Our readers have sent some of their own bitchy boss experiences to Sophie Mackintosh (@sophmackintosh). Feel free to add your own horrendous boss story to the comments below.
There are few things more demoralising than a boss who makes your working environment hell – and sadly this is a common problem, especially in fast-paced industries such as PR. One of our most-read posts is a post on what to do if your boss is a bitch (and we mean female and male bosses). We got so many responses that we decided to share some real-life stories of terrible bosses – and here they are:
“Where do I start? Everyday things at my last agency would include my boss moving my desk so she "didn't have to see my face”, screaming at me in front of team members for reasons she made up, telling my clients I was useless, and sending condescending orders to me via juniors. She used to change my deadlines from a week to the next morning, which once saw me coming into the office at 4am to stop her from catching me out. She even accused me of lying about being away for a week, even though I’d booked off holiday and had come back tanned! I would get in at 7am and stay at work until gone 9pm to try and show her that I was committed and a hard worker, but it seemed to make things even worse.
“I started having panic attacks and decided enough was enough, handing in my notice even though I didn’t have another job to go to (after which she ignored me completely most of the time). But on my last payday there, a week before I was due to leave, nothing went into my account – even though everybody else had been paid. When I took it up with my boss she emailed me to tell me the money had been paid in, but it was over £500 short, which she tried to pretend was for five sick days – when I’d taken just two, on doctor’s orders, due to stress.
“I walked out then and there and got help from the Citizen’s Advice Bureau, who were brilliant, though I didn’t end up taking things further as I was too shaken. Now I’m lucky enough to work in an agency with great senior management and my confidence is slowly being rebuilt.”
“I once worked for a woman who was an all-round bitch. Despite the fact that I got two promotions and a £13k pay rise in eight months, she was constantly on my case and nagging me about my work. She was incredibly insecure and kept calling me in to secret meetings in the boardroom asking if people in the office thought she was fat, or if I thought any of my colleagues were going to leave. But the worst came when she left the company and set up her own PR agency. By then I was working freelance, and had started working two days a week for her. One day she called and asked if I could manage all her clients for a week while she went on holiday. Unfortunately I had to say no, because I had another freelance contract three days a week. Nevertheless, she gave my mobile number to all her clients and told them I was taking over for the week – so when my phone started ringing at 8am on the Monday, I was really confused. By Tuesday lunchtime I asked a client outright why they were phoning me and it became clear that she had totally dropped me in it. I ended our freelance agreement the day she got back from holiday.”
“When I was hired, I’d interviewed for two positions. They gave me a choice, but I ended up doing both jobs for six months regardless. On my first day I had to move boxes from the closet that would become my office – I had to scrounge for a phone and a computer, and provide my own furniture.
“I was always swamped with work but nobody was willing to help, my colleagues insisting that they wouldn’t do reports. My responsibilities changed daily or more, all in an effort to trip me up. My boss would break my web pages and then accuse me of not doing the work correctly, and even shared confidential medical information with everyone. I was so incredibly stressed that four different doctors recommended I leave my job.
“After three years of hell I was fired, but eventually won a settlement for wrongful termination. The experience has made me terrified of finding a new job, as I’m dreading the idea that something similar could happen again.”
“I knew someone who worked at a big music company, supporting a team of three very disorganised creatives who made her life hell. They’d scream at her that their salad wasn’t organic, throw CDs, complain constantly, and go out of their way to treat her badly.
“But she got revenge! She swapped the office coffee for decaf for three weeks (warning everybody else, of course), so when they staggered into the office after gigs they were left in dire need of their caffeine fix – and then became extremely hyper when she switched it back. She’d also take the manager’s business cards, chat up unattractive people in bars and pretend the cards were her own number, resulting in the manager going on a few excruciating dates – she was recently single, drinking heavily, and assumed she’d forgotten meeting them.
“Her most daring revenge was stealing the manager’s credit card and using it to fund some recording sessions for her boyfriend’s band – the company didn’t even notice!”
Add your own (anonymous) bitchy boss story in the comments below!
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The B2B PR Blog is a resource for both PR professionals and people working in B2B industries on how to devise and implement successful B2B PR campaigns. The blog is managed by B2B PR specialist Heather Baker, founder TopLine Comms, an inbound marketing, B2B content marketing agency and proud HubSpot partner agency and takes contribution from anyone sensible in the industry with something intelligent to say. Follow Heather on Twitter @TopLineFounder or contact the B2B PR Blog editorial team via email on [email protected].
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