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Celebrate National Boss’s Day with some stories about really bad bosses

Do you have a terrible boss story? We asked friends and whānau to share their worst for National Boss’s Day*.

It’s a fact that a significant portion of bosses are jerks. Many are great**, but a great many are jerks***. Here are the best/worst boss stories we have ever heard. Names have been changed, to protect the innocent and the guilty. Without further ado, have at some shitty bosses:

I had one boss who would “let me go” before Christmas each year (two years running he did this) and then rehire me in January when business had “picked up”. He would earnestly say things were too slow over the office shut down period so they couldn’t afford me. I only realised this was illegal years later. The thing that killed me most was him sending me away with “Merry Christmas!” 

I just quit a garbage contract where the boss was completely insufferable. He wanted us to do yoga and talk about our feelings all the time – I think he hoped it would distract from the fact that the place was a shit show and everyone was working to the point of breaking down.

My boss was horrendous. Any time you disagreed with him on anything, even if it was minor, he’d have a near breakdown. He constantly needed support to handle any feedback. It really reinforced to me how useless white guys can fail upward and really have to fuck up hard to not make it in the business world. He’s still a CEO.

My boss used to make a trombone noise when I walked. I was eight months pregnant.

I worked in a cafe. My boss was having an affair with the woman who made the sandwiches. The chef knew and was blackmailing the boss. The business was owned by the wife. Her daughters (and me) worked there. Crazy vibes. The whole thing blew up at my leaving do. Chef and boss came to blows outside the pub. 

My boss told me breastfeeding was a disgusting habit.

I applied in a clothing shop for a summer job. I worked for a full Saturday as a trial and I never got paid. I emailed the top NZ designer who owned the shop and she told me that she was sorry about that experience and hoped it wouldn’t affect me purchasing the brand into the future…

I was 16 and was a Saturday girl in a hairdresser with a complete pervert of a boss who used to pull me into the laundry room for “a cuddle” which meant feel me up and used to try and stick his hand up my skirt and ask me if I liked it. He was old enough to be my dad and had a daughter two months older than me. So gross.

My sleazy old boss told me to come and sit next to him to feed my baby.

My boss always used to kiss on the lips. It didn’t matter how you reacted to her, she would always kiss on the lips. She would say things like “I’m a hugger!” to try to excuse the fact that she was a touchy, creepy old woman. She also flashed her boobs once and thought it was hilarious. She basically inserted sexual innuendo into every conversation and she was so patronising to our clients. When she encouraged our volunteers to call her mum I left.

My boss’s response to finding out I was pregnant “Congratulations, I suppose… assuming you want it?”

My boss told me I needed to wear make up because I was scaring away the customers.

At the work Christmas party my boss got so drunk he shit his pants.

My husband’s boss suddenly “lost” his phone number when she owed him thousands of dollars of back pay. She let him go the day before I went into labour with our second child. We were basically left with no income – it took us months to get the money from her and we never got the full amount.

My boss used to pee in the pot plant in his office. It always smelled like pee and he told another staffer he did it because it helped the plants grow.

I used to have a boss who had terrible boundaries. She was amazing on so many levels, but her self-awareness and boundaries sucked. She was trying to be encouraging and inclusive with everyone in the team, but whenever she was unhappy about anything someone did, she would go to someone else in the team and complain about it. At the end she was under so much stress that she started bullying people and bulldozing everyone who happened to think differently or who was tired of her abuses. It was a nightmare.

My mum used to have a boss with really hairy hands who would sit there and CHEW on the hair on the backs of his hands while dictating correspondence.

My first boss left his wife for the secretary. My second boss at my appraisal brought in my supervising senior to tell me I’d been letting him down FOR SIX MONTHS on all these unspecified tasks. What an awesome boss to have let that situation carry on and on WITHOUT TELLING ME! I forgave my senior for not having the gumption to say something, but a caring boss would not have sat on that. I was devastated and mortified to have been disappointing for six months. That boss then left and I was put on a performance plan which still didn’t specify what the problem was. Unsurprisingly my depression got worse and I felt I had to resign.

I worked for a summer basically as an unpaid intern for a small construction company for a friend of a family friend. I handled their IT and flyer design, which they insisted I do in WordArt because they wouldn’t shell out for anything more. One day, my boss was on the desktop checking her emails and accidentally showed me the photos she and her husband had taken before a weigh-in in their underwear, and laughed it off.

* OK, National Boss’s Day was technically yesterday, but it’s happening now in the United States, where the ‘holiday’ is primarily celebrated.

** Like our very wonderful Spinoff bosses.

*** Like everyone else.

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