Unlike unicorns or the lost city of Atlantis, good bosses aren’t a myth; they actually do exist. But look out for the bad ones because there are some doozies.

We asked Bankrate readers to tell us about their worst bosses, and apparently quite a few maniacs are out there managing people. From office tyrants to undermining micromanagers, bosses can find an infinite number of ways to make life hell for employees. Here are their stories.

Terrorized in the workplace
  • Unholy alliances
  • Surprisingly rude boss
  • The file master
  • The dominatrix
  • Boss goes off her meds 
  • Ol’ Yeller

Unholy alliances

My immediate boss makes sure that everyone knows that she is the Alpha and the Omega, and if you step out of your limits, you can expect to be demoted, your days off will change and your hours of work will be all over the chart.

Also she has a reputation for building an alliance of unsavory and unprofessional people who try to intimidate you to abide by their rules, or else.

The people in this alliance receive whatever they want and get top pay for being model employees.

I have never met an individual who, for the sake of power, has destroyed so many employees’ self-esteem, morale and work ethics at one time.

The damage she has been allowed to do is unbelievable.

Surprisingly rude boss

One day, another secretary and I were setting up the conference room for a surprise party for her immediate supervisor.

He was the deputy to my supervisor and while she was gone to get the cake, I was handling the front office.

Her supervisor needed two new toner cartridges, and I told him, very nicely, that she would get him whatever he needed when she returned because she has the credit card. That’s how we order supplies.

Well, I guess he was having a bad day, and he told me that I was sitting there looking dumb! I couldn’t believe that a supervisor would say something like this.

I politely told him that I wasn’t dumb, as a matter of fact I’m very smart. He didn’t care and said, “End of conversation.” I was livid!

About a week later, I needed to take two days of sick leave. When I returned to work, I was told to pack my stuff and move by noon!

I went to my immediate supervisor and was told by him that I needed a doctor’s certificate. I told him that you need one only if you’re out three or more days. I had one though, just in case. I was transferred to another office.

I am now in an office that I like, and the supervisors are much better. I had too many years of federal service to let a couple of people who need to work on their attitudes blow my career.

The file master

I work for a government agency, and my direct supervisor is an overpaid baby sitter.

The problem is that we all do our work, and pretty darn well.

Two of us who have been there the longest have been disciplined for not filing appropriately, as though that were the most important aspect of our jobs.

She generalizes that you’re not doing your job, yet it turns out to be a filing issue.

Plus, she audits our work constantly and has to know where we are at all times.

Her manager is no better, and has actually disciplined me a few times for being proactive and taking initiative!

It’s draining to work for incompetent management as I feel it’s a hostile work environment.



The dominatrix boss

I recently had a boss for five months who was the worst boss I ever worked for.

In fact, I’ve been working for 45 years, and I have been fortunate to never have had a bad boss or bad work environment until I went to work for this place.

The pay was great and the benefits were great, so this manager just assumed that because the job paid so well that she could treat you like (dirt), and she did — almost every day.

The supervisors didn’t like her, either. But they were too afraid of her and too afraid for their jobs to stand up to her.

When I started getting physically ill from the stress of the work environment, I left. I’ve been out of a job for eight months now, and I have no regrets.

I just wonder how people like her live with themselves.

Boss goes off her meds

As a rehabilitation counselor, I am in a narrow and specialized field. That does not mean well-paying, however.

On the first day of my employment, I overheard my assigned office mentor calling a prospective employer.

By the end of the first month on the job, I had seen this boss put down her boss, bad-mouth previous employees, lie to customers and use me to duck her ex.

Then, after the first six months on the job, I was a target.

For instance, even though I wear boatnecked shirts as a rule, I showed too much cleavage.

My hair was unprofessional. One morning, I got up, washed and dried my hair and pulled it into a ponytail. She didn’t like where it was sitting.

My casework was judged in an inconsistent manner. When every counselor in the office literally did the job of two people, she refused to help us out.

Her advice was against the written policy of the department.

She played us against each other.

She was the supervisor to her former lover.

The worst part was the emotional abuse she dished out to me, reducing me to tears on more than one occasion.

She claimed that I was unliked, unwelcome and unwanted in the office. I learned she had done this to the other counselors in the office as well, driving us out, one by one.

Ultimately, I ended up in a better job and was stronger for the experience.

For the record, my supervisor admitted she was bipolar and didn’t always take her medication.

Ol’ Yeller

I was so thrilled to leave cold New York City, where I worked at a TV station, to move to sunny Florida and find another TV station to work for!

Though I was very excited to get this job, I found myself concerned about the warnings from my predecessors regarding the boss I’d be directly working for.

“Rude,” “abrupt” and “sarcastic” were adjectives regularly used to describe him during my training.

I struggled with his condescending tone every day. He picked at every little thing I did from day one.

I began to keep a regular incidence log of all our confrontations. Three months into the job, he picked at one more insignificant thing I did and called me into his office, where he proceeded to lean in to me to yell at me.

He’d talked down to me plenty before, but he’d never gotten that aggressive. So to show him that I wasn’t intimidated, I leaned back into him. He blew up and got on his phone to (human resources), insisting (the director) come in immediately.

The HR director attempted to suggest that she simply move me to another department while they looked for my replacement.

He quickly shot that idea down, saying, “She needs to pursue her career with another company all together.”

The HR director asked me if I could stay to at least train my replacement, and at the moment, I agreed. But after leaving for lunch and calling my husband to rant, he insisted I not go back to work.

He’d noticed the stress I’d been under in the past couple of months and how it had affected my health.

I was relieved that I was being released from that torture and chose not to return.

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