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My Worst Boss Ever

A discussion during lunch made me think about my worst boss ever. This is a true story...

I worked at an apartment complex in the leasing office and the apartment manager was actually a good boss for a while. Then she went through a mysterious transformation around the holidays and became Boss-zilla. She was always snarly with everyone and illogical. She yelled at employees and tenants. We thought that tenants would complain but nothing happened. Then she started wearing the same outfit for 2-3 days in a row. They would have stains all over them from what she ate the days before.

She would eat whole plates of cookies that we put out for tenants and prospects. She would eat whole bowls of Hershey Kisses, too. One day she had so many in her mouth at one time that she began to choke while she talked to us. One of the ladies was ready to do the Heimlich but then she spit the chocolate glob out on the floor of the office. She just laughed maniacally and then walked off without offering to clean it up.

The final straw was when one of the maintenance guys had to do some work in her free apartment on the property. He knew we were worried about her so he told us that her place looked like a bomb hit it. Trash, old food and clothes were strewn everywhere. After we heard that, we decided she must be depressed. So the four ladies in the leasing office decided to talk to her as a group and let her know that we were concerned and that she needed to talk to a professional to help with her problems.

We were pretty nervous about doing this because we knew how irrational she had become. But we picked our day and when she showed up for the fourth day in a row that week wearing the same outfit, we used that as the basis for talking to her. It was a Friday and we waited until the end of the day after the office closed.

It was a disaster. She yelled at us. She said she was going to her boss immediately and all of us would be fired for insubordination and plotting against her. She wouldn't even consider that she might have a problem and she was livid when we suggested that she needed to get help. When she found out that we'd kept notes on her behavior and how often she wore her outfits, she totally flipped out. She was beating on her desk and shoving papers on the floor. We all ran out of her office truly fearful for our safety because she was a very tall lady. She slammed the door behind us and was still screaming.

We were all standing around waiting and whispering to each other wondering if she'd storm out after us or what. Then I just had enough of her and her craziness. I kind of snapped myself I think. I knocked on her door and told her that if she went to her boss, we had documentation and many witnesses who could talk about her behavior. So if she wanted to meet with her boss, we would be very happy to get it all out in the open.

That got her attention. She was afraid of her boss and I think she was nervous about her behavior going public. She calmed down and tried to act normally but I knew she was trying to back pedal. She promised to take some time to think about her behavior over the weekend. She assured me that she would change.

Well, Monday came and she showed up in clean clothes. The maintenance guy on call that weekend said he saw her making many trips to the dumpster as she cleaned out her apartment. And she was behaving more normally than she had in months. We weren't swayed by this but we figured at least she was making an effort.

There were times after that when she would become very rattled. We could tell she wanted to explode but she managed to keep it in check. She never wore filthy clothes again and she even lost a little weight. Two months later she got a computer.

At first, we were glad to see that she was taking an interest in new things (this was 1994). She was very taken with her computer and all seemed well. Then she got AOL and started chatting. It quickly became an obsession.

She would leave the office for hours some days to "sneak" off to her apartment and chat. She started telling us about the great men she was meeting in chat rooms. Then she started making arrangements to meet them at hotels. After she proudly told us about this a few times, the group again tried in a very low-key way to suggest that she might be endangering herself. She would not listen. After that discussion, she stopped telling us about her assignations.

We knew she was still having them because the maintenance guys would be on the property and noticed when her car was gone and for how long. But we figured that she was an adult and it was her life. We had tried to make her think about this new behavior problem but she didn't want help.

Soon after this, Juannie got a promotion and transfer out of state so I resigned and moved away with him. One by one the other ladies moved on as well until only one lady was left in that office. Less than a year after I moved, I got a phone call from my old coworker telling me that crazy had been fired by the boss she was afraid of for problems with her paperwork and negligence. When my co-worker talked to her boss after crazy lady was gone and told her all that had been happening, the boss was floored. She said that if she'd known how bad it was she would have immediately intervened on our behalf. She wished that we had gone to her instead of trying to deal with her ourselves. But she understood the difficulty of our situation.

Soon after that crazy boss contacted me! She wanted to use me as a reference while she looked for other jobs. She made brief mention of her "troubled times" but she knew that I would be fair and give her positive comments if anyone called. I was flabbergasted but luckily no one ever called me. I heard from her a few times after that. She did get another job and then she never contacted me again.

Any other crazy boss stories?

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Comments

( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
luxlis
May. 6th, 2005 01:32 pm (UTC)
Very weird.

I don't have any good boss stories... The only bad bosses I had were just kind of mean, but not in a very interesting way. And my boss now is very nice.
silverdee
May. 6th, 2005 01:49 pm (UTC)
She was messed up, poor thing. I hope she got help.
luxlis
May. 6th, 2005 02:10 pm (UTC)
The thing about meeting men in hotels was very strange.

A lady my aunt works with brings a giant tupperware container with an entire prepared box of hamburger helper for lunch every day... she also eats a ton of stuff from the vending machines after she finishes that. Her co-workers call her the "Casserole Lady". Sometimes she doesn't bathe for a week or brush her teeth.

Working in an office is so weird. You're thrown into a situation where you have to interact with people that you would probably have never even known otherwise.
silverdee
May. 6th, 2005 08:22 pm (UTC)
I met my husband at work. And I have made some very good friends at work. But you are so right about being forced to deal with people at work that you would not seek out otherwise. It can really be a trial at times.

At least I don't have a Casserole Lady. Does her supervisor not deal with the poor hygiene issues?

weather_fan
May. 6th, 2005 04:14 pm (UTC)
I think you remember my old uncle/boss from about eighteen months ago. He was the worst boss I ever had. It was just my supervisor and me in the office most days, and then he'd phone in from somewhere and bark random orders that had to be done right then. He actually took action on maybe half of them. There were all kinds of contradictory messages and crazy schemes to make a quick buck. One thing we suspected that turned out to be true was that he embezzled money from his own company--which explained why his home was furnished with lavish trappings, but the office couldn't afford to pay the electric bill one month and the gas bill another. The calls from creditors became everyday affairs as both of us attempted to explain that we simply had no money, despite constant Hoover-esque promises of prosperity just around the corner from the boss.

He would become irrationally angry at times, and completely agreeable at others. We could never gauge from one day to the next what was going to happen, and the lack of organization from the top led the workers on site to behave badly (if they showed up at all), leaving just my supervisor and me to hold the entire operation together. He never got angry with me personally, but his attitude and disdain left my supervisor in tears more times than I care to recall. So there you have the worst boss I ever had...though my current one is vying for second.
silverdee
May. 6th, 2005 08:24 pm (UTC)
That was before I found you on LJ. But it sounds dreadful! And even worse that it was family. Sometimes it's better not knowing what relatives are like in the workplace.
weather_fan
May. 7th, 2005 03:56 pm (UTC)
Yeah, you missed out on that era of my life. Scan through some of the entries from March and April of 2004, and you'll see what I mean.

I often wonder what impact--if any--my being his nephew had on our interoffice relations. I'm not sure that it had any at all.
daisyfair
May. 6th, 2005 04:21 pm (UTC)
I had to go to career counseling with my boss.
The day he started crying in the therapy sessions was the day I agreed to an interview at a new job.
silverdee
May. 6th, 2005 08:26 pm (UTC)
That's just way too much wackiness to endure from someone you work for.
daisyfair
May. 6th, 2005 09:39 pm (UTC)
oh and i didn't even tell you stories! ha!
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )

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