We’ve all had that one co-worker or boss who thinks it’s funny to be a prick. Well, these employees had enough of it and decided to put those workplace bullies in their place. Content has been edited for clarity purposes.
Who Was The Real Boss Here?
“I left the family electrical business nearly 40 years ago, leaving it to my brothers-in-law to run. Back in those days, there was no ‘management.’ We all worked, or we didn’t make money. Consequently, there was never any doubt among any of us when employees were trying to pull the wool over our eyes.
My brother-in-law, who now runs the business, often has a time test for applicants. Simple electrical functions that anyone should be able to do, and only take a certain amount of time, perhaps something like wiring an electrical switch or outlet. He knows it should not take more than ‘X’ minutes to perform that task. He will hand a switch to an applicant and say, ‘Show me how you wire this,’ and then see how long it takes. When he tells an applicant they need to go faster, there have been many times where they have responded that what he thinks is reasonable is not possible. Then he will sit down and show them it definitely is possible because he has been there and done that. He will then show them how they are wasting time and how to make it faster.
Even though he is now in the office more often than out, when an extra hand is needed, he will still buckle on the tool belt and go out to work. He does not show up as ‘the boss’ or try to take over the foreman’s job, he will ask the foreman what he needs to have done and does it, just like another electrician. Often the only one on-site who knows that this ‘new electrician’ is really the boss, is the foreman.
There was one project a couple of years back where the general foreman of the contracting company was a real prick and bully. He was constantly bullying all of the subcontractors, trying to get them to do things faster than what was called for, and always without any thought of paying any more for overtime or speeding up work. One day this GC foreman showed up and started bullying the electrical crew. My brother-in-law just watched and let the foreman handle it until things got out of control.
When he stepped up and told the guy that what he was asking was not in the contract and was not a requirement, and if he wanted that to be done, he could call the office and sign a change order but, until the time that he did, they were going to follow the contract. The bully did not take kindly to being spoken to by someone beneath him and threatened to have my brother-in-law fired.
When he demanded the electrical foreman to give him the boss’s phone number as he was going to show this guy ‘Who Was Boss,’ the electrical foreman gave him the phone number. My brother-in-law turned back around and went back to work while the General Contractor Foreman pulled out his cell phone and dialed the number.
My brother-in-law just pulled out his phone when it started ringing, knowing perfectly well who it was who was calling him, and answered it like he would any other call. The GC Foreman at first thought they were trying to pull one over on him and demanded that he speak to the owner. My brother-in-law hung up the phone, turned around, and stood up to the GC foreman.
He said, ‘I AM the owner,’ and proceeded to read him the riot act, emphasizing that when he was talking to one of his employees, it was the same as talking to him.
For some reason, they never had any problem with that foreman again.”
Once A Mean Girl, Always A Mean Girl
“So this was my first job. I was 16 and working at KFC and Taco Bell; they were both in the same complex connected. Now, this environment was very peaceful, and quiet. Sometimes it got busy but nothing too big of a deal.
Around two months of using my summer to work there, the most popular girl in the whole school came in. She had a job there. I thought, Okay. Maybe she will be nice to me.
She was a mean girl so I was worried. When she saw me, she gave me a smirk, not a good sign but I just smiled. As days went on, we started to talk more and more, until, our manager stopped watching us. Then that was when her true colors came out. She started to call me ugly and make fun of how I looked. That hurt, and she said this every day.
One day, she told me how no one likes me. And if I went missing, no one would care. That had crossed the line for me. She even said this in front of like three customers. I slapped her. Mhm, yes I did. And if she wanted to file me for assault or anything, she had slapped me multiple times there, so fight me.
When I slapped her, she started to throw a temper tantrum, grabbing our manager’s attention. She walked out and of course, she believed the girl. But I didn’t care.
I simply said, ‘I will not be mistreated every day. I will not tolerate this and therefore I am quitting. These customers even saw! So if YOU are going to believe HER over security camera footage, my words, and these customer’s words, then I am out of here.’
And yes, the customers were agreeing with me. This older woman claimed she wanted to strike this wench out of her job and give me this whole place to run.
But my manager pulled the ‘YOU WON’T QUIT BECAUSE I AM FIRING YOU!’
Then the girl tried to butt in.
I said, ‘Shut the heck up! Don’t even try! You only got this job because your boyfriend is the manager’s son!’
And it was true. After that, I left, followed by the customers. I told everybody and for a good two weeks, barely anybody went there.”
Long Bathroom Break
“We had a supervisor who would constantly take snacks or gum out of people’s hands while working on the shop floor.
One day, the senior guy on the crew came in with a pack of Chiclets gum (the white candy-coated ones), and sure enough, here comes the supervisor.
He instantly grabbed the gum out of the guy’s hands. The guy just shrugged and then turned to us with a huge smile on his face. Once the supervisor was out of sight, he came over and let us know that those weren’t Chiclets, but laxative gum!
Sure enough, the supervisor spent about half the shift in the bathroom. Never grabbed snacks out of our hands again!”
All He Saw Were Dollar Signs
“My boss was the bully. I was in my early thirties and had just left a job working for the factory Porsche/ Audi racing team. I parted under friendly circumstances, as I had just recently become married and all the travel was becoming quite a strain on my marriage.
Having worked at dealerships for years, I did not want to get back into the cutthroat office politics of dealership life. So I took a job at a private repair shop, and with my knowledge and skills, it did not take long for the shop owner to start taking on highly technical and specialized repairs on high-end sports cars. Which of course were all sent to me.
Trust me on this, it takes a lot more time to replace the cam chains in a Porsche than in a Ford Mustang. But the boss had no idea about the technical end of the business, he only cared about the profit margins. He knew I could repair four or five American vehicles in a few days, and he expected I could do the same when working on Ferraris, Lamborghinis, and Porsches as well. His goal was for me to do one a day, five days a week. Forget the fact that on some of these cars you had to darn near disassemble half the vehicle just to gain access to the engine or transmission. So he would constantly yell and scream at me to stop ‘lollygagging’ and ‘get my arse to work.’
You must remember that this time, in the mid-1970s, repair shops were charging about $15 an hour of labor to repair standard American manufactured vehicles, but exotics were much more expensive, like $40 to $50 and even more per hour. So all he could see were the dollar signs in his eyes.
I had taken on a job of rebuilding an engine for a Lamborghini. The customer and I had an agreement I would work on it as time permitted and special order parts came in. And the estimated time would take between four to eight months depending on shipping speed and availability of parts and machine shop time. The total cost for parts was about ten thousand dollars in parts and materials, and when finished, the job would cost the customer a little over thirty thousand dollars.
As time passed, I continued to work on whatever came in the door as the parts collection grew for the engine job. Any mechanic will tell you that you don’t build an engine over six months. You collect everything you need, have all the machine work done, and then build the engine from start to finish. Now, the customer was paying for all the parts and machine work as they came in, so we did not have a dime invested in the job at all, but the boss somehow believed it was costing him money by waiting for everything to arrive. Once again, all he could see was the $20,000 profit that he could not hold in his greedy little fist.
I was grossing about 30 grand a month for the greedy little prick since the day I arrived, which was about a 100 percent increase in his annual income revenue, and all he wanted was more. By the time everything had arrived and it was time to assemble the engine, I had cleared every other repair ticket in the shop and was prepared to spend a few days building the engine. There were no appointments scheduled for the next three days. However, on the day I had prepped the shop and began to work on the engine, here came the boss, who had just returned from a five-day deep sea fishing trip in the Bahamas on his new boat.
He came storming into the shop, tearing down the plastic sheeting I had put up all around the repair bay to keep it as close to a clean room as possible.
‘Where the heck are the cars?’ He demanded.
‘There are none, I cleared the ticket list and scheduled the next three days so I could build this engine,’ I replied.
It was at that point he literally lost his mind. He went off on me. That was the last straw as far as I was concerned.
He stood there with his fists balled up, red-faced and shaking, knowing if he took a poke at me I could swat him like a bug. By the way, I’m 6”4″ and he was about 5′5″.
I walked up to within inches of him, half hoping he would take a swing at me.
Then I calmly smiled and looked down at him and said, ‘I quit.’
I turned to walk away. He unleashed a tirade of four-letter expletives in English and Italian, half of which I still don’t understand, at me and stormed out of the shop and drove off in his new Corvette. I called the customer and explained what had just happened. He told me he would have a truck sent over to collect all the parts and bring them to his own garage and I could build the engine there if I still wanted to do so. I agreed.
About an hour later, the truck arrived with a two-man crew. We carefully loaded up all the engine parts and my massive collection of five huge tool boxes and equipment and drove away.
It was the second day after I had quit before my old boss found out where I was. He came screeching up into the customer’s driveway and jumped out screaming how I was a thief and how he was going to have me arrested and hauled off to jail. Well, since he had no claim to any of the parts or work that had already been done, since the customer had paid for it all, and since I did not steal so much as an old tire patch, he was going to have a difficult time making any of his accusations stick. The customer just happened to be a very wealthy Italian celebrity and he was watching the entire situation and smiling like a Cheshire cat. Once my boss spotted him, he decided he was going to go off on him as well. He began cussing him out in Italian and the customer actually broke into straight-out laughter.
A few minutes later, the police showed up and the customer’s private security guards took my former boss out to meet them. I think his biggest mistake was when he went off on the cops. They handcuffed him, tossed him into the patrol car, and hauled him away.
The customer came over to me and asked if he was like that very often.
I told him, ‘Only every day all day long.’
Then he asked me if he could hire me for a few months to work on some of the other cars in his collection. He explained how if I was his employee, he would have a much stronger legal footing to deal with my old boss. I couldn’t have cared less about my old boss, but the idea of working on his fantastic collection of exotic cars was quite exciting. So I agreed and for the next six or seven months, he paid me fifteen thousand dollars a month to get all of his cars in top condition.
In the meantime, my old boss ended up in court defending himself against trespassing charges, assault, slander, and illegal exploitation of employees. The customer, who shall remain anonymous, explained to me how he was not trying to have my old boss placed in jail, but instead to cost him tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees and court costs instead.
‘The best way to teach a greedy man the value of a dollar is to see that it costs him his wealth when he bullies others,’ the customer said.
His plan worked, as my old boss lost his boat, his Corvette, and eventually his shop and was reduced to what he should have always been, a pushy little used-car salesman.”
“It Was An Awful Place”
“When I was 19, I worked at a McDonald’s. It was an awful place, just full of bullies, including the management. However, I needed the money badly so I put up with it.
One day, the manager put me in a position I had never worked in before in the middle of a lunch rush. I was frantic and she kept yelling at me in front of the customers. Finally, I snapped. I took my headset off and threw it at her and immediately quit.
Well, she tried verbally abusing me at that point. However, since I had always held my temper previously, she had no idea how strong and loud my voice could get. Once I screamed back at her, she immediately shut up. When I told her off, I then left the store with half the customers leaving too and applauding me.
My friend worked there too. He was in the drive-thru when everything went down. So once he saw me leave, he quit too.
No job is worth anyone bullying you.”
“Get Over It, Girls!”
“In the mid-1970, I worked on the assembly floor of a major computer maker. One day, the programmer/tech guys situated near where I worked programmed and printed out a very large pic of a model with barely any clothes on. They then hung it up in a place where everyone passed while on their way to and from the break room. They thought it was funny.
Mind you, there weren’t a lot of women working there. So, another young woman and I went to our supervisor to complain. However, he said they were within their rights of freedom of expression, and there was nothing he could do. He clearly didn’t want to do anything.
He said, ‘Get over it, girls!’
I thought, Well, give ’em enough rope, and they’ll hang themselves.
It didn’t occur to him that we could exercise our freedom of expression too. And that’s what inspired the other girl with a lovely idea, one that I executed.
That evening I bought a Playgirl magazine that had a real lulu of a male model in the three-page centerfold. Remember, back then any display of a bare male body was shocking. Just the same, I brought it to work and hung it up prominently right opposite the guys who had made the printout.
Oh, the looks of dismay! The glum silence and occasional furtive glances. Yet no one could lodge a complaint against us for it. ‘Freedom of expression!’
We all started work at six AM, and by the time we came back from our nine AM break, the printout of the woman had been taken down. Just to make our point, however, I left our centerfold up until the end of the shift at three PM, then took it home.
The best part was that a coterie of tiny Portuguese women, who worked on our assembly line, would look at the centerfold and titter delightedly every time they went by that day, in full view and hearing of the offending guys.
Sometimes your only option is to fight fire with fire.”
An Unwanted Nickname
“I was working at a mechanics shop at the time in Texas, close to the border. Now, at this shop was a guy who kept calling me ‘Stupid’ in Spanish and how ‘I wasn’t a REAL MAN.’ He bullied me constantly, but I ignored him and I didn’t fight back. For these reasons: First, I choose my fights and my battlefields, and a mechanics shop with all of its’ power tools and heavy objects is no place to start a fight. Once started, it would never end. And a fight there will only end one way, with one man going to jail, and the other going to the hospital or the morgue. And understandably, I had no interest in going to any of those places.
So, I outlasted him and acted civilly. When he began screaming at me in Spanish, I’d say, ‘I don’t understand Spanish.’ Then I would walk away and do my work.
He began calling me by a nickname in Spanish, but I never answered.
When he continued, I said, ‘Well if you can call me an insulting unwanted nickname, then I can do the same to you.’
And I did.
He didn’t like it one bit. It took him four times to stop saying it. But the bullying didn’t end there.
I had been taking messages from customers while the boss had been out, and when he had come back, I was reading off a few to him. Then the bully came in and was yelling out how I hadn’t done anything while he had been gone and if I had worked for him, he’d have fired me, and so on. I spun around and blasted him with a volley of obscenities both in English and in Spanish. Like I said I don’t normally cuss. Nor would I have done so in front of the boss and five other guys who worked there.
Normally that is. As I said, I choose my Battlefields.
I yelled (minus the obscenities), ‘I know who the boss is and it isn’t you, you prick! So you do not have the right to boss me around!’ I went continued to go off, until I turned around, and went back to work.
The bully was fired a few days later. Looking back on this event that happened years ago, I realize that I came off looking like the Joker. But also, there is an ancient saying as well, ‘Never Arouse A Calm Man’s Anger.'”
What Did He Expect?
“Years ago before I was a manager at Casey’s, I worked in the kitchen making pizza. There was a guy back there with me who’d been there longer than me and he didn’t like the fact that I was faster and better at the job than him. He made a lot of underhanded comments about me sucking up and whatnot. I ignored most of them.
One day, I was making three pizzas at once while he was standing around doing nothing. I mentioned I could use some help and this must’ve ticked him off. He came over and started dumping sauce on the pizzas.
I started yelling at him, asking, ‘What the heck are you doing?!’
But he just kept mocking me, saying, ‘You are gonna take the fall for it.’
As I tried to start a new pizza, he knocked the ingredients out of my hands. I lost it and shoved him into the stack of boxes. Before he could get up, I grabbed the sauce bucket, got on top of him, and poured it on his face. Now he was blinded by the sauce, I gave him a pounding.
Finally, both the manager and cashier came running back after hearing his screams. They pulled me off and sent me home. I thought for sure I’d lost my job.
A couple of days later, they called me in saying, ‘We have reviewed the footage and it was clear, he was the instigator. He has been fired and you’re able to get your job back.’
Thankfully, he never spoke to me again.”
She Wasted No Time
“When I was 16, I got a part-time job at Taco Bell. I really wanted to work in the kitchen, but at that time (the mid-1970s) only males were hired for those positions. The manager had me do clean-up jobs after the store closed, and would often stand there chatting at me while I did them.
One night, the male fry-cook also came to stand and stare at me while I was on my knees wiping down the nooks that held supplies (napkins, utensils, etc). They started making fun of me.
I stood up, and said, ‘I quit!’
I gathered up my things and left. The manager’s mouth was hanging open in shock. The company contacted me, so I told them what happened. I never went back ever again.”
“I was the son of the boss in my father’s small printing plant, quietly doing my work, which was called stripping. Yeah, I was stripping. In a print shop, it means that I arranged negatives of pages in a specific order so they would appear on the press in the right order, although I spent the bulk of my time covering over spots on the negatives with red tape or a bit of paint made of red clay.
The press crew thought I was a wimp. I wasn’t a country music fan, I wasn’t a rodeo or NASCAR fan, I didn’t drop out of high school, and I didn’t get into fights.
One night, one of these idiots, the son of the shop foreman, thought it would be funny to throw lit firecrackers and razor blades at me while I was working hard to meet our deadline. The idiot simply would not stop. I had to think of something really fast. As I was then a ‘fellow’ at the American Film Institute, I decided to do something very cinematic.
And I did. I picked up a twenty-pound mallet, actually a short sledgehammer, and calmly approached the idiot and without a word, pounded a few old wooden pallets and a cardboard drum that were lying around the place for no particular reason. I made a considerable mess — and I never said a word. I just looked at him as wild-eyed crazy as I could and returned to my light table and resumed work on the negatives.
You should have seen the bully’s face—I scared him half to death.
The next evening, the foreman, the idiot’s father, approached me to apologize.
‘You never, ever, bother a man while he’s working. Thanks for teaching him some manners,’ he said.
The bully never bothered me again lest I break more worthless junk hanging around the shop.”