Many employees have strained relationships with their bosses. A manager can make or break a job--either helping it be the best part of the day--or on the other hand, potentially ruining someone's life. These people had truly terrible bosses, the kind in "Horrible Bosses," who everyone works with their friends to get rid of. Everyone will understand these people and their stories. Content has been edited for clarity.
“Get What Ya Pay For”
“I’m a casino dealer. I worked at a casino for some of the best owners and management I’ve had in my 14-year career in this industry. One day, they decide that they are going to let the casino manager go, and replace him with a kid (he was 21) who had applied to be a dealer, despite having no training, no experience, and the temperament of a 21-year-old.
Why would they replace a 20-year casino veteran with a college drop out? We were given the reason that the ownership (having operated this casino for two years) wanted to ‘mold a manager in their style.’ The major issue with this is that the manager they let go was hired specifically because, by their own admission, they knew very little about the casino business.
The real reason is that the casino manager was making a competitive salary of about 90k, and this kid (who worked in a bowling alley before this) would do it for 35k a year.
Six months and 20k in fines from the Gaming Commission later, the kid was terminated and replaced with another 20-year casino veteran whom I know very well, and I’m sure got near or more than what the first manager was making.
The moral of the story: You get what you pay for.”
A Startup Made Up Of Hook Ups
“My last job was at a startup that was growing too quickly without the right management. The CEO had two or three side chicks, his main girlfriend, and his ex-wife all working for the company in some form. His most recent girlfriend was hired as the sales manager. I was the Customer Service manager and had to report to her for some reason that is well beyond me.
Well, she started bringing her dog to the office and he would pee on everything but no one said anything cause she was shtupping the boss. Then she brought her daughters who were both mini ballerina stars. They would dance and twirl and just run around the office all day while she sat at her desk listening to podcasts.
What really annoyed was when I had my yearly review and asked if I was getting any sort of raise or incentive to keep me there or to show me thanks for my hard work. I’m not talking much, maybe $1-2 more an hour. She had the nerve to tell me I hadn’t earned it yet.
I had run the whole Customer Support department for a whole year before she came in and we did just fine, so I am pretty sure I earned it. I could not be happier when I quit and got my current job with a higher paying role!”
Micromanaging Doesn’t Work
“I was given a supervisor position at my last company at the ripe old age of 26. I have a college degree and made waves in the department early on, but I can understand why some of the bitter GED educated 50-year-olds were bitter about me getting it over them.
So, I was a supervisor of a terrible warehouse, reporting only to my manager Alan. The 50-something lead John HATED me because I got picked for supervisor over him and now he had to answer directly to me. He actively went behind my back with his butt-kissing subordinate, Ryan, and any attempt I made to do anything about it was met with scoffs and eye rolls.
My manager Alan answered with, ‘Well, John is old-school and won’t budge for anybody.’
Eventually, I got sick of the drama and bull-hockey and took a downgraded position to team lead, and Ryan was promoted to supervisor.
Then the micromanaging started.
Ryan and John both took every single opportunity to pick my work apart, and anytime there was cause for disciplinary action, Ryan came a-knocking.
Any bathroom break, anytime I took a sip from my water bottle, anytime I showed up one minute late to work, Ryan and John would show up and ask why I never got any work done. My work numbers were TRIPLE what theirs were.
I got fed up and found another, much higher paying job. When I put in my two weeks notice, Ryan wrote me up for something that I apparently did eight months before. I responded by telling him what my salary at the new company was going to be, and for the next two weeks, I did ABSOLUTELY nothing. In an average month, I’d fill around 1,100-1,300 purchase orders. My last two weeks? I did three.
Ryan and John asked why I wasn’t working and playing video games on the work computer, I told them, ‘Fire me then.’
It was the best two weeks of my career.”
When Nepotism Doesn’t Work
“My worst boss was the assistant fire chief of a volunteer department I used to work for, and he also happened to be the chief’s son. He is for whom the word narcissist was created. He was not only an idiot but also a great morale killer and seemed to thrive on creating a division within the department. Not only between our two stations, but also between the personnel as a whole. One of the guys on the department who grew up with him and went to school with him said he never had any friends because he was such a condescending butt wipe, a trait he obviously perfected over the years.
We had training once a month and he never participated, he just kicked back in his office reading the paper, yet got paid and earned the continuing education credits that were handed out after the class.
Also, the dad was cheap as heck so we lacked a lot of basic medical supplies. The son loved to spend lots of money on big ticket items, often for things we’d never need. That used to lead to loud verbal arguments between the two, much to our enjoyment.
A neighboring township had a structure fire with entrapment and called us for mutual aid. He refused to allow my station to respond even though we were closest. He had to have his precious station 1 respond from a greater distance. The entrapped individual ended up dying in the fire. Probably the best thing his dad the chief did in my 10 years on the department was fire his son for that decision.
I easily give him the honors for being the worst boss I have ever had, not just for that decision and what I’ve mentioned, but a litany of tidbits over the years.
Buh bye, Danny boy.”
A Boss Who Tortured Employees Even After Leaving
“My old boss felt the best way to ‘educate’ us was to be passive-aggressive about it. For example, rather than properly train us how to handle the safe and our cash, he simply waited until we did something wrong, hid the cashbox somewhere and then let us panic for something like ten minutes. Then he pulled the cashbox out of its hiding place and said: ‘Don’t do that again.’
Secondly, my former manager was simply deceitful. He accepted a job as the manager at another branch, told everyone in the store (three other people), except for me. Then, whenever we had no idea what to do (lacking a manager and all), I would call up and ask him. I straight up asked him when he would be coming back and he would reply, ‘Oh, I don’t know. There’s a lot of work backed up here to take care of.’ He never did end up telling me that he got the new job. Another co-worker eventually told me because he saw me getting more and more frustrated (as the only other full-time employee) every day.
My former manager also absolutely gamed the hiring system to put the people he wanted into the positions he wanted. There was a company rule that a new employee couldn’t be promoted until after 90 days of working at the company. So he’d purposefully keep a position open (denying promotion to two other employees who had been there a lot longer) in order to move a new employee that he liked more into that position.
Did I mention his hypocrisy? We used to have time cards based on the honor system and it worked out great. Yeah, sometimes it would be a minute or two late or early, that happens. But then the higher-ups demanded that we use a time card stamper. If you were so much as one minute late, that deducted five minutes worth of pay from your time. My manager told us he felt it showed a lack of trust in us and that he would fight for us to not have to use it. Then he called up the regional manager (while we were all in the store) and loudly told the manager how awesome he thought the machine was, and how coolly old-fashioned it looked, and what a great idea it was. I ‘accidentally’ knocked it off the table into a garbage can a handful of times to no avail.
But that wasn’t the only hypocrisy. He demanded that one person be in the store at all times, then decided to regularly schedule me as the only person on for Saturdays. Meaning, I couldn’t so much as leave the counter to go to the bathroom because the store would be unmanned. And during the weekdays, he would take his ‘favored’ employees out to lunch on occasion, again leaving me alone in the store over lunchtime.
He arbitrarily redefined my job position after I had been working there for 3-4 months. He would regularly bring his own personal drama into the store but would get incredibly annoyed at anyone else who mentioned their private lives during work hours. He made up customer complaints about employees that he was unhappy with. And, oh yeah, when the state raised its minimum wage, the employees continued to make less than minimum wage. What was the excuse for that? Well, our headquarters was based in another state and so they legally only had to pay us minimum wage based on where our headquarters was based. I’m not a lawyer, but I’m pretty certain that’s not how minimum wage laws work.
One of the two worst bosses I’ve ever had.”
From 1099 To A Salaried Job
“My old boss employed me as a 1099 contractor instead of a real employee. I adjusted my hours in the office to match my current workload; at one point when things were slow, I was generally showing up around 11 or so.
One day, I was on the way in and he called me all freaked out. He had tried to update the logo on a site I did and messed the whole thing up. I told him I’d be there in five minutes and he calmed down a bit. I arrived and fixed his stupid mistake in about five minutes, then I swung by his office to let him know.
He proceeded to give me grief about being ‘late’ without letting him know, at which point I reminded him that this was the exact time I’d been showing up for the past two weeks or so, so I hardly thought he had grounds to say I was ‘late.’
About a week later, he called a meeting and declared that everyone (all four of us) needed to be in by 9:30 every day at the very latest. I responded to this by asking him if he was going to pay me for the time I was there even if I didn’t have billable work to do. He didn’t like that very much and gave me a bunch of bull that essentially boiled down to ‘good luck finding any other work in this economy.’
Two weeks later, I had a job offer for an actual salaried position. Delivering that news to him gave me great joy.”
Leaving The Job Was A Christmas Miracle
“My worst experience was with my boss at the art gallery I worked for, a family business. It was awful. He would make appointments with clients, forget about it, and I would end up staying extra after work to see to the client and make sure business was taken care of.
He also had his RETIRED parents working for him, treating them like trash and yelling at them. I once heard him screaming, EFF YOU, DAD!’ at his senior father while I was dealing with two little old ladies out front. They were so appalled that they left. His parents had no idea how to use the computer system either, so I would have to fix all of their entries at the end of the day.
Sometimes, he just plain didn’t show up for work and I would get stranded there at the gallery.
The last straw was when he was a week and a half late in paying me and my landlord was on me for rent. He came in and I told him I needed my pay so that I could get rent to my landlord and he lost it. He started yelling at me telling me that I don’t haul my weight around there and that I take how well he treats me for granted.
He then angrily wrote up my cheque and threw it in my face, calling me a witch. He then told me to do him a favor and not come to work the next day, that I was fired. I was completely floored and mortified, it was like being in the twilight zone. What had just happened? I had never been terminated from a job in my life.
I went to my sister’s house screeching because I was reeling about having lost my job so close to Christmas. I actually had to keep her from going out the door because she was ready to drive down there — and my sister is NOT a woman you want to get in a fight with.
Anyway, two days later he calls me telling me he was totally inappropriate, that he was under a lot of stress lately and that he needed me to come back to work the next day as he was so overwhelmed by all the Christmas orders (I also cut frames, glass for frames, mattes for pictures etc. and put them together for clients for him). Needless to say, I politely declined. Every boss I have had since seems like solid gold after that guy.”
The Boss Who Never Shows Up
“We never get promotions or raises at my workplace. Every person holds multiple positions. Nobody gets paid overtime. If we go over the 40 hours a week (and almost everyone does), we don’t get paid for the rest, yet we are expected to work overtime to finish the work. If you don’t finish, the boss belittles you. The boss constantly shorts people money, so you need to constantly have a record of your hours. Sometimes, your paycheck will be several days late. No calling in sick unless you can find a cover, but we don’t ever have coverage because everyone works too much. The restaurant might be out of a crucial ingredient. In that case, you will have to buy it yourself so that customers won’t complain. You will not be compensated.
Where is the boss through all of this? He’s going on vacations. He’s putting his children through private schools. He’s buying new cars. He’s virtually M.I.A. until he wants someone to cook him a meal.”
She Slept Her Way To The Middle
“My worst boss was the Deputy State Director for a non-profit where I worked. She was totally unqualified for the job. She had great recommendations from previous supervisors for two reasons: one just wanted her gone and she had slept with the other two. She had never held a management position before and was ahead of me and my other-side-of-the-state counterpart, and at the time we had a combined 17 years of managerial experience (my nine years to his eight).
She was jealous and petty, shooting down ideas that were better than hers and purposely sabotaging our initiatives. She had no idea how to interpret data, was an embarrassment to outside partners, and slept with one of my staff members. He was a subordinate to her as she was involved with compensation, assignment, and performance review decisions. She then tried to get him fired after he broke up with her. She is just generally a horrible person.
While at the organization, she slept with two people above her and was eventually promoted to a non-supervisory HQ job. She was apparently so awful in bed that she could only sleep her way to the middle. The organization has since closed its doors and she has been unable to land another job, I can only assume because of her less-than-stellar reputation.”
His Charity Wasn’t Too Charitable
“The head of the non-profit I last worked for was the worst boss I’ve ever had.
He started numerous non-profits over the years. The ‘volunteers’ were given a place to live in exchange for working for him, but were told emphatically not to call him boss or that such a deal took place. He’d charge people we did work for outrageous amounts of money, then pocket it all since he never separated his own money from the non-profits.
He created an environment where people who were trying to get their life together again (former addicts, members of AA, etc.), were exposed to their old habits and essentially allowed to pick them back up as long as they could still function on the job. If they couldn’t, they were sent out onto the street.
He defrauded the government of thousands and thousands of dollars over the course of the four years I worked for him, harbored a child abuser in his home (which was less than a block from an elementary school) who eventually assaulted one of his tenants with a bat. He also used the workers for his own personal properties.
The house they were all expected to live in was infested with everything; roaches, bed bugs, mice, and other creepy crawlies. He took shortcuts wherever possible to get things done and would blame the workers when a shortcut inevitably failed. He also illegally had asbestos removed from a home and thrown in the regular trash, while a woman and her grandchildren were living there.
This is everything I can remember off the top of my head. I tried multiple times to tip authorities off about him, but no one took it seriously.”
“Don’t Like It, Quit”
“My mom had had cancer for a few years, but she took a sudden turn for the worse, and I had to call my workplace from the ICU to let my boss know I couldn’t come into work that weekend because I’d be burying my mother. He made the appropriate sympathy noises, but kind of in an absent-minded way, and then demanded an explanation for why I’d had a four dollar drive-off the week before. I worked at a gas station. For those unfamiliar with the term drive-off, it means someone who pumps fuel and then leaves without paying.
Then when I came into work the next week, still reeling from the loss, the boss had typed up this super passive-aggressive note about nitpicky nonsense that he wanted us to sign, and ended the note with, ‘And if you don’t like it, you can find another job.’
So we did. He lost his entire workforce except for a girl who’d been there two days, and a woman who was waiting to go on maternity leave in a few weeks and then never came back. Five of us just flat-out quit. The assistant manager got promoted to the head office and started an investigation, and they found out he was doing all kinds of nonsense he didn’t have authority to do, so he got canned a few months later.
I never found out the details, but I’m pretty sure at least some of that was due to him firing a girl because she got sick too often. She had to call in sick because she had severe endometriosis, and she had a busted ankle for about a month but still came into work. He didn’t even have the balls to tell her himself that she was fired. I had to break the news when she came in to start the shift she thought she was working. She’d even brought me cheesecake as a thank you for helping her so much while her ankle was busted. Guiltiest cheesecake I ever ate, lemme tell you.
Oh yeah, he also made me work a nine-hour shift completely by myself because the other person scheduled had heat stroke, and no one else could come in. He was supposed come in to at least give me a hand because the night shift is more than just running the counter, I had a list of chores to complete that took about three hours to do if you were dedicated solely to doing those instead of helping customers. But he didn’t feel like it.”
He Thought Everyone Was Out To Get Him
“I had one manager who had obvious mental issues. His first few days, he explained that he had been let go from his previous job because people conspired against him. It wasn’t long until he was accusing a lot of us of having ‘a dark circle’ that was against him. This led to being treated very unfairly by him. It got really weird and it got up to HR.
He ended up befriending a new employee and got him to be an informant of some type. For example, the kid would come to initiate conversations about the manager and then turn around and tell the manager what we said. From there, things only got worse. The kid caught on to what was going on and admitted that the manager got him to ‘spy’ on us. He ended up getting fired after the manager threatened to bury him after work one day. Coming to work was really scary for a while.”