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Terrible And Outstanding Bosses: The Real Life Stories

It’s safe to say that The Apprentice UK (and our very own Tim Campbell MBE) making its way back onto our TV screens has got all of us at Iternal HQ very excited. Sitting across from Lord Alan Sugar, with his arms folded and his eyes glaring at you has got to be daunting, but should they prove themselves, each contestant stands the chance to work with one of the most proven and capable bosses in the world. 

What you learn about bosses is that they come in all shapes and sizes; some are more than capable and have an almost divine ability to spark an individual drive in their employees. Others do not have that ability, and one could be forgiven for wondering how they got the role in the first place, as the following stories show.  

I’ve had a good old hunt around the internet to bring you real-life stories from employees around the world about their bosses, both terrible and outstanding…

The Terrible Bosses:

VP Mocks Redundant Staff Online Hours After Letting Them Go

Business is business and unfortunately, that sometimes requires senior authorities to make some tough decisions, like letting your staff go. This should never be an easy job; they are people with livelihoods and costs to afford, who’ve dedicated much of their time to keep your company running. 

Not only did J. Crew Vice President of Menswear, Alejandro Brett, let go of 175 employees (10% of J Crew’s workforce at the time), he was then caught mocking them on his Instagram account just hours after the fact. 

He was next to be fired after uploading photos of him partying and joking about the job losses, using the hashtags #hungergames and #maytheoddsbeeverinyourfavour; referencing the popular series where (disadvantaged) contestants fight to the death… Seems like he got just what he deserved. 

Read more here. 

Supermodel Or Super-bad Boss?

Unless you’ve paid no attention to popular or mainstream culture for the last 30 years, you’ve probably heard of Naomi Campbell; the international supermodel who’s gained a bit of a reputation for the way she treats her employees – including housekeepers; assistants; drivers; and on one occasion, even a drug counsellor…

The angelic-looking star apparently has a bit of a devilish side, resorting to an aggressive demeanour, harsh words and the occasional mobile phone toss at the mildest of inconveniences. Put it like this; since 1998 Naomi has had at least eight former employees come forward with allegations of assault. Looks like a butterfly, stings like a giant hornet.

Read more here.  

George “I’m not hands-on, but you better shave that beard” Steinbrenner

If your company (or sports team, in this instance) comes under new ownership, the new boss coming in and saying he’s not the overbearing, hands-on type would probably come as quite the relief; no one likes huge changes in their process if it can be helped. 

Well, that relief was swiftly wiped aside for the New York Yankee’s baseball team in 1973 when the new owner, George Steinbrenner, did a whole 180-degree spin on his initial statement and made himself heavily involved with the day-to-day operations of the team.

He turned over 20 managers in 23 seasons (one being fired and re-hired five times); he regularly insulted his own players and even forbade all players, coaches, and male executives from displaying any facial hair other than moustaches… What else could you expect from a man who was quoted saying, “winning is the most important thing in my life, after breathing”?

Read more here.

The Zoom Call Mass Firing

It’s one thing having your boss take you aside, one on one, and regretfully – but sincerely – breaking the news that you’re being let go due to cuts in the budget. It’s a completely different situation to have your boss summon you and 899 others on to a video call with little to no warning to tell you with no degree of emotion that you’re being fired with immediate action. 

That’s the situation that the 900 employees of mortgage firm Better.com found themselves in when chief executive Vishal Garg summoned them to a zoom video call. “If you’re on this call you’re part of the unlucky group being laid off,” were his words of comfort to his now-fired employees, just weeks before Christmas. Though he expressed his regret, his tone and demeanour said otherwise, and he’s since been criticised for his lack of empathy. 

Read more here.

Like Mother, Like Daughter

No one likes a tattle-tale, from school to corporate jobs. Sure, there comes a time when someone should probably say something if there’s consistent under-performing, but otherwise, the general consensus is mind-your-own-business. But what do you do if the tattle-tale is the 8-year-old daughter of your boss? 

You get fired; or at least you do if you’re this unlucky Reddit user, who was let go after her boss brought in her child to work.  The child then reported the user to her boss for ‘talking for 30 minutes’ – a fact heavily disputed by the poor user. I mean, do you really want to work for someone who uses their child as a snitch? 

Read more here. 

The Outstanding Bosses:

When The Boss Is So Good, Even Fired Employees Love Her

You have to be a special kind of boss to still get the respect and adoration of ex-employees you’ve just fired. Apparently, they do exist, as one former employee recalled…

“I once ran into an employee she had fired who told me that they admired and respected this supervisor and felt their performance deficiencies had been dealt with respectfully and professionally. The person said she was given every opportunity to be successful including extra training and mentoring but ultimately lacked the skills needed to do the job. How many people would say that after being fired?” – from quickbase.com

They described their boss as ‘reasonable about workloads, provided insightful feedback and suggestions, and was always polite and professional in dealing with [everyone],” as well as being empathetic?! Wow. 

Read more here. 

Get A Boss That Invests In Your Skills

Bosses caring about developing your skills inside and outside of your comfort zone is rare, much less trying to nurture those skills in every member of their team. Beka Rich was fortunate to have just that, with Adam Lapp as her boss while she worked at MECLABS Institute.

Recalling her time there, Beka said “Adam knew that by prioritising his team, he increased morale, performance, and motivation. Whenever I think about good company culture, I am reminded of how much value he added to the office and inspired to do the same.”

She described him as ‘humble, personable, and open to new/constructive ideas… not only did he leverage [her] inherent talents and skills, but he helped [her] identify and hone news skills to take [her] where [she] wanted to go.” Sounds like a champ. 

Read more here.

A Good Boss Is A Good Person First

A lot can be said for bosses, but if they’ve taken you in during a period of personal difficulties, despite your overqualification, they’re probably doing something right. Take Anne for example, who worked as a cashier in a pharmacy after recently immigrating to Canada. Anne was overqualified for the role and had professional experience, but she needed a job quickly and was taken in by Lois. 

Not only did Lois constantly remind Anne of how pleased she was with her work but actually encouraged her to head back into her professional field! Anne recalled how “after about four months, I was offered a position with another organisation. [Lois] never hesitated to provide a reference and even gave [Anne] her home number so [they] could keep in touch,” and they still do. 

Read more here. 

"More," I hear you say...

If that’s not convincing enough that there are actually great bosses out there, check out the clip below of 25 of the most generous bosses from the show ‘Undercover Bosses;’ be warned, some of its quite moving.

And that’s it from me today! I hope you’ve enjoyed our rundown of some of the best and worst bosses the internet has to offer. Fortunately for me, I have great bosses (I promise, I’ve said this of my own free will). Maybe this post has brought back a few memories of your own great (or awful) bosses? Get that memory down on your Iternal timeline! It’s story might serve as a valuable lesson one day… In the meantime, keep an eye on this blog space; we’ve got loads more content coming your way.