I’ve seen this trend going around (I did not make it up) and I wanted to add my contributions. Because I’ve had one hell of a ride since I joined the ranks of the working world.
Up until 2018 I was working for a misogynistic man who, by all accounts, reached his present position from what I can only assume was the ‘Peter Principle’. He didn’t know how to do his job and he solely relied on me to make sure that he looked good when projects need to be done.
When I say that he didn’t know how to do his job, he was running this company without any real understanding of how the industry functioned to which we operated in. He had no experience in the industry and when I would talk to him about industry competitors, he would tell me to not question him. Which… happened to be his code for he really didn’t understand or know anything about what i was talking about.
I learned to deal with him taking credit for my work. I mean, after all it’s basically the underlings who are supposed to make the boss look good, regardless of their competence or lack thereof. What I didn’t like about my boss was who he was/is and how he treated me, how he believed ‘the real world’ functioned and what he thought was an appropriate way to spend funds.
Though I never wore anything inappropriate for office attire, if I ever wore anything that remotely resembled a v-neck, he would openly and loudly tell me to ‘put my breasts away’ because I was being too distracting. This happened whether the V-neck was 1/2 inch or 3 inches. Unless I was covered up to my neck, he was making comments about my breasts. He just thought that it was a great running joke for him to have with the other men in the office.
On the other hand, when there were important meetings in the office, he would routinely tell me, and the lone other female, that if we even wanted to be considered for being invited to the meeting we better wear something revealing that day because they needed to make a good impression.
He also had a rule that I had to wear a skirt and heels when we had press conferences. One time, just one time, I decided to show up to the press conference with pants and flats on and it was a year before I was able to do another press conference.
While all of this behaviour was happening, I would routinely tell my friends about it as a means of venting about our jobs. Well, my friends would ask ‘Why don’t you go to HR?’ Easy. He was HR. How are you supposed to take concerns to HR when the person treating you unfairly is also the entire HR department at the company?
The office was a real ‘men’s club’ so to speak with the language used and the attitudes taken towards doing thing. If I ever declined a project they found it appropriate to proclaim ‘Don’t be such a pussy! Just do it!’. A lot of people told me that I just didn’t have a sense of humour, and perhaps I don’t, but I never found ‘jokes’ like those to be ones that a boss should say to any employee, let alone a female employee. If he did something that made me angry, which routinely happened because he was kind of an idiot, he’d say things like ‘God are you PMSing again? That’s the third time this month. You should really get that checked out’.
Any time that I did anything good in that office, he took credit for it. And any time that he did anything wrong, he would blame me for it. These weren’t just small things he was doing wrong either. This was… driving the company vehicle while intoxicated and driving it into one of those parking signs at the front of the parking spot that says ‘Handicap Parking only’.
As a result, over time, everyone in the office started looking at me as a ‘problem’. From their perspective, I really wasn’t doing anything good (because he was always taking credit for it) and I seemed to keep screwing up, because whenever he did anything wrong, he’d blame it on me.
If I ever disagreed with him, or stood up to him for what he was blaming on me, he would go days, weeks, one time even went two months without speaking to me or acknowledging my presence. He was that mature that he would have another employee come and approach me because he refused to. ‘Because I didn’t deserve his time’.
Part of the company had a charitable arm to it. This allowed us to be corporate but also allowed us to accept donations for certain initiatives the company took on. Anyone who’s worked as a part of a charitable organization knows there’s a certain precise nature to which you need to deal with the money you accept as a means of abiding by the laws that govern charitable organizations. Laws that are put into place to keep people from taking donations and using them to spend in outlandish and ridiculous manners that don’t relate to that of the charity at all.
My boss didn’t like to follow those laws.
He would routinely take donations and use them as a means to upgrade his hotel rooms to presidential suites… hotel rooms that weren’t rooms but basically penthouse apartment style lofts on the top floors of the hotel that cost upwards of $3,000 or more per night. When we went on work trips, he’d bring his family – wife and all of his kids, paying for plane tickets for all of them with the donations. Not only that, but he would buy lavish gifts for himself and the managers of his office, or even take charitable donations and use them to go on golfing trips with clients. If I ever dared question him on it, I’d get taken off projects, removed from being able to interact with those clients and then he would tell those clients I was on ’employment probation for conduct unbecoming of the organization’ and that’s why they weren’t to deal with me anymore.
In the latter half of 2018 word had gotten out, through whispers of what I can only assume is a certain particular client that my boss pissed off, that money from the charity was being misspent. Jumping to cover his tracks, my boss asked for me to sign my name to official audit paperwork stating that money was spent somewhere that it was not. At this point in time is when I learned that it wasn’t just a few thousand dollars he’d used in his favour, it was over $150,000 that he had misused and was now trying to hide under ‘administrative costs’ in other bank accounts.
I refused to sign the paperwork.
Being a charitable piece to the organization we were subject to audit each year. I didn’t want my name to be signed on these ‘administrative costs’ when the auditors actually figured out what they were. I wasn’t willing to put my career on the line like that.
Shortly thereafter the company abruptly let me know they were ‘moving in a different direction’ and I was no longer employed by them.
Do you have any stories of horrible bosses? Leave them in the comments, or write a post of your own and tag me in it so that I can read your stories too. Heaven knows, there are a lot of horrible bosses in this world!