My husband and I saw Horrible Bosses in the theater last weekend. It was a hilarious date night flick, and it made me chuckle thinking of my days working full-time for someone who I am not afraid to call a horrible boss. I worked for 10 years before leaving my career to stay home with my daughter. During that short span I had three bosses. Two of them were fabulous. One of them not so much. And here’s the story…
It all started soon after college. I was a bright-eyed bushy-tailed 23-year-old novice ready to take on my first “real world” position as a marketing communications coordinator. In hindsight, I was really just a glorified administrative assistant. But I reported directly to the head of the department, and it was just me and her managing the marketing communications department for a fairly large corporation. At first I was in awe of my boss. She was young (little did I know she was only three years older than me, which explained a lot of things later on), assertive, self-assured and confident (or so I thought), seemingly smart and fun to be around (totally misjudged that), and cute and fashionable (don’t ask me why that mattered at the time). I thought I hit the jackpot for an entry-level job, but this 8 to 5 gig turned out to be anything but.
At first the little things didn’t affect me too much. Like having to continually fetch her sweet tea from the building next door (rain or shine), or sit at her desk through my lunch hour so she could go on a run and shower and grab a bite to eat (thus pushing my chance for a lunch hour myself out the window), or constantly cancel any appointments I had in order to be at her beck and call, or the weekly task of organizing her desk papers, or having to report to work at the ungodly hour of 6 am per her request (which happened several times) only to have her stroll in a few hours later with the excuse that “coming to work that early was really not necessary.”
Oh yes, this happened. But I realized I was a novice so I sucked it up for TWO years. I actually worked my butt off despite how terrible the job was. I just thought I was paying my dues. But then it got worse.
Besides the early mornings, there were a million late nights and all-nighters on my part to finish projects she handed me as I was walking out the door. I completed them and continued to cover her a** so she never had to miss a deadline. But she wasn’t an easy boss to please. I remember her being very insecure in her position (I think she was in over her head, actually) and unfortunately, she started to take her stress out on me. One time – during one of her many rants – my chin started to quiver and she noticed I was about to cry (give me a little credit…I was only about 23 or 24 then), and she yelled, “Are you about to cry? Toughen up!!”
Toughen up I did, and I continued on. And then there was the time she reserved a large conference room at a hotel down the street from our office so I could set up a new trade show booth we just had designed. She arranged to have a guy help me set it up (the booth was huge), and after he left, she said she would come by to see how it looked. We had the booth set up by 9 am and I sat there waiting for her to arrive. At 11 am I called her, and she said she’d be right over…”just sit tight.” At 1 pm, I called again but got no answer (this was before cell phones). At 3 pm I called her again and she said she was walking out the door. At about quarter to five, she called me back and said to take the booth down because things got too crazy for her to look at it. So I did. That was my entire work day.
To top all this off, about a year or so into the job, she started dating my boyfriend’s good friend. I still don’t understand how that happened. My boyfriend and I were horrified. Double dates with the horrible boss were not fun.
But the best part in all this was the day I resigned. I went into her office first thing carrying my resignation letter trying to look all confident, but my hand was shaking as I handed it to her. I told her politely that I accepted another offer that was more in line with my career path, blah, blah, blah. I thanked her for the experience and the opportunity, blah, blah, blah. I was so respectful to the point of ad nauseum. She listened to my reasons for about one minute and then demanded to know what my new boss was paying me (I actually took a pay cut just to get away from her). When I refused to tell her, she then locked herself in her office for the rest of the day.
Par for the course.
So there you have it. Those are some of my horrible boss stories. There are actually more about her I could share if you had a week. Do you have any you can share? I’d love to hear them, and you can remain anonymous if you’d like 😉