Who Was Your Worst Boss?
For five years, I had a job with a four day work week. I know. Even at the time, I was aware that it was something to be savoured, plus I loved the work itself. It’s the best job I’ve ever had; however, there was a 5’6” downside and she owned the business.
My boss was terrified that the business would be ruined so she would test and micromanage the staff. It was a school that closed at 4:00, but she would call at 4:55 to make sure the administrative staff hadn’t left early. She would insert errors into files to see if people would catch them. She’d ask me questions about my work until I had to say that I had not done something. Sometimes it would take 4 questions, on one occasion it took about 25. She would just keep asking, “Did you do this? Did you do this? Did you do this? Did you do this? Did you do this? Did you do this?” until I had to say, “No.” Having proved herself necessary, she would gently say, “That’s okay, just make sure you do it” and go on with her day. It became such a common occurrence that I started going to her and asking her to do it, so I could confirm I was on top of things.
The piece de resistance of the experience was the day she yelled this at me -
Prolixity, if you don’t know that we love you, then you can just leave!
The weird part is that I can’t even remember why my boss screamed it. We were meeting about something, I ticked her off, and the next thing I knew she was shrieking at me for not knowing that I was a valued and respected member of the team. You can see how that might feel like a dubious compliment. She wasn’t crazy all the time, just now and then, and when I least expected it. Crazy in the way that keeps you on alert at all times and turns your body into a walking stress symptom. It was the employment version of “she only hits me when she’s drunk.”
I have more stories (compulsive lying, manipulation, passive aggression), but it’s your turn. Tell us about your awful bosses, and don’t be shy about painting your co-workers with the same brush.