Telltale Signs of a Bad Boss

14 Apr

All are actual experiences….and telltale signs of a Bad Boss.

 1-They sit in their office for 7 hours doing absolutely nothing but reading internet news and then give you a huge draft revision at 5:20.

2-They tell you to cc them on all emails and then when you do, they race out of their office and ask you why you just sent them that email.

3-They tell you to quit emailing them about anything because they are so dang busy, then they later say to you “well, why didn’t you just email me?”

4-They make you work on New Year’s Eve and the only thing they ask you to do is search for a hard-to-find electrical part for their house.   You get to be the lucky one to call and bug people on New Year’s Eve (which they clearly do not appreciate) to ask them about an electrical part that is so complex, you don’t even know what you are asking.

5-They make you work on New Year’s Eve another year and the only thing they give you to do is to copy a shoebox filled with crumpled personal receipts, sort them and give them back in an acceptable format so he can save money on his personal taxes.

6-On that note, you are elected to take his personal taxes to the worst post office in town on the worst possible day to wait in line so that you can send them certified mail for him because, as always, he’s waited until the last minute. 

7-He used to give you great holiday presents, but now that he’s wooed you to his new business (because you were a fool to not see the forest for the trees), he doesn’t say a word to you on the holidays and if you are lucky, you get a garden bulb of some sort that sell at Dollar Tree.

8-He asks you to research some topic and then tells you immediately that you are wrong when you present your findings because remember…he thinks he knows everything and never hesitates to tell you so.

9-He texts you at home to tell you that the day off he finally let you have has really inconvenienced him and then you find out later from your coworker that he didn’t even come in to work that day.

10-You actually spend time wondering if some type of tropical worm has eaten through the small part of his brain that controls kindness, compassion, caring and common sense.

Tomorrow – How to Justify Your Existence While Working for Money-Grubbing Lawyers/Executives

Side note – THANK YOU to all the great folks that have been reading Living Dilbert!  I really appreciate you and your comments and I read them every day and get a good chuckle!   Hey, we have to amuse each other in these tough times!

59 Responses to “Telltale Signs of a Bad Boss”

  1. Slamdunk April 14, 2010 at 8:44 am #

    Funny stuff. I can relate to your #2–I am not sure that all of my supervisors even understand email.

  2. alchiketi April 14, 2010 at 9:02 am #

    to add to your list, bad boss pulls out knitting as soon as you sit down in a meeting to discuss stuff with her. Bad Boss says she’s good at multi-tasking, but when you pose a question to her, she fumbles and says …well..what do you think… cause she’s concentrating on knitting. As you’re talking, she says loudly SHIT!! then proceeds to explain how she mis-knitted several things. I wonder sometimes if i should apologize for disturbing her knitting by talking about work.

  3. Danielle April 14, 2010 at 9:18 am #

    Bad boss asks you to take him to his colonoscopy appt. and wait until he is finished and drive him home after you have only worked there for less than a month. Bad boss constantly whines about taxes that he owes because he stopped paying for a few years. Bad boss tells everyone on the phone about his serious health problems (bad bowels). Bad boss constantly tells you that you never share enough of your personal life with him. Bad boss constantly whines about how much work he does for the cub scouts that he volunteered for because he is in love with the leader who is half is age and asks you advice about her.

    What I want to know is why does your bad boss have your cell number to text you? hahahhahahah!!! Rule numero uno—never give your cell number to a bad boss.

    • livingdilbert April 14, 2010 at 9:35 am #

      Oh my gosh! Danielle and alchiketi….you have me beat!! Knitting and a colonoscopy….damn! I can’t stop laughing – those are great stories!!!!

  4. Cori April 14, 2010 at 10:40 am #

    They are all pretty terrific/horrible!! The tax stuff is mindblowing. I had no idea that even when you get your taxes in on time that you are still burdened with the stress of last minute tax preparation… but for someone else! UGH.

  5. thoughtleaf April 14, 2010 at 10:46 am #

    Bad Boss accuses you of being a spy for Walmart after you take pictures of some animals (pet store) to send to your boyfriend who lives 800 miles away. Walmart does not sell guinea pigs. Bad Boss tells you to clean and organize a section of store then yells when you move something. Bad Boss accuses you of coming back after hours to sabotage the dimwitted employee (his favorite, of course) who closed because she screwed up. Bad Boss gives broken Walkie Talkies for communication and yells when you don’t use them rather than actually talk to another employee. Bad Boss will not believe that they are broken.

  6. silkyvelvet April 14, 2010 at 10:51 am #

    I had a good laugh, but I can definitely relate to all of this! Thank you so much for this post!

  7. Anti boss April 14, 2010 at 10:54 am #

    It is time for you guys to do what I did. Quit and become self employed. You will have the time of your life and no more bad boss. There is plenty of money to be made out there for those who want to work hard and invest in themselves. And best of all, if you just use independent contractors, you don’t have employees. Screw the boss, have fun and go it on your own.

  8. shoutabyss April 14, 2010 at 11:16 am #

    As the author of “How to Destroy Your Employees” I really enjoyed this post. Sounds like we’re in similar boats. Good luck with that!

  9. Gloriadelia April 14, 2010 at 11:17 am #

    How can you get away with this blog? Does your boss not read your blog or know you have it? Just curious. A friend of mine complains about her boss on Facebook. I always wonder if that won’t come back to bite her some day.

  10. Duce April 14, 2010 at 11:24 am #

    Bad Boss doesn’t withhold taxes from your check claiming you are a contract employee but then demands that you come in to work when and where he says and then has nothing for you to do. Just because he’s lonely.

  11. skillets April 14, 2010 at 11:26 am #

    Oh….my…Lord….I hope you’re combing the classifieds. I don’t know how long I could last with a boss like that. This blog must be soooo therapeutic for you.

  12. livingdilbert April 14, 2010 at 11:27 am #

    You all are making my year with these great comments – gosh! Thank you! Also, in response to an earlier post, Living Dilbert is very careful to cover her tracks and her identity! I could be in Anywhere, USA ! Her bosses often can’t find an open doorway on their own….

    Keep the comments coming folks! It’s cathartic, isn’t it?

  13. Gloriadelia April 14, 2010 at 11:28 am #

    p.s. I love Dilbert, too. Most every Christmas I buy a Dilbert calendar for my husband to brighten his little cubicle at work.

  14. shoutabyss April 14, 2010 at 11:36 am #

    I liked this post so much I decided to subscribe to your blog. But then I thought about it some more and changed my mind.

    Your blog is so awesome you leapfrogged everyone and qualified for immediate “blogroll” player status on my blog. So there!


  15. tzhang71 April 14, 2010 at 11:44 am #

    haha, all great points. Really puts things into perspective as a Human Resources Management student.
    thx for sharing!

  16. bittenbyreality April 14, 2010 at 12:04 pm #

    Your blog is amazing! I only wish I had found it while still employed by my very own bad boss. (I think she may have been the female counterpart to yours, though not in the law field.) =)

  17. Stacy N. Elliott April 14, 2010 at 12:10 pm #

    This was way too funny and so very true of my last boss! I’m going to put a link to my facebook page to share with friends and ex-coworkers who have had the same experience.

    Thanks for the laughs!

  18. katie o. April 14, 2010 at 12:10 pm #

    yeah you! congrats on being freshly pressed. well done friend!

  19. cooper April 14, 2010 at 12:14 pm #

    Boss comes in at 10:30….is asleep at desk by 11. Goes to lunch at noon. Is back asleep at desk by 3. Leaves by 4 – 4:30.

    what more could a person ask for???????

  20. Angela Classen April 14, 2010 at 12:24 pm #

    I’ve worked in the legal field for 20+ years. I can totally relate! I’ve been reading your prior posts and LMAO!!! I’ll be visiting your blog on a regular basis for some much-needed comic relief.

  21. shutterboo April 14, 2010 at 12:33 pm #

    Luckily, I’ve never had a boss request me to do personal errands. But I have, many times, experienced #8 from individuals who weren’t even my supervisor. Or my teammate. Just incredulous people that had a bad day and decided to take it out on me. Thank you.
    But there was this one time an execute told me that I was “too business” and had to lighten my emails to make them more pleasant… really? How can I sugar-coat “bite me”?

  22. iamupca April 14, 2010 at 12:35 pm #

    Very good signs! 🙂 Fortunately my boss still hasn’t manifested any of those signs. Congratulations on being freshly pressed, by the way.

  23. dancingirja April 14, 2010 at 12:43 pm #

    You’re right, that would be a bad boss.

  24. ian in hamburg April 14, 2010 at 12:55 pm #

    Bad boss tells you he doesn’t pay overtime, then you discover an invoice billed to a client with an extra line for overtime paid to employees, so you make a photocopy of said invoice to show all your colleagues, then quit.

    It was very satisfying.

  25. pkdvalis82 April 14, 2010 at 1:32 pm #

    BadBoss makes you read a book on good web design in preparation for a project because it is so insightful and then in the process of the web project has you break the primary no-nos that the book’s author spells out!

  26. Lori Schmidt Lutze April 14, 2010 at 1:49 pm #

    Escape the cubicle now…………you have my sympathies……….

    • livingdilbert April 14, 2010 at 1:56 pm #

      You can bet I’m working on it! 🙂 Luckily, I have YEARS of experience on which to reflect for Living Dilbert! Thanks for visiting!

  27. izziedarling April 14, 2010 at 2:29 pm #

    HUGE Congrats on being Freshly Pressed. Woo Hoo YOU!

  28. Radical Spirit April 14, 2010 at 2:38 pm #


  29. Guy Farmer April 14, 2010 at 3:45 pm #

    Great observations and my condolences if this happened to you. It sometimes seems as if people do things to purposefully annoy others. In my experience it’s usually because they don’t know what else to do and they’ve always gotten by doing it that way. The great thing is that we each have an amazing amount of power to direct our own careers. I might look for other options with a boss who values my talents and abilities. Everyone deserves to work for a place that helps them grow and feel great.

    Take care,


  30. breaaire April 14, 2010 at 3:57 pm #

    You made “Freshly Pressed”! I love this blog, you always give me a laugh! I am lucky enough to work in a really good place, but I have friends that sound just like you… are you sure you’re not from around here??? hmmmm…..

  31. Sharie April 14, 2010 at 4:37 pm #

    #36: Bad boss is a complete b*tch who asks you to do a easy but time-consuming spreadsheet for her and not email it, but just put it right on the server to ”save time”. Le B*tch then takes the spreadsheet you worked hard on and verified, CHANGES it, then takes it to your mutual boss to ”prove” you can’t even do a simple spreadsheet accurately.

    #35: Le B*tch tells you to prepare a check for someone you’ve never heard of. Later you find out the company is forbidden to pay any funds to that person… something about a past lawsuit…!??

    #36: After you finally get up the nerve to to go your mutual boss about all the crap Le B*tch has been having you do (legal and otherwise), you are told that for months now, Le B*tch has been telling this boss horror stories about your ”abysmal” work performance while always standing up for you despite your ”terrible” performance, sure that you will soon ”come around.” Yet to your face, Le B*tch has been pretending to be one of your Best Friends Ever… Too late, you realize you can’t tell anyone the truth about Le B*tch because she’s successfully snowed everyone into believing she’s God’s Gift To The Company while you’re worth nothing to them. When they fire you for underperformance 2 days later, you’re simultaneously blown away yet completely unsurprised at what Le B*tch did to you.

  32. blairpet April 14, 2010 at 5:17 pm #

    Uhm, that was amazing! I find the most disturbing fact about the list to be that a lot of people can relate to it and have bosses like this. How do these people get in their positions? Crazy.

  33. fireandair April 14, 2010 at 5:25 pm #

    Bad boss screams into his phone so loud that the entire company can hear that if he doesn’t get what he wants soon he’s going to turn into (and I am not making this up) the prince of fucking darkness.

    Buy me a margarita and I’ll name names.

  34. collectivegood April 14, 2010 at 8:38 pm #

    You rock — I like to think that there is more good in the world, but unfortunately you have captured the insane crap that goes on in the world for no other reason than to be mean and controlling. You deserve better than this, but while you endure — thanks for letting us laugh with you along the way!

  35. Emily @ The Southern Belle Blogs April 14, 2010 at 9:14 pm #

    That’s tough! Luckily, I haven’t had too bad of a boss yet. I have had one who would see incredibly depressed when we wouldn’t sell enough and would start blaming herself for sucking at life.

  36. Scope April 14, 2010 at 9:16 pm #

    Which is why finding a good boss is all important. Some bosses love to play smart when they really dumb, and you create a new enemy for that.

  37. LilWildfire April 14, 2010 at 9:54 pm #

    Bad Boss? How about Bad Bosses!!

    Bad bosses lay off a total of 10 people in a small firm within the last year and a half due to the “Economy”/no work…. AND…. make us work a 30 hours work week plus we get a 30% paycut AND they say that we can get unemployment to pay us for the extra day (their way of helping us-awwww), only to find out they hire 2 other people, plus 2 consultants but they make us work overtime without pay.

    Bad bosses let go of those who know how to use a computer and keep those who don’t know “Jack” – they can’t even include an attachment to an email but when you are working on detailed programs that require a lot of steps they say, “Come on guys, this isn’t rocket science, just make a few quick changes on the computer, it should take this long”. (Clueless!)

    Bad bosses make some of us stay past the time they claimed to unemployment that we really work (lying to save them money-not sure how they do it) plus we need to stay up to 9pm and some Saturdays or holiday (depending on the job) and they won’t give us comp time. Then you find out they secretly gave it to others.

    Bad bosses exploit hard workers and won’t let you gain experience on another aspect of the job (even if you asked them 4 or 5 times), but then they offer the experience to an intern, whom I’m sure they are paying. Meanwhile all the times you asked for an intern to help you out (within the last 2 years), they ignore you.

    Bad bosses won’t even give you a “performance” review thinking you will try to juice them for money. Then you find an invoice for $30,000 for a piece of artwork. Nice 🙂

    Bad bosses will find out how bad they were when the market picks up and everyone quits on them. 🙂

  38. earl winters April 14, 2010 at 9:58 pm #

    Today’s bad boss, (the anecdotes outnumber the stars). Tells you to drop everything and find work for the company that will keep the whole company busy for one month. He tells you if you don’t succeed in landing this work the COMPANY WILL BE GOING OUT OF BUSINESS. SO you spend the whole day calling clients, blowing off a series of sales meetings it took weeks to arrange. You succeed in finding a client that has emergency work that fits the bill exactly. You get the construction drawings, waiting at work ’til 8pm. The next day you are off for your daughter’s birthday. So you stay up late prepping the work and email it to all parties at 11:30pm. The next day, your day off, you make the mistake of checking your email. First email is from the client. He is telling you that he will never do business with you again since he was basically told to go to hell. The next is from your co worker telling you that the work wasn’t up to our standards and not to ever bother him with “shit like this again”. The last email is from the owner/boss/imbecile yelling at you for not finding a “high profit emergency job that’s easy to do”. When you write back an angry email you recieve multiple emails telling you that you are fucked up for ruining your day off/child’s birthday by checking your email…………….

  39. Michael April 14, 2010 at 10:09 pm #

    Hi! Great blog! Stuff I can definitely relate to.

    I am an engineer at XXXXXXXX (company name witheld) and 99% of this stuff is standard operating procedure!!
    And not just at my company… I suspect (and it sounds like) this happens at all companies.

    I have one to add! How about….

    They ask you to find a way to do the work the right way the first time but then after you explain to them how to do it the right way they say “aw nah! Who really cares! We’re only going to do this once anyways. Besides, the work we put out has such a wide error band anyhow”

    The problem with this is that we always redo our work because we ignore certain important considerations when we start our work. I can see this coming a mile away (and it always means unneccessary overtime down the road), but I am told to sit down and shut up (in more sophisticated language, of course).

    How about taking the lead, boss?
    Why don’t we fix the problem instead of existing in the paradigm?
    Answer: deadlines, which are linked to money.
    Everything gets swept under the carpet in the name of deadlines.
    Well guess what? Unneccessary overtime is also linked to overtime, and standard overtime is time and a half, bitches! (rate x 1.5)

    Stuff like this makes me wonder why I was born a human and became an engineer and was not just born a monkey with a calculator… producing random answers…

  40. Vishvesh April 14, 2010 at 11:24 pm #

    I can’t agree more with points 1, 2, 3, 8, 9 with respect to my previous job.

    I don’t agree with 10, because I always felt he was shameless, he would come to me and talk like he knew everything and if I find fault with what he would say, He would just change the topic completely and act like nothing has happened.

  41. Cynthia April 14, 2010 at 11:47 pm #

    OMG! I have experienced 1,2,and 3 of this blog! This is awesome!

  42. Mahlaqa Saeed April 15, 2010 at 1:56 am #

    Oh My God! I have lived through this for 5 years with the CEO at my previous workplace, esp 1, 9 and 10! But what I gained as a person and professional has been worth it. Yet no greater freedom than never having to walk down that road again.

  43. sixtyniner69 April 15, 2010 at 1:57 am #

    “There is something not correct with this paper. Please do the necessary amendment”. A “wise” boss uses this statement to look “knowledgeable sepervisor”. I am pretty sure that he really don’t know what and where is wrong. Hiding their stupidity.

  44. 36metricweeks April 15, 2010 at 3:02 am #

    It’s always a he, huh?

  45. therippa April 15, 2010 at 3:41 am #

    You should work as a script writer for The Office.

  46. glipkeriokistomerces April 15, 2010 at 4:43 am #

    my boss have 3 email accounts, it’s a disaster !
    Why i need only one for everything ?

  47. Kris April 15, 2010 at 5:12 am #

    lol!! Great article and I can so sympathize, having worked for a few doozies myself… my current boss is great but boy do I have tales to tell of a boss reducing staff to tears or another one who get out of his car in the middle of the road- in the middle of traffic(!) and then rang me to deal with it (and I was miles away in another part of town)…whilst he just calmly walked to the client’s office….

  48. kennethpeter April 15, 2010 at 5:59 am #

    Wow! that was an amazing post! I read it out to my friends and also shared it with my ex-workers.

    I can definitely relate to points # 1,2,3 and 8. Thankfully, I’m out of it and feel really sorry for the person who has taken my place.

  49. Moranna April 15, 2010 at 6:05 am #

    Oh dear, been there too! sounds as though you have!! What I can’t understand is how they manage to con senior management?

  50. letterstolife April 15, 2010 at 7:45 am #

    oh #1, how i know you sooo well…

  51. Mara Lee April 15, 2010 at 9:34 am #

    You’re funny! Have a great day:)

  52. highlyirritable April 15, 2010 at 10:24 am #

    I once had the “I am God” Boss who, after hearing a proposal from me which would save time, money and energy for ALL staff, replied, “You’ve worked here 6 months and have yet to realize that “I” am the only one to have good ideas around here?” and then two weeks later implements the system himself, taking all credit.


  53. unforgivens May 19, 2010 at 1:17 am #

    This blog is wonderful. I love love LOVE the press, and I love seeing what you’re experiencing! Great work.
    I will bookmark this page.
    Thanks for this..


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