vote for the worst boss of 2017

It’s time to vote on the worst boss of the year!

I was going to do brackets this year, but it didn’t feel quite as necessary as last year (2016 was truly the year of terrible bosses). We have plenty to choose from this year though.

We’ll crown the worst boss of the year later this week, based on your votes … so please vote below. (Voting ends at 11:59 p.m. EST Wednesday night.)

Note: If you’re using private browsing, you may not see the voting choices. If you have a pop-up blocker or script-blocking add-on, you’ll need to whitelist the domain to see the poll.

{ 354 comments… read them below }

      1. SallytooShort*

        Noooo that made me so sad.

        I get how outrageous this is. But they were all clearly scapegoating the one who was easiest to lash out at over a manager.

        No one could possibly believe she did this of her own volition.

        1. Creag an Tuire*

          TBF, I re-read the update and the manager was fired as well.

          Although thinking on’t that makes it even worse that they went scorched-earth on the LW, since they evidently believed that the manager was a big enough jerk to write the note and order it delivered to a gravesite, but not that he’d be willing to threaten a subordinate.

          1. SallytooShort*

            Yes I noticed that after the fact. Sorry.

            Still, like you say, they know the LW didn’t choose to do it. So, why go out of your way to ruin her prospects at new jobs?

      2. Specialk9*

        I hope they found something new. I just want to make a legal fund for people who write in about being victimized by terrible bosses.

        1. Karen D*

          Just try to be kind and supportive whenever you see someone with an obviously terrible boss. Sometimes it makes a massive difference to know that someone else sees what’s going on, even if that person is not in a position to say or do anything beyond offering sympathy.

          In my dark days of terrible bossness, a few co-workers kept me sane, and I will always be grateful.

        2. Charisma*

          The one solace I can take from these stories is that, even though I have had some truly heartless and terrible bosses in my life. None of them, or any my workplaces for that matter, have been as toxic as these bosses. It helps me put my life in perspective at least a little bit.

          I have to admit, this year’s list has be stumped as to who to vote for. I don’t know if I can chose one boss as the worst of the worst. They all make me SOOOO angry!

            1. CubicleShroom#1004*

              Me too.

              All the other ones were gross, stupid and rage inducing.

              The grave one read like a Dostoyevsky novel.

      1. Detective Amy Santiago*

        Yeah, the fact that the boss basically threw the LW under the bus and she got fired because of it makes it 1000% worse than the original letter.

        1. GG Two shoes*

          Yep, that’s why it got my vote. She did something she didn’t want to do because she was ordered to by her boss and it got her fired. Bad stuff, all the way around.

          1. Kathleen*

            That’s why it got my vote, too. He started out acting like a selfish, soulless bastard but…surprise! He’s even worse than that. He’s a selfish, soulless bastard who’s also a cowardly weasel who’ll throw his subordinate under a bus.

            1. Artemesia*

              It was a hard choice as they are all so deserving and the grave note was a close runner up for me, but reprimanding and taking a bonus for not telling him something she didn’t know because he was embarrassed about being a jerk — well this is a special level of bad bossing.

              1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

                I was torn between them both, too, but I also picked the profanity-laden boss. The grave story was a very close second for me.

                1. Rainy*

                  My late husband’s boss attempted to fire him for “job abandonment” while he was in the hospital after having a stroke brought on by overwork for that boss. She was so horrible that all but 5 people in his division quit (a mass exodus of about 96 people in a single day), and it made her bottom line look so good for the year that she didn’t replace most of the quitters. The ones she did replace quit almost immediately because of the workload, and my husband did the best he could for about 8 months after The Quitcident and then had a stroke and nearly died, was disabled as a result, and eventually died.

                  She’s apparently still alive, unfortunately.

                  Anyway, I voted for the profanity-laden boss for obvious reasons.

              2. Specialk9*

                But the drunk-at-work boss who wanted his seizure-plagued subordinate to drive illegally, then billed her for the cab fare… Also systematically smeared her reputation with potential employers and HR just shrugged.

        1. Adlib*

          You can add a link under the “website” field when you add a comment. It will appear as a link in your name.

          1. Ask a Manager* Post author

            It’s designed for a link back to your own website (for example, the way it appears in mine). It’s not designed to get around the rule on links to other stuff going to moderation first!

            1. Bryce*

              Oh, apologies for the one time I used it. I didn’t realize it was supposed to get around moderation and just thought it was a way to keep the page looking clean.

  1. Myrin*

    This is so fun, I love that you continue to do this, Alison!
    Do you by any chance have an update in store for us for the profanity-ridden voicemail boss?

            1. AthenaC*

              Just for cadence purposes, hope you don’t mind if I change to –

              Read some stories; make your head shake

              Fa la la la la la la la la

              Take Excedrin for the headache

              Fa la la la la la la la la

              … And great job, folks! I think we have an official AAM nondenominational winter update season carol!

              1. The Cosmic Avenger*

                Your boss sucks and ne’er will change,
                Fa la la la la la la la la.
                No, that’s not right, it is quite strange,
                Fa la la la la la la la la!

                1. AthenaC*

                  Okay I think I need to combine this and Snark’s comment below into a verse 2 (with some light editing and verse 1 also included to consolidate):

                  Tis the season for some updates.
                  Fa la la la la la la la la!
                  Gather ’round and have some cupcakes
                  Fa la la la la la la la la!
                  Read some stories; make your head shake
                  Fa la la la la la la la la!
                  Take Excedrin for the headache
                  Fa la la la la la la la la!

                  Your boss sucks and never will change,
                  Fa la la la la la la la la.
                  No, that’s not right, it is quite strange,
                  Fa la la la la la la la la!
                  Dye we now our hair bright azure
                  Fa la la la la la la la la!
                  Rage-quit our jobs for our pleasure
                  Fa-la-la-la-la, la-la-la-la

        1. Snark*

          ‘Tis the season for some updates
          Fa la la la la la la la la!
          Dye we now our hair bright azure
          Ragequit the job for no good reason
          Fa-la-la-la-la, la-la-la-la

            1. AthenaC*

              If you like that one and don’t mind some profanity, I rewrote “Let it Go” during a burst of busy season frustration – google “deadlines never bothered me anyway” (link in next comment).

          1. HigherEdPerson*

            And now time for the Hanukkah version, sung to the tune of “I have a little dreidel”

            I’ve got a little update
            I’ll send it to the site
            And when you get to read it
            You’ll see that AAM was right

            Oh updates update updates
            It’s fun to read along
            Updates updates updates
            The boss is usually wrong

    1. Hills to Die on*

      “The competition was especially tough this year but I want all you Bad Bosses to know you’re ALL losers in my book!”

  2. MuseumChick*

    I….can’t pick. This is like 20x harder than last year and I really struggled then to pick a Worst Boss.

            1. Mallory Janis Ian*

              Ooh, yes! I always participate in the Garden & Gun magazine march madness bracket for some non-sportsball fun (most iconic southern food; most-loved dog breed; etc.). An AAM bracket would fit that bill perfectly!

            2. Mallory Janis Ian*

              Or we could have the best or most notable letters in four different categories for the four quadrants of the bracket (ex. bad bosses; clueless coworkers; uplifting updates; everyday heroes). The best letters from each category advance to the sweet sixteen, whatever eight is, final four, etc.

            1. Jesca*

              Or like maybe a couple different categories. Like worst boss, meanest coworker, etc. (Obviously all written about someone else; not the letter writer)

              1. Mallory Janis Ian*

                Most iconic AAM letter (i.e. one that generated some of the classic buzzwords used around here, such as Hanukkah Balls, Wakeen, Chocolate Teapots, etc.).

        1. a different Vicki*

          Or Condorcet style: vote for any/all choices you think are equally bad (more usually, equally good), and whoever gets the most total votes wins. That’s similar to how some places elect city council members: with (say) seven candidates for four seats, I can vote for 0, 1, 2, 3, or 4, but it doesn’t matter whether I like Amethyst better than Beryl, as long as I think they’re both among the four best.

    1. Grumpy*

      I picked Evil Grave Boss only because he threw OP under the bus.
      Other than that I’d pick Drunk-So-Drive-Me boss.

      Tough competition this year!

        1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

          I picked boss who cursed out a coworker who died over the holiday because it seemed as egregious as grave-boss, but OP had even less culpability in that story. (To be fair, I empathize with the OP in grave-boss, but there was a small window for OP to have done something different, whereas the OP in profanity-boss literally could not have done anything different.)

          1. CrimsonCaller*

            I agree – having had a letter published on this site before, there is almost always a delay. A fair amount of time passed between LW sending in the grave letter and the firing, and during that time LW did -nothing- to help themselves.

            I understand how it happened, and I feel terrible for LW, who likely didn’t know better. But they were very clearly unwilling to make any waves (going back to get the letter… days later? not wise, and also very ‘young’ thinking, like trying to fill the stolen vodka bottle up with water) and refused to even reach out to anyone above them.

            So of course when they found out about it through other means, the LW’s protests were (rightfully) heard on deaf ears.

            I really, really feel for them, but they did nothing to help themselves at all. What was the point of writing into this site only to ignore the advice to go to HR?

            1. Detective Amy Santiago*

              If you read the update, the LW did go back and try to retrieve the note, she was just too late. And the family called to complain before she got a chance to go to HR. I’m thinking the time frame between when she wrote in and when all that happened was probably relatively short and it’s possible everything happened before Alison even published her letter.

          2. Aeon*

            Why I voted for that one.

            But Jeezs… tough “competition”, there are some really unbelievable bosses out there o_O

      1. Karen K*

        Me, too. The thing that pushed Grave Boss over the top over Drunk-so-Drive-Me Boss is that there was another update on DSDM Boss, and the OP for that just got a new job.

        In both cases, the OPs were fired due to their horrible bosses.

    2. Amber T*

      I opened them all to reread them, and each time, it was like “yep, this one. No wait, this one. No… this one. Ugh…” How do we choooose?

    1. JulieBulie*

      I was stymied until I considered the consequences too. When the update is as bad as the original letter – or worse – that’s when I know I have my winner.

    2. That Would Be a Good Band Name*

      I had to read the updates. For me, it has to be the boss that got drunk and angry because HR had the boss’s back! The whole company thinking that someone who can’t drive should be a DD instead of having a more reasonable stance of not getting drunk during working hours is the worst for me.

  3. Work Wardrobe*

    I thought long and hard about this, but decided that when the word “grave” is involved, the choice is clear.

    1. I'll come up with a clever name later.*

      That was honestly what directed my voting too. The fact that the poor OP lost her job as well.

      1. Kathleen*

        Me too. And that she lost it because her boss turned out to be a total weasel, in addition to his other, more obvious personality problems.

        He’s just obviously (at least it’s obvious to me) an awful, awful human being with zero redeeming characteristics, at least as a boss.

        1. JulieBulie*

          Yeah, it started out horrible with the grave and then it actually got worse.

          I really would like to happen to the admin who was blamed for her boss making a toxic phone call to the home of a dead employee, though.

      1. Jesca*

        What did it for me was that the grave boss affected not only OP was the other employee as well! Like his systematic abuse of power knows no boundaries!

      2. de Pizan*

        For me it’s the drunk boss–sure he may not have known at the time of leaving the voicemail that the employee was dead, but to then scapegoat another employee who was on vacation at the time and that everyone else in authority backed him up on it? Even the fact that they had to call in the letter writer from her vacation for that disciplinary hearing didn’t seem to give any of them any pause about something not being right.

        1. Kathleen*

          He was second on my list, but gosh, they’re all just so awful. I mean…how do such people go to sleep at night? Oh, of course – because they’re selfish, soulless bastards.

      3. Oranges*

        Grave boss for me because he used his power over a subordinate to leave the note. That means he knew it was 100000% wrong but he hoped that if it went wrong he could throw her under the bus and escape unscathed.

        Why else would he make someone else do his dirty work?

    1. SignalLost*

      The fact that the boss forced an inexperienced subordinate to do it and then she got fired over his direct order is what capped it for me. Most of them are awful (I actually think the affair one is unpleasant for the women involved but the OP wasn’t harmed in the same way the other LWs were) but dude. Taking advantage of the power and experience imbalance that way is horrifying.

      1. AthenaC*

        Not only that but he lied to her in order to get her to do it, only admitting what it actually was when she called him on it. And for all we know, he may have been lying to her again since OP didn’t read it; it could easily have been even worse than we are all picturing.

      2. Annie Moose*

        Yeah, I was initially thinking the affair boss, but in the end, he was being a scummy person, but an okay boss. So… grave boss.

    2. Marthooh*

      Yep. Horrible selfish boss + first job out of college + OP got fired = really, really bad; but then you have multiply by literal desecration of a grave.

  4. Kathletta*

    I think the boss who sacked an employee (who’d had skin cancer twice) for using a blanket/umbrella to protect themselves from the sun deserves to be part of this!

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      I have a rule that I won’t include letter-writers themselves, because I don’t want people to worry that they might end up on a “worst of” list if they write to me.

        1. Candi*

          I doubt Exclusive Workplace beer run boss would have qualified in the end, anyway. She was awful, but after some initial heel-digging in the comments, she realized she had been awful and needed a reality check, a therapist, and different “friends”. Hardest of all, she admitted she’d been wrong.

          The thing I’ve noticed with all worst bosses is they don’t change and often double down. So even if it’d been a report or coworker of EW boss writing in, the updates of changes would likely have removed her from consideration.

    2. GG Two shoes*

      I agree overall, but I must have missed it- did it say that the LW actually fired the employee or did she just say that the employee no longer worked there? I didn’t think it said they fired her, that would be really harsh.

      1. Ask a Manager* Post author

        Yeah, it didn’t sound like she was fired. It’s unclear to me if she told the OP that the blanket was essential and she was refused, or whether she quit after the initial conversation without delving more into its necessity.

      2. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

        OP didn’t fire the employee, but based on the update, it sounds like OP gave the employee an ultimatum along the lines of “you cannot use an umbrella / wear a blanket.” OP then said the employee “elected” to leave. My personal take is that OP created a situation where the employee felt she had to quit.

        1. SometimesALurker*

          I agree — I don’t know whether it fit the legal definition of a hostile work environment, but it sounded like the employer put the employee in a situation where it was easier to quit than to fight to have their medical need reasonably accommodated.

          1. Ask a Manager* Post author

            Yes — it’s hard to say for sure without knowing what happened, but if the OP said or heavily implied that the employee’s solution wasn’t acceptable, then definitely.

            1. Marthooh*

              That OP gave me the impression of having a lawyer go over the update before they sent it in. I’m sure it was all true, word for word, but…

              For one thing, your original advice was to let it go unless the employee was actually wearing a blanket into clients’ offices (she wasn’t), but the OP implied that they simply did what you told them to. Then they said the employee “chose” to leave rather than do without the protective items. To me, it sounded like the OP issued an ultimatum.

          2. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

            It was hard to figure it out exactly what happened, but if the ADA applies and if OP issued an ultimatum, then it could have been an “discrete act” violation of the ADA (as opposed to a hostile work environment violation).

    3. SignalLost*

      I didn’t read that as the employee being fired either. It read more mutual “we clearly cannot come to an agreement” or “goodbye and I’m taking my blanket!” to me. And tbf, the blanker-wearer would probably be happier in a job that involves less travel.

      1. PersephoneUnderground*

        It read to me (as some commented above) as the LW forced the employee to choose between the job and her health accommodation, so she chose her health. There’s hardly any moral difference between that and firing her, honestly, except it could have turned out even worse if she had agreed to forgo the sun protection. E.G. She could have then had a relapse of skin cancer and died, and the LW would always wonder if she had contributed to her employee’s death.

  5. Anon Accountant*

    I had a hard time choosing between the profanity-laden voicemail and the note at the gravesite. I had to choose the gravesite one because I still tear up just reading it.

        1. Anon Accountant*

          I just can’t even imagine. Losing your child and then getting such a horrible voicemail like that.

    1. Tertia*

      It was tough, but I figured that grave boss’s deliberate cruelty to the bereaved trumped voicemail boss’s ignorant abuse of the deceased.

      1. BeautifulVoid*

        Yup, that was the logic that ultimately led to me voting for the gravesite boss over the voicemail boss. At the time of the initial crappy behavior, voicemail boss didn’t know someone was dead (though the profanity-filled message still was unnecessary and inappropriate). Gravesite boss knew and didn’t care.

        1. CubicleShroom#1004*

          That takes a special level of cruel to figure, “Dead is dead. Go plunk this note on the FRESHLY DUG PLOT.”

  6. DanaScully*

    It was very easy for me to choose the work note at the grave. It still makes me cringe every time I read it.

  7. JenniferK*

    I cannot believe that there aren’t more votes for voicemail boss. The voicemail alone would almost get my vote, but blaming his mistake on his assistant and writing them up for BEING ON VACATION??? That was too much.

    1. Lady Phoenix*

      I think because it is similiar to the Grave Noter, and the OP got fired for this and the boss was abusing the power differences.

    2. SignalLost*

      The grave note wins to me because the LW in that one was fired. Doesn’t mean they aren’t all awful!

      1. fposte*

        And also because there’s something about *deliberately* targeting somebody via a dead loved person that is just…supervillainous.

        1. Tau*

          Yep. They’re all horrible, but the grave one is where I can imagine the boss sitting in their office petting a white cat and going “No, Ms LW, I expect you to be fired.”

          1. SignalLost*

            God, do you suppose that was the intention all along? That this jerkwad thought he’d figured out a way to game the system that would only redound on the LW because “I told her to make sure Coworker got the note – I would never tell someone to leave a note on a grave! This is the email I sent her – she’s obviously lying to cover up her own crappy decision here.” I really want to know what that note said. I CANNOT imagine it was just “no one else knows the status of the XYZ account; can you call for a quick chat at your convenience?”

            1. Oranges*

              *Not that I’m saying my read is correct or that you’re an idiot for not seeing things how I do. Just that it read as an obvious to me personally.

    3. Solidus Pilcrow*

      I voted for voicemail boss because he doubled-down on his stupidity (the whole, “you didn’t stop me from making a fool of myself” thing) AND the company HR is apparently just as wack-a-do as he is by disciplining the letter writer when she only heard about late co-worker’s death at the meeting.

      Total logic fail all around.

      1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

        Same. I also thought it was a similar abuse of power. But it was a close call for me. Grave boss is next-level evil, whereas voicemail boss (who I voted for) is a vindictive asshole.

        1. Solidus Pilcrow*

          In my mind, it was almost a 3-way tie between grave note boss, voicemail boss, and drunk boss. All of them had elements of institutional corruption and power abuse across a large portion of the organization (and even beyond, in the drunk boss one). They are all awful in their own way.

          1. Future Homesteader*

            Yes! This! And “institutional corruption” hits it right on the nose. It’s Kafka-esque in its meaninglessness and lack of justice.

          2. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

            Yes! And it took me awhile to realize drunk boss is the one who retaliated against an OP who can’t drive (I mixed it up with the drunk boss who tried to discipline the employee for picking him up in sweats late at night). They’re all petty tyrants and all evil. :(

    4. Don't Blame Me*

      It was a really close call for me. The voicemail one is AWFUL to be sure but the grave one is similarly awful AND the employee got fired. The just edged it out for me.

      1. PB*

        Yep, and they got fired because their awful boss threw them under the bus. It was a hard choice, but I voted for that one for that reason, too.

      2. Millennial Lawyer*

        And this is really nitpicking here, since the voicemail boss is just horrible either way, but in the grave one the boss KNEW about the deceased!

    5. D.W.*

      I was shocked that voicemail boss didn’t have more votes too (that was my choice)! Grave-site boss and VM boss are really neck and neck, but the thought the OP *while on vacation* was somehow supposed to “save the boss”, particularly when she didn’t find out about the colleague’s death until her disciplinary meeting, is off the charts.

      1. Tiny Soprano*

        Yeah the assumption that EAs and admin staff are psychic really rankles. It just rubs salt in the wound that none of us got our Hogwarts letters…

      2. PersephoneUnderground*

        I felt the same- I was stuck, but felt like the 100% “the boss did nothing wrong, their EA did because they’re an EA, regardless of all logic” response was just so staggering that it edged out the others. The gravesite boss was at least also punished for his actions. The pure, almost dictionary-level definition scapegoating in the voicemail one did it for me. Imagine the thought process: “Hey, here’s an excuse to halve someone’s bonus for something they literally HAD NO INVOLVEMENT in, knowledge of, or way of preventing. Great idea!” I also didn’t want to prefer the others just because we got updates on those.

        Scapegoat- noun- One who is blamed for the bad behavior of another/others, usually (a) superior(s). Example: that letter.

    6. Kristin D.*

      I wish I could see what the reprimand says. I mean, how did they even construe that as worthy of discipline?

      1. Candi*

        (Please read with lots of snark.)

        The big boss says it’s worthy of discipline.

        The little worm of an inferior EA doesn’t matter. Only big boss does.

  8. EddieSherbert*

    I forgot that the “grave-site note” OP AND the “drunk boss driving” OP both lost their jobs… :(

    1. Future Homesteader*

      Yeah, I feel almost like this could be “worst workplace of the year” because my top three (the grave note, the voicemail, and the drunk boss) are my top three due in no small part to the fact that the letter-writers not only got no help from the higher-ups, but were in fact actively screwed over by them in one way or another. Flipping infuriating. Still haven’t decided which is the worst.

      1. EddieSherbert*

        That is very true! It’s extremely bizarre that no one above the boss(es) had a rational response to all these totally inappropriate situations…

        1. SignalLost*

          People who succeed to high levels in overtly dysfunctional companies are at least capable of overlooking the dysfunction, and some may find it a natural home. I COULD do the bootlicking it would take to get promoted at my current job but I’d rather continue to be good at it and if that doesn’t met me promotion, I’m not going to cry. I have never met a more dysfunctional group of managers and I don’t want to join them.

  9. ZSD*

    I voted for the profanity-laden voicemail, but the 20% of the salary is a close second just because it’s so outlandish.

  10. Lady Phoenix*

    Too many choices, so here is my rank

    1/Worst: The Grave Noter
    Boss is tasteless, cowardly, traitorous, and abusive. He forces an new employee to do the dirty work and immediately throws them under the bus. The abuse of power is strong enough to deem this the worse.

    2: The voice mailer. Only reason this is not on too is because it lacks the power abuse. Otherwise it would be tied for too.

    3: The Taxi Boss
    Dangerous, irresponsible, and eager to throw someone under the boss. Might be a tie for worse, but OP got out of there and got a new job.

    4: The 20% Salary Boss
    Stupid, nonsensical… but no way enforcable.

    5: The Cheating Boss
    Boss got their karm and OP is in a better job

    1. Antilles*

      Personally, I put 20% salary guy in a completely different (lesser) tier than the other four. I mean, it’s a ridiculous thing to ask, but in a “shake your head and laugh at his stupidity” kind of way, rather than a truly appalling depths of human behavior of the others.

      1. Observer*

        That was my feeling, too.

        Although I suspect that someone with such a sense of entitlement and lack of boundaries must be pretty bad to work for.

      2. Trout 'Waver*

        I put 20% guy on a completely different, higher tier than the others. I work with many immigrants from different cultures. The combination of pressure from the boss and connection to the new job might make them think that this was actually the norm. Plus the sheer entitlement factor.

        We all like to laugh and joke on here about clueless idiots, but I think the Askamanager commentariat is much more educated on these things than many people, especially people new to the work force and from other cultures.

        1. Lady Phoenix*

          I think the thing is that as far as we know, the OP won’t suffer any consequence for saying “No.”

          That is why I placed it on second lowest. The Boss in that one really has no bite to his bark.

          But like I said, this list had some of the worst fucking bosses to date. Hell, I betcha Allison had a hell of time whittling the list down because that was how fucking bad it was

          1. Karen D*

            I really would love an update on 20 percent boss though. I’d love to know how far he took it and whether he tried to sandbag OP for saying “no.”

          2. Candi*


            I’d put all but graveyard and drunk boss below the bastards of last year myself. Even if you leave out liver boss.

        2. Oranges*

          And this is why having a large pool of commentators is good. Because I’m envisioning people like me getting this request therefore I don’t think about the struggles that not knowing the culture entails. It would def make that boss worse since then he’s preying upon people who have *much* less power than he does.

          1. Former Employee*

            Nah…just right, especially when you consider how many years it’s been going on and for how long people in the industry have known.

            Anyway, I laughed.

      1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

        OMG I love this idea. And if not an actual dog, a trophy with a dog covered in cookies on it.

    1. Troutwaxer*

      Mine too. I was tempted by the screaming phone message to the person who died, but that boss wasn’t as bad – he didn’t know the employee had died – but the “grave note” boss did know that there had been a death, so he got my vote.

      My all-time-favorite horrible boss is still the guy who demanded the people sign up to donate their livers. I was reminded of the Monty Python bit about live organ donors…

  11. Cruciatus*

    If you’re browsing privately on your browser you may not see the voting area. I had to go to normal Firefox to see it, just FYI in case anyone else is wondering what everyone is talking about!

    1. Oranges*

      Yeppers. I had to pause my interweb cloaking device to see it. It lets through most normal ads so I don’t short-change AAM.

      PS. As a web dev I am appalled by the performance hit your site took when I decloaked. It made the site slightly unresponsive which should never happen on a laptop/desktop. We seriously need a better way to pay for content than ads/personal data.

    2. Also a Three Pines visitor*

      I had to go to Safari because Firefox wouldn’t show the poll even after I added to the allowed pop-ups.

  12. Jaybeetee*

    I went for the boss who got upset that his non-driving employee couldn’t drive him after he got drunk at lunch, because he – and then *his* boss – doubled and tripled down on such an unreasonable and unjustifiable position, and there was literally nothing Employee could do about it. It was like a double helping of bad bosses in one shot, complete with closet alcoholism.

    1. Marthooh*

      Not to mention: according to the update, when the Employee later interviewed for a job elsewhere, the hiring manager asked pointed questions about “loyalty” and “tattling”, so Drunk Boss’s network of evil apparently extends to other companies, too.

    2. Karen D*

      that was my pick as well, for the reasons Marthooh cited.

      What made the difference for me was in both this and the grave-screaming boss, you had an unreasonable boss at a horrible company. But with Taxi boss, the letter-writer had the moral fortitude to say no, avoiding an outcome that nearly everyone acknowledges would have been a horrible one – and STILL got horribly punished. That puts Taxi boss, and that entire company, up one rung on the ladder of evil to me.

    3. EmilyG*

      This was my pick too. Because of (1) being drunk at work is so inappropriate (2) the grandboss (3) the involvement of the boss’s network in punishing the OP and (4) the fact that OP’s very legitimate medical condition was being steamrolled.

      1. OlympiasEpiriot*

        It finally worked in Chrome. I think. Anyhow, I voted.

        I voted for the expletive-laden voicemailer and thrower-under-the-buser for the EA who lost half her bonus. It was a super hard decision between this and the drunk boss. In the end, it was a coin toss. I’m already second-guessing it.

        I agree with those above who put *some* culpability to the person who went and followed the orders to leave the note on the grave.

        These are all horrible people.

    1. Trout 'Waver*

      If you’re using a pop-up blocker or script-blocking add-on, you have to whitelist the polldaddy domain to see the poll.

  13. Bend & Snap*

    They’re all so awful. I chose the profanity boss because the LW got disciplined and lost half her bonus for something she had no knowledge of while the boss got off scot free.

  14. Zephyrine*

    Tough choice, but I went with the grave letter boss for sheer WTFery. Taxi boss was a close runner-up.

  15. Anon-mama*

    I went with the graveyard boss. I hope that LW has found something permanent. Curious—will there ever be a “worst coworker” list? There have been some real doozies this year, too.

    1. Liane*

      “Curious—will there ever be a “worst coworker” list? There have been some real doozies this year, too.”
      Yes, I have been thinking about this idea too. There’s been several letters of the “Help! My Report/s Did Horrible Thing” type this year. Not to mention ones where the Bad Boss wrote in and it turned out there were reports aiding and abetting the Horribleness.

      1. Lady Phoenix*

        Worst coworker goes to the pig that thinks slapping womens ass and maturbating in his office with the door open was a-ok.

        … I didnot even need to pause. That was the worst one cause dude inching his way to rapist.

      1. Anon Accountant*

        Wow that would be interesting to see the results of that poll. I think that’s be a great poll.

      1. Hapless Bureaucrat*

        I agree. Several of the worst boss nominees were “enhanced” by bad HR plus there are the stand alones. The pranking coworkers and the costume contest leap to mind.

    2. JulieBulie*

      It will be extremely difficult to pick a worst coworker. Just the first dozen or so off the top of my head are enough to give me nightmares.

  16. BethRA*

    Went with Note-on-Grave boss, because the note alone was horrible enough, but forcing someone else to do that for them? And then getting the poor OP FIRED for following orders?

    But seriously, I’m wishing all of them a Witches of Eastwick-style cherry pit expolsion.

  17. Observer*

    For me the worst was te drunk boss. Even without the horribleness of the HR situation, this guy is a special level of bad – even worse than the grave note.

    Trying to force a non-driver to drive? That alone is worthy of being a contender. Retaliation (and this was not HR trying to cover itself with clients and not giving a hoot who the real guilty party was. This was the boss retaliating, with consent from HR.) That’s icing. Trying to harm the OP’s job prospects once they’ve already lost their job?! That’s a special level of vicious.

  18. Kiki*

    I was torn between grave note and profanity-laden voicemail for a dead colleague, but ultimately chose grave note because OP had to deal with both professional and social fallout from that. The voicemail OP had ridiculous professional fallout (that wasn’t even their fault!) but at least could leave that behind when they leave the job. Poor grave note OP has to live with their guilt.

  19. The Cosmic Avenger*

    I had to vote for #4. Numbers 3 and 5 were almost as bad, and it was very close for me; all showed themselves to be actively horrible, malicious, nasty people with less than zero empathy. However, #4 was also sneaky and underhanded in addition to doubling down when confronted.

    Honestly, this was a strong field this year, and I hope they all wind up unemployed and disowned by their families.

    1. The Cosmic Avenger*

      Oops, I forgot that they randomized! I’m voting for the grave-note boss, but the taxi tantrum and the post-mortem voicemail were the ones that were almost tied in my judgment.

  20. Economist*

    I noticed that the order of the bosses changes each time the page is refreshed. Alison, I love that you’re using good survey methodology practice for this vote. If it were a static list, the order may make a difference in voting such as the first listed getting more votes. This site continues to surprise me in positive ways!

    1. The Cosmic Avenger*

      I believe the methodology was discussed at length on the comments of another Worst Boss post 2-3 years ago.

      [I may have been one of the dorks who discussed survey methods….]

  21. CS Rep By Day, Writer By Night*

    I had to go with Grave Note boss because not only did the LW get fired, it sounded like she personally took on a lot of guilt even though it wasn’t her fault. I sure hope she’s doing much better now!

    1. Oranges*

      I don’t absolve her but it was out of lack of experience rather than lack of ethics. She made a mistake of judgement which would be expected of someone in her position. People were both absolving her or castigating her which I didn’t think helped.

      She needed help with something really difficult and the main thing I hope she took away is that if something smells “off” check with other, hopefully more experienced, people before doing anything. Also, that unethical practices vs personal harm vs societal harm is never an easy call and is highly context dependent.

      I think that the woman who had the coffee boss who had the suspicion that changing the medical documents(?) was unethical but still did it outlines this perfectly. She knew it was probably unethical but she did it until she was in a position to whistleblow on it. Her not whistle-blowing earlier meant that people paid more for their health insurance (a drop in the bucket but “No raindrop thinks it’s responsible for the flood”). However her personal harm also had to be calculated into that decision. I try to not judge when people are trying to do the right thing but fail because human.

      1. Candi*

        Oranges, the LW on that clarified what was going on with the records, with a post down in the comments, and it puts that boss right up there with Drunk Drive Boss.

        They weren’t altering patient billing information. They were altering patient care information.

        Say the treatment plan said X, Y, and Z was to happen. Z didn’t happen because reasons (human error, life happens, whatever), and A and D did.

        The boss was obsessed with the patient records matching the treatment plans. So A and D would be removed, and Z would be added.

        Not only does this break medical ethics and at least four regulations and one law I’m aware of, such alterations can be dangerous, even deadly. A medication wasn’t given, or an OTC med was taken? Then the person has an emergency. The doctor won’t know the actual status, and some drug interactions can be nasty. Or he’ll treat based on the recorded information the SleepWell was given at the right time, when the patient didn’t actually get it.

        I scale this with Drunk Boss because both activities are dangerous to people -innocents- beyond the bad boss and their victim.

        1. Oranges*

          Yep, I wrote this before she clarified. It does change the comparison but I think not the underlying argument.

          The reason it changed the comparison for me is that the OP in the medical letter assumed changing patient’s medical data was fine because the other more experienced co-workers thought it was no big deal. So the culpability of knowing something’s “off or wrong” decreased for her (not negated since she had suspicions that the other nurse was let go because of it).

          This is why I try to not judge or at least judge others with the full realization that I might not have all the context/facts. I kinda wanna get into my judging ethics but… I am refraining and yes I want a cookie.

  22. Mb13*

    I know she’s not on the list but my vote is for the boss who harassed her employee for being “prettier” her, actively tried and undermine her, and gaslight upper management and only stopped her behavior when lawyers got involved.

    1. Detective Amy Santiago*

      The only reason I would not include that boss is because her subsequent updates have shown a tremendous amount of personal growth and understanding of what she did wrong.

      1. mb13*

        I wouldn’t necessarily call “stopping because you got caught and fired” growth. In the original letter she showed tremendous understanding and awareness of why she was behaving the way she was, the negative effects she was causing, and the immoral nature of her actions but she still kept going despite it.

        To me the two letters didnt read like someone who had a complete change of perspective (like the beer-clique boss). The update read as someone who had the exact same perspective but was just forced to stop because she got caught.

          1. Mb13*

            Is this the one where her parents bailed her out from paying the settlement fee and she moved to live with them? I was not too impressed with her “oh I guess now that I literally can not continue my bullying and have already caused emotional damage I should actually adress what the issue that I was well aware off from the start and could have stoped way sooner.”

            1. Lissa*

              Sure, and be as “not impressed” as you like, but I think it’d be pretty wretched to put someone on a “hey, let’s vote about who the worst is!” list who has written in several times about their mental health issues and pretty personal stuff.

        1. Oranges*

          As someone who has logically known that what I was thinking/doing wasn’t rational and failed at not doing the thing. I AM impressed with her since most of us don’t even know when we’re being irrational and harmful. See beer boss. The only difference between them in my mind is that Gaslighter boss was one step ahead by knowing her behavior was maladaptive.

    2. Mustache Cat*

      Did you read the updates to that? I know it doesn’t change the awfulness of what she initially did, but she’s since faced consequences, entered therapy, and is in a much better place to avoid doing that ever again.

    3. LBK*

      Alison noted above that she doesn’t include letters where the LW is the manager because she doesn’t want people to worry that asking for advice will end up putting them on a “Worst Of” list.

    4. SignalLost*

      It’s policy that including the LWs in lists like this would discourage them from writing in, and potentially anyone innocent like the grave note LW, who, after all, left a note on a grave and felt huge guilt for that. Worrying she might end up on a worst-of list would possibly prevent her from writing in.

  23. Lady Phoenix*

    If 2016 was “The Worst Year”, then can we call 2017 the “”Hold My Beer” year? I felt like the bosses got hella worse and even the OP bosses did some completely vile things or acted completely useless.

    1. Lissa*

      I feel like the bosses this year were more upsetting to read than last year, where they were like…dramatic trash fires, but this had so many people whose reports got in trouble for things they did and just…ugh.

  24. Hello...ello...ello..ello..llo..llo..lo*

    I went with the grave note boss. But I have to say it was a tough decision between that and the drunk cab boss. While the drunk cab boss almost topped my list because of the of campaign against the LW which followed not only to internal managers, but also to those outside the organization. The LW was only interviewed so that boss could extend just a little more retribution. That’s some effort on his part.

    In the end though, the grave boss had to get my vote for the absolute callousness of actions.

  25. Liane*

    I feel so bad for the OPs. Forget about brackets, people, unless it involves these Toxic Waste Bosses literally fighting it out with lethal melee weapons. The prize: a new glass-walled corner office that doubles as a habitat for ill-tempered, territorial, fire-breathing dragons.

    Non-driver OP, I’d consider a Glassdoor post for both Ex-Company and Jerk-Interviewer’s company. Same wording, perhaps, “Company culture encourages and supports alcohol abuse on company time, ordering employees to engage in illegal acts, harassment of employees with medical issues, and retaliation.”

  26. Sherm*

    These bosses are awful, but this year seems tame compared to the monstrosity we saw in 2016. I’d say that 2016 was the year of horrible bosses, and 2017 has been the year of soap opera dramas.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Yes! Totally agree with that. It’s not entirely represented on this list (although there’s some of it), but we had some really soap opera-ish letters this year.

  27. Kt*

    What about the manager who ostracized the one employee, defended the employee who took pictures and mocked that coworker on Snapchat, and tried to fire the whistleblower? I thought she won best of the decade.

    1. Lady Phoenix*

      That boss was a letter writer. Letter writers are excluded from the pic (otherwise I would add the “Blanket” Boss and the Boss that has done jack and shit [and jack left town] over a dude publicly masturbating and slapping women’s asses

    2. Phoenix Programmer*

      I think pot smoking boss (not op) should be on here. Dude caused his company to lose a lawsuit and made hellabad choices.

    3. Candi*

      Also, that LW reformed. After getting canned, but sometimes these kicks in the pants are needed.

      I don’t see Alison ever putting the (rare) reformed bad boss on one of these lists. They remove themselves from the bad boss category when they do that. (Or like Exclusive Workplace Boss, remove themselves from bossing at all.)

  28. AKchic*

    Did we ever get an update for the 20% salary story? I didn’t see an update. I’m assuming the writer started her new job and got away from that strange, presumptuous manager/owner, but I would have liked to have heard the outcome. Did he shoot himself in the foot and lose the client/her new employer completely? Did the writer end up needing to use an attorney to get the old boss to stop trying to get her to “think hard” about her “no” answer to him? Did he continue his campaign to get any money from her or her new employer? Has she heard if he tried this with any other employees since she left his employ?

      1. AKchic*

        Well dang it! That’s one I’d love to hear an update on. That boss was so deliciously crazypants that I want to see some comeuppance and a happy ending for the writer.

  29. ArtK*

    Competitive field. Every one of them deserves to have their picture on a “Wall of Shame.”

    I ended up going with the drunk/driver’s license boss because of the retaliation and poisoning the LW’s chances with other companies. But I could have gone with the grave-note boss just as easily.

    1. MuseumChick*

      That’s what I ended up going with for similar reasons. But boy – oh- boy I wish I could have also picked grave boss.

  30. ThisIsNotWhoYouThinkItIs*

    Oh I had a few worsts, but I think the worst “boss” is the one that got drunk then got the OP written up for it. Because he’s flagrant, knows he’s in the wrong, and the company is backing him because they are afraid to lose him.

    Graveboss for worst boss-event this year, though.

    Did we ever get an update for the profanity voicemail one? I keep hoping it’ll be like the baby-momma letter where vengeance strikes from the shadows on the heels of another remark.

        1. PersephoneUnderground*

          Yes, but didn’t care when they did find out, and halved their subordinate’s bonus over their own mistake! When you re-read the whole thing they’re both very close. Especially since voicemail boss got off 100% scot-free while the other was fired (sadly along with subordinate, but still, they didn’t manage to weasel out of it).

  31. Ramona Flowers*

    Oh. Wow. I missed the profanity laden voicemail as the headline didn’t draw me in I guess. I thought it was just a standard bad boss. That gets my vote. What does doing brackets mean?

    1. Hello...ello...ello..ello..llo..llo..lo*

      I would guess pitting bad boss against bad boss for voting in rounds until you get to the top 2 then the winner (who are we kidding, the one who wins really is the biggest loser).

    2. LBK*

      Yeah I’d also completely missed that one – the headline really didn’t convey the level of insanity in the letter.

  32. SallytooShort*

    It was a hard choice. But I’m going with grave. The update put it over the top.

    I hope this is one that the company catches wind of and realizes how horribly they reacted to what was really bad behavior of the boss not the new employee.

  33. Fish girl*

    I think this year we need to start a poll for worst coworker as well!

    Obviously, Percival (refusing to let us coworker know coworker’s wife was rushed to the hospital for life-saving surgery bc he didn’t want to go back to work) would win.

  34. Lynca*

    Had to go with Grave Note boss. I think just the level of professional fallout the OP endured pushed it over the edge.

  35. Menacia*

    Profanity-laden voicemail got my vote (and I have no idea how I missed it when it was initially posted!). That a boss had no qualms about doing such a thing, and then, when he finds out what happened, did not profoundly apologize but in fact placed all the blame squarely on the (subordinate) person who found out AFTER him that the employee was killed is the height of disgusting in my book. And the HR department backed HIM up? They should also be added here as bonus “shittiest HR move.”

    I hope this one wins, it would be such a great way to answer the question:

    So why did you leave your last job…?

    My boss won “Worst Boss of the Year” on Ask a Manager…nuff said!

  36. SusanIvanova*

    If we were voting on best replies, the 20% boss answer would be my top choice:
    “Sure, it’s legal for him to ask for it, just like it’s legal for him to ask for your first-born child or a lock of your hair.

    It’s also legal for you to laugh and laugh and laugh, and give him nothing — no child, no hair, and no money.”

    1. AKchic*

      You almost want to start asking questions at the interviews: “yes, do you have anyone named Rumplestiltskin working here?”

  37. J.B.*

    It was tough between the grave and the demanding a ride home/billing for it one. I went for the latter because the boss badmouthed the employee to an interviewer. In other words, tried to pay the crazy forward. The grave one is just so awful though :(

  38. the flying piglet*

    Man, I wish I had found this site earlier — this tally is amazing (and horrifying). I had a boss (owner of a regional retail chain) who made all his salaried workers drive to work during Hurricane Sandy. Trees were falling down, toll roads were closed, and public transportation had been shut down. The email that went out said that “surely this was a good day to get done some cleaning and upkeep in the stores.” (Interestingly, the hourly employees were made to stay home…)

    Still wonder if that one would have made the list.

    1. The Strand*

      It would have made my list. We had an interesting thread –

      My employer badly botched the emergency response, and expected people to risk their lives during additional, consecutive days of extremely dangerous rain. More than a third of my town was underwater. We had boat rescues by law enforcement and rescues, and a couple of people did die in the flooding. Two of my friends were in areas where tornadoes touched down during the rain. I don’t think my employers have any idea how much goodwill they lost, especially those administrators who kept pushing people to travel and sleep on site, but would not make the trip themselves.

      So I am certainly curious if others who survived this season have a different view now that time has passed.

    2. Lissa*

      Ask Prudence has a thing she says to people who write in and somehow manage to make themselves sound totally unsympathetic, basically “ask yourself, do I sound like a villain in a Reese Witherspoon movie? If yes, maybe don’t do the thing.” This is how I feel about making people drive in hurricanes Like…ok Even if I were totally void of compassion and would prefer to put my employees at risk in order to get one day of productivity of them, or whatever their reasoning is, I feel like I’d think “hmm, this would look really really bad if it ever went viral or got published in the local news…maybe I should NOT do it.”

    3. Candi*

      Welcome and hang around!

      Check out the archives. Some bosses -and corporate personnel- are freaking NUTS during bad weather. Corporate personnel, because this stuff tends to be on the bloody news, and they are still phoning up and asking why isn’t the store open/staff in when the place is HALF UNDER WATER and the store manager’s driveway is blocked. Nonsense like that.

  39. The Strand*

    Grave note boss, no question. Because it impacted the woman who had lost a family member, the rest of her family, AND the OP, AND all of her colleagues. Even though he was fired, the inexperienced OP’s career was unfairly torched because she was too timid (very normal at the beginning of your career) to push back. I hope grave note boss is visited by Marley’s ghost … or someone else’s ghost. That would be justice.

    When I saw the “drunk” boss on the list – I assumed it was the boss who called the letter writer for help late at night, asking her to pick him and some executives up at the airport, and then reported her for not dressing professionally. That was November 2016, though. It only seems to me like it happened in 2017!

    I am so glad the person who had the “drunk” boss moved on. I really think the suggestion to report the boss’s friend, who interviewed the OP and said, “I’d never hire you, because of your issues with loyalty” was a good idea – that person’s HR division would probably appreciate knowing about her unprofessionalism. Per

    1. Candi*

      I had to go back and read the update to that one to get rid of the taste of these. Awesome EA, awesome HR, awesome grandboss, bad boss bounced out of the company. Bliss.

      “Go get your dog!” is a good o ne too.

  40. Kirsten*

    Alison, it seems like there was a letter this year that used one of the common names on this site (e.g. Percival) for the boss, and it was so horrible that there was discussion of retiring that particular name. Do you remember which letter it was?

      1. Kirsten*

        Oh yeah, that’s it! And now it makes sense why it didn’t make the list of horrible bosses since it wasn’t a boss. Thanks for the link- I’ve been trying to remember which one it was for days.

  41. BioPharma*

    My vote was for the gravesite because when something happens that’s just SO “off”, it’s easier to recognize that it has nothing to do with you. Things that are not quite as acute can make the employee doubt themselves or question themselves, so to me there’s so much more internal turmoil.

    They’re all so good, though!

  42. Sarah M*

    That was a really tough call. I thought it would be a contest between the 20% salary grifter and the daytime drinking cabfare grifter, but then I re-read the profanity-laden voicemailer letter again. I ended up choosing that one because he *and his boss* blamed OP for his bad behavior (while she was on vacation (!)), wrote her up for it and *docked her bonus in half*. Oh.My.God. Between the three letter writers, s/he seemed the most screwed – though every one of these Bad Boss candidates should be put into a zoo somewhere.

    1. Menacia*

      He was a contender in 2016, but lost out to manager who showed up while an employee was having chemo to talk about work…!

  43. Elvira*

    These are all truly horrible! And in very different ways, too. Bosses, y’all gotta step up in 2018.

  44. R2D2*

    The fact that “the boss who wants your help hiding multiple affairs from his wife” is in last place shows what a horrible/competitive list this is!

  45. OlympiasEpiriot*

    I needed to come back and reiterate that all of these bosses are horrible, horrible people.

    It makes me so sad that there are individuals like this, affecting other people’s lives.

  46. Mephyle*

    This was difficult, because they were all such strong contenders. I voted for the drunk boss. While all of them showed behaviour that was either stupid (the 20% boss and the drunk boss) or mean (the drunk boss and all the others), I think the drunk boss, besides being the one who was both mean and ignorant, was in particular exercising these bad qualities in the execution of his job in a way that the others weren’t, because he wrongly insisted the OP do something that was both impossible and unsafe, and not in the scope of OP’s job.
    I’m not sure whether I’m explaining it so you can understand; the other bad bosses were behaving badly in something that happened to intersect with their work and their employees, but the drunk non-driving boss was behaving badly specifically in something that that was directly related to OP’s job; their not-duties, and the boss’s opinion of their performance.

  47. The Expendable Redshirt*

    I voted for “The boss who wants your help hiding multiple affairs from his wife.”
    Reason being, that I’d loose a HUGE amount of respect from my boss if he tried to involve me in that. The others are so Profoundly Weird that I’d wonder if I was part of a surprise reality show. Or that Big Boss had been abducted by aliens/had an Evil Twin.

  48. Lissa*

    I’m voting profanity-laden voicemail because the significant part of that is THEY PUNISHED. THE LETTER WRITER. WHO WAS ON. VACATION. What a horrid time. If it weren’t for that one I think the guy who threw a tantrum over an epileptic not driving his drunk ass back to work would be my pick.

  49. BemusedBewilderedBefuddled*

    I’m all in for drunk boss that not only forced OP out of the company, but also possibly tried to interfere with OP’s future employment.
    Grave note boss isn’t far behind.

  50. Former Employee*

    At first I was trying to decide between the voicemail boss and the one who had their employee leave the awful note with drunk boss being next in line; I thought that the 20% of salary request was just silly and the multiple affairs boss was just someone with a lot of personal problems that spilled over into the work place.

    However, when I went back and reviewed them, I had to go with drunk boss because not only did he and his boss try to make a disabled person pay for his mistake, but HR was not allowed to do anything (giving them the benefit of the doubt that they wanted to) and the OP was given what amounts to a fake interview by a protege of the former bad boss who interviewed OP for the sole purpose of berating her – calling her names and letting her know that she would never hire her.

    Not only was the OP an unlicensed driver, which means it would be illegal for her to drive, but she also has a disability which prevents her from becoming a licensed driver. How did so many disgusting people manage to be in the same industry and essentially collude in an attempt to cause grief for the poor OP?

    It was such a multi layered fuster cluck that I had to choose it.

    And yes, let’s do worst co-worker. (Did I just see a pigeon fly by?)

  51. LadyCop*

    I had to go with grave…not just because it’s obviously awful, but because the poor assistant lost their job too!

  52. Not Australian*

    I ended up choosing the boss who left abusive messages for the deceased worker. Not only was that a vile thing to do in itself, but I couldn’t help factoring in the effect it would have had on the grieving parents. Nobody who can behave like that should be in a job where they have to deal with actual *people*.

  53. Comms Girl*

    The boss who ordered a subordinate to leave a work message at the grave of a coworker’s relative was the worst for me. Mind you, all entries are horrible (even though I must admit the boss who asks for help in hiding his affairs was so crazy I was experience a full case of schadenfreude when reading the update), and the one who yelled on the phone was a very close second, but in the end this one took the cake for me. Maybe it was the fact that calling someone might still be sort of a *common* thing to do (profanity and lack of judgement, however, are NOT), but leaving messages at someone’s grave is a whole ‘nother level of craziness and boundary-crossing.
    The fact that not only the boss failed to own up to his horrible decision, he also pressured someone in a more fragile position to do his crazy bidding and then threw them under the bus, is a huge sign this idiot shouldn’t be anywhere near a managerial/supervisory position.

    @Allison: will you do a “Worst Coworker” poll, too? I truly believe the Percival story would easily win that one (either that one or the ghosting ex story)…

  54. clow*

    I picked VM boss because I cannot imagine what those poor parent’s were feeling when they heard it, and to top it off, he blamed a completely innocent person for it, and the company backed him. It was a tough choice between that and gravesite note boss. Why are there so many horrible bosses?

  55. Goya de la Mancha*

    Oiy this was tough!

    Some of these are more a “Shame on HR” for handling the situation this way VS worst boss.

    1. Candi*

      I want to get hot beverage of choice and warm desserts for the HR folks who visit here. They must cringe so hard at this awful behavior.

  56. TychaBrahe*

    I was wondering where so many worse ones were. Where is the boss who is firing people who won’t get tested to be a liver donor for his brother? Where is the boss who called his employee to pick him and friends up from the airport and wrote her up for her attire?

    Oops. Those were from 2016. This year has gone by way too fast.

  57. Shrunken Hippo*

    This was so hard! I had to go with grave boss because it ended so badly all around. Drunk boss and voicemail boss are tied for second for me. The other two suck but don’t bother me as much because it’s not really going to effect the OPs as much especially when they realize that it’s not their problem.

  58. Barney Stinson*

    I voted for the grave note-leaving manager, because on top of being a horrible person, he was stupid. Leaving a note on a grave and then thinking that the intended recipient will receive it and then act on it is just dumb, to boot.

    Dumb AND mean is a terrible way to go through life.

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