the worst boss of 2022 is…

The final votes are in, and I work at Twitter — or rather, that person’s boss, Elon Musk — won the Worst Boss of 2022 Award, with 53% of the vote in the final match-up.

A close second, the CEO who was obsessed with his assistant and wanted her to be his emotional support, captured 47% of the vote.

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

•  my boss is angry that I couldn’t work while I was sick with Covid

•  governor yanked telework for state employees and my office is in chaos

•  employer recorded audio and video while I was in bed

•  my company advertises every job all the time to make sure we know we can be replaced

•  my boss only wants to hire attractive young women

•  my company wants us to sign a loyalty oath

{ 151 comments… read them below }

      1. anon today*

        I feel sorry for my friends who are not necessarily fans of his, but they bought Teslas because they were a good option at the time and locally manufactured.

        I would not replace my 202,000 mile Audi with a Tesla if you gave it to me because I don’t trust Tesla to still be there when the Tesla’s battery wears out, or stuff like brakes/suspension/steering. Being run by an irresponsible billionnaire edgelord isn’t going to help them compete with the rest of the auto industry–the dedicated electric car companies like Rivian and Nio, and established companies like VW/Audi, Hyundai, etc. who are investing heavily in electric cars.

        1. MigraineMonth*

          Didn’t Alison’s account get hacked a couple of weeks after she referred to him as a “chaos goblin” in her advice to the Twitter employee?

    1. AnonInCanada*

      The question remains: will he adhere to the mob that spoke at Twitter and step down as CEO? Maybe sell it back to Dorsey for a huge loss? I’m sure most of the staff would love to see that happen. That is, what few remain after Elon fired half of them!

  1. Warm Gooey Cheap Ass Rolls*

    I’m pretty delighted that the antisocial grossness of methodically abusing & manipulating one person is as repulsive to us as casually ruining hundreds of people’s lives. Because it’s the same impulse, right? Treating employees like they’re not really human beings. Just manifested differently.

    1. The Eye of Argon*

      They’re both scum who are getting the “recognition” they deserve :)

      I never worked for a big corporation so I can’t really imagine what it’s like to be under the thumb of a megalomaniac who can screw over hundreds of people in a day, but reading the posts from the person who worked for the Chaos Goblin brought it home on a personal level. Thankfully, I’ve never been stalked or harassed, but I know people who have and I can imagine all too well what it’s like.

      I voted for the creeper CEO because those posts just hit me in the feels, but there wasn’t a wrong way to vote here, honestly.

    2. The Fanboys Found Us*

      Warranted criticism is not “abuse” or “manipulation.” If he wants people to stop criticizing him and making fun of him, no one is stopping him from choosing to act like a decent employer/person.

      1. Eldritch Office Worker*

        ? I didn’t read this as a defense of Elon. It’s great that the two (very close) finalists were both seen as bad even though one (Elon) is ruining a lot of lives and the other (CEO) is concentrated on one person. It’s good we can recognize different kinds of ick as equally bad

        1. Warm Gooey Cheap Ass Rolls*

          Thanks for the correct read and for explaining it to Fanboys, Eldritch. You’re a gem. <3

      2. A Non E Mouse*

        I believe @Warm Gooey Cheap Ass Rolls was describing the behavior of the number 2 worst boss as “methodically abusing & manipulating one person”, not this poll or website’s discussion of Musk.

      3. The Eye of Argon*

        Except himself. He’s 101% convinced he’s right about everything and will never change, and that’s why he sucks.

      4. Jazzy P*

        I think the OP is comparing the final bosses, the manipulation and abuse comment is about the LW who had the boss who was a sleeze bag. This didn’t read to me like any type of defense of Elon. More like wow, two terrible ends of the boss/employee spectrum and we collectively agree that they’re both awful for the same reasons but on a different scale. Both treating humans as toys they can use and/or discard at will.

    3. Startup Survivor*

      To be fair to Elon, there are a lot of complaints of some pretty awful and pervasive harassment at Tesla and SpaceX. Some of the claims are against Elon himself, some against people below him. So it seems like he has the trifecta of being carelessly destructive to a large number of people, being personally terrible to a few, and enabling personal terribleness to many, many more through his management decisions.

      1. Warm Gooey Cheap Ass Rolls*

        That’s a good point. I’ve often thought, and I don’t mean this to sound glib, but I’d be terrified to have someone that overpowered and morally stunted be aware of me. How could you possibly feel safe saying no to him?

      2. Firefighter (Metaphorical)*

        Yes, that’s fair. Good to give him the recognition he deserves for his well-rounded, three-dimensional awfulness as a boss.

  2. L. Ron Jeremy*

    He took a Twitter poll and asked the users if he should ‘step down’. Users said yes, please step down. Probably mostly bots anyway.

    Unfortunately, the people that work for him didn’t get to vote.

    1. Clobberin’ Time*

      “Step down” as CEO, a position he already said he was going to step away from (in favor of installing a syncophant), not stepping away from ownership and control.

      1. Falling Diphthong*

        I mean, for someone who says he can quit this ride any time, he is really bad at actually stepping off. Even if he told a judge he totes was stepping off, right now, or at least next month, or soon…

        It’s ironic that Twitter seemed to be one of the few things in life he actually enjoyed, so of course he had to find a way to destroy that.

        There are a lot of bad ways to run a company. What was arresting was just how flailing and terrible he was, while also being as public as possible. (e.g. This week tweeting that Twitter is a publisher, something its legal department has maintained it is not.) To the extent that people regularly hypothesized “He’s destroying everything on purpose, at high speed, (for fun/as part of a genius business plan we just can’t grasp).”

      2. Ex-prof*

        I wonder if he can even bring himself to do it. He’s so desperate for attention. Just like… ah, we don’t talk politics here. But just like someone.

    2. tessa*

      …and Snoop Dog took a poll – I participated! – asking whether he should run Twit. 80+percent voted yes.

      Elon sucks.

    3. Rob aka Mediancat*

      Snoop Dogg did a similar poll to ask whether he should be in charge of twitter and folks voted yes by a landslide.

      1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

        Update: The poll called for it, he lost 57%-43% in favor of him stepping down. We’ll see.

        1. Curious*

          As the Chief Twit himself has recently put it in response to one of his pills: “Vox Populi, Vox Dei.”

          So it was written, so let it be done!

          1. Zennish*

            If he’s that into polls, someone should start a poll on whether Elon Musk should donate all of his wealth to charity, then spend the next few years in a cave meditating on the social, cultural and economic problems exacerbated by the Elon Musks of the world. Just an idea.

            1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

              I saw a subsequent poll asking whether Snoop Dogg should be the new Twitter CEO, and at the time the respondents were something like 83% in favor.

      2. Sloanicota*

        A lot of people were annoyed by those new rules that you can’t post links to other social media platforms or have a linktree in your bio. Those were some dumb and desperate policies.

        1. The Cosmic Avenger*

          Apparently blocking links to competing platforms is a violation of the EU Digital Services Act.

        2. Falling Diphthong*

          I policy that is illegal in Europe, and was rescinded about 10 hours after it was announced.

          Also, Twitter doesn’t offer easy direct monetization to content creators, but was a good way to build engagement and then link to another site where you make money from that engagement. So this is a real “How can we make this site much less attractive to content creators?”

      3. EPLawyer*

        Firmly convinced he thought the poll would come out in his favor with people begging him to stay. Then he could to the judge or his co-investors and say “but everyone WANTS me to stay, how can I disappoint them?”

        He lives in such a bubble he really cannot conceive that it is not a small minority of “haters” who think he sucks.

  3. Clever Alias*

    As a condolence to the CEO who was obsessed with his assistant and wanted her to be his emotional support, there is no shame in coming in second to Elon Musk. He really had the competition on lock.

    1. ferrina*

      In the original Obsessed CEO letter, the LW says she’s struggling to figure out if that behavior was normal.

      Not only is it not normal, it’s so abnormal that only Elon Musk is worse than That Guy.

      1. Irish Teacher*

        Yeah, I was thinking that I hope she gets some validation from the fact that the commenters here are pretty conflicted as to whether he or Elon Musk is worse.

        1. madge*

          This alone makes me hope, pray, and light candles that the CEO will come across the poll and comments.

      2. Ex-prof*

        It’s sad that so many women are socialized to believe they have to fix everything and make everyone feel good, that they end up not being able to detect dangerous people. Or rather, doubting themselves when they do detect danger.

      3. Beebis*

        Any other year Obsessed CEO would have won. That one had me genuinely worried he would kill LW one day and he’s still second to Musk

    2. Julia*

      The CEO obsessed with his assistant was horrifying but Elon rises to the top(?) for me because of the number of employees he is able to be awful to.

    3. Kes*

      Honestly, it was pretty close. 47%, in a race with someone whose awful management has been consistently all over the news lately, is pretty impressive (in a bad way)

  4. Mug*

    These choices were really close this year! But the ‘are you hardcore’ email really put him way way way over the top.

    Also, bwahahahaha!!!

    1. Hannah Lee*

      And pretty much every publicly visible action he’s taken since that ridiculous email has confirmed that man is indeed one of THE worst bosses, and not coincidentally, one of the least capable, least effective, chief executives in business today (or maybe any day)

      1. Anon for this*

        My great grandmother had a saying: “Shit’ll do for brains if you’re lucky.”

        I think being born into wealth counts as luck. Just sayin’.

        1. Mug*

          Hahaha! I love this! He is very much an example of ‘born on third base and thought he hit a triple’ dude.

  5. Kyle*

    I’m sure Elon Musk would not only make an acceptance speech, but start it with “It’s an honor just to be nominated.”

  6. Veryanon*

    Didn’t EM’s mom also get on Twitter to scold various posters for criticizing her precious son? What a family. Good lord.

    1. RabbitRabbit*

      His dad has fathered two children with his (the dad’s) own stepdaughter. One three years ago at age 73 (age 31 for her), and the other five years ago. She was 4 when he married her mother, and the marriage lasted 18 years. So he was basically her father figure throughout the majority of her childhood/developmental years. (To be fair to Elon, he thinks his dad is terrible for doing this and is estranged from him.)

      1. Veryanon*

        What the what? Ewwww. Well, EM apparently thinks it’s incumbent on him to spread his seed around, so I guess the apple didn’t fall far from the tree there. JFC.

    2. Falling Diphthong*

      Things are going well when your mom shows up to tell people that your business decisions are really great.

  7. Scott L*

    Those that didn’t win should remember that all of the nominees are truly horrible bosses. This is one of those instances where the cliche is true: to be nominated is really quite an achievement.

    1. Falling Diphthong*


      I read AAM over breakfast, and by late January I always have to break it to my husband that his chance of winning worst boss has once again been quashed by some terrible manager.

  8. Person from the Resume*

    Those awful bosses that didn’t win can take heart that it was a dishonor to simply be nominated.

    1. Starbuck*

      I dunno, this year I think was probably one of the easiest decisions to date. I was never unsure who I’d vote for or who would win.

  9. Keymaster of Gozer*

    Unsurprisingly fuelling my belief that the Enterprise C needs to get back through the rift so we can go back to the correct timeline. Because the last 2 years have been some of the most what on earth posts on here/bad bosses/general absurdity I’ve ever seen.

    1. Hannah Lee*

      Good point.

      Also, no one should ever ever let Troy be the one who leaves to go get the pizza.
      Because all evidence points to this being the darkest timeline

      1. Sequoia*

        I read that at first continuing in the Star Trek theme, and was trying to remember when Troi left to get pizza.

      1. Falling Diphthong*

        “I’m winning a bet with Bezos, if I can destroy Twitter’s value in 3 months he’ll give me a decorative cake stand” continues to account for his observed actions.

    1. Kes*

      Yeah, lack of management sounds like they’re just doing nothing. Elon is doing this as a manager… they’re just terrible things.

  10. RJ*

    Elon Musk. Top of the worst today, tomorrow and probably always. He’s already disregarded his faux “poll” in advance by stating “No one wants the job who can actually keep Twitter alive. There is no successor.” He lies just as well as he breathes.

    1. The Eye of Argon*

      Yeah, I had a feeling he’d be all to happy to abide by the results of the poll provided the results were in his favor. If the results weren’t in his favor, I also had a feeling that he’d accept it with the grace and decorum of a toddler losing a game of checkers.

    2. Samwise*

      I’m reminded of Mary McCarthy’s burn of Lillian Hellman: every word she writes is a lie, including “and” and “the.”

  11. I should really pick a name*

    Alison: Would be willing to give any behind the scenes discussion on how you decide who goes in the bracket?

    (This has nothing to with Musk being in it, just general curiosity)

    1. Fourth and Inches*

      I think I’m disappointed/annoyed by this result simply because I am SO SICK of hearing about Elon Musk. Too bad that AAM couldn’t remain a refuge away from him….

  12. Other Alice*

    I feel Musk won purely based on his (un)popularity, but then again it was a very deserved win. Congrats. Now someone tell me which social media to migrate to…

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Mastodon really isn’t as complicated as it looks at first. Once you figure it out, it’s pretty easy.

      I’m there:

      (I’m still on Twitter too though.)

      There are some things about Mastodon that aren’t ideal and I don’t expect it to take off the way Twitter did, but who knows. It’s an interesting place to be though.

      I’m also on Post but don’t like it nearly as much, and there are some problematic things about its founder that I suspect don’t bode well for the platform long term (but again, who knows).

      1. old curmudgeon*

        I kind of have to wonder if you’ll be perma-banned from Twitter once one of Chaos Monkey’s fanboys points him to the result of your poll here. He’s notoriously thin-skinned about stuff like this.

        1. Three Flowers*

          This. Heck, I’m hoping he doesn’t throw some kind of trumped-up blowhard lawyer nonsense at Alison. (Not because he’d have a case, but because Alison doesn’t deserve it.)

        2. Bowserkitty*

          That would make for a delicious NPR headline. I’m debating with myself whether the potential publicity would be good or not for AAM.

    2. Not Tom, Just Petty*

      I think the tightest competition was between Elon and the governor, for the very reason they are public and SO PUBLIC. But as obnoxious as the governor is, his reach is limited compared to Elon…the man was in freaking space…just saying, so yeah, it was a matter of scale this year vs someone who, for instance, lied about being an employee’s relative to invade a chemo treatment.
      But I think EPIC is appropriate for the year that is clearly more 202o, too than just 2022.

      1. Starbuck*

        Yeah, the reach and impact of his badness really makes him stand above the rest. I don’t think any other boss on this list was capable and followed through on delivering so much misery to so many people. That governor definitely would have been runner-up for me based on that criteria.

  13. Prospect Gone Bad*

    Wow I missed the “my company advertises every job all the time to make sure we know we can be replaced” letter. I feel like this one is objectively close to the textbook definition of bad management. It’s just a self-fulfilling prophecy. I am having bad memories of “low level” jobs where they didn’t train you in anything or help you “because high turnover” then people would quit because they didn’t want to go to work and be lost and feel sidelines every day

  14. Rivakonneva*

    I voted for Musk because he destroys so many lives with his whims and delusions. I used to hink he was just eccentric until I started following the news about his Twitter purchase and the fallout. :(

  15. Rivakonneva*

    I voted for Musk because he destroys so many lives with his whims and delusions. I used to think he was just eccentric until I started following the news about his Twitter purchase and the fallout. :(

  16. Slinky*

    Congrats on the win, Elon! It was richly deserved. I’m sure you would have won in prior years, too, had any Tesla employees written in.

    1. Employee of the Bearimy*

      Maybe not – I have a friend who works for Tesla on the engineering side of things and until very recently he absolutely worshipped the ground Elon walked on. It was getting a little tiring listening to him proselytize about how Elon was genuinely trying to change the world and anyone who didn’t like him was a small-minded hater. Luckily he’s sane enough not to try to defend what’s been going on recently.

  17. Elizabeth West*

    *emerges from lurk*

    Congratulations, Elmo Melonhead! You’re officially the worst person alive!


  18. anon24*

    Elon Musk is just cartoon supervillian awful. Every time I hear about him it’s like watching a poorly made child’s film where the villain is just an over the top evil person with no redeeming characteristics to ensure that the young audience watching is clear that this is the very very bad guy and we do not like him or want to be him. It would be hilarious, except this isn’t a movie and he’s hurt so many people. If this was a movie, we’d have the good guys come to save the day, but there are no heroes anymore.

  19. RumbaWaltz*

    Alison, would ranked-choice voting be an option for next year? That might give a more accurate portrayal of the readers’ opinions – I know I could have easily voted differently had the pairings been different.

  20. Meep*

    I am really curious how Elon is taking his poll where the majority of people want him to step down right now…

  21. Blue Ridge*

    Shocked, shocked that Virginia Governor Flenn Youngkin did something destructive and probably illegal just to score cheap political points. From hastily rewriting school policy toward trans kids in violation of existing laws on the books, to trying to do the same to the history curriculum, to trying (again against current law) to withdraw the state from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, which makes polluting power companies pay a market-rate fee per ton of CO2 emitted and uses 45% the hundreds of millions of dollars generated annually to prepare for climate-related flooding (which destroyed hundreds of homes this past summer in a region of the state that voted heavily for Youngkin), ignoring the law to play to his base is definitely his thing.

  22. DJ*

    Not surprised. I thought getting boss getting angry not working with COVID as well as the rest of the bad things that boss did was very up there. But couldn’t trump Twitter!!

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