And then there's the boss who made his female employees raise the flag in the pouring rain. And the one whose motto was "People are animals." Or the ex-military man who liked to "playfully" choke and bite his employees.
America is chock-full of bad bosses, but finding the worst of the worst is a daunting task. Jim Miller, an expert on managerial techniques, is hunting for the ultimate Mr. Wrong - and the stories he's heard have him shaking his head.Take this:
"His management style was one of pure intimidation. If an office plant had a single brown leaf, he would pick it up and throw it out the front door," wrote the woman forced into flag duty during stormy weather.
"Mr. X's favorite lies are those that support his distorted view of himself as a world-renowned scholar," wrote another. Said boss insisted he had authored a book that one president faithfully kept on his White House desk. Unfortunately, the book in question was published two years after the president's death.
From New Hampshire to Washington state, Miller is hearing from folks who'd like to fillet their supervisors. "I can't believe some of the things I'm reading," said Miller, whose demeanor is more jovial grandfather than corporate boss (he's actually both). He's the founder and CEO of Miller Business Systems, which manufactures office products in Arlington, Texas.
The names of the hard-hearted, two-faced weasels cited by their employees cannot be revealed here. There were also some problems with the parameters that Miller established: "The rule prohibiting discussion of criminal behavior, physical or sexual abuse does impose a significant restriction," wrote one employee.
Miller's search, which runs through Friday, was launched in connection with his how-to book on good management, "The Corporate Coach." The winner (loser?) with the Ultimate Bad Boss will claim a trip for two to Hawaii - and judging from the entries, they could use a vacation.
There are personal insults: "Mr. John T. is a short, pudgy man."
There are personality insults: "He is a master at lying, double-talking and side-stepping issues."
There is talk of psychological scarring: "I have nightmares about this job and will never work in a plant nursery again because of the fear of such a boss!"
There is nepotism: "By the way, he got the position from his father hob-nobbing with the company elite."
And there are more personal insults: "His nickname is (obscenity)-head, and all warehouse and office personnel hate him!"
There's two sides to every coin, and for every bad boss - OK, for every three or four bad bosses - there's a good one. Miller is trying to find America's best boss, too - but who really wants to hear about that?
Now, there's a gas station owner - he's the one whose motto was "People are animals." This boss rewarded a worker who gave two weeks notice by firing him one week later.
Everybody can relate to that.