vote for the worst boss of 2022: the finals

It’s the final round of the Worst Boss of 2022 voting. We’ve narrowed the pool from eight nominees to two (see results from the first round and second round). The two finalists go head-to-head below.

Voting is now closed. The results in this round were:

A Monstrous Match

I work at Twitter — 53.32% (6,940 votes)
the CEO is obsessed with me and wants me to be his emotional support — 46.68%% (6,076 votes)

{ 234 comments… read them below }

  1. emailman*

    Elon is objectively a terrible boss, but I can’t get over how fundamentally unhinged and creepy that CEO was.

    1. MuseumChick*

      This was a really tough choice. What it came down to for me was the number of people effected by the terrible boss in each letter.

      1. Trawna*

        Mine came down to the personal. Elon is an equal opportunity arm’s-length monster, whereas that CEO hounded a person right in front of him nearly mad.

        1. Hills to Die on*

          Same – I think considering the volume of impact of each makes sense, but I looked at the level of dysfunction in each’s actions

        2. Hapless Bureaucrat*

          Thing is, Elon’s shown the ability to become an up close and personal nightmare, too. Like when he fired someone directly over Twitter. He has the range!

          1. Giant Kitty*

            And doxxed Yoel Roth. And offered a horse to a Space X employee for sex. I’m sure there’s worse we haven’t heard yet. He’s like every worst boss put together & on steroids

              1. Giant Kitty*

                Yes, in exchange for a sexual favor. And he’s had children with a Neuralink employee. I highly doubt these are the only instances of sexual harassment & inappropriate relations he’s guilty of.

      2. RabbitRabbit*

        Same, though ideally Musk would have been his own “above-and-beyond worst” special no-vote category this year.

        1. MeepMeep123*

          Yeah, I honestly think that the other bad bosses can’t even compete with this level of badness.

      3. Anne Shirley*

        Honestly that’s what made me go with the creepy CEO. There must be some comfort in the world fully knowing how nuts Musk is. The whole situation is awful but I imagine no one decent would see it as a mark against you if you got fired from Twitter around this time. But in that CEO situation, it was one employee and even her personal life was affected by her experience there and that’s what it came down to.

        1. goddessoftransitory*

          Yeah, that’s what finally tipped it for me–Musk is so publicly awful and wretched there’s really no plausible deniability, plus his crap is so blatant he’s theoretically facing lawsuits and legal ramifications. The CEO is one of those “stranger than fiction” guys where what he does is under the public radar but so unhinged it’s hard to get anyone to believe he’s real.
          (This does NOT mean I don’t believe the LW! That “act so loony nobody believes the victim” thing is a well worn tactic with abusers.)

      4. Cousin Lou*

        That was really the crux of it for me too. The Twitter situation affects so many people BUT not so personally. The scary CEO was literally dangerous for the LW. Very tough call.

      5. WillowSunstar*

        It was a hard choice. There are probably worse bosses than Elon, but as far as we know, they didn’t write in. (Certain world leaders come to mind.)

      6. World Weary*

        This was hard for me, too. I ended up going with the CEO because it’s no secret that Elon Musk is a terrible human being and boss, and anyone who worked for him will receive a lot of validation. The creepy CEO, though, will have a lot of defenders telling the LW that she misunderstood or overreacted or she should just give him a chance…

      7. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

        I missed the final round, but I would’ve voted for Elon. What he’s doing needs all the visibility it can get. I lived through multiple merger-acquisitions at my last three jobs over the last 22 years, some of them pretty bad, but nothing like what he is doing. I really want his story of acquiring Twitter to be a warning to any corporate owner/CEO never to handle an acquisition the way he did. I work in the field and don’t want to ever find myself or any of my work friends on the receiving end of something like that.

        1. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

          PS. Twitter’s been buggy for me all weekend. So much for the “you libs complain, but the app is working better than before” sentiment that I’ve been seeing from Elon’s fans – no, it isn’t working better than before. It is starting to come apart at the seams.

    2. Kit*

      I voted for that CEO every step of the way because while all the worst bosses are terrible, I truly felt like that LW was in danger.

        1. Deborah*

          I feel like Elon is probably just as creepy but has better handlers and people paying off anyone he harasses so we never know.

          1. goddessoftransitory*

            Well when he does it himself the whole world gets to hear how he tries to trade horses for sex acts, so I’m guessing he’s got a plethora of fixers.

      1. Poppy*

        I agree. Elon is unhinged, but he doesn’t come across as someone who would actually murder-suicide his employee. That CEO is terrifying.

        1. EPLawyer*

          Well he did doxx the head of the safety comittee and they had to leave their own home.
          That was before Elon decided doxxing was wrong — when it involved him and publicly available information.

          1. Azure Jane Lunatic*

            Elon comes across as a person who would outsource any murders. The other CEO seems like it’s personal.

        2. Emily*

          Oh man. That’s a hell of a standard. I have had some bad managers but, to be fair to them, I never worried one of them was going to murder me.

              1. WillowSunstar*

                I posted about it when was happening but was a few years ago. Had a stalkerish male coworker (very odd behavior, he was in his 20’s and I was in my mid-30’s at the time). I’m very average looking but I guess was because of availability? Not sure. He was staring at me for several minutes at a time. I reported to manager but the guy continued to follow me around at work even when we weren’t going to the same meeting. Glad I live in a secure apt. with cameras at front door.

                1. WillowSunstar*

                  Oh– I made it abundantly clear to him I was not interested, even faked being in a romantic relationship with someone else for a while, but the following continued til I left the department. Oddest behavior I’ve ever seen from another coworker and I’m now in my 40’s and have been working since I was a teenager.

        3. Irish Teacher*

          That was basically my thought too and that we know way more about Elon. Given the whole thing about the other employee who was fired and who “turned out to be spreading lies about the LW,” I suspect that CEO did a fair few other things the LW does not know about.

          They are both awful, but given that we only know how the CEO behaved towards one person and that he doesn’t have Elon Musk’s money or power, I think he might have been worse in the situation we had. If that makes sense.

            1. MigraineMonth*

              I mis-parsed that web address and thought it was the horse getting the erotic massage. I genuinely don’t know if that’s better or worse.

      2. Paris Geller*

        Same. It’s pretty bad when you’re a worse boss than Elon Musk, but here we are, at least to me.

        1. Irish Teacher*

          I hope it’s some way validating to that LW to see that a lot of us are actually conflicted as to whether her boss is actually worse than Elon Musk.

    3. Meep*

      Yeah I picked the other CEO because at least the OP from the “I work at Twitter” bailed before the dumpster fire blew up.

    4. Zombeyonce*

      I can see plenty of company takeovers and buyouts leading to the very situation happening at Twitter even without malice, which is why I chose the CEO that’s sounds like a real danger to people. You can quit Twitter to get away but it would be difficult to escape that CEO.

      1. Love to WFH*

        Gotta disagree. What’s happening at Twitter is far and beyond anything I’ve seen happen with a company takeover/buyout.

        1. Richard Hershberger*

          It functionally is not entirely unlike a private equity fund buying a viable company and gutting it for parts to sell off individually, making a short term profit. The difference is that Musk isn’t making that profit, but from the perspective of people working for the company, it isn’t all that different.

          1. L.H. Puttgrass*

            Private equity usually waits more than a few days before gutting the company, though. And I’m not familiar with PE sending mass e-mails asking people to click a button to agree to be “hardcore” or be fired. Or asking people to send samples of their most salient lines of code to the CEO for…

            …oh, heck, you get the idea. Even if the general result of what Musk is doing is similar to a PE sell-off (although I’d say there are some significant differences, too), the bumbling, clueless, breakneck way in which he’s doing it is pretty much unprecedented.

            1. Meep*

              To be fair… Most people don’t grow up with hundreds of millions and are told they are super genius because of it.

            2. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

              Or fire someone, then bring them back because they’re “key”, then ask for their signature to agree to be “hardcore” and receive said signature, then fire them *again* and that person is here on a work visa! (saw their posts being shared a few weeks ago). Or install bunk beds in the offices!

              Worst thing I’ve seen happen in a merger was when the new owners fired our CIO without warning and called an all-hands meeting the next day to introduce the new CIO. They’d been interviewing, onboarding the man, helping his family relocate from the West Coat to NE Midwest, all without anybody knowing. Old CIO started a new company and hired a lot of us, and new CIO turned out to have a drinking problem, and drank himself to d**th within a few years. For years, I thought this was bad. But it looks so benign compared to what Elon does to his employees on a good day.

    5. All Het Up About It*

      Agree. For me it was also the thought of Elon will have an impact on lots of people yes, but that’s because he’s a narcissistic billionaire. And while he’s not alone there, Unhinged CEO sees more insidious because most people’s odds of working for a creepy dude like him are greater. He represents the worst boss that more of us could encounter.

      1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

        Sadly I can totally see that – but for the fact that I don’t think Elon is currently married.

    6. Someone Else's Boss*

      My thoughts exactly. It makes sense for Elon to win, he’s awful, that that other CEO – yikes!

    7. Phony Genius*

      In the spirit of this competition, we should only consider the impact he has had on employees. Anything else that impacts users but not employees should be considered secondary or tertiary to the criteria for this poll.

      1. MigraineMonth*

        I think that’s a good rule-of-thumb for the ranking. We’re not trying to decide who the worst human or business leader is, we’re trying to decide who the worst boss is.

    8. Observer*

      That’s true. But I also can’t help feeling the Musk is capable of similar behavior. Between the fact of what he is demanding from his employees, the fact that he has a child with an employee, I think that if he decides that someone is right for him he’ll act on it with zero regard for ethics

      1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

        Same. I think I read somewhere that Elon is up to 15 kids…..and that several of his older kids are trying to estrange themselves because they can’t stand his actions.

        1. Aggretsuko*

          I think it’s 10 kids, and it was one of the oldest ones who changed her name and basically said she wanted to divorce him. Don’t know how the other ones feel about it.

      2. Love to WFH*

        He had twins with an employee via IVF. She says there was ‘no sexual relationship’. Can you imagine the conversation where he suggested this?!

    9. Fishsticks*

      Yeah, I found myself voting finally for the obsessive CEO because I was genuinely concerned we were going to learn that the CEO had done something really, really awful if OP couldn’t get fully away from him.

    10. Where’s the Orchestra?*

      I know – this was such a hard choice. I ultimately went with Elon – but only because of his impact on people beyond just his company (and not because I don’t think Obsessed Boss is better than Elon).

      But this was I think the toughest choice we’ve had for worst boss voting.

    11. Kes*

      They’re both so awful, and I think it shows in the poll – it’s closer than I thought it might be. Elon is awful on such a large scale and just destroying Twitter and showing step by step how awful a manager he is (layoffs, everyone must work long hours, maybe we won’t pay out the severance we said we would…) but the creepy CEO is just terrifying. In the end I voted for creepy CEO because I would take being in Twitter OP’s place over creepy CEO OP’s position, but it’s a hard choice.
      I’m not surprised Elon is winning but I think the fact that creepy CEO is not that far behind is telling.

    12. Festively Dressed Earl*

      When I was in grade school, I always came in second in the spelling bee because one of my classmates was an actual national spelling bee champion. My mom always made a big deal of me being first if I hadn’t been up against a grammatical god. That’s where stalker-boss is. He gets the gold but is up against platinum level competition.

      1. goddessoftransitory*

        Yeah, Elon is in the “All Time Champion But Not Competing” category because it’s nearly impossible to beat him.

    13. I am Emily's failing memory*

      Yeah, Elon is making terrible decisions left and right and showing zero empathy for his staff, but I don’t get the sense that anyone working for him is being smothered by his attempts to force them into an emotionally intimate/codependent relationship with him. To me that kind of invasion of the psyche is next-level awful.

    14. goddessoftransitory*

      I honestly still can’t make up my mind. It’s like choosing between St. Catherine’s Wheel or the rack.

    15. Princesss Sparklepony*

      Yes, that was why I voted for creepy CEO. That was personal, Elon is just a terrible boss but he’s not stalking anyone personally – that we know of….

      1. coffee*

        He has mobilised a mob against at least one of his ex-employees (the ex-head of safety) to the point that the ex-employee fled his house in fear of his safety. He doesn’t need to stalk anyone personally.

  2. Witch*

    Twitter is topical and public and still on-going but the CEO story is one of those weird ones that the public only finds out about when someone experiencing something wild writes into an advice column.

    1. Witch*

      Also I still feel bad because I’m an EA. My boss does some goofy things sometimes but at least he’s not off the chain and way out in space.

  3. Perplexed Pigeon*

    This isn’t exactly fair. Twitter was always going to win, so it feels unfair to include that particular boss. I voted each day, but was less invested than previous years because I knew the outcome from the beginning *shrug*

      1. PamPam*

        Well, considering how he’s suspended multiple accounts for writing about him, if Alison’s twitter account gets suspended we may have our answer.

        1. AnotherOne*

          if the twitter nominee wins and this gets picked up by any news outlets, the odds of suspension may go up. does that have to be factored in?

    1. Dark Macadamia*

      Yeah, it’s a boring choice. I think it’s much more interesting to think about the bosses that are super weird, creepy, dysfunctional on a more personal level than just oh look, crazy billionaire bad. I always vote for the bosses who are bad for LWs specifically rather than just bad at their job in general

      1. Kaiko*

        I like this as a match-up though, because Twitter is highly scrutinized and you just know some start-up Musketeer bro is taking notes about how he’s gonna do it when he gets the chance. Elon’s approach has always to be a thought leader, and it’ll be interesting (and horrible!) to see where that “leadership” trickles down to.

      2. triss merigold*

        Yeah. If the former employee whom Musk accused of pedophilia, or the woman who was offered a horse, or any of the people who have been targeted personally in some way were writing in, I’d be a lot more conflicted. In this case I went with the stalker CEO because the twitter writer, while dealing with a lot of miserable upsetting stuff I wouldn’t want to downplay, wasn’t facing a personally unique problem with the boss.

    2. Disabled trans lesbian*

      As of right now, the elongated muskrat is ‘winning’ by a relatively slim margin, which indicates this poll is actually meaningful.
      Personally, I voted for the creepy stalker CEO, since he was a direct and physical danger to the OP, whereas the muskrat at least is too busy going on Chapelle’s show to personally stalk every single of his employees.

      1. Well...*

        IDK I think flying his private jets around is a clear and present danger to our lives and health. I don’t see why he’s getting a pass just because his harm is MORE wide-reaching. I agree it’s hard to wrap one’s mind against the sheer scope of the harm he causes, but that doesn’t make it less real.

        1. Elsajeni*

          I mean, many, many rich people fly private jets around, possibly including some of the other bosses in the poll if they’re high up enough in large enough companies — I would like Elon Musk to knock that off also, but it isn’t really related to his badness as a boss.

        2. Working Hypothesis*

          Because this isn’t “Who is the worst human being,” it’s “who is the worst boss” — in their capacity as a boss! Flying his private planes around is not relevant to how he treats his employees in specific. He needs to be judged not only on what he’s like specifically as a boss, but on what he’s like specifically as Twitter’s boss, since the LW wasn’t an employee of any of his other companies. This poll is about how the boss in question treated the person who wrote in, and to some extent maybe their immediate and known colleagues. Anything else we know about Musk’s character is material we wouldn’t know about the boss in any other letter we’re judging, and therefore we had better not take it into account in this one guy’s case either.

          I voted for the unhinged stalker boss because the bulk of what Musk has been doing **to his Twitter employees** is pretty routine. Unhinged stalker boss was making the LW’s employment situation horrific and bizarre. Musk was mostly just laying off a lot of people and leaving the rest to handle the resulting chaos. If anyone who *wasn’t* named Elon Musk had done that, it wouldn’t have even made the annual poll.

      2. Giant Kitty*

        He’s a clear and present danger to Yoel Roth, the ex employee he doxxed who had to flee his home because of threats

    3. Mr. Shark*

      I agree. And Musk is just an impersonal, horrible boss. The CEO is much more of a personal, awful boss, and that seems more like what you should be looking for here. Stories like this are awful, but these personal stories, whether good or bad, are what I come to AAM for, rather than news stories that are reported in the media all the time.

      1. unlikelysquish*

        Sorry, but “JUST an impersonal, horrible boss?” He is displaying signs of severe narcissism, gaslighting his employees, and holding them with the fear of losing their jobs and making it seem like it’s on them because they have to sign loyalty oaths in order to stay. Then to watch sycophants and enablers from his other ventures come in and take over and attempt to change the conversation? This wasn’t just topical or trendy for me…that’s deeply disturbing and upsetting behavior. I was torn, of course, but ultimately I couldn’t go with the obsessed CEO because I had my own dealings with a narcissistic, cult of personality take over my office, laying off 30% of workers unannounced a mere two weeks after promising they wouldn’t, and the fear of losing my job while I was the main caretaker for my mother. That is very real and deeply personal—multiplied by the enormous size of Twitter’s workforce?! Nope. I had to go with Musk. I understand your stance, but there is nothing impersonal about what Musk is doing.

        1. T*

          Yea, I feel like if anything he’s getting fewer votes because people think it’s boring for Elon Musk to win.

        2. L.H. Puttgrass*

          Let’s not forget that he has also fired employees for criticizing him. His awfulness isn’t impersonal at all.

        3. Gerry Keay*

          Right, the scale is just on another level. Musk upended the lives and livelihoods of scores of employees for no reason other than his own petty tyranny. I think there’s this idea that if you work in tech, you must be completely financially secure, but that’s simply not the case — especially when you factor in caretaking. There’s really no quantifying how much pain he’s caused for current and former staff.

          1. Well...*

            This idea is feeding into the general billionaire cult worship, like they are trickling down their wealth to everyone in their companies. It drives me nuts bc I grew up in Silicon Valley and my parents and my friends parents all experienced years-long periods of unemployment. The stress that put on the parent that didn’t lose their job was wild: companies were constantly being upended and everyone worked overtime all the time just to keep their jobs (and still lost them). The idea of a stay-at-home mom didn’t exist, nobody’s job was stable enough and stay at home parents were the laid off ones.

            Ideologically moving workers in tech out of the working class is just hurting worker solidarity, and it enables this exploitation to continue. The paychecks look high but the cost of living makes that less meaningful. All it means is that I’ll never be able to afford to live in the neighborhood I grew up in.

            1. goddessoftransitory*

              Gahhhh, trickle down was crap when it was first sketched onto a damn napkin and it’s crap now.

            2. MigraineMonth*

              I worked at a small satellite office for one of the big tech firms, and people kept asking why I wasn’t moving to the main office in Silicon Valley. Um, because I want to rent an apartment within 90 minutes of my workplace without needing 5 roommates? There are homeless millionaires in that area!

      2. Keira*

        I’d be willing to bet that Elon Musk has all kinds of creepy and weird expectations of his assistants. It just wasn’t an assistant that wrote in to AAM.

        But the creepy boss is absolutely terrifying and I wonder how many younger people wind up working for people like this and don’t have the job experience to understand how truly messed up that situation is.

      3. Giant Kitty*

        Sexually harassed his employees. Doxxed his former head of trust & safety who had to flee his home with his family because of the threats he was getting. Fired people over Twitter because some anonymous Twit said he should. Trying to renege on severance for those who left.

        He’s a monster who is directly harming individual employees.

      4. learnedthehardway*

        On the flip side, though, the Creepy CEO’s employee was able to quit and he didn’t actually stalk or dox or do anything that affected her life afterwards. I mean, he was creepy and overly attached to her, and his boundaries needed a severe fencing in generally, but he DIDN’T cause her any harm once she left. (Other than possibly that he would be a reference who would accuse his former employee of “betraying” him by leaving, but most people can see that the reference is a bit off, if they start talking like that).

        The Muskrat, though, has caused a lot of real employees lasting harm. And been a clear and present danger to Yoel Roth – far more so than Creepy Boss was to his employee.

    4. Rosyglasses*

      I still voted, but always voted for the non-Twitter answer because there is a level of “reality” around what the average person deals with in somewhat “obscure” companies versus a very high profile company. I can see arguments for both sides, but I am putting my vote toward the smaller footprint of the two.

    5. Jessica Fletcher*

      It’s just more press for him. More attention. Celebrities shouldn’t be eligible. You know he’s going to brag about winning.

  4. Awesome3*

    It’s hard not to vote for Twitter because we’re all in on the joke, but the CEO is the direct supervisor and in some ways seems harder to get out of.

    1. Emotional support capybara (he/him)*

      Yeah, this is why the creeper CEO gets my vote. Elongated Muskrat is awful to everyone. The creeper’s crap was PERSONAL.

    2. super anon for this*

      Yeah, Space Karen has officially crossed over from worst boss to super villian. I switched to voting for creepy CEO.

      It stops being (funny) entertaining when narcissistic fascists try to rule the internet (world) You would have thought living thru it once would be enough.

    3. ecnaseener*

      What joke? I voted for Musk in past rounds because he was genuinely worse than his opponents. This round, stalker CEO narrowly beats him IMO – but it’s a weird assumption that all of Musk’s votes were from people going “haha he’s a meme now” and not from people genuinely horrified by the shit he’s pulled.

      1. Well...*

        Yes I find this puzzling too. It’s oddly playing along with Musk’s troll persona. If he’s just a troll he’s not causing any real harm, amirite? Ugh.

      2. Observer*


        In this round I voted for him, but it was close (see my comment above). In other rounds, I didn’t. But in all cases it was close. No “Haha, vote for the meme” at ALL.

      3. RishaBree*

        I voted for Musk this round on the strength of him being almost certainly a complete nightmare including sexual harassment to work with on a one-to-one basis PLUS all of the rest of it, but it certainly wasn’t a gimme and I’m still contemplating if I should see if there’s a way to switch my vote. I think the current close tallies say a lot about just how similar these two bosses are and that most people are taking it seriously.

  5. Amber Rose*

    On the one hand, Elon Musk is a monster whose decisions are hurting a lot of people.

    On the other hand, it feels like this is out of his weight class. Any other year, normal boss against normal boss, the other guy would win. Having Musk there is like having The Rock take on Glass Joe.

  6. The Eye of Argon*

    The Twitterpocalypse is a total dumpster fire driven by a weathy egomaniac with no common sense, but the creeper CEO is much scarier on a visceral, personal level.

    1. Llama Identity Thief*

      Exactly this. The physical cringe I experience every time I remember that boss far outweighs Davidson Scent’s megalomaniacal self-inflicted dumpster fire.

    2. CareerChanger*

      Agree. I feel like you could quit Twitter (I realize not everyone has the privilege) but that CEO would be the type to “not let you” quit…and maybe track you down if you did.

      1. Working Hypothesis*

        This was a big part of why I voted for creepy stalker boss. Musk is operating at a level from which most of his employees can escape his influence by choosing not to work for him anymore. He just can’t go chasing them all around, and doesn’t care enough about any individual one of them to bother anyhow. If he’s got them conveniently under his thumb he’ll behave like a petty tyrant, because it’s easy to do so and that’s his nature, but creepy stalker boss is obsessed, and that makes him into the kind of danger it is almost impossible to get away from.

      2. nnn*

        I mean, he doxxed a former employee, falsely claimed he was a pedophile, and the person and his family had to flee their house for their safety because they were getting death threats. That’s after the person left Twitter.

    3. I am Emily's failing memory*

      Yes to this. There’s just something much more terrifying to me about someone who is trying to glue themselves to your hip and mind meld you against your will. I’d rather be screamed at all day while up cleaning human feces for less than minimum wage than have someone I can’t get away from trying to emotionally embed themselves in my psyche. It’s not that Elon isn’t a complete sociopath. It’s just that the emotionally intense fixation on a single person involved in the other one is so much worse to me. You can walk away from a wrecking ball that doesn’t care who it’s hurting. Much harder to get away from someone who is so specifically interested in you, personally.

      1. Princesss Sparklepony*

        Yes, you put into words what I was feeling about the two. I also voted for harassing CEO. It was way too personal. Musk is just bad to everyone but doesn’t seem to be overly emotionally involved in being horrible. He is horrible, but that’s just him being him.

  7. twiddle*

    the reason I keep voting for Elon is bc I can see him as all the other “contestants” combined. I’d bet money that he’s been inappropriately obsessed with an admin during his career, for example

    1. KRM*

      This. Also, his actions have affected so many people in such an immediate negative way that I can’t NOT vote for him as worst!

    2. Keeley Jones, The Independent Woman*

      He’s literally fathered children with an employee. And that’s the stuff he admits to. So yeah he’s likely just as creepy as the other CEO.

      My reason for voting for the Space Karen is there’s way too many people on LinkedIn that worship this guy and are applauding his management style. So not only does this harm Twitter employees, but potentially employees of other companies that have a Musk worshiping manager.

      And that’s saying nothing about how his harming humanity in general. He’s not only the worst boss but he’s just one of the worst people of 2022.

      1. EPLawyer*

        This. there are people who think Head Twit’s managment “style” is how to succeed. They literally do not see this is the worst way you can manage. The whole “hardcore” thing is for people who care about quantity not quality. Oh hey we work 18 hour days, of course, about 10 hours of that produce work that just has to be redone, but we are are so dedicated we SLEEP at the office. Isn’t this great?

        1. all the nopes*

          I was on the fence about whether to completely disassociate from a friend, and his endorsement of “Daddy Musk” as he calls him was more than enough to fully sever those ties.

        2. goddessoftransitory*

          What drives me nuts about that “hardcore” crap is that if somebody was starting their own business and pulling those hours, at least it was because it was THEIR business and they had decided to do that kind of Iron Man Triathalon thing because they, personally, wanted their business to succeed.

          But these guys honestly seem to think it’s A) an honor to destroy their physical and mental health for someone else’s bottom line and/or B) a boss has the divine right of kings to demand that kind of work from employees–not just for an emergency but always. They should be thrilled that their only reward is glorifying He Who Is The Musk.

          When you look at it objectively it’s beyond insane. But there’s a whole Twitterverse out there who seem to think Elon is touched by greatness, not just born on third.

          1. Giant Kitty*

            Totally summed up by that one tweet-

            Elon Musk: *slams dick in car door*
            Musk Fans: “Masterful gambit, Sir!”

      2. XF1013*

        Yes! “Harming humanity in general” settles it for me. Creepy CEO apparently crossed more lines with his assistant, but the enormous scope of Musk’s mismanagement is impossible to ignore. Besides the thousands of employees out on the street, and the countless users hypocritically banned for criticizing Mr. Free Speech, there is real and significant damage done to the world by encouraging misinformation and hate speech to run wild on the platform. Musk posts Nazi symbology, for the love of God! And since he alone is Twitter’s arbiter of “truth” (he takes down any post criticizing him as “misinformation”), it’s clear that he’ll have no problem quashing nascent democratic uprisings around the world if he so desires, or interfering with important public initiatives like vaccine campaigns, or whatever else he feels like doing on a whim. He’s a monstrous human being and a terrible, terrible boss.

      3. Observer*

        He’s literally fathered children with an employee. And that’s the stuff he admits to. So yeah he’s likely just as creepy as the other CEO.

        That’s the thing that swayed me in this round. He’s stalker boss PLUS.

    3. Certaintroublemaker*

      Yes, and it keeps getting worse. Now he’s trying to get out of paying all the severance he promised. He’s a monster.

      1. Observer*

        That’s totally not surprising. What is surprising is that it took so long for him to say it.

        And he’s also not paying the rent on Twitter space. That could get REAL interesting!

    4. Pool lounger*

      Oh, same. Elon has had sexual harassment claims made against him. He has children with an employee. He says he’s for free speech but is now openly blocking journalists who aren’t rah-rahing him. And that’s the tiny tip of the iceberg. And it affects so many people, both employees and not. His terrible-bossness is actively bad for society. That’s a whole nother level of worst boss.

    5. Charitable Mafioso*

      He offered a flight attendant on his private jet a horse in exchange for a sexual favor. Does that count?

  8. WantonSeedStitch*

    This is the hardest decision! I can see voting for Creepy CEO because he’s just so PERSONALLY awful, and it’s more…real? But OTOH, I feel like Musk has done horrible things that affect many more people.

    1. The Coolest Clown Around*

      I think the thing for me that makes the other guy worse is how it must feel to be that EA. If you get fired from Twitter, obviously that’s terrible, but it’s also impersonal and there are a number of other people going through the same thing. But to be singled out has to have felt so lonely and frightening

      1. Giant Kitty*

        Musk offered a horse to a flight attendant in exchange for a sexual favor, to me that’s pretty much the same. And I highly doubt that the woman who reported it is the only one he’s done it to.

        1. Working Hypothesis*

          It’s not the same to me at all. The woman he tried to bribe to have sex with him could drop off his radar by quitting and never have to deal with him again. Sure, she shouldn’t have to, and sure, not everyone has an easy time of it if they have to quit without a new position; I’m not trying to say that makes it okay, but a boss who’s so obsessed with you as an individual that you can’t ever stop them from pursuing you even long after you leave that job is a whole different category of horrific. They’re both really bad, but they’re not the same category of bad, as I see it.

  9. MI Dawn*

    I disagree, and I unfortunately missed voting previously due to work circumstances. But the boss using the EA as an ESA is far creepier and worse than Musk in my opinion. Musk and Twitter is not surprising. The other boss is worse.

  10. Just Like Heaven*

    This year calls for a double crowning. The fact that one random boss is neck and neck with Musk is saying something.

    That said, I did vote for Musk because I have no doubt he does all the problematic things nearly all the other bad bosses do.

  11. Cranky Kate*

    This was a nearly impossible choice. I went with Twitter simply because of the breadth and reach of the erstwhile CEO’s, let us say, questionable decision making. But I’m sorely tempted to turn around and vote for Creepy CEO on my phone because boy howdy, he was bad. I agree with whoever said that in any other year, he’d be the runaway winner.

    Also, I think it would be, maybe not hilarious but at least amusing, if E*** M*** couldn’t even win a “Bad Boss” contest. To quote Immortan Joe, “Eehhhh, mediocre!”

    1. LB33*

      This is not meant as a grammatical nitpick, more b/c I’m wondering if I’ve misunderstood the definition, but doesn’t erstwhile mean the former CEO (so not Musk)?

      1. I need a new name...*

        I also understood the meaning of ‘erstwhile’ it mean former/formerly.

        Unless there’s been a new development….!

          1. Cranky Kate*

            Clearly, someone* hasn’t had enough coffee this morning.

            *It me. That “someone” is me.”

            Humbly yours,
            Kate the Erstwhile Cranky Genius

          2. Indubitably Delicious*

            I learned something today — I thought erstwhile meant something like “earnest” or “motivated”. So, thank you all for this!

        1. Indigo*

          I though erstwhile meant “straying” or something along those lines, so I interpreted it as the bosses who are straying from acceptable behavior

      2. LB33*

        It’s funny because the reason I noticed this in the first place was because for decades I thought erstwhile meant long time or long lasting, mainly having heard it from baseball announcers (“The erstwhile Red Sox lefty..”). Only recently did I learn the real definition

        Interesting that it’s a word that people have different incorrect definitions for..

  12. Nora*

    I do wonder if there could have been a separate celebrity run-off between Youngkin and Musk, and leave them out of the main contest.

    We all know that Musk is the absolute worst but that’s from extra-textual evidence. Based on just the letters alone I think many of the other situations were worse than the Twitter letter.

    1. Well...*

      IDK that letter really pulled at my heart strings. It was so awful to see LWs work unravel into nothingness. Plus it included the ridiculous red button email, which I find so insidious.

      The emotionally weird crap is bad, yes. But someone having so much power that they can single handedly render meaningless something you gave away years of your limited time on this planet to achieve, while demanding you to devote the rest of your waking time to their odd whims? The fact that some people were forced to comply because they needed healthcare? The fact that this is all becoming more mundane by our society’s standards? That’s horrifying to me.

  13. I need a new name...*

    I really hope CEO wins. Musk is a shit boss but the CEO is very personally threatening and that is worse.

  14. The Coolest Clown Around*

    The thing about the unhinged CEO is that it felt so intensely personal. Like, sure, Elon Musk is objectively a terrible boss, but he’s terrible in the way a natural disaster is terrible. There’s something so upsetting about how the administrative assistant feels singled out and pursued.

    1. Mr. Shark*

      Exactly. The CEO’s horribleness is much more personal, and directed at an employee, rather than just sheer stupidity and lack of any type of business sense or empathy.

  15. Baron*

    Yeah, I feel like including a public figure about whom everyone has a pre-existing opinion leads to a bit of an unfair fight, for sure.

  16. Carol the happy elf*

    Can we vote for a King and a Prime Minister?
    The TwitFire is so public, we’re all six degrees or less away, but the creepy boss is like the jellyfish under the waves. They’re present always, but until you or someone you know gets stung, it’s possible to disregard.

    The TwitFire victims are easy to see, and sympathize with, but the Emotional Support Human usually suffers alone, cut off like a gazelle being eaten by a hyena. It’s nature, right?

    I think the hyena is actually worse, because there’s so little understanding for the victim. The victim cries out, but hearers often don’t comprehend. And sizewise, he does more proportionate harm.

    I read a book once, called “Nasty People, how to survive without becoming one of them” or something like that. That and “The Gentle Art of Verbal Self-Defense” were both in my work-library, but somebody took the first one.

    One vote for Twit, two votes for Creeper.

  17. Tech writer by day*

    What I find problematic is that for Twitter, we have everything from the news media, but for the othe candidate, we have only what’s in the letter.

    1. cardigarden*

      What’s in the letter is objectively horrifying. Are you saying it’s not as bad as Twitter because it’s not being nationally reported?

      1. Lenora Rose*

        I think the point is that we have a lot more additional context re Twitter (Horrible things that were not in the letter – an they keep coming even today), not that anything in the letter wasn’t horrifying.

      2. Tech writer by day*

        No. Tthe non-twitter letter is horrifying. But it’s losing the vote in part because we’re not comparing it against just the facts in the twitter letter but everything we know about the twitter dumpster fire. So the twitter letter is getting a boost from details not in the letter.

        1. Ex-prof*

          Agreed. The twitter boss’s attack on the media last night, and the knowledge that he’s effectively trapping workers who face deportation if they don’t accede to his tyrannical whims, did factor into my vote.

          1. Former coder*

            Removed. You can’t engage in sock puppetry here (with multiple user names to make it look like your position has more support than it does). – Alison

        2. hellohello*

          to be fair, if the twitter nonsense weren’t so publicly out there, the letter writer may have included additional info in their letter. I can imagine the non-public version of this where the letter outlines how their billionaire ego-centric boss is a paranoid creep, has terrible political opinions they spout publicly and aggressively, is increasingly acting unhinged, and once offered someone a horse in exchange for sexual favors. LW just… didn’t need to include that because the world already knows all those things.

          1. Giant Kitty*

            That’s how I feel about it. If Musk was a small time CEO not appearing in the news, then LW would have had to give a more detailed background. Since this has all been so public, there was no need to rehash it all in the letter.

          2. Working Hypothesis*

            Except that if the rest of that stuff hadn’t been in the media, chances are excellent that LW wouldn’t have known most of it any more than we would have. Anything that didn’t happen at Twitter would more than likely never have made it to the Twitter grapevine… how much do you know about your boss’ interactions with the people she managed at her last job?

  18. Deanna*

    It’s amazing how every year, terrible bosses seem to find new ways to be terrible. Last year there was the trucker sex tape guy and the woman who posted copied photos of her subordinate’s nipslip, and now this year we have a boss that was close to doing a murder suicide on their assistant.

  19. career+coach+near+the+sea*

    Here’s why I keep voting for the Twitter post: we’ve already seen how an incompetent manager can convince the entertainment industry into showcasing him, increase his star power among the masses, shockingly rally a political party into supporting him, and ultimately serve four years as president, all while throwing his wealth around. And now we have Musk. Sure, emotional support CEO is out of this world horrifying. But having another Trump wannabe now in charge and creating daily chaos— I don’t know that Merriam Webster has a word for this yet.

  20. MuseumChick*

    I feel like this will be the closest Worst Boss of the Year contest in the history of AAM. The finalists are so terrible in such different ways. It’s so interesting reading the comments to see what the proverbial grain of rice that has tipped people to vote for one over the other.

  21. Lily Rose*

    Maybe E*n M*k should get a special “Lifetime Achievement Award”? That would leave the field clear for cases that are only here on AAM….

  22. Ann O'Nemity*

    Twitter for sure. Thousands of people have been treated horribly and had their lives completely turned upside down. The amount of trauma inflicted is staggering. Everything Obsessive CEO did, I bet Musk has done worse. He’s like Obsessive CEO on steroids.

    1. Giant Kitty*

      We already know he has. He told a Space X employee that he would buy her a horse in exchange for a sex act, and he had secret children with a Neuralink employee. I am absolutely certain that those aren’t the only two people he has creeped on/stalked at his companies, and eventually we’ll start hearing about a LOT more.

  23. Phony Genius*

    Trying to decide if I want to define “boss” as immediate supervisor or anybody above you on the chain of supervision/management.

  24. OrigCassandra*

    I apologize for voting for Musk, Alison — seems likely that if he wins, it’ll be the death-knell for your Twitter account(s).

  25. Ex-prof*

    This was a tough choice. On the one hand StalkerBoss is terrifying. On the other hand, the boss of the person who works at Twitter is also terrifying. In the end I had to go with the sheer number of people affected by the boss’s awfulness.

  26. Anne Wentworth*

    The fact that AAM got a letter from Twitter really skewed the survey this year…

    We hear about many horrifyingly awful bosses but who can really be compared to Musk in the year he took a blowtorch to Twitter?

    1. Anne Wentworth*

      I just can’t choose. Like a couple people said above, we’re dealing with different weight classes here.

    2. Giant Kitty*

      But did it really?

      What’s happened at Twitter is so egregious, I feel pretty confident that even if none of it had ever made the news, an employee who wrote in saying “our new CEO has sabotaged the company” and factually described everything that has happened would be the hands down winner of Worst Boss this year, even against Creepy CEO.

      1. Anne Wentworth*

        But that’s not what happened. Twitter did make the news, we do have a bigger picture of what went down, and that’s what we’re voting on.

      2. Working Hypothesis*

        And yet, even with everything else we do know about him, he isn’t winning hands down now. He’s winning rather narrowly.

  27. Ex-prof*

    Now I’m wondering if some bosses who get written in about are the same bosses as each other.

    I.e. if some Ferguses are the same Fergus as other Ferguses.

  28. Bug*

    Can’t we have 2 awards this year? It seems like they’re on 2 different levels….like college football vs. high school.

  29. TooManyBadBosses*

    I’m kind of bewildered at how many people are saying that Musk wouldn’t actually hurt anyone when Yoel Roth is in the news for having to flee his home due to all of the horrible threats he had received. Musk knew exactly what he was doing in that scenario.

    1. Fishsticks*

      He really did. The things that Musk’s fanboys are repeating about Roth are genuinely vile and definitely could be considered inciting violence against Roth.

    2. coffee*

      Plus the re-platforming of nazis and extremists, and the proliferation of hate speech.

      Here are some stats on daily tweets using slurs, slightly simplified to avoid referencing specific slurs:
      – 202% increase in anti-Black racist slurs
      – 58% increase on homophobic slurs
      – 33% increase in misogynistic slurs
      – 62% increase in transphobic slurs.

      Engagement with tweets containing slurs has jumped 273%.

      You can find this information on the Centre for Countering Digital Hate’s blog post from 6 December.

      Musk clearly will hurt people, since he allows hate speech to flourish.

  30. TeaDrinker3000*

    I don’t think we should be awarding Elon for anything…even being the worst something. Going with the other boss!

      1. Giant Kitty*

        Nah, he’s a fragile narcissist who can’t take the least bit of criticism. Someone said “his skin is so thin it’s transparent” and it’s the absolute truth. Even knowing that a lowly work advice blog voted him “worst” would tie him in knots.

  31. Willow Sunstar*

    Allison — since you probably will post the winner on Twitter, and it probably will be Elon — if I were you, I’d expect to get the account suspended since it will be free speech Elon doesn’t like.

  32. EverythingIsInteresting*

    If I could vote for both, I would.
    I came down on the side of the CEO for the same reasons others have cited. While employees and users affected by Musk have each other as a reality check and support system, plus a lot of public support for what they’re going through, the CEO LW had none of that. Only an unhinged, grossly overstepping, creepy, stalky, gaslighter for a boss that made her life a living hell. The trauma from this could last for literally decades, but I sincerely hope it doesn’t (hug to you if you read this, LW!). Plus Alison’s advice was excellent. Her first sentence in her response to the original letter: “Get out get out get out” said it all, and the situation required it.
    Perhaps we could have an additional category of “Worst Highly-Visible Boss” that Elon could “win”.

  33. CareerChanger*

    I voted for the creepy CEO, but I would love to see the headline “Elon Musk voted worst boss of 2022.”

  34. Anonymoussss*

    It was never fair to include the Twitter letter as one of the options. Look at all the comments listing Elon’s various misdeeds, all of which are well known and documented, because he’s a celebrity billionaire. The title of the letter doesn’t even have to say, “The CEO who…” because everyone already knows exactly who he is and what he did.

    You’re pitting an anonymous horrible boss against a celebrity who’s a household name because of how terrible he is. You don’t even have to read the letter to know what he’s done, and more importantly, you don’t have to vote for him based only on the letter.

    It’s nice that this site will get a lot of press, attention, and new income based solely on Elon winning, but that’s not what this poll is supposed to be about.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      For what it’s worth, it’s extremely unlikely that the worst boss poll will get any press at all! I’d be very surprised if that happened and I’m certainly not seeking it.

      Once again: this is just a fun year-end thing we do, not anything with real-life meaning.

    2. I should really pick a name*

      I’m pretty sure Alison is the arbiter of what this poll is supposed to be about…

    3. Working Hypothesis*

      This is why I didn’t vote for Musk. I made a conscious decision to omit everything else I knew about the LW’s boss and go only with what each of them told us in the letter. And from just that, Elon comes off as a pretty mild bad boss. Certainly nothing close to stalker CEO. Yes, I know he’s a lot worse than that, but the only reason I know those things is because of sources having nothing to do with AAM. So I stick to AAM and nothing else.

  35. hellohello*

    Gutting websites for parts is terrible, but I’ve yet to see one that empowered nazis and qanon conspiracy theorists quite as directly as Elon’s version has done…

    Also I know visa holders get screwed over any time there are layoffs/mergers/etc. but I just can’t get over the visa holders who work for twitter who are functionally held hostage there now because they’ll get deported if they quit that shit storm and can’t line up another job quickly enough.

  36. Also Cute and Fluffy!*

    These top two are awful in their own ways. I feel like these two belong in separate categories, like the Grammys.

    The obsessed CEO is the Worst Individual Boss and Elon Musk is Worst Worldwide Impact Boss.

  37. Dr. Doll*

    Well, and then there is this: Apparently a lot of people think that Mr. Musk is right on track.

    Today’s NY Times has an article about it, in which a quote is:

    “They [his fans] admire him for ruling Twitter with an iron fist and making the kinds of moves that tech executives have resisted for fear of alienating workers — cutting jobs, stripping away perks, punishing internal dissenters, resisting diversity and inclusion efforts, and forcing employees back to the office.”

    The Bluebird is apparently now the Muskiraptor. I’m glad I never used Twitter.

  38. I went to school with only 1 Jennifer*

    Musk is just a bad owner-of-company, regardless. I’m kind of amazed that the companies he is CEO of are successful. But that creeping emotional-asssistance-admin CEO is just so up close and personally awful that he “wins”, in my book.

  39. barn*

    I went with Elon, because while he’s entitled to run a business any ol’ way he wants, even if it’s down to the ground, he’s messing with so many jobs (not just the one that Creepy CEO is messing with) and I think he’s holding a bunch of H-1B visa holders hostage. They really didn’t have a choice about ‘pushing the button’ the other weekend, nor could they feel comfortable refusing to stay for a midnight meeting with EM. Again: the dude is perfectly free to do whatever he wants to do with his business, but his capricious, obviously not well thought out whims are messing with a bunch of people.

  40. sgac*

    I voted for the CEO to this point, but at the end of the day he’s just another run of the mill creepy dude. Elon is in a category of his own.

  41. Oxford Common Sense*

    It’s really hard to choose between these two nightmare bosses. What swung it for me was the idea that being called Worst Boss of the Year might possibly bother the Narcissist Musk. And that childish notion was enough :)

  42. Bill and Heather's Excellent Adventure*

    Any other year, I’d vote for Twitter’s completely unqualified CEO but the other one was so creepy and I was legitimately afraid for the LW in that one, still relieved that it turned out okay.

  43. Mrs. Hawiggins*

    This is a very close poll, but in my opinion, you can LEAVE Twitter, but that CEO… could he ever leave YOU. Can I hit caps lock any more in this post.

    The emotionally weird CEO has my vote. He’s the reason you carry mace in your purse.

  44. Cat's Paw for Cats*

    I started to write that I am voting for the unhinged boss and then realized I’m going to have to specify which one. The obsessive, creepy one. I didn’t really have a problem deciding since I’m certain that Twitter will be in the running next year with an even worse list of behaviors.

  45. Calamity Janine*

    honestly, all of the choices throughout have been very tough choices.

    i mean that in a very derogatory fashion towards all the people doing the bad behavior that has been featured, by the way. it’s been one heck of a doozy of a year, especially if you think about the inevitable fact that what we hear about, and what gets reported to this website, are going to be but a percentage of people acting just as wild.

    really gets you into a holiday spirit of “el problema es el capitalismo”, eh?

Comments are closed.