something like 'what exception does Java engineering C++ synchronized?', it was a collection of words that don't add up. Following some ping-pong by which I tried to understand the 'question', I got him to utter the version he really wanted: 'Why is this not better?' To which I replied: because I am not better! He shut up for the remainder of the 'review'."
"This experience was at EDS, and happened to one of my fellow manager's staff member. Guy was working loyally and hard for 4 years for EDS. Only 3 people (him and 2 peers) in country had experience with highly expensive and aging, technical server which was core infrastructure to several massive companies. He was earning 70k salary. He took leave for a year or 2 to study (I think he sat his CISSP or CCIE - something solid like that). While studying he transferred to Helpdesk and worked nights in order to support his studies and family but had to take a paycut to $35k. While he was studying, the other of the three had quit and we had an open vacancy for 10+months (I know cause I had been trying to find even one candidate - I failed). So he finishes study, has all the skills, + security and other skills he deliberately developed to help be better at his role. Yay! Prodigal son returns! No. RULES: 1) no employee can be hired for less than a market rate for any role (80k-140k) 2) no employee can receive more than 10% pay rise (eg $3,500) 3) no employee can resign and be rehired without 6 month stand down (to protect against managers trying to bypass this rule). So we can't hire him for less than $80k. But we can't do that cause he would have more than 10% pay rise. Ergo: can't hire him back for his role, was the official answer. That was escalated up 7 layers of managers over 3 months before someone felt that was stupid and had to be fixed. What worried me was that 6 managers above me 1) were too stupid to know what to do in situation 2) were not authorized for even minor decisions like this. Stupidity at its finest."