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The Worst Boss Ever - The Boss From Hell

Updated on January 31, 2017
Marcy Goodfleisch profile image

A professional career coach, Marcy has helped hundreds refine their resumes, improve their interviewing skills, and advance their careers.

Beware of Mean and Crazy Bosses

A Boss from Hell can make you crazy.
A Boss from Hell can make you crazy. | Source

Do You Work for a Toxic Dysfunctional Boss?

A truly monstrous and toxic boss isn't just one who loses his or her temper, or who is incompetent. Those things are bad enough, and they're certainly just cause for leaving a job. But world-class bad bosses go way beyond those annoying things and exhibit traits that can be insane, frightening or even dangerous.

In some cases, you may have to leave the position to save your sanity. In other cases, there may be a chance to salvage things. Here are some tips on what to do if you're faced with a monster for a boss, and the case history of my personal experience with a Boss from Hades.

Bosses Who Steal Ideas

Some Bad Bosses will ask for your input and suggestions, then present it as his | her own idea.
Some Bad Bosses will ask for your input and suggestions, then present it as his | her own idea. | Source
Charlie Chaplin | The Dictator
Charlie Chaplin | The Dictator | Source

Toxic Management Types

The Egomaniac: This boss has to be right and has to have all the attention. He will insist on being the center of the universe, and gets furious if there's another star in the corporate constellation. If you're an underling and you don't want to leave your position, just be sure to stroke his ego every chance you get, even if it makes you ill. If he's stealing your thunder, keep memos and records of your contributions to projects and copy all the right people in your office interaction. But don't be surprised if this immature, insecure jerk starts finding a way to shift you out to the street.

The Idea Thief: This person is a toxic boss in an insidious way; she steals your ideas and takes credit for your work. If she's your boss, she will present your project as though it's her own. She will resent you for your expertise and will do her best to prevent you from interacting with people in power who might recognize your contributions.

The best solution is also the only one that will protect your health and sanity; you should quietly begin finding another job. This person has no scruples and will not change. You, however, can grow and thrive elsewhere. Just play it cool, document your work, and arrange for those who do know of your contributions to supply letters of recommendation or references.

The Dictator: This type of toxic boss is more than just demanding; it seems they want to control every move you make and every minute of your day. They can often give conflicting assignments and contradictory directions. The control can even extend to your private time and private life. In some cases, this type of boss might have Attention Deficit Disorder or another syndrome that makes him jump from one priority to another.

If your Dictator Boss is brilliant but demanding, it's possible that you can set boundaries with him by carefully selecting the right opportunity to approach him with statements such as, "I can work on that tomorrow, after the XYZ report you assigned me is finished."

You can also ask him to prioritize the conflicting deadlines and assignments you've been given by saying, "Just to make certain I'm on the right page, which of these would you like first, the XYZ report, the widget project, or the budget update?"

Sexual Harassment by Managers

Sexual harassment still happens | is illegal.  Report it!
Sexual harassment still happens | is illegal. Report it! | Source
Dishonest Bosses | Liars
Dishonest Bosses | Liars | Source

Bosses Who Violate Ethics and Laws

The Sexual Harasser: Yes, this still happens in the workplace. If there's a hierarchy of management above the offender, take the problem to the Human Resources Department. Keep a very precise diary of every instance and the way it made you feel. Never meet with the person alone; always keep doors open and ask others to join you. If possible, let the person know how you feel about their behavior, but tread carefully, because habitual offenders will know you're onto them and can often go on the attack by trying to undermine your reputation.

The Maniac or Nutcase: This person is noticeably more crazy than the Dictator or other types of toxic bosses. She can be passive aggressive, she can try to undermine your sense of self esteem and she can cause damage to you if you are not careful. If you're with someone who insidiously picks at you (the slap with the velvet glove), or who subtly attacks you while sounding like they're your friend, consider leaving the position. Unless this person gets therapy, things will not change. And, it's likely nobody will understand or believe you if you take the problem to someone above her.

The Liar: This person manufactures stories to shift blame and to destroy others. Some of these bosses are out to protect themselves, but others have more malice. In some cases, these people will falsify records and create artificial paper trails to produce documentation to support their lies. These people are not likely to change; get out while you can, and work to protect your reputation by keeping good records (put original files on a thumb drive if needed), and by grooming some references in the organization who understand the situation and will support you as you look for other work.

The Sociopath: One of the most frightening types of people to encounter is a genuine sociopath. Lying is an art to these people, and they do it well. The only thing you can predict about them is that they will not suddenly transform themselves, and they will hurt you. The sociopath (the condition is also referred to as psychopath or antisocial personality disorder) will distort facts and ruin lives with no remorse or sign of emotion at all.

What to do About Toxic and Evil Bosses

Talk to Human Resources: This may prove useless, especially if the Bad Boss is also over that department, but you often need to exhaust internal options before you can take a complaint outside of the organization.

Ask for Mediation: Some HR departments offer conflict resolution or mediation. This does not always address the situation adequately when a truly toxic boss is involved, but it can help create better communication and can let the boss know you're serious about things. In large organizations, the boss may not want the bad attention this brings. This can work to your advantage by getting them to back off, or it can backfire if they go after you.

File an EEOC Complaint: Depending on the situation, you might be able to file an official complaint with state or federal officials. One thing to note - it is not against the law for someone to be a jerk or to yell at you. So make certain your complaint falls under the protection of this type of agency before taking those steps.

Get Another Job: This isn't an easy solution in today's economy, but it is often the only way to effectively remove yourself from a bad situation. Take a look at the big picture, and decide how many things would need to happen for the situation to change. Then ask yourself how likely it is that these things will come about. How many of the needed changes are within your power?

Reality Check:

The reality is that you can only change what is in your own power. You can't change your boss, you can't change management, you can't change the organizational flaws that are allowing this to happen. You can only change your own situation. Your choices may boil down to living with the situation (and trying to not let it affect you) or leaving the situation.

Happy Trails to Me: We were hired to be writers, not singers

Cowboy Singing by Thomas Eakins, circa 1890
Cowboy Singing by Thomas Eakins, circa 1890 | Source

Case Study of a Dysfunctional and Bad Boss

Since my career spans several years, I've been around a wide variety of bosses. I've worked for some great bosses, and some mediocre bosses. But one prize-winning memory I have is of a senior executive at a large organization who made us produce and perform in Country Western stage shows.

This person (now deceased, thankfully) fancied himself a C&W singer, and for years had coerced his staff members to be in bands and or to be part of the backstage production team. He had recruited (read: forced) several men who played guitars and sang to be part of his male singing group, and because the audio visual department fell under his division, he had free rein to use them as sound technicians, stage hands and for other support duties.

During his long career at the organization, he had 'volunteered' his singing group to perform at every conference or meeting the organization attended. Executive management more or less left him alone because his standard story was that everyone loved being in these shows. His downfall finally came, though, when the organization was picked to host a very high-profile conference.

This tipped his ego trip over the edge and eventually sent him into a pit of his own delusional making, because he expanded his repertory company to include a group of women singing C&W and Gospel songs, and a group of female dancers who would demonstrate the Cotton-Eyed Joe while wearing skimpy white-satin shorts and skirts.

As a new employee there (I was hired to be a writer), I was recruited to be a singer for the newly designated auxiliary quartet of women singers. I had foolishly put on my resume, under "Hobbies and Interests," that I was a classically trained lyric soprano (in Italian and Latin). I wasn't sure how that lent itself to Country Western songs, but since I was too new to know the history of the music extravaganzas, it sounded fun to me and I said, "Sure!" I later learned that these were never invitations; they were command performances and your career would be in jeopardy if you declined.

Source

This Boss Ordered Illegal Use of Government Time

Early on, it became clear this poor man had some serious mental issues. We began practicing many months before the big event (which was basically just a banquet, with our pathetic group as the entertainment). We were required to practice evenings and weekends, which was inconvenient for those with children and families.

We were also required to practice during duty hours, the ethics of which raised questions for me. I went to my immediate managers and asked about the wisdom of using work time to practice for a (very bad) stage show, and it became clear that everyone in the division was terrified of this person. People had tried to report it before, and had had their careers shut down and destroyed.

As much as everyone hated this man (I've never seen such intense, universal hatred for anyone in my life), they lived with the tyranny and survived through various internal support systems, such as a private file of the man's poor grammar (we were writers, remember?), and various inside jokes. They also assumed that the organization's executives knew about the situation and tacitly approved of it. I'm not sure if that was the case - you'll see why in a bit.

By the time the performance was nearly on us, we'd had a few dry-run performances at smaller engagements, and we realized he was quickly losing his grip on reality. He had become obsessed with every element of the production, as well as other touches he insisted on adding to the conference, all of which used tremendous amounts of staff time and cost many dollars over and above the amount legitimately available for the banquet.

He required numerous staff members to buy 'uniforms' (blue blazers) out of their own pockets so they could be roving hosts at the hotel during the conference, and he created a TV show (all scripted and produced by his staff) to be aired through closed-circuit at the hotel. None of this was related to either the purpose of the conference or to the actual work we were paid to do in our jobs.

We 'singers' lived with pure torture. He had rewritten the lyrics to several songs, and kept tweaking and rewriting the words on a daily basis; we never knew which lyrics were his current edits and we suffered if we sang the wrong version. To the humiliation of all female performers, he insisted on introducing us by saying, "They are all professional women!" We tried to explain this wasn't quite a compliment, but he ignored us.

The stress was incredible - I had been there only a short time, but I was already looking for a new job. Worse than that, I found it appalling that this type of abuse of people and money seemed to be tolerated.

Roy Rogers and Dale Evans sing Happy Trails to You

Reaching the Breaking Point With a Bad Boss

The breaking point, for me, came when he used me as the 'model' to redesign the outfit we women singers would wear. I was thankful not to have to wear the skimpy shorts and skirts the dancers had to wear, but when I found myself pulled into his office so he could order sequins, glittered stars, feathers and other gaudy ornamentation added to the modest white blouses and long denim skirts our group had decided to wear, it was too much to bear.

The straw that broke me was when he commented on the cleavage of my blouse. I stormed out of that office afterward and went straight to the desk of my immediate manager, and snarled at him through clenched teeth: "We need to talk!" He was on the phone, and hung up saying, "I've got to go, Marcy just came in here wearing a cowboy hat with sequins and feathers on it and she looks really funny." But it was clearly not a laughing matter.

Although I immediately demanded that action be taken, nothing was done by anyone directly above me. I now realize this man was insane, and we were all held hostage by the need to have a paycheck and the fear that our careers would be thwarted or destroyed. Many people had tried to expose the problems before, and all had failed.

Somehow, though, due to the massive amount of abuse this upcoming event had generated, word got back to the highest executives of the organization. A week or two after my embarrassing costume-fitting in his office, they ordered an investigation. One by one, we were all called into a private meeting with an attorney from the organization and one of the executives.

He Retires:

Thanks to the investigation, the man announced he would retire as soon as the big conference was over. The show was allowed to continue (mostly because canceling it would have embarrassed the organization). He had obsessed over it for a year, and considerable organizational time and money had been spent for props, custom-made table decorations, special stage sets and other trappings, and it would have been wasteful not to go through with it. Once we knew he was leaving, we probably would done anything to make certain he followed through.

The list of things this person did under the name of Boss and as a manager is huge. His abuses extended back for decades and there were numerous instances when it was obvious his deck lacked a few cards. For this conference alone, he had demanded one manager to create several dozen custom centerpieces made from used cowboy boots stuffed with dried floral arrangements. He also required a construction division to create a mechanical stage backdrop for a banquet 'roast' of a former executive.

The fallout from his years of unfettered tyranny was incredible, and even tragic. Some staff members had nervous breakdowns, some had stress in their marriages (and many got divorced), and many had various health issues from the stress and abuse.

Some Final Words:

This story shows how pervasive and long-lasting management abuse can be, and how it can be overlooked, ignored or literally not recognized by senior management. I prefer to believe that the highest executives honestly didn't know the full extent of the craziness.

Overall, my years with the organization were good, and I respect it tremendously. But it's clear that either group denial or a lack of awareness can create work situations that are astoundingly in violation of the law and that seriously damage the careers and morale of employees who fall under a Bad Boss such as this one was.

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  • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image
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    Marcy Goodfleisch 2 years ago from Planet Earth

    Agreed, Kristen - the guy was actually 'invited' to retire, from what I know. He had been there more than 40 years, and definitely had the tenure and age to retire with no problem.

    I was one of the people interviewed when they investigated & I told them everything (I learned later that many people clammed up and wouldn't talk). I kept repeating "The problem can't be fixed, the problem needs to be gone" or something to that effect - and the investigation team finally asked what I think should happen. Since I was already trying to get another job, I didn't care, and I replied, "I think he should retire right away." And - within a few weeks, they announced he was leaving. It was a day of rejoicing for the entire unit.

  • Kristen Howe profile image

    Kristen Howe 2 years ago from Northeast Ohio

    He has some nerve, Marcy. He should be FIRED for sure.

  • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image
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    Marcy Goodfleisch 2 years ago from Planet Earth

    The poor man was delusional, and was widely hated by everyone under him. Typical of many such situations, the executives ignored him, and when anyone complained, he talked his way out of it, but punished the offender in some manner.

  • Kristen Howe profile image

    Kristen Howe 2 years ago from Northeast Ohio

    My pleasure Marcy. My god, he was a bad and toxic boss. Wow, you've highlighted every bad boss ever imaginable.

  • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image
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    Marcy Goodfleisch 2 years ago from Planet Earth

    Hi, Kristen - so glad you enjoyed the hub (or at least find it useful!). As I mentioned, the guy in the case history part was real - in fact, there was not even enough room to list all the nutty things he did. It was sad to see how many people he damaged in his four-decade tenure.

    BTW - the other examples are also modeled on true case histories - those types of people do exist, and they're very toxic. Thanks for commenting and for the up vote!

  • Kristen Howe profile image

    Kristen Howe 2 years ago from Northeast Ohio

    Marcy, great tips on how to deal with the worst boss ever. I'm lucky I never had to deal with one in my experience. Voted up for useful to others in the workplace.

  • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image
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    Marcy Goodfleisch 3 years ago from Planet Earth

    I agree, theBAT. That's pretty much what I do now, and I love it.

  • theBAT profile image

    theBAT 3 years ago

    Having that kind of boss is dreadful and makes work more difficult than it is. One solution is "to be your own boss". Why work for someone else when you can work for your own? Nice hub.

  • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image
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    Marcy Goodfleisch 4 years ago from Planet Earth

    Lol! Well, remind me to get someone to watch my back if we ever work in the same office!

  • ParadigmEnacted profile image

    ParadigmEnacted 4 years ago

    Oh, it didn't bother me. I felt the same way. If there isn't a union that kind of thing is a good alternative.

  • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image
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    Marcy Goodfleisch 4 years ago from Planet Earth

    Holy cow - talk about a threat! That's a really disturbing example of a manipulative and abusive employee. And apparently it worked. Thanks for sharing that, ParadigmEnacted. Sorry you had to go through that.

  • ParadigmEnacted profile image

    ParadigmEnacted 4 years ago

    Somebody I used to work with had a way of keeping our bosses at bay. It consisted of casually and frequently making the proclamation that if he ever got fired "somebody's going to the hospital."

  • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image
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    Marcy Goodfleisch 4 years ago from Planet Earth

    So sorry you're going through this, LisaKoski! You've made a healthy decision - your office group has an established pattern of dysfunction, and it's not likely to change. Best to move on, even though looking for another job is stressful. Thanks for reading and commenting, and best of luck to you!

  • LisaKoski profile image

    LisaKoski 4 years ago from WA

    I'm currently dealing with a couple of crazy bosses that have caused me so much stress and anxiety that I've finally decided to leave. When I tried to bring their actions to the attention of the manager/owner of this small office, he threatened to fire me while still acknowledging that these women have a horrible reputation in the small city I just recently moved to. As bad as I've felt this job has been, your story definitely takes the cake! Thanks for sharing. It's amazing what some people can get away with at the workplace.

  • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image
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    Marcy Goodfleisch 4 years ago from Planet Earth

    Thanks, Mel - I appreciate your comments. I agree completely - managers with no conscience are deadly and very toxic. They're also skilled at deflecting attention from themselves. By the time you realize they're after your job, they've already laid the groundwork elsewhere.

  • Mel Carriere profile image

    Mel Carriere 4 years ago from San Diego California

    I loved your story about your worst boss. As a Postal Worker I have encountered innumerable bad bosses, mostly of the "Liar" variety that will throw you under the bus at the drop of a hat as a sacrificial victim for their own incompetence. I think these are the worst, because on the surface they are virtually oozing over with kindness and they sort of fool you into dropping your guard.

  • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image
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    Marcy Goodfleisch 4 years ago from Planet Earth

    LOL! Thanks, INFJay! An entire book could be written about the crazy person I chronicled here - and yes, he had all the misguided ego you allude to, and relished his power. There are a ton of stories of his 40-year 'career' torturing employees. Glad you enjoyed this one!

  • INFJay profile image

    Jay Manriquez 4 years ago from Santa Rosa, California

    The benefit of having a bad boss (or bosses) it that you can really appreciate a good one! Funny too how many bad bosses think they are actually a good boss. Great hub!!

  • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image
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    Marcy Goodfleisch 4 years ago from Planet Earth

    Yes - I think the TP issue wins a prize. What a creep.

  • mollymeadows profile image

    Mary Strain 4 years ago from The Shire

    Wow Marcy. All the other things you mentioned on this hub were bad, but hiding toilet paper is cold! That's evil! Brrr! XD

  • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image
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    Marcy Goodfleisch 4 years ago from Planet Earth

    Lol! I love the image of the newspaper staff burning their boss in effigy - sounds so typical of the sense of cynical humor reporters get. I had a friend whose boss was such a tightwad that he hid the toilet paper and rationed it. And another place I worked had a manager widely known to be extremely harsh and difficult, so his peers (other managers) had a voodoo doll they'd pass around so each could stick pins in it. Thanks for reading, and for the laughs, Molly!

  • mollymeadows profile image

    Mary Strain 4 years ago from The Shire

    Marcy, I know it must've been awful, but I couldn't help laughing when I pictured all the employees on stage, singing!

    Maybe I can laugh because I've worked for my share of maniacs. I once worked for a newspaper owner who was such a skinflint that his employees burned him in effigy every Halloween. Another of my bosses really and truly believed in alien abductions. That was the big honking sign to me, that it was time to start sidling toward the door! XD

  • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image
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    Marcy Goodfleisch 4 years ago from Planet Earth

    I will have to check out your book - what a great way for you to put to use some negative experiences. Many thanks, Sid!

  • SidKemp profile image

    Sid Kemp 4 years ago from Boca Raton, Florida (near Miami and Palm Beach)

    Yes, Marcy, not-for-profit organizations certainly have their share of monster bosses. And I have written a book about this: It's called "Perfect Solutions for Difficult Employee Situations." I used all those awful experiences to learn and teach how to be a great boss.

  • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image
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    Marcy Goodfleisch 4 years ago from Planet Earth

    Thanks, Sid - I've also learned that insane 'bosses' can pop up in volunteer settings - even in church. They're always destructive in the long run, and they are counter-productive leaders. I appreciate your comments here. I'm guessing you could write a book about the horror stories you've seen.

  • SidKemp profile image

    Sid Kemp 4 years ago from Boca Raton, Florida (near Miami and Palm Beach)

    Thank you for sharing your story and the reality of difficult, impossible, and insane bosses. I had my share (5 in 8 years, just out of college). Then I had a truly great boss. He taught me how to be a great boss, and I've worked for myself since then. But, in my consulting business, I've had to fire clients because of crazy bosses. A bad one recently was a mysogynist - not sexual harassment, but simply treating women so badly that I was unwilling to empower him. Many of my clients, though, especially in career coaching, have boss horror stories as bad as yours.

    May we learn to live without fear and find the job environment we deserve. Voted up and useful.

  • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image
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    Marcy Goodfleisch 4 years ago from Planet Earth

    Oh, wow - I absolutely know what you mean, likehoney - sorry you went thought that. That is very typical of a dysfunctional person, and it's deadly when they're in positions of authority. Thanks for chiming in here!

  • likehoney profile image

    Michelle Barrows Carter 4 years ago from Portland, Oregon

    I had a very mentally unstable boss once. She was either your best friend or she hated you. She did have a mental disorder. He behavior was seen by others, many complained and she was never dealt with. It felt like a battered worker. It was horrible.

  • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image
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    Marcy Goodfleisch 4 years ago from Planet Earth

    Thanks for sharing your experiences, Bernie - I think you summed up very well some of the contrasts between the 'managers as controllers' paradigms in the past and the 'nurture and develop' approach of more recent approaches. Congrats on being your own boss!!! And thanks, again, for stopping by!

  • BernietheMovieGuy profile image

    Bernie Ment 4 years ago from Syracuse, NY

    I have worked for good bosses and bad bosses in my time. It seems the ones I get along best with are ones that nurture my intelligence and creative spirit, while the ones who stifle me tend to earn the seething boil that will eventually explode (and has, on a few occasions) and either get me fired or have me storming out the door in a rage that needs release of would likely explode in other ways that I would rather not contemplate or consider. It's interesting to note that I get along better with male bosses since female bosses seem to always want to assert control over my considerable male ego and that creates all kinds of friction. Fortunately not all of my female bosses have been intimidated, though, and those are the ones I got along with the best. Fortunately, at this point in my life, I am self-employed and answer only to myself. It's not likely that I will be having those types of managerial discourses anytime in the near future.

  • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image
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    Marcy Goodfleisch 4 years ago from Planet Earth

    Hi, Marste - yes, a big piece of fallout from incompetent and evil bosses is the psychological damage it does to the victims (otherwise known as employees in a sane world).

  • marste5310 profile image

    marste5310 4 years ago from Hertford

    Just saw this hub and it got me thinking. I've been in IT most of my working life (over 20 years) and I've had all sorts of bosses, some good, some very good, some bad, some very bad.

    As to my worst boss, there's one clear winner here.

    In my opinion the most important quality a manager of people needs to have is man management. Sounds simple enough.

    This guy was hopeless in that respect.

    After a period of time of being under valued, undermined and generally not appreciated my confidence levels hit rock bottom.

    In the end you begin to question your own ability.

  • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image
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    Marcy Goodfleisch 5 years ago from Planet Earth

    LOL! Too funny! And a most astute observation - he was indeed a disaster. Thanks so much for reading and commenting!

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    win-winresources 5 years ago from Colorado

    Hi Marcy-

    Just saw this hub.

    Sounds like your boss is in dire need of an enema. Or a lobotomy. Wait a minute, in his case they are interchangable.

    -DW

  • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image
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    Marcy Goodfleisch 5 years ago from Planet Earth

    I'm also glad you haven't experienced this sort of thing, Ssq1985. It is a type of craziness that leaves scars for many years. Thanks for your comments here!

  • Ssq1985 profile image

    Ssq1985 5 years ago from Dayton, Ohio

    Wow, that's insane. Glad I've never had a boss like that, but then again, I'm still young. Very thorough hub!

  • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image
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    Marcy Goodfleisch 5 years ago from Planet Earth

    Hi, amithak - some people thrive much better when they're self employed, and some feel stressed from the cyclical income it can create. It sounds like you've made the perfect choice for your goals - that is so great! Thanks so much for reading and commenting!

  • amithak50 profile image

    amithak50 5 years ago from India

    You have covered great points ..Bosses are always try to do things n their own way and you don't have independence at all ,I never liked a boss and Now I am self employed and will never work under bosses and I am loving it ..Thanks for the great article Marcy

  • PegCole17 profile image

    Peg Cole 5 years ago from Dallas, Texas

    Marcy, yes, I think we did work for some of the same people. Workplace abuse takes bullying to a whole new level. This is something we face every day for years on end. You're right about validation after the fact. There is some satisfaction in knowing that eventually someone else sees what you saw all along.

  • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image
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    Marcy Goodfleisch 5 years ago from Planet Earth

    Did we work for some of the same people, Peg? I had some world-class brain thieves along the way; I think those are the most infuriating for me. It has always been validating when, years later, someone who knew the score mentions the name of one of the Bad Ones, and then observes how 'incompetsnt' she was, or 'what a jerk' he was. At least you realize you weren't mistaken in your opinion.

    Had I been under Mr. Song and Dance Man much longer, I'd probably have gone crazy. Fortunately, he self-destructed, as many of the Baddies often do.

  • PegCole17 profile image

    Peg Cole 5 years ago from Dallas, Texas

    Oh Marcy, You really nailed it here with your descriptions of so many bosses I've had. This is a great article, presented with subtle humor and stinging truth.

    The idea thieves are everywhere. I actually had one who said he was going to steal my ideas as I was sharing them during a private interview for a promotion within the department and he did. Some who demeaned my success and accomplishments after throwing me to the wolves on a project where more experienced project managers had failed. Then assigned me to the disgruntled customer threatening to cancel their multi megabucks purchase orders and then announced to our group that any admin could handle that assignment.

    I've worked for the liars, the egomaniacs, the dictators and the sexual harrassers. One actually tried to attack me in the stairwell and would watch as I climbed the stairs in a dress while he made crude comments. But your account of that horrible boss was truly the epitome of bosses from Hades. It is a wonder you survived this maniac. My goodness!

  • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image
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    Marcy Goodfleisch 5 years ago from Planet Earth

    I agree, Stacie - when I remember things in my career that just plain shouldn't have happened, even though there have been many good things as well, I realize the level of energy it sapped just to survive. Thanks so much for your comment!

  • Stacie L profile image

    Stacie L 5 years ago

    Yep,I've had some of these bosses. The idea thief and egomaniac seem to be prevalent in my career. Wish there was a way to weed them out faster. They can make your life at work so miserable.

  • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image
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    Marcy Goodfleisch 5 years ago from Planet Earth

    You are so right, Jackie - I've seen such rampant mistreatment and low morale in so many settings. I once worked at an agency where the only good thing employees said (when asked) was that they had covered parking. Sad, huh?

    Thanks so much for reading and commenting!

  • Jackie Lynnley profile image

    Jackie Lynnley 5 years ago from The Beautiful South

    Really bad stuff you put up with. My worst complaint with bosses over the years (thankfully I have mostly been self-employed) is they have no idea what is going on. Assistant managers and group leaders run the companies and if a boss would spend just one day on a job would find out what a joke many jobs are with the good workers being mistreated and most jokers paid for nothing causing the good ones to have to pick up the slack until they can take no more and quit.

  • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image
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    Marcy Goodfleisch 5 years ago from Planet Earth

    LOL! I may have run into Larry, Moe and Curly's clones here and there! I'm super glad you're in Austin, though - even if it took a few stooges like that to get you here! Thanks for reading and commenting!

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    larcaustin46 5 years ago from Austin, TX

    Years ago, my husband and I both worked for a very small software company owned and run by three brothers from Bemidji, MN. They thought they were the coolest, smartest, wealthiest guys in Dallas, and any hint or suggestion to the contrary resulted in petty retaliation or tantrums. Unfortunately for them, what passed for cool in Bemidji did not register on the Dallas radar. To this day, we still refer to them as Larry, Moe, and Curly. I guess we should thank them, though--they were so awful that my husband became very aggressive about finding a job in Austin, and he did!

    Great hub, Marcy--voted up and useful!

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    Marcy Goodfleisch 5 years ago from Planet Earth

    I can just see you doing that, Billy! Perfect!!! I know the huge sense of relief you get when you finally cut your losses and leave a toxic situation like that. Thanks for reading and commenting!

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    Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

    I had several of these in one person, the principle at the last school I taught at. One fine October afternoon in the middle of a staff meeting I tossed her my classroom keys and said goodbye. Greatest feeling of my life. :) Great hub at a very real problem in the workplace.

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    Marcy Goodfleisch 5 years ago from Planet Earth

    I'm glad you escaped, homesteadbound - your health is more important than any job. And we need you and your great writing here on this site!

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    Marcy Goodfleisch 5 years ago from Planet Earth

    Hi, Emily - yes, double edges at least, and maybe a few more at times! Anyone who has been through a terrorist boss regime knows the impact on your career can last for years if you rock the boat. Thanks for your kind words here - I appreciate it!

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    Cindy Murdoch 5 years ago from Texas

    I have had really bosses. One was a couple years ago, and I had to quit to save my sanity. She drove several people from the institution. She is gone now, but as you said, in today's economy, it is tough and I have not been able to find a job. Despite that, I do not regret having left. She was horrible.

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    emilybee 5 years ago

    It is such a double edged sword, isn't it? People need paychecks but don't deserve bad bosses, either. I'm glad you survived your bad boss though, because we get to read your great stories about them! Voted up.

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    Marcy Goodfleisch 5 years ago from Planet Earth

    Thanks for your comment, Austinstar! I was very fortunate to work there less than a year before he self-destructed, but I know many others who suffered for a long while under his craziness. Yes, I think he should have been hauled off long before I ever got there!

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    Austinstar 5 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

    Wow! that guy should have been taken away by the men in the white coats. Amazing that you survived it.

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    Marcy Goodfleisch 5 years ago from Planet Earth

    Thanks so much for your kind words, Cloverleaf! I am pulling for you in your new endeavor - can't wait to hear how it comes out for you!

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    Marcy Goodfleisch 5 years ago from Planet Earth

    Then there's 'mean and crazy,' too - which is really bad! Thanks, T.R. - I appreciate your comments!

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    Cloverleaf 5 years ago from Calgary, AB, Canada

    Oh Marcy, your hub is very timely indeed. I was committed to a full-time job up until 2 months ago when I just couldn't take it any longer. My biggest problem was having an indecisive boss; I felt like I was living in a work environment full of confusion and little motivation to push forward and reach goals. I too reached breaking point! Being a very goal-oriented person, I decided to move on and pursue my dreams. Now, I just have to make it happen! :)

    Awesome hub, Marcy, keep up the great work. Voted up and sharing.

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    T. R. Brown 5 years ago from Nashville, TN

    Marcy, great Hub! I can't say that I have had a boss quite as crazy as yours, but I can definitely empathize with Kelley. Crazy is probably the worst, but mean comes in a close second.

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    Marcy Goodfleisch 5 years ago from Planet Earth

    How I wish I had learned earlier to recognize when you're in a no-win situation! As bad as it is to move on, it's sometimes the only thing you can do. I will be pulling for you, cclitgirl!

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    Cynthia Sageleaf 5 years ago from Western NC

    Timely, timely hub for me is all I can say. I won't reveal too much, but suffice it to say, this is a sign that my time has come to move on to bigger and better things. Thank you. :)

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    Marcy Goodfleisch 5 years ago from Planet Earth

    What a sadistic person you worked for! How I wish that type of creep could be systematically eliminated; I can well imagine the terror you felt when she barked that order.

    The boss in the hub was beyond bad; there were many, many more examples of his insanity, and of the unreasonable things he demanded of people over his years there. I had him for less than a year (thank goodness!), and it was more than I could handle.

    Thanks for reading and commenting!

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    Kelly Umphenour 5 years ago from St. Louis, MO

    Oh boy, oh boy - I've had some nasty bosses but sounds like tours takes the cake! Thanks - wish I'd have read this many years ago. I worked for a real meanie and it took me 5 years to realize she was not going to change - this was the kind of person who liked to instill fear in you for your job. For instance, once I got to work and she came into our lab and said "Kelly! I need to see you in my office before you leave today - it's a closed door kind of thing!". So immediately I started thinking - oh wow what did I do? I worried all day...and when I went for the meeting, nervous, anxious - she laughed. It was just a joke. I thought that was like some kind of mental torment! I had two babies and I needed my job! She even admitted she enjoyed the look of fear on my face and knew I'd be worried all day....wow. Glad I could finally afford to quit! But it was a shame because I really loved that job!

    Interesting, thought provoking and informative! Thank you!

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