the worst boss of 2015 is…

We have a winner! 4,041 votes are in, and the worst boss of the year is the manager who penalized an employee for objecting to being called “baby mama,” the c-word, and other names … with 45% of the vote. Congratulations, terrible manager of the year! You suck.

The five runners-up, who managed to be pretty terrible themselves:

* the manager who tried to force out an employee for being severely allergic to dogs in a dog-friendly office – 28%

* the boss who kept told an employee to write the same sentence 500 times as punishment for a mistake – 9%

* the manager who told a new employee to change his name – 8%

* the manager who had phone sex with his office door open – 5%

* the manager who wanted to wanted a remote staff retreat to publicly review everyone’s strengths and weaknesses – 4.5%

{ 51 comments… read them below }

  1. YogiJosephina

    It is my dream that one day, the Year’s Most Terrible Manager will stumble across these posts and realize that everyone thinks that they’re the pinnacle of Suck. And maybe, JUST MAYBE, will re-think their life choices.

    Probably not, but my GOD that would be satisfying.

      1. Lizabeth

        Even if you did send an email, they won’t “get it” because they’ll think it’s about someone else!

      2. Dynamic Beige

        They need to get a trophy via a Prize Patrol-like team that shows up at the office and records the moment for posterity.

    1. AMG

      Dare to dream. Perhaps the winner may even feel a twinge of shame for their behavior. But the real gift is in the planted seeds for those of us reading AAM and/or up-and-coming managers who will be Awesome Managers Who Know Better. To the future *clinks glass*!

  2. Kvaren

    I hope ALL of these managers stumble across this someday. And then read all of the comments on the original and follow-up posts.

  3. eplawyer

    I would have thought the dog-friendly, but human health ignoring office would have been closer to Baby Mamma Comment Boss.

    1. MissDisplaced

      What I cannot fathom about dog-friendly office is WHY this company didn’t tell the applicant this during the interview process. The whole big mess could have been adverted. It’s just weird. I’ve seen a few jobs like this, and typically the company makes a big deal about having dogs/cats in the workplace and you see it in the job posting.

      1. Lia

        That’s the part that confused me as well, but I do know some over the top dog loving people who just don’t grok that not everyone on the planet adores their dog. It’d sure be odd for an entire company to be made up of those types by random luck.

        1. INTP

          Yeah, and they think that anyone who DOESN’T adore their dog (to a point that surpasses concerns for their own health) deserves to have their career disrupted by accepting a job they can’t keep. I have literally been told by many people that they don’t trust anyone that doesn’t love dogs (and also encountered the attitude that animal allergies are something that can be easily overcome by antihistamines if someone cares enough). The joke was on them too, though, because they lost the dog privileges.

          1. VintageLydia

            As someone who stayed up with her wheezing and hive covered 3 year old until 1AM Sunday morning after a surprise encounter with dogs (by people who KNEW my son was really really allergic) EVEN AFTER he took allergy medicine, I too have very little patience for “dog people” who don’t understand not everyone will love and adore their Precious Pup. He’s allergic to cats, too, but at least cat owners typically don’t shove their animals in everyone’s faces.

              1. VintageLydia

                But I can avoid houses with cats. People take their dogs places that you don’t always expect to see dogs.

          2. Not Gloria

            I’d consider myself an over the top animal lover (cats and dogs) but I also know that some people just aren’t into them or are allergic. I’m not into kids, doesn’t mean I hate them or wish them ill-will. Same thing. I don’t trust anyone who actively hates animals.

      2. INTP

        I posted my experience with dog-obsessed people (and with the urine and fleas, I don’t think these were the reasonable dog lovers) under Lia’s comment, but I also wondered if upper management was hoping to get rid of the dogs and hoping they’d eventually get an employee with a dog allergy to blame it on. That would be absolutely horrible, and someone in the interview chain should have told them even if it wasn’t upper management, but it seems like a possibility in an office where the employees have gone rabid (sorry for the pun) over their dogs and weak upper management doesn’t want a revolt.

      3. Allison

        I was under the impression the office became dog-friendly, because how else would someone land in this mess? But yeah, it was awful of them for not mentioning it. My cousin works in a dog friendly office and she makes a point of telling people before they even come in for an interview.

      4. periwinkle

        Maybe it was in a city like Seattle or Portland where dog-friendly workplaces (and retail) are common? Still, you’d think that would be listed on the careers page under benefits/perks.

        1. Honeybee

          Even in Seattle (where I live and work) dog-friendly workplaces are not so common as to be ubiquitous and expected as the norm.

      5. super anon

        My office is dog friendly and I wasn’t informed until a week after starting when I asked why there was dogs in the building. I also didn’t have my interview in the building my office is in so I had no way of knowing before accepting the offer.

        1. Anna the Accounting Student

          One would think they’d have said something in that case. Did you ask why they hadn’t?

      6. Felicia

        That’s what got me too. I’ve encountered offices just as dog friendly but they’re very up front about it because they’re proud and want people to know how great it is

    2. VintageLydia

      It was close for me between the two. I honestly thought they’d be closer, but I ultimately decided for the baby mama one.

      1. Dynamic Beige

        Yeah, it was hard. But I figured that the BabyMama Manager wasn’t just awful, he was being openly hostile to the OP right in her face, calling her names he wouldn’t want his wife or mother called — in front of other people (who, BTW, never said or did anything).

        Bad Dog Office Manager complained about OP, but did not stoop to personal attacks/insults/derogatory comments… at least to the OP’s face. I mean, it’s one thing to be dismissive about someone’s medical condition, but it’s a whole other thing to slander someone and make up stories about their unborn child. I have a feeling that wherever Bad Dog Manager’s office is, the dogs were the only bright spot and the toxicity was high. Being in a bad situation where you’re overworked turns you into someone you aren’t normally, people can’t be continually stressed and not react to it. Maybe once those people leave that place, and aren’t parroting the same crap back to each other, they will see how horrible it was and be ashamed of how they acted. BabyMama Manager is the kind of person who tells a racist joke and then says “I was only kidding! Lighten up, you’re too sensitive!” when no one laughs. Those kind of people never learn, circumstances never change them.

    3. Liane

      Both of them were Toxic Waste Dumps of jobs — and people.
      Here’s a thought: There were 2 people, at least 1 fairly high-up, fired over the Baby Mama incidents. Perhaps they can get jobs at Bad Dog-Owners R Us*? Honestly, would be perfect Cultural Fits. Two people who were happily involved/allowing an employee to be disrespected so badly and in such vulgar terms then trying to fire her–hired on by a company where all levels ridicule someone for wanting accommodations for a potentially deadly allergy.

      *For the record, I love dogs and everyone in my immediate family loves or likes them. The only reason we don’t currently have one is budget.
      But none of us are jerks with people who are allergic or simply don’t care for dogs

    4. INTP

      I voted for the dog boss because a) I am totally biased as a person with allergies and 2) it seemed like the overall effect on the employee was much more horrible. She didn’t face just a couple of horrible people, but her boss helped turn people against her and the majority of her coworkers were horrible to her while she was being poisoned with allergens. I guess it’s just a matter of perspective, though, because I could see how the HR boss in the baby mama story could be considered worse, having more of a responsibility to protect employees and campaigning against them instead.

      1. The Cosmic Avenger

        I’m not crazy about dogs in general, but I could stand it as long as it was done in a considerate, respectful way. (In other words, the complete opposite of the story that was submitted to Alison!)

        1. INTP

          I think it could work if it were done in a well-organized fashion with a lot of space between the dogs (i.e., people with private offices only can bring their dogs, though that itself could create drama).

          My main hesitation, even if allergy concerns can be mitigated, is that people can be just as nutty about their dogs as they are about their kids (which isn’t a criticism, a healthy family protective instinct just leads to nuttiness sometimes) and there are bound to be conflicts. Imagine if people could bring their kids – would you really trust coworkers to be totally objective and calm about it when Jane is told that Little Snowflake Brayden is too annoying to come to the office but Sally’s son Little Snowflake Jayden is allowed to be in the next cubicle annoying her all day, or when Percival’s kid is bullying Fenix’s kid for weeks and when Fenix Jr bites back he’s not allowed to return, or baby Wakeen is kicked out because he peed behind the TeapotMaster 3000 even though he has a medical condition that everyone should totally be sympathetic to? All those things could happen with dogs too and some of the employees would be just as emotionally invested as parents of children. I wouldn’t want to arbitrate any of that as a manager.

          1. Stranger than fiction

            I too totally wonder what happens in these places when a dog gets in a fight with another dog or chews up the expensive office chair or whatever, I mean where does the liability lie? But since you bring up kids, I feel like the only way something like this can work is to have an on campus doggy daycare with professionals watching the dogs and then employees can play with them on their breaks.

            1. Not So NewReader

              As a dog owner I would feel that it onus is on me to pay out of pocket for the damage or injury to another animal.
              If I were a manager I would be revisiting the dog policy because I would question whether employees had enough time to properly supervise/control/ care for their animals.

              1. RKB

                Yeah… I have a corgi and he is attention-desperate, all the time. No way I could do my work with him there. I can barely do work at home, I get so distracted by his whininess.

    1. Parfait

      An ill-mannered dog ate my hat and part of my scarf when I worked in one of those offices. I am not a fan.

  4. LisaP

    It was interesting to see what everyone voted for. The worst for me was the publicly reviewing of strengths and weaknesses. The others were all obnoxious, but like someday I could look back on them and laugh. The publicly reviewing of strengths and weaknesses seems more like some disturbed social experiment.

  5. Rebecca

    As much as we would hope the managers referenced would recognize themselves, realize they are being asses, and then make improvements, I think we can agree this probably won’t happen. What will happen is they will try to track down who “turned them in” and make that poor soul’s life miserable. It’s never their fault. They are just misunderstood, have good intentions, etc. and we just don’t understand the big master plan.

  6. The Bimmer Guy

    Haha. That was my vote. For what it’s worth, i think we should have a “Best Manager” category, too, if possible.

  7. AcidMeFlux

    I wonder what dogs feel about being dragged into a boring grey flourescent-lit office day after day.

    1. Anna the Accounting Student

      Yeah. I hope at least SOME of their owners had the sense to bring enrichment and to take them on walks.

  8. Not So NewReader

    I hope the OPs do the math and realize that even for the least unpopular boss almost 200 people agreed the boss was a jerk. That is awesome validation.

    I would looove to hear a story of a boss who found out that s/he was on AAM’s worst list.

  9. Purple Dragon

    I just noticed the comment from the OP for the 500 lines post – I can’t believe she had to do it and really hope she’s out of there now. And the nutty boss made doctors write book reports on their mistakes ? I’m speechless !

    Haley’s update is the 3rd last comment if anyone was looking for it.

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