For the average Joe or Jane, working a 9 to 5 job can be a real drag… because the reality isn’t 9am to 5pm anymore. Most people I know put in at least 10 hour days now. They get-up around 6 or 7am, and then commute for at least half an hour (and some even more than an hour) to work. They don’t usually leave work until 5:30 or 6pm either. It’s pretty normal for the average person to put in a 10 hour day these days.
Working through lunch is a normal occurrence too. The era of leisurely hour long lunches is long gone. Most people I know eat at their desk and answer emails/work at the same time. Then there’s the hours after work when you’re expected to answer emails and otherwise be on-call.
Almost nobody I know works 9-to-5 anymore. It’s more like 8am-to-6pm and then ‘online and answering emails’ from 9pm-to-midnight. That’s just the way it is now.
Yep, working can be tough. Doubly so if your boss is a horrible person. They can make your life a living hell! Imagine working extremely long hours for someone you
don’t really like hate.
I’ve certainly had my fair share of horrible bosses over the years. Working for some of these terrible people really made me hate our modern work culture.
Today I thought it might be fun to share some of my “horrible boss” stories that helped set me on the path toward Financial Independence.
I hope you get a good chuckle at my expense…
Mrs. Every-10 Minutes
Back when I was still fairly fresh out of college, I got to experience what it’s like to work for an extreme micro-manager. I’m calling her “Mrs. Every-10 Minutes” because after giving me an assignment she’d check-up on me every 10 minutes. Literally. Every 10 minutes she’d walk by to see how I was doing on the task.
Mrs. Every-10 Minutes: “Hey, how’s it going on that task I assigned you this morning.”
Me: “Well, it’s been 10 minutes. I’ve started reading the documentation to learn how the process works.”
Mrs. Every-10 Minutes: “Well, try to hurry it up. I’d like that task done before noon today.”
Me: “OK. I’ll do my best. I don’t know how the process works yet.”
Mrs. Every-10 Minutes: “Oh and by-the-way, I noticed you were a couple minutes late this morning.”
Me: “Err, yeah I think I might have been a few minutes late. Traffic was bad this morning. Sorry.”
Mrs. Every-10 Minutes: “Well, it reflects badly on me when you’re late. Start leaving earlier so you’re here before everyone else.”
To be fair, I don’t think it was just me. I think she did this stuff to all her employees. She really liked to crack the whip. When she wasn’t in meetings, I think she literally walked-around and continuously pestered her employees. Like in a circle, so she could continuously be prod us every 10 minutes to work harder.
I think it was actually harder to get stuff done when being interrupted that often.
Mr. Handsey was a boss I had one summer during high school. The job was a dishwasher job at a the nicest restaurant in town. (I grew up in a small town) Anyway, I was pretty grateful to have the job. There weren’t many good-paying jobs in that town, but I think I made about $8/hr washing dishes and doing food-prep. It was decent money back then (for a high school kid).
Anyway, Mr. Handsey was just that — “Handsey”. He was a gay man that liked to touch a little too much. He’d always be doing stuff like rubbing me on the back, touching, putting his arm around me, or unwanted hugging. It wasn’t overtly sexual or anything, but it was pretty uncomfortable. I didn’t like it, but I did like having a job. So I didn’t say anything and just put up with it.
How do you tell your boss to get his damn hands off you? Especially in a small town without a lot of job prospects. I know, it seems like pretty tame stuff in this #MeToo era, but men sometimes have to deal with this stuff too.
It was icky and made going to that job icky too.
Mrs. Backstabber was probably the worst boss I’ve ever had. On the surface, she pretended to support my career like a good boss should — giving feedback, putting me in touch with the right people, and even letting me attend college classes that (I thought) would be helpful for my career development.
In every interaction I had with her, she appeared to approve of the work I was doing. She seemed like a good boss.
“Good job on that project” she’d say. Or, “Thanks for your efforts on that proposal. I liked how that one turned-out.”
Turns out anything positive from her was just fake. Complete bull-hockey.
I later learned from other co-workers that she set me up to be the fall-guy for her organization. Behind my back, every chance she had she told her superiors what a terrible job I was doing. She set me up to be the reason for everything wrong in her organization.
I got thrown under the bus. Clearly I didn’t stand a chance with a boss like that, and they fired me a couple of months later. I even got accused of wasting company resources by attending those college classes… even though Mrs. Backstabber had personally signed-off on my taking those courses.
HR attempted to withhold my final paycheck until the “issue” was resolved. Thankfully, I had saved all the documentation with her signatures.
Now, a decade later I still have nightmares about the last few months at that job. I’m still extremely angry about how it all went down… even though I know I should just let it go and move on with life.
Horrible bosses can do that to a person.
Mr. Biltong was one of the toughest bosses I ever worked for, but he was also one of the nicest bosses too. He was straight-forward and honest in every dealing I had with him. Unfortunately he was something of a workaholic and expected the same from his employees. He basically worked 14 hour days — 8 am to 10 pm. Every single day, except for Sundays.
That’s right — Mr. Biltong frequently asked his employees to work on Saturdays, just like he did. That got old really fast. As a parent, weekends are the days when you actually get to spend time with your kids. Mr. Biltong didn’t have kids and didn’t understand this. By Sunday I was usually too exhausted from the hard-driving Monday-thru-Saturday schedule to have a lot of fun with the kids.
What made matters worse was the fact that he lived and worked in New York City, and I lived and worked in Seattle. (That’s 3 time zones apart.) So when I started working at 8am on the West coast, he’d already have been at it for 3 hours. I had to hit the ground running every morning (so to speak), in order to catch up to everything he’d done on the East coast. It was always a mad rush in the morning.
Why not come in earlier, you ask?
My schedule was primarily dictated by drop-off and pick-up times at the kid’s daycare. Those times are NOT very flexible. I was also at a time in my life where putting in long hours at the office wasn’t something I wanted to do.
Mr. Biltong didn’t understand this because he didn’t have a family. For him, life was all about work, and putting in as many hours as humanly possible. That’s a tough kind of boss to have when you have kids.
Here’s To Those Terrible Bosses
So that’s my list of horrible bosses. Some were actually pretty decent human beings, and others I wouldn’t save even if they were on fire.
They each made my life a living-hell each in their own unique way, but I really should be saying “Thank You” to all those horrible bosses — they ultimately set me on the path for achieving Financial Independence.
I hated work and wanted a way to escape… so I did. Financial Independence was the solution for me. I saved as much as I could, and then investing the money into the very best investments I could find. It only took 15 years, but I finally made my escape.
These days life isn’t quite so bad. I don’t work for anyone but myself. I have a lot more freedom and a lot less stress now. I get to spend plenty of time with my kids, and I couldn’t be happier.
Have you ever had a horrible boss? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!