My supervisor... needs to take Gas-X, Beano or anything that would help. She always says ‘It’s a natural thing,’ but her co-workers think otherwise. ...It's horrible... All we can do is use spritzers, air fresheners and burn candles.”
Working America, a group affiliated with the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations, is again collecting anonymous tales of woe like this one with its online My Bad Boss Contest.
There’s no end to the horror at www.workingamerica.org, where workers are posting bizarre complaints about supervisors, including: “She made me climb into a dumpster”; and one that seems sure to inspire a movie, “My boss knowingly hired my stalker”.
The contest, in its second year, runs through 21 August. It does more than just allow workers to vent, said Max Toth of Working America. “It’s for people to educate themselves about what a bad boss is and how not to be one,” he said.
At least one thing seems universal for bad bosses: They want you to show up for work, no matter what.
“My father passed away unexpectedly,” wrote someone. “When I advised my boss that I would need Saturday off to attend the funeral...he refused... and I missed the funeral. I did get bereavement time... a week later.”
Birth is no better an excuse than death: “My boss used to go out for lunch at the same time every day,” wrote a woman who worked at a pizzeria. “The day I went into labour, he was getting ready to go out. He told me: ‘Don’t dare...close the store! Wait until I come back from lunch and you can go to the hospital.’ ...I stayed and waited on customers and made pizzas between contractions.”
Cancer would seem worth at least a few hours off here and there. “I had to schedule radiation treatments for nine weeks,” wrote a worker from Missouri. “When I went in to tell the boss, she slammed her fist down on the desk, looked me in the eye and screamed, ‘This is not a good time...for you to be having cancer!’”
At least Melanie from Alabama got time off for her treatments. “As soon as I began to lose my hair ... I had my stylist cut my long, curly locks into a short pixie,”she wrote. “Later that week I heard my boss cackling with a few of his minions in the breakroom... I will never forget what came out of his mouth: ‘Have you seen Melanie's hair? She looks like a dyke. I bet she’s dating Rosy O’Donnell!’ ... Just as soon as I had an inch of hair regrowth I started submitting my r?sum?."
Jamie from New York had a boss who never understood why she laid around so much: "When I awoke from the coma I learned that I had been fired for chronic absenteeism."
And this yarn from someone in Maryland seems like one of the best stories for not showing up that I've ever heard:
“My landlord was murdered and my home burned by arson. ... When I called my boss to tell her what happened ... she asked me, ‘Will you come in later today? How about tomorrow?’... I had to get the homicide detective to call my boss to tell her I was not lying.”
Something about being in charge makes some people stupid, incompetent, inconsiderate, lazy, and too often, cheap.
“I must put up a large sign on my computer that says I am in the bathroom,” Martina wrote. “Otherwise they assume I have gone home and will take it out of my pay.”
Never go to lunch with a cheap boss: “I had been invited to lunch with my boss, along with several of my co-workers. Our boss was known for being, well, cheap. We all prepared ourselves for a fast- food lunch at best. We loaded up into his vehicle and he began to drive. He passed several good restaurants—no surprise there—and all of the fast-food options as well. What could possibly be our destination?
“A discount warehouse store! And we were treated to a fabulous lunch of... free samples!”