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What were these bad bosses thinking?

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in Dealing with Bosses,Office Management

Do you sometimes doubt your “street cred” as a leader?

If so, buck up. You can’t possibly be as bad as these corkers, who won a “bad boss” contest sponsored by the AFL-CIO-affiliate Working America:
  • The grand-prize winner, a millionaire dentist, docked his employees’ pay on Sept. 11, 2001, when patients canceled their appointments.

  • The runner-up postponed replacing a departing employee and threatened to force the extra workload on a part-timer whose mother was dying.

  • One company set up each employee as a department and billed them for expenses. An employee was billed for his chair and coffee he didn’t drink. When his father died, the company was nice enough to send flowers … and then billed the employee for them.

  • To make employees more safety-conscious, a store manager made errant clerks wear a rubber “safety chicken” around their necks, in front of customers.

  • An employee was ordered to cut two buttons off his blazer so he wouldn’t “outrank” his supervisor.

  • At one boss’s suggestion, his employees split a hefty tab for a barbeque. Some brought homemade desserts. After lunch (clocked strictly at one hour), the boss’s wife packed up all the leftovers—including the desserts and chinaware—to serve at her family reunion.

  • An employee who asked to take time off for Passover was denied because if it were allowed, “who knows what other made-up religions and holidays people would come up with.”
But even those can’t top the story of a grease factory employee being groomed for a supervisory position. After an explosion, as the employee rushed toward a seriously injured coworker, the boss offered some quick instruction: “Remember, when we get there, you’ve got to act like you care.”

—Adapted from “My Bad Boss Contest,” Working America, www.workingamerica.org/badboss/.

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