Most people like a good success story, but who can resist an epic tale of disaster, humiliation, embarrassment, and shame? I know I can't.
Here's how the Inc. Friday Fail works: Every Friday I post a new topic, invite readers to send in their favorite stories, and publish the best the following week.
Last week's topic was Customers Who Won't Pay.
This week it's Worst Bosses, a topic that requires no explanation.
Here we go:
4. The Forwarder
I have always felt my job is to look out for and protect my boss. So when major systems changes were proposed by a manager in another department, I sent my boss a long email explaining the costs and problems those changes would create, both for our department and for the business as a whole.
My boss was, to put it gently, pretty non-technical, so I figured he would appreciate the input and the information. I thought we had a good relationship, so the email was fairly casual in tone and I didn't pull any punches about the stupidity of the idea and, unfortunately, how clueless the other manager was.
So what did my boss do? He forwarded my email to everyone in the company, including the other manager. I asked him why he did it, and he said, "You put a lot of work into that email so I figured you should get the credit."
Imagine how fun the next project meeting was for me to attend.—Craig
3. The Bond... James Bond
We called our boss James Bond because she spent all her time spying on us to catch us doing something wrong.
Her favorite trick was to call a random employee from "home" to check in and see how things were going, then casually mention she would be not be in the office for a few hours because she was on her way to a meeting. Then a few minutes later she would slip in one of the emergency entrances (she had an accomplice who would disarm the alarm and leave the door propped open) so she could try to catch people not working.
We figured it out pretty fast, and eventually got her back. One day a coworker saw her accomplice head for the warehouse. I followed behind, and after she turned off the alarm at the door and walked away I reset the alarm but kept it from triggering by taping a piece of metal between the contacts on the door and the frame. (My husband is an engineer and that is the first and last time I've ever taken an interest in electronics.)
When the boss pulled the door open it dislodged the metal and the alarm blared. "Somehow" a bunch of us happened to be in the warehouse at that moment and we all ran to the door to see if there was an intruder.
She said she was just testing our security systems and was pleased by how quickly we responded to a potential threat. What a loser.—Marcie
2. The Yellow Pager
At my first clerical job, the company owner's son was in charge. He was known for peeing on people from the roof of his home when he was a teenager, and he had been married three times by his mid-30s.
He once looked me up and down and told me I must have gained five pounds. Even so, he called me into his office to suggest we have an affair.
I turned beet red and blurted out, "No!" I was married with two kids. It showed all over my face that I was upset when I left his office.
When we had a company party at Disneyland he tried to arrange it so I would be sitting with him in the bobsled. Fortunately the receptionist, who had taken me under her wing, pushed her way past, got in, and shoved back hard into his lap.
My boss said he'd fire me if my husband started his own company (in an unrelated field) because he only wanted women who needed their jobs. When my husband started the company, I quit. The boss stormed out of his office to grab the Yellow Pages to prove how easily I could be replaced.—Cheryl
1. The Sinker
An old boss hated when we took restroom breaks. (He once told me I should take care of all personal issues on my own time.) He was convinced we used trips to the restroom to get out of working.
One day he came out of the men's room yelling. He grabbed me and pulled me inside to show me that someone had used the sink instead of the toilet for fecal evacuation purposes. He asked everyone if they did it, but no one copped to it.
When it happened again he said that if it happened again he would permanently lock the bathroom door since we could not be trusted to behave as adults.
About a week later I got to work earlier than usual, opened the bathroom door, and saw him backed up to the sink, pants at his ankles. His face turned white, he stammered some nonsense words, and then said, "I was just trying to see how tall you needed to be to do it... that way I might be able to eliminate some of our shorter employees as suspects."
Unsurprisingly it never happened again. That guy was such a "waste."—Myron
Next week's Friday Fail Topic: Worst Date. (Hey, since workplace romances are so common, why not?)
Send your stories to fridayfail (at) blackbirdinc.com. If you want to remain anonymous, let me know.
Then tune in next Friday!