Emerging Tech

A look at CrAzY bosses, past and present


Michael Kanellos, an editor for News.com, provides his perspective about a topic that most people can relate to: crazy bosses. According to Kanellos, "To be in the Hall of Fame, they can't just be crazy. Like Highlights magazine, they have to be crazy 'with a purpose.' So with that in mind, here's a list of touched leaders, in no particular order, who I wish to salute for their zany personal behavior and the dreams they accomplished."

Read the entire article, "Perspective: The crazy boss Hall of Fame," to see which bosses made it into the CrAzY Hall of Fame.

Have you ever worked for a crazy boss? Share your crazy boss story in this discussion thread, and the craziest one (let's keep it real, please) will win a TechRepublic mug.


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About

Sonja Thompson has worked for TechRepublic since October of 1999. She is currently a Senior Editor and the host of the Smartphones and Tablets blogs.

66 comments
sarpri
sarpri

OK, about 8 years ago I worked for a woman who would call me to her office to write her personal adds on a SWINGERS web site. She would meet random men on the weekends and have sex with them. When she came back on Monday, she would spend half of the morning telling me about the sex they had. On one occasion, she was chatting with a man from California (I live in Indiana). He flew to Indiana on a friday morning. They had sex all day and then got in a big fight. My boss called me crying saying that they had been drinking and she needed me to come pick them up to take him to the bus station (which I did). On the way back from the bus station she informs me that she's suicidal and wants to kill herself. I stayed with her until 9:00 p.m. until her mother came to relieve me. She actually has been hospitalized for being suicidal on 3 occasions since then. YIKES!

ljones
ljones

I think this is a winner- funniest one I have ever survived! A few years ago our company made some big changes and following some retirements we brought on a new president. We are a small company and I am the only IT person- responsible for everything and anything remotely related to technology- basically - if it plugs in - they expect me to know everything about it! So- when it came around to my turn for the new president to introduce and discuss my job responsibilities- only a few moments into the discussion she asked me "Would it be all right with you if I bring my husband in tomorrow so you can explain what it is you do to him- (of course, I will be there also...)and that way he can explain it to me later?" Uhhh- OK - sure. It would have been cool if I could have sold tickets or something, as it turned out to be quite comical once it became clear that he was no expert in IT matters either. For the next few years I would hear "Well- my husband says......" quite frequently and it would be all I could do not to just SCREAM! Makes you wonder!? LLJ

jmgarvin
jmgarvin

At my first job in the fastfood industry I had boss that thought that working at Jack in the Box was the end all be all. As a matter of fact, he firmly believed that without Jack in the Box civilization would collapse. So, one day I come into work and he pulls me aside. He explains that I needed to work faster to make sure I got more customers (friends as he wanted us to call them) through the queue. He said that the more friends I server, the more people would try to become out friends. As and added bonus, they'd be friends with other JitBs. The best part though goes past simple marketing...it goes straight zen. So, once we've made our friends and we server them quickly, then maybe...just maybe...they will be safe and sound in JitB and not bleeding and dead on the freeway....because that's what JitB is all about.

Sonja Thompson
Sonja Thompson

I know almost everyone has had a boss in their past (or present) with at least one screw loose. Tell us why he or she is worthy of the CrAzY boss Hall of Fame. Ok, after reading some of these wacked out stories, I'm ready to up the ante. The best (craziest) boss story will win a (consolation) prize of a TechRepublic mug and coffee single -- or hot chocolate or tea, if you prefer. It's the least that we can do after you've endured such insanity. I'll look through all crazy boss stories posted before midnight on Sunday, April 15, 2007 (that's EST), and then I'll create a poll that includes the best ones so that you all can vote for your favorite.

Xenarulz
Xenarulz

I use to say that there is NOBODY sane in the place I work in (that says something about myself, I know). If you're ok you can't survive. Anyway, that's always been like that. My boss one day told me how HIS first day of work, some 30 years ago, was. Basically, he's very young, and gets the job in this big firm. He arrives, meets the boss (a very strongwilled woman) and she tells him what his job will be, then assigns him his office. It's a room across from hers, so from the window she can see him. The room is shared between him and another (old) woman, the main authority after the boss. The guy goes to his desk, sees that it's dirty (nobody had used it for a while), so he looks for something to dust it up. His colleague tells him to look for something usable in her drawer (which is open) and he actually finds a shredded piece of cloth. Therefore, he starts using it to clean up the desk. Suddenly, he notices the boss waving from the window, calling him to her office. He goes, and she asks him: "do you know what you were using to clean your desk?" "No", replies the guy. "It's my husband's pajama!!! Go back to your office." Stunned, the guy goes but to this day nobody knows why a shredded pajama of the bosses' husband was in the drawer of that other employee... or why the boss never complained to the other employee... or why the other woman said she had no idea that it was a pajama or who it blonged to... or why the boss cared about the use of the pajama if she didn't care that it was in another woman's drawer. The boss retired since then, but she still comes often to work here for free (she truly LOVED her job) as volunteer job, and I can't help remembering that story every time I meet her.

artlife
artlife

LOL That reminds me of my former boss- nevermind all the ridiculous computer stuff- she was dating her general manager and they would have yelling cursing fights in the office. She paid for a huge southern belle type princess wedding (this was her third marriage and she was in her mid 40's). They ended up divorced and I and a couple of other employees had to testify at the divorce hearing. Then she put herself on match.com and would tell me about the men she met. Once she said she often drove by a good-looking guy and should she make a sign with her phone number to hold up the next time they passed each other on the road. That's just the tip of the iceberg. Money was a big issue, she wouldn't want to spend on necessities but would buy $400 conference chairs. I could go on and on.

LateNightLarry
LateNightLarry

That sounds like something my control freak ex-boss would do... Interestingly, at one time he was a District Manager for Jack in the Box... He liked to tell the tale of one store manager who, supposedly, didn't keep the store safe properly secured during the day, so on one of his visits, this control freak apparently found the safe unsecured, reached in and removed about $2,000 from the safe and put it in his pocket. He waited until the store manager reported the loss before he returned the money.

glostah
glostah

This didn't happen to me directly, but on 9/11 I was part of an online forum that had members that worked in the World Trade Centers. People inside the WTC were posting to the forum because phones were dead and cell phones had spotty reception and the only communication to the outside world was through the internet so they were using email and forums to document what was going down. Anyhow, one of the people worked a few floors below the impact site of the first plane. The plane had just hit the building they were in above them and their boss was telling everyone that they had to attend a mandatory meeting and continue Business as Usual, or lose their job. They were inside the building so they couldn't really see what was going on. Everybody in the forum was telling this person to get out, cause it looked really bad at that point. Believe it or not the person was stupid enough to listen to their boss, and waited until the second plane hit the second tower to evacuate. It just makes me sick to think of all the other people in those towers that turned to their dumb-ass bosses for leadership and were told to attend a meeting to figure out what to do... Remember people, bosses are only as powerful as their employees allow them to be.

maecuff
maecuff

My former boss was very much like the Rain Man. He could write code and his logic was flawless, but he had absolutely NO other skills. Other than being a flaming a$$hole. He had a skin condition that resulted in small scabs all over his arms, he would repeatedly tell people not to worry, that it wasn't contagious. And he licked them. All the time. There were a few occasions that just LOOKING at him almost made me vomit. He smelled like boiled cabbage. He had no concept of personal space and would stand nearly nose to nose with you while talking. He would stand behind me while I worked and his basketball shaped stomach would actually touch my back. When I told him he was too close, he got offended. He obsessively fondled himself. (perhaps the scabs weren't just on his arms?) Our HR manager referred to him as 'the ball scratcher'. He and his wife invited me and my husband to their house soon after I started working for him. They wanted to play Tripoly and watch Disney movies. He owned every Disney movie available. He alienated everyone at work with his thoroughly obnoxious personality. He was definitely a screamer. I don't respond well to being yelled at and would just leave his office if he yelled at me. He'd get mad and not speak to me for days (and this was a punishment?) His boss called me one day and asked what I thought of him. I told him that I was actively looking for another job and that I wouldn't work for this person ONE day more than I had to. He was fired within a month and I've had his job ever since.

Tig2
Tig2

I worked for a guy who gave me a script of what I was to say to various personal callers. His wife was only to be told that he was in meetings- no matter what. His brother I could be somewhat honest with... within certain boundaries. His Boss was to be told that he was in conference calls and that he would be back in touch shortly. The reality? He was having a rather steamy affair with two of our female account execs (who didn't know about the other) and looking to add a third to his calendar. I wrote his reports to his boss on a weekly basis. I did my best to keep the two women from being in the same meetings. But the day came when I just didn't care anymore. I moved to a new city a thousand miles away. For about a year, I would get calls about one thing or another. I finally quit answering the phone when he called because of a computer problem and would I please get on a plane and come figure it out? My dime- not theirs. Haven't got a clue how he is faring today. About a year after the last time I spoke to him, I got a call from the parent corp- he was being investigated for inappropriate sexual contact. Big surprise. Could I take leave and come down and testify? At the time, the answer was no- my plate was incredibly full and leaving to do that (again on my dime) would have ended my current employment.

drbortner01
drbortner01

In January of `01 I broke my leg at work. After the boss arrived on the scene he told me to follow him to his office. Yea right!

LateNightLarry
LateNightLarry

I work for a Federal agency which has in excess of 700,000 employees. Most managers come up through the ranks, but occasionally upper management reaches outside the ranks when they can't get enough suckers who want to move into management. I had the misfortune of having one of those "outsiders" who went into management training before he even finished his 90-day probationary period, graduated from the training program and received three promotions in two years. The man is a control freak with an explosive temper, which is manifested if he feels that you're challenging his authority or simply can't met the demands of doing your work and his too, because he doesn't know what he's doing. He required that any employee in the office using company email to contact anyone else in the company send a copy of that email to him, along with their responses and any subsequent emails. In fact, for a few months after he first arrived, we were not allowed to contact anyone outside the office without going through him, by phone, mail, or email. One time I came to work on Tuesday morning and found him at my desk reading my email from the server, at which time he exploded because I had DARED to respond to an email from someone in the district accounting office without copying it to him. After he finished his 15 minute harangue, I filled out a sick slip for stress, went to see my doctor, and took the rest of the week off with stress leave. He also made use of his power to block our use of the agency's computer systems on multiple occasions. One morning he had a confrontation with my office mate, and to "reinforce" his authority over us, disabled computer access for both of us. I wasn't even in the building when this happened, but he blocked me anyhow, THEN expected me to get my work done without the computer. Each of the three times he locked us out of the computer, it took up to a week to get full access back on all programs, and until we had that access, we couldn't do our full job so the work piled up. He's no longer in my office, but is inflicting his control issues and temper on a nearby office instead, except that he apparently did something that got his boss upset with him and he was summarily removed from a higher level detail and moved to the nearby office. Perhaps he treated his boss like he treats his subordinates?

LateNightLarry
LateNightLarry

I work for a Federal agency which has in excess of 500,000 employees. Most managers come up through the ranks, but occasionally upper management reaches outside the ranks when they can't get enough suckers who want to move into management. I had the misfortune of having one of those "outsiders" who went into management training before he even finished his 90-day probationary period, graduated from the training program and received three promotions in two years. The man is a control freak with an explosive temper, which is manifested if he feels that you're trying to usurp his authority or simply can't met the demands of doing your work and his too, because he doesn't know what he's doing. He required that any employee in the office using company email to contact anyone else in the company send a copy of that email to him, along with their responses and any subsequent emails. One time I came to work on Tuesday morning and found him at my desk reading my emails from the server, at which time he exploded because I had DARED to respond to an email from someone in the district accounting office without copying it to him. After he finished his 15 minute harangue, I filled out a sick slip for stress, went to see my doctor, and took the rest of the week off with stress leave. He also made use of his power to block our use of the agency's computer systems on multiple occasions. One morning he had a confrontation with my office mate, and to "reinforce" his authority over us, disabled computer access for both of us. I wasn't even in the building when this happened, but he blocked me anyhow, THEN expected me to get my work done without the computer. Each of the three times he locked one of us out of the computer, it took up to a week to get full access back on all programs, and until we had that access, we couldn't do our full job. He's no longer in my office, but is inflicting his control issues and temper on a nearby office instead, except that he apparently did something that got his boss upset with him and he was summarily removed from a higher level detail and moved to the nearby office. Perhaps he treated his boss like he treats his subordinates?

LockOutGirl
LockOutGirl

My story pales in comparison with most every other here, but I figure what the heck, I'll torture you all anyway! My last position was in a VERY small (as in myself, my boss and a couple other people that were incredibly part time). We worked out of the owner's home for the first 10 months or so. Never again will I work in anyone else's home. It was the most unprofessional place I've ever been in. From laundry being left everywhere (including a pair of lime green underwear in my chair one morning) to the constant bickering with her 12 year old daughter, I had to get out of there. The most memorable incident was when my boss' daughter wanted to go down a few houses in the subdivision to visit her friend. My boss said fine, and as paranoid as she is that someone will snatch her child between her house and the next, she stood in the door way and watched her go. Apparently, the kid didn't do a good enough job of looking both ways before crossing the street, so my boss gets her phone, calls her daughter on her cell and begins to REAM her out, screaming things like "You know how horrible it is for a mother to know how her child is going to die?!" On and on about how she's going to find her daughter "creamed by a car one day" (her words). I'm no parent, nor do I wish to be one, but the constant adolescent bickering between them both eventually got to me. I was job searching in less than 6 months of being there.

Constantdrone
Constantdrone

Our recently retired CAO was, as he put it, very well versed in the art of psycholigical warfare. He would saunter around the offices dropping carefully thought out bombs of misinformation to every one, with strict orders not divulge the source. He would then sit back his desk and call people in to here what they had found out on the subject. Most of us just shrugged it off and stated we had no idea where the storey had started. Finnaly, at an after hours drinking session we put together the latest round of BS he had spewed around and came up with plan to implicate one another, so he would end up with his entire staff guilty of the charges. To top it all off we went to the local toy store and bought him an ant farm and magnifying glass. He never asked where it came from but admitted he all ways had one when he was a child.

bbbaldie_z
bbbaldie_z

After reading this thread I'm going to give my only slightly daft boss a hug! Many years ago, in my pre-IT career as an electrician, I was hired by a boastful married womanizer to help wire a restaurant remodel. It was awful, the job foreman was staggering drunk by 10:00 am. Walls and equipment were continually moved, any conduit I ran had to be rerouted, etc. There was a hotel going up next door that we were to wire next. The owner of both projects was disappointed with how the remodel was going. My boss convinced him the fault was all mine and fired me as a condition of getting the hotel job. Six months later, my wife called his home in the middle of the night. When his wife answered, my vengeful wife told her "That $#%!! never told me he was married!!!"

trillian_sk
trillian_sk

A certain project leader has to be the craziest boss I ever encountered. He was the kind of boss who would make up lies to tell someone else, claiming that they came from you and if he was ever questioned he would counter with change-of-topic accusations so that the focus would be deflected from him. He was sexist (an error was always caused by some ?little gal?), paternalistic (he loved to speak to you confidentially with his arm around your shoulders *shudder*), a tattletale to his superior (where he made up the tales himself), a steamroller, bully, information sink-hole, control-freak - you name it. Of course, he considered himself the technical superior of all us IT people there, too. The first phase of the project was rolled out, and to our dismay, there were lots of errors in the data. He was in his element, accusing others, dropping hints of knowledge of hidden subterfuge, and noisily taking control while making sure he belittled what everyone else had done ? until one of the analysts found all the error reports under his desk. He had hidden them instead of giving them to the clerks to correct. One time I sent him a document identifying a politically sensitive issue that needed a decision. He edited the document and sent it to his superior as his own. The superior was so impressed he deigned to show us the document as an example of what a good job Project Leader was doing. Crazy bosses do not exist in a vacuum. Even when Project Leader was caught being ?entertained? by a 16 year old prostitute under his desk after hours, he was not fired. He was given a golden retirement package and hired by a subsidiary company. Chalk that one up as a learning experience.

david
david

I once had a boss that went jogging during lunch. One day a couple of guys made some rude statements to her while running. I can see how that could scare her but the next day she came to the office with a loaded 9 MM pistol. For weeks she would come into the office, sit down at her desk and pull her pistol from her briefcase and lay it proudly on her desk. Finally, her business partner told her she couldn't bring her gun to work anymore. I did notice that none of the employees asked for time off that summer.

jgraham
jgraham

I had a boss who was in charge of the Maintenance Department. He needed to remolded the main office. During the remolding he informed me to have the people in the office walk fast down the center aisle. He said that his crew was in the ceiling with hammers and if they dropped one by accident it would be less likely to hit someone if that were walking faster than normal. Also after the remolding project the air conditioner refused to cool the office. He even bought an additional ac unit and this did nothing to help. He told everyone that air conditioning only lowers the inside temperture 10 degrees lower than the outside temp. After he left we found that when he moved some walls around he covered up all the return vents. So the air conditioning unit was sucking like crazy but couldn't get nearly enough return air. Boy I miss those days.

tony
tony

I planned to promote a secretary to a project administrator. However, my boss (CTO) took me on one side and said "never hire a woman - she will always want time off to go to knitting classes". (Since then she has done a distance learning degree and is now a semiconductor layout engineer, thus proving my belief that she had a lot to offer). This is also the same boss who told me the key to successful management - it was to make sure that you (the boss) were the only person who had all the information.

Barry ZA
Barry ZA

I was working in IT for a major brewing company and they hired a new regional IT manager, who had just been downsized out of the military. He then started (his first big project) to create a new set of IT standards for the company. After three months he proudly submitted the project to the CFO. The CFO's comments were that we are in the pleasure industry, not top secret military and the entire project was scrapped. The security that he wanted to implement would have done credit to Fort Knox. In a fit of pique, he resigned. He is now a consultant to the military, a niche that he enjoys and thrives in. But, it was three month's of hell for the IT team.

StuFisch
StuFisch

Back in the dotBOMB era, the final boss I had in my 18 month stay at one company had a strange habit. Whenever he wanted to tell someone bad news, or "correct" their thinking, or in general tell them how we would want things done (as opposed to how they were currently running smoothly), he would unconsciously take his ukelele off his window ledge of his office, and play it as he was talking to you. It got to be the standard joke in the office - "Did you here Gene playing his ukelele?!" ... "NO! Who was in his office ?!" If he hadn't looked like Odo on Star Trek, we probably would have had mini-ukelele's on all our office desks; instead, we had settle for Odo pictures ....

Sonja Thompson
Sonja Thompson

There was this one boss who required the entire team to read business books and then talk about them. *rolling eyes* Cuckoo, I know! Seriously, in my current job, my manager is pretty stable (yes, he is responsible for my paycheck, and yes, he might actually read this), but some of my coworkers are another story entirely. For a clue, take a look at how I spelled CrAzY. See any similarities to how someone at TR spells his screenname? (that's right, sMoRTy71 - I'm calling you out! ... like a fox! *winks*) Hey Beth, since sMoRTy is your boss, I'm waiting for your second nomination. :-)

bielinskit
bielinskit

My boss recently said he refused to pay the cost of the Virus Software which had been approved for purchase by our Finance department. He said he knew a "Consultant" who runs a free virus program for all his users. I explained the diffrences between what his freind was doing, both legal and ethical, but my boss stood firm. After a year or so of these types of crazy requests , I start my new job in 2 weeks.

spacewarp
spacewarp

Part of my job on the QA team was to review products before going to the alpha test group. We had documentation that was insane. For a simple product install that was "Put the CD in the drive and close the tray" the documentation was at least 11 pages long. Needless to say, we had a team of doc editors. When we got a document, we had to review it and then send it on to the doc editing team for editing. I finally got a product in from our team that would pass installation inspection the first time. The documentation was extensive. It was over 50 pages long. We reviewed it several times, and the doc editors went over it several times. I finally sent the product forward and the Alpha tester sent it back the next day. The reason for rejecting it? Not because the product didn't work (it did). Not because it didn't have proper documentation (it did). No, it was rejected because on page 43, paragraph 2, there was a period missing on one sentance. Of course, I was livid. After the same tester rejected one of my products a week earlier because it failed to crash gracefully when BOTH power cords on the redundant power supplies (that were connected to independant UPS's), I'd had enough. I went into my boss from Hell. I explained the problem, and she spent 45 minutes screaming at me for incompetence, failure to understand basic English and questioned my manhood, my ability to walk straight, my sanity and my sexuality. This was done with the door open. One time, I went to speak up during the unfair criticism, and she screamed at me that she wasn't done yet, and I would stand there and take it like a man, or I could pack my stuff and get the F out of the office. I went back to my desk fuming. A few minutes later (since my desk was next to her office), a co-worker came up and asked "After that, do you think it's safe to go to her with a problem?" I said "It's your head." He walked in and told her that he'd accidentally sent an e-mail from the Virus Team to over 7000 users which was infected with the "I Love You" virus. Her response? "No problem. Just send a correction letter." I guess she yelled herself out. That was one example of her craziness, but the rest is for another day.

dryflies
dryflies

I was working for a small tech company in Oregon. One of the most diverse and enjoyable positions I ever held doing control systems for whoever came through the door. Except the Boss. And his Wife. The Boss would every once in a while come in and layoff everybody first thing in the morning giving us two weeks notice. Then he would go out with a client and lunch get a new contract and comeback that afternoon and tell everyone nevermind. His wife was the queen bee in the office. She printed out weekly reports on an older dot matrix printer but got tired of listening to it. so one weekend she had the technicians build a 50 foot long centronics cable and moved the printer into MY office without telling me. I was the lead engineer. So here I was banging out some code for a pipe bender and deep in thought when brrraaap, brrraaap, brrrraap the printer started ripping out the fourteen page report she prepared every monday that only she and her husband were allowed to read. It shocked me so badly I damn near hit the ceiling. Beat that for CRaZy

paula.james
paula.james

I believe I have a brilliant boss who amazes me with his computer knowledge. But he has is a prankster and is renowned for the jokes he plays on people. He comes up with some of the craziest pranks. He had a co-worker go to their boss and complain about my boss tying up the frigging computer system. Of course their boss was concerned because he could imagine the backlog of work this would create, so he went to confront my boss about this and found my boss in the computer room. My boss was sitting there with a rope wrapped around the AS400. That was just one of his many pranks.

Beth Blakely
Beth Blakely

For a *very* brief period, I had a boss who was so scared of computers that he had me log in to his account and print all of his email on a daily basis. He never responded to anything electronically. He also had me research certain topics and print reams of information. He never read any of it. C.R.A.Z.Y.

AV .
AV .

I can't imagine anyone would listen to someone that wanted them to go to a meeting after the first plane hit the building. Very sad for that person. AV

boxfiddler
boxfiddler

he must be related to my ex-boss. Many of the same issues, for sure. Thankfully, not the temper thing.

Tig2
Tig2

Birthdays and anniversaries! Kudos to your wife! That made my day!!!

cup
cup

I was just thinking about the incident during her run, did she took the gun running too or had she stop running altogether? http://www.gunvaluesboard.com/

WKL
WKL

I once worked for a time at a small Mom & Pop firm where the Owner/Presidente was an ex-cop and his wife was the office Queen Bee (to borrow a nifty characterization from one of the other contributors). Let's just refer to this fellow by the name of "Delaney". Delaney himself often related how much pleasure he derived from his past work as a sheriff's deputy, harassing and intimidating people. Nor was he above using the legal system to plague and discourage people that he took issue with. One day, while I was at work, Delaney got word of a wanted man by monitoring the local police on his office scanner. It just so happened that while he was out with his sales manager, he encountered a fellow walking along the road that matched the description of the wanted man. He stopped the car, rolled down the window, and asked the fellow if his name was (whatever), and the guy says, yeah! So Delaney says to him, you're a wanted man, I'm going to take you into custody! The guy naturally takes off through the woods and Delaney actually took it upon himself to grab a pistol out of the glove compartment, pursue him on foot, pistol in hand, and having caught up with him, accidentally (according to Delaney) shot the man in the foot (with absolutely no legal authority whatsoever to do so) during an attempt to force him to surrender. The infraction for which the fugitive was wanted was relatively minor, and certainly did not warrant being wantonly endangered with a deadly weapon, let alone being maimed with one, but that is exactly what "Delaney" did. Definitely a deranged cowboy with known violent tendencies at the very least, but even more so a bully and a liar who applied such philosophy of dealing with people to the management of his business, I remain to this day absolutely thrilled that I was able to get away from that son of a bitch.

Why Me Worry?
Why Me Worry?

Putting state gun laws aside, isn't it prohibited from carrying any sort of firearm or weapon onto the premises of a professional office? It doesn't matter if the entire state has folks running around with holstered revolvers and shotguns in their trucks, but firearms and other items deemed as weapons have no place in an office.

boxfiddler
boxfiddler

I worked a year and a half for a woman like that. Not only did she keep all her employees in the dark about things we needed to know to do our jobs properly, she regularly undermined us all in bizarre ways. She was never on time, she'd tell us we didn't need to attend something on a day off and then call us 15 minutes before the event started to ask where we were, she scheduled private meetings with us that conflicted with our own scheduled meetings with others, etc... All this from a woman with a Master's degree in Psychology. Hmmm... edit a darned typo

Tig2
Tig2

And never changed his haircut. Had a habit that drove EVERYBODY bats. He would email you, print out his email, and deliver it to you- usually as you were reading his email. If you weren't at your desk, he would pin the printout to your chair and go back to his desk where he would call you and read his email into your voice mail. If you failed to manage your communication in exactly the same way, your performance eval would bear the evidence- "Does not communicate with the team in a robust manner". Course, he also had his first heart attack while in his late 30s. Coincidence? I think not!

WKL
WKL

Where do you guys work?

Sonja Thompson
Sonja Thompson

When I first posted this blog and discussion, I couldn't think of a very good example in my own life where I worked for a crazy boss. A day later, a few random brain cells decided to work together and provide me with this flashback... I was 18 (thus the ancient history remark), and I worked at a place that did a bunch of odd jobs, like vacuuming parking lots, painting handicapped symbols and parking space lines for businesses, and laying asphalt. A Hardees restaurant had contracted us to lay some asphalt in its parking lot, and I spent the majority of one morning and afternoon rolling the new surface flat... until it started to rain. The boss was gone, and so the next person in charge deemed that we were done for the day. I went home, showered, changed, and then snuck in to a local bar with a few of my coworkers. When the boss finally got word that we had wrapped up without finishing the job, he tracked us down (at the bar) and told us that we had to go back to work, even though we were all fairly inebriated. Like mindless cattle, we went back to the Hardees lot. It was around midnight, and the rain had stopped, but none of us had any business being there. About an hour into the job, I accidentally burned myself on the forearm with the rolling machine. At least that was my ticket out of there. I went home, bandaged my arm, and went to bed. The rest of the crew stayed up most of the night, finishing the job that ultimately wasn't any good because it had been compromised by the rain! Oye vey!

Why Me Worry?
Why Me Worry?

This self-centered jackass of a human being was the biggest pig in the world, and somehow assumed that since I was his subordinate, that he was somekind of drill seargent and had the authority to have me clean his office. Sorry, but I refuse to be belittled that way and told him to hire his own cleaning lady or maid if he wants his office cleaned. If I make a mess, I clean it up, but if he makes a mess, I am not going to clean it up for him as I am not his mommy. Needless to say, I left that place in a heartbeat and feel pitty for the next person that had to put up with such nonsense.

pdarrough
pdarrough

I have been asked to provide a cost free solution for virus protection and I have done it in the past with one condition - I wont support it after install, it comes as is and with no support. If you want support and eventaully you might need it then I have pretty of vibal purchasable software and considering the peace of mind that comes with good software the price are very reasonable even for a cheap skate like your Boss. Of course I also have the befeints of being a consultant and not being tied to single location.

Neil
Neil

Companies are Crazy as well as Bosses. I once visited a major UK company when they had a huge virus outbreak. Turns out that AV software had been bought 15 months before by one Dept head, but the installation was the responsibility of another and he didn't want to spend any budget on the roll-out. In the end over 4000 PC's were visited for installs in 4 days. I never found out how many were infected - suffice to say, it was a lot!

Why Me Worry?
Why Me Worry?

Whatever the reason was for her temper tantrum and yelling, it was unprofessional and would have resulted in her termination in many corporations I have been at. Also, I don't know how you refrained from smacking her silly, because if I we were being yelled at like that, I would have turned very violent on her, because I absolutely hate being yelled at. Arguing is one thing, but having someone raise their voice at me to the point where my ears start ringing results in a very painful response from my right hand. Do I have an anger management problem? No, just don't yell at me. ;-)

The family Jules
The family Jules

I actually miss those old noise-makers! can you make an MP3 recording and post it?

bluwtrsal
bluwtrsal

The superintendent of the school district I worked for decided to enforce the use of OutlookExpress district-wide, and had the district IT department create mandatory user names and logins for every teacher, admin, office person and staff member. Then he mandated all school communications be on OE. Finally, he limited "All" so that only he could send email to everyone. What he didn't do was teach users the difference between "reply to sender" and "reply all." School district email servers were tied up or crashed for about 6 weeks: he'd send out an all mail, someone would reply all, someone else would read their reply (frequently causing unplesantries) and they would reply all to the reply all they got, the admin would reply all back to the individual, which would go back to everyone in the district. By the time 1200 people got a message, even if only 20 replied all, and their email was replied all to, well, you get the picture.

stever
stever

That is funny. We all need a boss like that... Thanks for sharing that story it was great.

winchanau
winchanau

1) we employed so many fax lines where the majority of people send faxes out through a physical fax machine, and some uses winfax, but we've got RIGHTFAX here in the company, but RIGHTFAX users didn't even install RIGHTFAX clients on their pc, when they tend to do a re-send on documents, they had the document reprinted in hardcopies then fax it out through a physical fax machine 2) some users don't have their own mailboxes so we tend to create new mailboxe to them, but they think replying e-mails to people by their own self is a low level job

DownRightTired
DownRightTired

sounds like an entertaining and easy job, why did you quit?

gadgetgirl
gadgetgirl

A directors PA walked out unexpectedly, and I was asked to help plug the gap because my boss had - and still has! - an eidetic memory for my CV... Started on the Friday, doing my own job at the same time, and all was ok till the following Wednesday. Director marches up, says thanks for helping out, but where are my emails? Usual reply - "in your mailbox" Blow me, if he asks where that is, because there's only his in tray on his desk and they aren't in there.. Turns out he was getting every single, solitary email printed and put into his in tray in "day folders". He'd then come into the office on his own, on a SUNDAY and write the replies (on the printed emails) for his PA to respond to on his behalf the following week. And this guy was Head of the DR Team?! He was totally terrified of his laptop! Sheesh! Amazingly - when we finally talked him into a course, and he agreed to actually fund a new laptop and [u]use it,[/u]the first time he took it out of the building in its' new superduper case, he'd forgotten to zip the case.... and it smashed to smithereens on the concrete car park!!! GG

glostah
glostah

Some people just can't think for themselves because they never learned how. What's worse is that the motivating factor (keeping your job) outweighed the reality - saving your own life. The person did live to tell about it though, they were below where the plane struck. I hoped they remembered to bitch slap their boss after the fact.

Why Me Worry?
Why Me Worry?

Or I'd end up getting accidentally shot in the chest for being mistaken for a pheasant or deer, like an incident that happened with one of our leaders.

GSG
GSG

In Missouri, you can pack heat in a private office, WalMart, wherever, but it is prohibited in Hospitals and state and federal government offices. You do have to have a license to carry, though. Anyplace that is prohibited must display signs at all entrances stating that state law prohibits weapons.

Why Me Worry?
Why Me Worry?

I recall back in college taking a class in psychology, which I promptly dropped because the professor was some spastic nut that would keep pulling on her earlobes and pacing aimlessly from left to right while giving lectures. By the end of the lecture, my eyes and neck were strained from having to watch her move back and forth like a caged animal...LOL.

Sonja Thompson
Sonja Thompson

I'm a news editor for TechRepublic. I wish I had some crazy boss stories (that I could share) from here. :-)

Sonja Thompson
Sonja Thompson

I can't even imaging that. Good for your sister! And thanks for the compliment about my age (I think)... but I'm very close to pushing 40. Thank goodness I can still act like I'm 12. ;-)

spacewarp
spacewarp

Seeing that picture, 18 couldn't be THAT far back to be called "ancient". My sister worked at a Long John Silver's and her friend was told to clean the fry vat. He turned it off and put the cleaning sign on it. The manager decided that he needed more fries and didn't want to use just the one fry vat they had left, so he, despite the sign, fired it up, and never took off the sign. Her friend came in to the room after 30 minutes, which is supposed to be how long it takes, and plunged both arms up to the elbows into the grease. Third degree burns to his elbows. He was taken, of course, to the hospital. The manager told my sister, despite the accident, that they were to continue to use the grease, despite the debris floating in it. She quit right then. Paul

spacewarp
spacewarp

She worked for the Government. So, there was nothing they could do to fire her. I figured she had MPD. She was one person one week, another the next. You could never tell who she was going to be when you walked in her door. One other fun one. She was so paranoid that people were out to get her, she saved all her e-mails. I was called in to her office one day because her e-mail wasn't working right. She had 9 years of e-mails, over 17,000 unread e-mails and she read over 70%. She had over a 2 GB mailbox. She wanted me to create 4 new mailboxes and sort through her last 9 years of mail and put them into 4 offline storage files that would be personal, work, personal unread and work unread. Needless to say, that wasn't done when she wanted it done (before lunch, when she called me in at 10:15.) So, when I got back from lunch, I was thoroughly lambasted in front of her manager for failing to accomplish my basic tasks. I then turned to her boss and said "I hope sorting her last 9 years of e-mail into seperate boxes shows up on my performance review." Paul

kitchengineering
kitchengineering

Why doesn't the responsible person just remove the "Reply All" button from the toolbar? You can do it in one easy step using 2 or 3 clicks.

LateNightLarry
LateNightLarry

I seem to remember getting one of those (I work for the USPS) and ALL the "reply all" responses the computer-illiterate users in the system sent. If it wasn't from your company, it was from one of a half dozen others in the past couple of years. I think the various district IT managers have finally gotten it through people's thick skulls not to use "reply all", in some cases by terminating their Outlook account for a while.

WKL
WKL

Amplifying mistakes, and doing it very, very fast!

spacewarp
spacewarp

When we had a new mailing list that someone graciously put together at the US Postal Service. It contained all users at all office locations as well as all district postmasters. There were some 93,000 members of the list. So, of course, the sysadmin decides in his infinite wisdom to send an e-mail to the list saying they had the new list. First there were about 20 messages that went to all 93,000 saying "Got it" or "Hey, this is neat" or something like that. Then there were over 200 responses of "Don't use Reply to All". Then some 100 or so "You just replied to all with your rant about not replying to all." Needless to say, it took us several days to clean up from that fiasco. Paul

gcarter
gcarter

How can I get a job with guy?

Beth Blakely
Beth Blakely

It was a startup that never really started up. The company folded. It was a nice, relaxing four months except for the screaming fights the owners would engage in behind the very thin closed doors.

JamesRL
JamesRL

I worked for one firm, billion dollars a year in revenue, in the late 90s. They fired one CIO, and then rehired an ex CIO who had left. That CIO had his admin print out all his emails and would jot notes down on the printout and have the admin send back the reply. The CIO of a billion dollar company could not be bothered to learn MS outlook. James

andrew.siegel
andrew.siegel

My father, who was the Chairman of the Pediatrics Department at a major (read Ivy-league) university at the time, would have his secretary print out all of his emails. He would then write his response on the back - in standard illegible doctor script - and have his secretary FAX them out!!! We finally got him to use a laptop, at which point he became a total adict, mostly likely because he just assumed that laptops had always been

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