Some people aren’t meant for leadership roles. Employees shame their most horrible bosses ever. Content has been edited for clarity purposes.
He Gave His Employees Headaches
“I was in an executive management program for a major retail chain and was assigned to a store. The store manager interviewed me with my soon-to-be immediate manager for (multiple) department manager positions and made his primary concerns evident. I explained my concerns that what he wanted would result in lower profits in the department for a couple of months. Still, I was hired.
I solved the problem, sales were up, but profit was lower. Essentially, I had to get rid of a ton of old and sometimes reconditioned merchandise. After two months, I was called into the office to explain why. This was a minor issue with this guy.
Every Monday at one p.m., we had a managers’ meeting to review performance and expectations for the coming week. There was always a line going through HR before the meeting to stock up on headache meds because he always chose someone to attack for something. I worked the Monday evening shift, so I would arrive about 30 minutes before the meeting.
One time we were in a scheduled reconfiguration of my primary department. I checked in with my guys and they were doing great. I went to the meeting, already on painkillers because I had dislocated my shoulder on Sunday. The shoulder was immobilized in s sling and swathe. I was right in front of the meeting while he attacked someone else.
After the meeting, I went back to the reconfiguration area and was talking to my guys when the manager stormed up (with my immediate manager behind him). The guy started spouting off about why we weren’t further along and why I was not in there with a hammer to remove shelves, etc. My immediate manager was just rolling his eyes.
I explained I worked the late shift on Mondays. Then told him I already checked on the reconfiguration before the staff meeting, and I thought we were on track.
He exclaimed, ‘Well, WHY aren’t you helping!?’
That’s when he noticed the VERY prominent immobilized shoulder. He stormed off without another word.
He also lowered the annual reviews for his best managers so their names wouldn’t pop up to be considered for promotions to other stores. Finally, the group manager instituted a policy that all of the upper-level managers were part of the review. With this, everyone knew what the review said. Even after this, he still went behind the other managers’ backs to reduce the rating. This happened to me and my immediate manager confirmed it. I took one of my mornings off to talk to the group HR manager about it.
He would scream at employees and managers on the sales floor in front of customers. Once, while a new display was being designed on the sales floor, he began screaming and berating the Display manager. The Display manager had a heart attack right then and collapsed. Fortunately, there was a hospital across the street.
Someone who knew my work and what I had done recommended me for a totally different position within the company. I was flown to the interview on a Friday, flew back, and came to work on Monday afternoon.
After the awful staff meeting, I was on the floor, talking to my employees, when he stalked up and demanded, ‘Why didn’t you tell me that you got that job!!?’
I told him, ‘I didn’t know that I had gotten it.’
He was ticked off.
There are many other stories about this guy, but he was finally caught on video demanding having work done on his car and then refusing to pay for it. Fired for theft, which he had committed many times, but they finally had hard proof.”
“It was in the middle of March 2015. On one ordinary afternoon, my boss called me to his office.
What could it be?
I got a pencil and paper.
Maybe he’ll dictate an instruction for something.
Then, I heard the words I never would have thought nor ever expected from this person I loyally worked for.
They’d be reducing an existing allowance and transferring that specific amount to the basic salary. So in the paper, my basic has increased but I would practically be receiving the same pay. Half the company was being sold and transitioning. My boss told me they opted not to ask the new co-owner for a budget to fund the government-mandated increase. So this was their way of dealing with it.
I nodded and said, ‘I need to think about it.’
He said, ‘No. Not acceptable.’
I talked to my sister about my plans as she would be the sole breadwinner for an indefinite time. I filed my official resignation letter two weeks later.
One lesson I picked up from this was not to love or commit to your company. Work smart, build good work relationships, and learn all you can. But do not love, or commit to any company. No company will love you. It will backstab you using any loophole available when they need to.
As a former employer’s motto goes, ‘Skill is transferrable.’
In other words, everyone is dispensable.”
“A few years ago, I worked for a well-known labor consulting firm that would do hearings for clients on a daily basis. I started as my direct manager was on pregnancy leave. I didn’t know at the time what a horrible person she would turn out to be but I was quite happy the first few months while working there and really excelled at my job.
One of our daily tasks was to do telemarketing which I hated. However, I had some sales background from doing part-time jobs, so I also excelled at this and managed to sign on with a very well-known international insurance company.
When my direct manager returned, everyone only spoke to her about the amazing job I was doing. This is when things started to go downhill.
My direct manager became very belligerent towards me and started to look for any excuse to reprimand me. She would constantly shout at me in front of the staff and even threw a file at my head, narrowly missing me once. She also picked the worst jobs that no one wanted to do for me which meant I often worked more than 12 hours a day with no overtime.
I remember clearly one day she started swearing at me and bullying me in front of all the employees.
I remember asking her nicely, ‘Please, stop!’
She said, ‘What are you going to do about it? Report me to the labor department? You can try that, I’ve won many cases.’
Mind you, this was my first job, so I didn’t want to be a disappointment. I tried my best to stay committed and make it work. My health started to gradually degenerate due to being overworked and overstressed which eventually landed me in the hospital.
The doctors explained to me that if I continued to experience the amount of stress I was experiencing, it would mean serious health issues for me.
After being dismissed from the hospital, the first thing I did was speak to our branch manager. I explained to her everything that had happened. I was very naive and believed things would go better from there but the next day when I got to work, I was asked not to go to any meetings and wait in the office.
After sitting for a while at my desk, I started to receive e-mails from HR with my dismissal forms. At this point, I wasn’t aware of anything that had been decided and had never even been consulted.
I immediately realized my direct manager must have convinced the branch manager that I was a problem and they had to dismiss me.
Our branch manager called me into the office and started to say how I wasn’t a good fit for the company.
Then my direct manager said how I wasn’t good at my job and wasn’t fit to be a consultant.
Because I knew for a fact, I treated my work seriously and was very good at my job, their comments really upset me. Even though I had always been very respectful and professional towards my managers, this was one of only two times in my life I directly took on my immediate superior.
I stood up and said straight to her face, ‘I won’t argue with you because I know it will only lead to you belittling me once again, so let’s agree to disagree. I know you have already convinced the branch manager to dismiss me.’
Then I turned to our branch manager and said, ‘By the way, this is all the things she has been doing that I can file for at the labor department.’ I listed all the things I had kept track of.
To cut the story short, the company had to settle and ended up paying me a ridiculous amount of money. I wasn’t interested in working for them anymore either so I courteously left the company with a single demand which was I receive a good letter of recommendation, that I specifically requested my direct manager write. Shortly after I left, I heard the branch started to fire staff and my direct manager left the company no longer after that.
I later found out that life didn’t go too well for my direct manager either.
My only wish was that our branch manager had noticed who this person truly was because everyone else at the job was really great and they didn’t deserve her.”
“I’m Calling The Cops!”
“Many years ago, I was working in a bar in London. The manager was a large bully with the IQ of a glass of water (a small one).
One evening, he left two female staff in charge of the bar on an evening shift. A group of businessmen came in and quickly became very wasted.
The senior of the two ladies said politely, ‘You guys can’t have any more to drink.’
One of them was outraged by this and pushed her across the room.
When she got up and said, ‘I’m calling the cops!’
As soon she said that he punched her and ran off with the rest of his buddies.
When the police arrived, they asked if the lady knew who this person was. Since the guy had given her his credit card for the tab, she knew his full name. Then the manager arrived and refused to release the details so there was no way to press charges against the guy.
The most horrible thing ever said by this boss was two weeks later when the guy came back to the bar.
The lady pointed him out to our boss and said, ‘That’s the guy who hit me!’
The manager laughed and said, ‘Well serve him his drink!'”
As Incentives Decreased, So Did The Numbers
“Working at a call center can be pretty demoralizing. Taking calls back to back, often from unhappy customers, handling those calls quickly, being upbeat often with equipment not working correctly, following all the guidelines, and meeting all metrics knowing that calls are being recorded and listened to by nitpickers. Sometimes it could be used for training either for ‘this is how you do it’ or ‘better not try this.’ And some calls required strict adherence to the script. But what made it bearable was the atmosphere.
We had a great place to work. We could go off script when it made sense as long as we covered everything. We had nice bonuses and awards. We had a great cafeteria on-site that had a coffee bar with a nice selection of coffee, hot chocolate, and various teas. There were monthly potlucks, team meetings that would include pizza or donuts, and competition between teams with nice prizes.
We could set up our spaces as we wished including pictures or decor. Despite the nature of the work, it was a fun place to work.
One of the coolest awards was the TOP award. I don’t remember what ‘TOP’ stood for but you had to acquire a certain number of points in a quarter’s time. It wasn’t easy to get that many.
In the first quarter, maybe 15 out of the 400 agents were awarded that. They got season tickets to our local hockey team, a dinner at an upscale restaurant on the clock, a nice walnut and brass plaque to be displayed in the lobby, and a replica to display at your work station. Basically, acknowledged by the whole center.
So the rest of us worked harder. By the next quarter, over a hundred agents qualified.
But this time around, there were no tickets, dinner, or a plaque. Instead, it was just an 8×10 card to congratulate the agents, and of course a slice of pizza. They were only acknowledged by the floor, not the whole center.
When the next quarter hit, there were even more winners. The card got smaller, as did the acknowledgment. Since the incentives were lowering, so did the numbers.
The next quarter, it was announced the whole program would be discontinued.
In the meantime, other things disappeared.
A malfunctioning refrigerator was never replaced and soon after that, all of them disappeared. The cafeteria was closed, but the coffee bar was still there. Unfortunately, it only had a generic coffee. No more chocolate, teas, or potlucks.
If team meetings were to have treats, it was up to team leaders or agents to provide them.
Then came the stricter policies, such as the ‘Clean floor, Clean desk’ policy. It meant nothing personal at all was to be on the production floor or workstation.
Morale quickly fell. Then production fell. Seasoned agents left.
The worst part of all of this was the center manager who made all these changes was given a huge bonus and a big raise because he had trimmed so much off production costs.”
“In 2012, I had just moved to the United States in hopes for the best in my career. I wanted to try something new, so I moved to storage technology from network protocol development. Too many things were happening in parallel for me.
As my wife was in her third trimester of pregnancy, we were struggling a bit to settle down in this new country and the new job.
After a couple of months of starting my new job, our beautiful daughter was soon born. That same day, I called my manager to let him know I would be out for a week to be with my baby. On the fourth day, my manager called and asked when I would be back. I mention my baby, thinking he might’ve forgotten our last conversation.
But he remembered and still asked me for the day of my return.
The next day, I returned to the office. It was difficult as I kept thinking about my daughter and the moments I was missing with her.
About four months later, my manager came by my desk and said, ‘We need to talk for a couple of minutes.’
I followed him to a conference room, where he started a discussion about my performance. I made a comment about how I only joined a few months ago and didn’t expect to be reviewed so soon.
For that, he said, ‘As per the policy, employees can participate in the performance cycle if they have completed 90 days. Though it is optional.’
I said, ‘I don’t want to participate as it is optional.’
Then he insisted I must participate. I didn’t understand the reason, but, agreed to it as I was doing fine with my work.
He mentioned some strange tradition in the team about fixing 30 plus bugs in the first three months which I was not aware of. I couldn’t have fixed those many even if I knew about that stupid tradition.
I just said, ‘I worked on and resolved around 18 bugs.’
Also mentioned how it was not right to calibrate someone on the basis of bug count as some tasks could be really complex.
He said, ‘You could have chosen simple tasks wisely. The director of the group is very serious about that ‘stupid’ 30 bug tradition.’
I didn’t have much to say. I thought it was ok as I was expecting an average rating only.
In the end, he revealed my rating which was the lowest. I was beyond shocked as I never rated so low. As it was optional to rate me, I asked him to let me out of that performance cycle.
He was not ready for that reply.
I said, ‘I will escalate it if necessary. Because I don’t want that unfair rating on my file.’
After that, he started giving me weird reasons for my performance. As I questioned him more about them, he then finally gave me the actual reason.
There was some terrible bell curve HR policy in that company to fit/rate employees accordingly. He needed one from his team to be rated very low. If I didn’t participate, he had no other option, but to put his favorite employee in that. Basically, wanted me to be a voluntary scapegoat.
I was so disappointed about the whole thing that I didn’t share it with my family. I can never forget the depressive feeling I had gone through during that time. I really missed the most important time with my daughter.
I constantly fail to play along with office politics which are really messy and awkward.”
A “Funny” Prank
“I had started a new job and was talking with one of my coworkers about a former boss I didn’t think much of. I didn’t name any names or even the company but she said, ‘Oh that sounds like someone I used to work with when I was an intern.’
Turns out we were talking about the same guy. She told me this story.
She is allergic to shellfish, like anaphylaxis allergic. During a busy time of year when they were all working late, they ordered supper from a Chinese place. She was quite clear that she had an allergy when she placed her order for sweet and sour chicken. Well, he thought it would be ‘funny’ to mix some sweet and sour shrimp in with her food.
They were the last two in the break room when she started to react.
He, now realizing he messed up in a big way, tried to block the door, so she couldn’t leave until she responded to his question, ‘You know you can’t sue for this right?’
She got desperate enough that she kneed him to get past to get to her emergency meds and get to the hospital.
The next day she got in trouble with the owner for leaving early the night before without approval.
She said, ‘My boss knew I had an allergic reaction and had to seek medical attention. Didn’t he say anything?’
I was disappointed to learn that she didn’t file a complaint or press charges because he really deserved it. But as she was an intern she was afraid of what it might do to her career path. I didn’t think a lot of him before but I thought even less of him after that.”
Why Didn’t His Boss Defend Him?
“I used to be a professor. I’d been teaching logic, a major course offering, on a year-by-year contract renewable for up to four years and with the possibility of conversion to tenure-track during the final year.
Tenure-track means permanent job security in academia (assuming you’re not arrested for a crime or accused). It’s the standard goal of anyone who goes into university teaching.
During this period, I published an average of over one article per year in refereed journals while teaching a full load (four classes per semester). Among my practices was keeping test files for students. They did this in addition to regular assignments, and the practice compelled me to keep my creative edge, as my own system would not allow me to give the same tests over and over again. It forced me to write new ones. I should add that students tended to do well in my class if they worked at it. I tended to give around six A’s per section and would have argued that the students had earned them. No one said my class was easy.
What I didn’t know was that I had a hidden enemy: the other major logic professor. He did not have the best reputation, and students did not learn from him. Moreover, during drop-add, students tended to drop his class and add mine if they could.
The word on campus was: ‘If you take logic, get Professor Yates, not Professor Brown.’
Doubtless, this got back to him. He wasn’t stupid.
But when the time came for my promotion, it wasn’t there. At the start of what turned out to be my final year at this university, I instead received a letter informing me that my effort at being promoted had been turned down. I was ‘thanked’ for my ‘service to the institution,’ etc.
The letter’s final paragraph contained what can only be described as a threat: ‘Not to challenge this decision by your colleagues because such action could follow you elsewhere.’
The letter wasn’t signed. I had to conclude that someone had considered the possibility that I might talk to a lawyer about a wrongful termination suit.
When I wanted to know from the department chair what had happened, as he’d actually told me not to apply for jobs elsewhere during this period, he told me, ‘Your colleague had opted not to pursue your candidacy.’
He said this while not looking me in the eye.
I found another teaching job. And learned the truth two years later.
This one person, the other logic teacher, had gone behind my back to block my candidacy for advancement. What got back to me were four devastating words: ‘We can do better.’
He’d not elaborated.
There were no other ‘colleagues’ opposing me, but according to the university’s by-laws, I needed the unanimous support of the tenured faculty to win admission to their exclusive club.
The weakling department chair, who knew of my credentials, had not lifted a finger to defend my interests, as was his responsibility.
I never trusted senior faculty again after that. After a few years, was no longer seeking permanent teaching positions. On the basis of this and several other incidents involving unscrupulous elders (not all of the things that happened to me, some happened to friends of mine), I’d taken to warning anyone who asked for career advice against pursuing university teaching. When the opportunity came to leave teaching (a story in itself), I jumped at it.”
“In one of the companies I used to work for, there was rapid expansion and almost turned into a situation with more people than seating space. So the management had suggested encouraging everyone to work from home once a week. Like almost making it mandatory.
I had a manger who was hated by all team members.
During the above said time, he just gave another reason to be hated by saying, ‘We all know there is space crunch. So we will need to work from home one day a week. I encourage you all to choose the day. I don’t want anyone to work from home on a Friday or Monday. I don’t trust you all enough to think you will work on that day. I believe you will just treat it like a long weekend and not work. However, I believe in myself so I have decided to take Fridays.'”
“When I was 19 and a young married, I worked as an attendant in a laundromat in a very poor neighborhood. I dispensed change, cleaned up, did drop laundry, and pressed military uniforms. Although the owner had a chain of stores, he did not treat them all equally.
Because the store I worked in was in a poor neighborhood, even though it was very busy (and therefore profitable), the owner neglected this particular store. There was no air conditioning, one out of three of the machines were broken, and the place was generally a dump.
However, because it was a military town with many soldiers and wives of soldiers willing to work for minimum wage, employees had little choice. The job market there was chronically depressed.
Then the paycheck I was depending on bounced. It was just four days after my employer bought a new boat too.
Two days later, I was given my pay but the damage was already done. Because I deposited my first check in good faith and paid my bills, my checks bounced. Everything from my rent to my gas, water, and electric bills were returned with fees. My employer’s bad check cost me over 400 dollars. 400 dollars I could not afford.
Of course, I couldn’t quit right away. I had too many bills to take care of first. In the end, I moved to New Mexico to get away from the minimum wage economy. On my last night on the job, someone was stabbed at my laundromat. I vividly remember my employer chiding me not to leave until I cleaned the blood off the sidewalk.
I heard from friends over the years that he continued to bounce payroll checks.”