Horrible Boss Stories (long)

One of my best friends has an absolute asshat of a boss – hell, his name is Patrick; I sure don’t care if he reads this. Patrick used to be one of my best friends when we were working together overseas. I was head of the department, and hired him literally off the street. We clicked, and he ended up being my right-hand man - hard worker, and really dedicated to putting out a good product. I moderately included him in the process when I was hiring new people, but his hiring priorities were so poor that I didn’t really take his opinion on board - his ‘best hire’ was someone with no ambition, no drive, and no chicks (in his very words: ‘I don’t want someone asking me for a raise, or wanting to be promoted, and I don’t want to work with a chick if I can’t be banging her’).

As a right-hand man, anyway he was great - very hard worker. He was so good that after a few years, after I had moved back to NY, I hired him again. I was in charge again, but for some reason the guy seemed to think that he was on ‘equal ground’. He started having prissy fits if he thought I wasn’t ‘consulting’ with him enough on projects, etc. Worse, he had gotten married and was really unhappy - and I think at some point he just decided to check out at work. He started doing the bare minimum. When I quit to run my own business, I told my boss and the Big Boys overseas that he wasn’t experienced enough to run the department (lack of industry experience, no network to tap, etc.).

But, there wasn’t really anyone else available to do the job, so he took over more by default than anything. In the past year he’s made so many bone-headed decisions that have left me just baffled - both at work and privately, to the point that I basically wrote him and told him to fuck off, because not only did I not consider him a friend anymore I was embarrassed to have introduced him to my field, and to have at one point called him a friend.

I could detail any number of episodes, but this most recent one just got me so mad I swear to Og I wanted to punch him in the face - and I am definitely non-violence (as Asimov said, ‘violence is the last refuge of the incompetent’).

My close friend was there, working as the section’s lone DTP operator. She basically said that she was overworked - Patrick tried to get her to cancel her vacation (her first days off in the year she had worked there) because he didn’t know how to cover for her. No matter that she had told him for five months that he needed to find a second person.

Even worse, he tried to get her to do the hiring because he didn’t want the responsibility! She’s like, ‘I’m an hourly employee. If you want me to do the hiring, fine, but make me a manager and give me a pay raise’. He finally made a hire - and hired a useless DTP operator who didn’t know Excel from PowerPoint, took two-hour lunches and would leave two hours early ‘for her dentist’s appointment’ at least once or twice a week - including her very first day on the job. Worse, she would tell my friend about 10 minutes prior that she was leaving for the day – so she would be stuck with four hours of work that needed to be done in two hours.

My friend complained once after a month or so, and was told by Patrick that she should ‘keep quiet, because firing someone so soon wouldn’t look good for her come bonus time’. To which my friend noted that, since she was an hourly employee she wasn’t eligible for a bonus – only he was. After another month of this, my friend finally complained again, and said she wanted a formal meeting with the new DTP person and Patrick so the three of them could resolve the problem. At which point the new DTP person suddenly started complaining that my friend was ‘creating a hostile working environment’. She asked for three days off – remember, she had only worked there for about two months, and was still on probation (i.e., no vacation days). She got the three days off (Wed-Fri). On Friday, Patrick calls her into a meeting with his boss – and someone from HR, basically writing her up for creating a ‘hostile working environment’! No investigation, no discussion with her or the other people in the department, nothing. My friend called me that afternoon crying her eyes out – and this is someone who I would have gone to my grave believing was incapable of crying. She felt betrayed by the complete ambush. I couldn’t believe it.

The next Monday that new DTP person called in to say that she was quitting.

I hired the first DTP person, and she was one of my best hires ever - new to the industry (like Patrick was; I liked bringing in new people), but a very fast learner and hard worker. She is very well liked and respected by the other DTP people around the system. To Patrick, everything is a competition; I swear he’d compete at peeing if someone got to the stall at the same time as him. I honestly think he was competing with me - remember, I no longer even worked there - because the person I hired turned out to be better than his hire. Which isn’t surprising given his hiring priorities.

I’ve had bosses who have only thought of themselves, their bonuses, their promotions, at the expense of everything and everyone around them, but I never thought he’d turn out like that. Bad enough I lost someone I had at one point thought of my best friend, he has also ruined an enjoyable job for my DTP friend.

I once had a boss I’ll call “Annie.” She was the most vicious, hateful creature I’ve ever met.

We worked in a hotel. She would do incredibly nasty things to guests she apparently picked at random, but would always get away with it. When the guests called Corporate to complain, Annie would just give an amazed laugh. “Yeah, can you actually imagine someone saying that? Unbelievable what these people make up to try to get free stuff.” And, by God, it worked!

She tried to start fights amongst the staff. She would call us all into the office and say that the gossip and backbiting had to stop while we all looked around in puzzlement. We had a pretty tight-knit crew and we all got along really well. If that didn’t start bickering, she would take individuals aside and hint that someone else had been saying very nasty things about them behind their back. (She was very clever, and could often glean clues about what a person’s “weak spots” were from seeing how they responded.) Unfortunately for her, we were all sensible enough to go ask the supposed culprit if they had said something before flying off the handle.

If she didn’t like an employee (and this also was apparently decided at random) she would beging a campaign of harassment until she convinced them to quit. She would change the codes in the computer to make it look like one of the maids had cleaned a room, then get “angry” that a guest had been sent to a dirty room and accuse the maid of lying and laziness. She’d also call in only the ones she didn’t like after a busy night, putting only a handful of maids to cleaning the entire motel, and then bitch at them because they weren’t done by the regular time.

I remember one girl who wouldn’t quit even after heaps of abuse. She needed a job. So, Annie accused her of stealing and actually called in the cops for a strip-search. The girl came out of the bathroom crying and humiliated and quit immediately. Annie’s smile of satisfaction chilled my blood.

The hotel was sold eventually, and all of the staff let go. Annie’s last act was to go into the computer and cancel all of the reservations for our busiest weekend of the year. (Huge event draws over a hundred thousand people to town and there’s not a hotel room to be had for a sixty-mile radius. People book a year in advance. After she cancelled all of the reservations, new ones took all of the rooms within a few hours.) She told me she got a tickle out of thinking about the new desk crew faced with irate people who “thought” they had a reservation and now had nowhere to stay.

I recently had a boss that was a real piece of work. He came in from another site with many compliments, and at first everything was OK, though he was pretty distant. He ended up hiring a peer for me (a supervisor-level position) from another department - a problem employee, who had a little experience but a very bad reputation for taking extra breaks, not doing his work, and so on. A colleague and I went in and questioned the decision, and were told in a roundabout way that he was not going to justify it and his decision was final.

Unsurprisingly, said individual did not exhibit a miraculous turnaround. Whenever he was needed, he would be nowhere to be found. He missed a lot of work and was late every day for months (up to several hours). He would start vicious fights in meetings because of wanting to do something his way - even when we would explain it put us in legal trouble, or we had tried a similar thing before and it had failed. Of course, he also started tons of projects and told management all about them, but never followed up to do anything effective. He neglected his employees to the point where they all selected new supervisors to go to for any kind of help. This, along with the guy’s repeated attempts to pawn work off on me because he couldn’t understand it (not my problem, I’ll help but I’m not just doing it) put an enormous strain on the team.

We went to my boss who basically blew us off over and over over the span of several months. Nothing was done, but our boss started spending a lot more time outside of work with the problem employee. They were both gay, so I understood to a point since my boss was new to the area, but it sure looked inappropriate that he was spending so much time with one person and not addressing their problem performance. Plus, they started spending a lot of time together AT work, at the supervisor’s desk, giggling or staring at stuff on the computer that they would hide as soon as anyone walked by. I was told by my boss that, “this isn’t something you can see”. Uh huh.

Well, all of a sudden there was a huge scandal involving said worthless supervisor. I won’t go into it, as it’s a thread unto itself, but basically he exhibited incredibly unprofessional behavior, started departmental rumors and then rumors that contradicted the first rumors, missed about a week and a half of work, and started pressuring his employees hard to do his work (since the supervisors made it clear that they would not be doing his job for him), including working with confidential performance information, a major problem. We were told by many employees that the two were now living together. They would show up together to work, and leave together (and the supervisor was supposed to be working nights - instead he was coming in with my boss before we even opened, and leaving at 3 in the afternoon instead of 8pm). My boss became distant and would reassign the problem supervisor’s work to us. In one case he even asked me to start coaching and developing the other supervisor’s employees, and chewed me out when I didn’t make it a bigger priority (completely inappropriate in our work environment - I have never been asked to do this before or since).

My colleagues and I had enough and escalated it over my boss’s head. We had a big meeting, where the boss lied through his teeth about 90% of it. Nothing was done. I started documenting everything. I strongly suspected my boss of being a drug user, as I had fairly reliable information that the supervisor was. My boss lost a lot of weight and started acting erratic. He would forget things and lie and say they were done, when they weren’t. Work started piling up, the department was falling apart, but nothing was done. The problem supervisor quit after there started to be some oversight from upper management into his work, but that just made my boss hostile and completely uncooperative. He would not participate in pretty much any work activity.

Around the point where we were sharing most of the boss’ workload to keep the department going and the supervisors were discussing quitting en masse, my boss was finally fired.

The happy time in the story came a few weeks later when we found out that my boss went from a professional job in midmanagement to flipping burgers at a fast food restaurant. Game. Set. Match.

It’s amazing sometimes the lengths to which companies will go to try to avoid having to fire someone. At the large corporation my wife works for, there’s basically no level of incompetence or bad attitude that can get an employee fired, just because the process of firing and replacing an employee is so difficult, the managers don’t bother. You essentially have to be caught red-handed breaking the law to get fired.

Shit, DragonAsh, all I’d have to do was change Patrick’s name to Will and it would almost be my former boss.

Will was his real name; I have no reason to hide it now since he’s no longer working here. He was a real prize, all right. He was the kind of person who was very good at talking his way into and out of things, and able to make you see his point of view. He could lay on the charm when he felt it was necessary and almost everyone fell for it. There’s too many stories to relate here but I’ll try to condense it. I do a lot of heavy lifting in my job - gigantic rolls of canvas, lumber, metal plates for printmaking, boxes of clay. With the above things, I sometimes require help. Physically, an average woman can’t lift and carry 150+ pound items by herself, unless she’s a bodybuilder. Which I’m not. When I was hired on 4 years ago, he explained that there was some lifing involved. “Don’t hesitate to ask me for help!” He insisted. So several times when canvas rolls weighing approx. 200lbs would come in, I’d call and ask for help. His response? “Why can’t you do it yourself?” :eek:

When I explained that I couldn’t without injury, he’d come over all pissed off, help me, and then tell me how that took up SO much of his time. And speaking of his time, it’s not like he used it productively anyway. Nine times out of 10 he was sitting on his computer writing emails to friends, playing games, or making plans with his buddies on the phone. I can’t tell you how many times I saw him sitting there playing Solitaire while his phone rung off the hook. He was also well-known for his 2 hour lunch breaks.

He’d tell me to do things and then later claim he’d never said any such thing. Even when presented with undeniable evidence, he’d say, “Well, I don’t remember that,” or something of the sort. He liked to make fun of what I wore, how I talked, and seemed to find it amusing that I’m part Native. He openly called me “squaw” a few times. When I hauled his ass to HR about it, he turned on the charm to them and managed to convince them that I had somehow “misunderstood” things he’d said and that I really didn’t know what I was talking about. He routinely hit on and made other inappropriate comments to the young part-time girls. He also, despite making about 50k a year and having an expensive car, still lives with his mother - without paying rent. As you can see, a real take-charge kinda guy.

What I didn’t know is that administration was keeping a closer eye on him than I thought, piling up evidence of his fuckery. He must have done something pretty bad to break the last straw, because one day a couple months ago while I was on vacation, he was fired on the spot and escorted out of the building by security. They didn’t even allow him to clean out his desk - someone from HR came by and threw everything out. The suits are keeping pretty quiet about it, so we’ve been thinking it was fraud or something.

I literally feel like I’ve been let out of a cage. It feels almost surreal to have my work appreciated and to be treated as higher than trash. I sure won’t ever take it for granted. I especially appreciate his old desk and comfy chair, which I got. :smiley:

I worked for a lazy piece of shit named Ron R. He used to sleep in his cubicle and foist all his work onto a real nice lady “on his team”. I ratted him out for sleeping once or twice and he got me fired for “misuse of company Email”!

Fuck him!

Ooh, I get to tell the story of R.

I’m an IT contractor type. My first job was working on a spiffy little government contract for a small business, and I was one of many subcontractors to the prime.

Another one of the subcontractors was R, and he was the program manager. We would later discover some very interesting things about R, but from the start, he was a piece of work.

Crude and harrassing dialogue? Check. Irrational temper outbursts? Check. Falling asleep at work? Check. Two hour lunches, home early? Check. It was a fairly fun, loose environment except for him. We had one of those squishy-ball things we’d toss around when discussing stuff. One day, it rolled into R’s office. He exploded, yelling, and opened a window - we were on the sixth floor of a downtown building - and hurled the ball out.

When our Quality Control /Software Engineering fellow tried to advance ideas of actually documenting requirements more fully - R went around to the prime, spreading lies, to get the guy fired.

We later discovered, via the internet, some interesting facts. R had lost a bundle of money on the market. I’m not familiar with the ins and outs, but I know an $800,000 margin call isn’t a good thing. Before he was in software, R had been a surgeon. At a Veteran’s Hospital. From which he was dismissed for operating on patients while under the influence of Oxycontin. This lead him to find a second career in software - except - the degree he claimed to have? We could find no evidence of it whatsoever.

He was buddies with the man in charge of hiring and firing, though, and I guess that made the difference.

Wow. I thought I was going to win the thread. But after reading some of these stories, I realize I might come in dead last.

Siri Kharm (real name: David) ran, and amazingly still runs, a language school. (Boston area Dopers, you’ve seen the posters on the T.) It’s basically just a front for him to funnel money to himself and his ashram. Employees get paid in rubber checks. It sucks to work at a job where every week you have to literally beg for your pay.

There are too many stories to tell, so I’ll just pick a few at random.

One day he was eating frozen yogurt, and spilled some on his shirt. He took his shirt off, handed it to the receptionist, and told her to take it home and wash it. She refused. Whether she then quit or got fired is still a matter of speculation. In turn, she turned around and tried to nail him for not paying overtime. When the Department of Labor came in to investigate. Siri Kharm played all innocent. “You have to pay time and a half for over 40 hours? Since when? Why didn’t anyone tell me about this?” Fucking liar.

One day he found himself in hot water with the IRS. He made every employee stay late (and unpaid, of course) to look for his tax return from five years before. In the meantime, he sat and played video games. When I asked him why he didn’t just redo it, he admitted to some “creative” accounting. Fucking tax cheat.

As December approached, we started asking about time off for the holidays. Since he wasn’t a Christian, he didn’t believe in Christmas. Since he had renounced Judaism, he didn’t believe in Hannukah. So we were all required to work straight through with no breaks, not even on the 25th. Siri Kharm, however, was going to attend a 2-week Winter Solstice celebration in Florida, and would you mind booking my plane ticket now? Of course, company funds were used for this, and we felt it in our (lack of) paychecks. (I should mention that we all took time off, because fuck that tool. We had lives, too.)

Speaking of Christmas, around that time he was staying with the VP’s family. Apparently his ashram was too far away, and the “company car” (his own, but paid for with our paychecks) was constantly broken. I think he stayed with the veep for about a month. The veep’s teenage daughter complained that he lied on the couch all night (forcing others to sit elsewhere), and took control of the remote. Oh, and “his feet really stink.”

Anyway, his holiday gift to the veep’s wife was a vegetarian cookbook. His comment to me about it was “Maybe now she’ll take the hint.” Can you believe that?

In the eight long months I worked there, I never saw him once pick up his own lunch, nor pick up his own dry cleaning, or do any sort of labor of any sort. And of course he never paid for any of it out of his own pocket. He once came into my office asking for a phone number. I looked it up in my rolodex and pointed to the number. His comment was “Well, write it down for me!”

So many more stories to tell, but I’ll wrap it up with the one I find most amusing.

For a couple of decades he had a crush on some woman he knew from college. He never had the guts to ask her out. And as it turns out, she barely knew who he was, but pretty much regarded him as some random loser. Anyway, one day he found out she was moving from Philly to Germany. He wanted to catch her before she left the country and convince her to marry him. He asked all of our opinions (that was a first) about whether he should fly to Philly and confront her (on the company dime, of course). We all said “Yes! Go! Go far away! Don’t even worry about coming back! Ever!” Instead, he sent an employee out to buy a diamond ring (guess where the money came from) and had another employee FedEx it to her. Surprisingly, it didn’t melt her heart.

Love is a fickle thing when you’re a lazy entitled stinky-footed tax cheating liar of a creepy stalker, I guess.

Wow.

I don’t know TDN - I think you might actually have the winning post…

“Annie” and people like her are the reason that companies don’t give two weeks’ notice, and why the companies like to have someone from Security oversee an employee clean out his/her desk and leave. Not that I hold companies blameless, companies pull some pretty shitty moves too.

I’ve had a couple of pretty bad bosses, but not as bad as others. One of them was a woman I’ll call Lory. She was the manager at a woman’s clothing store, and she was the very embodiment of the Peter Principle. She was an excellent saleswoman, when she was just a clerk. When she was promoted to management, though, she was unbelievable. She’d clock in at 8 AM (the store was open 10 AM to 6 PM Mon-Sat, noon to 5 PM on Sunday), and clock out at about 6:30 PM. One would THINK that she was spending over 10 hours a day at the store, right? Wrong. We didn’t have time clocks, and even when she actually arrived at the store when she clocked herself in, she’d usually duck out and go grocery shopping, putting all of her groceries in the tiny fridge that was supposed to be used for employee’s lunches. So the rest of us had to hope that our lunches wouldn’t spoil before we could take a break. She also would take naps in the back room, leaving the sales clerks to sell the stock…however, she was the only one who was allowed to write up the sales! Since she got a bonus on the monthy sales after a minimum was met, one would think that she’d be anxious to do increase sales. Instead she’d gripe at the clerks if we didn’t get the inventory checked in, priced, and put out. When we bought clothes from the store, she falsified the tickets to make it look like they were regular sales (which she got a commission on) instead of employee sales (which earned her no commission). She’d take home fancy garments, wear them, and return them to stock, to sell as used. A lot of our store supplies mysteriously went missing on a regular basis…and she was the one who was first in and last out. Basically, she committed fraud in every way she could think of. She also had a very active sex life, and we could tell when she was cheating on her boyfriend, as she would be sitting in the front of the store during these times (as opposed to napping in the back) so that she could dash out of the back exit if he should come around. She was also the most backbiting person I’ve ever known. Oh, and she’d steal ideas whenever possible. This company was a chain of several stores, and we got a regular newsletter. I don’t know how many times I saw one of my ideas in the newsletter…with her name on it.

I had one bad boss. I can’t remember her name, but it was when I worked at Wal-Mart.

I requested the day of my 21st birthday and some of the surrounding days off, unpaid, about a month and a half before hand, and reminded them every week.

Get my schedule the week of my birthday, and I’m working right through all of the days. I go in and explain to the lady that I was supposed to go see my family, a big Italian family, and that you don’t just cancel appointments with my big Italian family. She flat-out told me that I had a choice to make - between my job at Wal-Mart, and my family. You know, since Wal-Mart is such a family-oriented store.

I mean, it’s not like she was breaking any laws there (you don’t HAVE to give requested time off, unless there’s an emergency, a scheduled surgery, or FMLA) but that was the dumbest thing to say ever. I’ve sent that story on to WakeUpWalMart.

Quit that job and I’ve never been happier.

~Tasha

When I left my last job I gave 30 days notice, I actually left at about 22 days with pay for the balance of my notice I was informed of this at 10am on day 22. All of my passwords in the computer system were shut down about 90 min before that.

Apparently someone was worried I might try something like this since they all knew I despised my boss for a variety of things that could fill a couple threads. Not surprising since I joked about moving the contents of all of the warehouses in the region to one location in the racks if they ever pissed me off.

Little did they know I am far sneaker and evil then they imagined.

I already had done some damage, but it was far more subtle and camoflaged as actions by my boss (using his logins). Since I knew the audit schedules, I knew that area was not due to be checked for about 2 months.

Amazingly enough inventory accuracy had a slightly greater than significant drop a couple months after I left. Making it difficult to blame on me especially since I had been gone for months as well as questionable inventory transactions tied to his login.

There were also about 15 boxes with barcode labels that would scan as:
“Boss is a dork”
“boss smokes crack”
“incorrect entry”
“virus detected”
“invalid login”
“you win $50”
“you’re fired”

etc, etc

in the item number feild of a barcode scanner when they were scanned at inventory. I’m sure it was good for a few chuckles when they found them and more than a few pulled hairs on my ex-bosses part…

I worked a big box store like that for a while when I was a kid. They scheduled me to work during school hours and then got mad at me when I declined the notion of truancy.

One of the meanest things I ever saw was vacation-related. It didn’t come from a boss, but a co-worker. I was working at McDonald’s, and one of the boys on my shift told everyone (over and over) how psyched he was that he had gotten tickets to a concert. Can’t remember the band or how much he paid, but the tickets were notoriously hard to get and the amount seemed like a fortune to me. The concert was in a city more than 300 miles away, so the boy had asked for 2 days off, intending to spend the night in the other city. He was like a kid waiting for Christmas.

He had the misfortune to somehow piss off one of the girls I worked with. She broke open the box in which time-off requests were dropped and took out his request slip and threw it away. The boy only found out he was scheduled to work one day before the concert date. The boss didn’t believe him that he had put in the request (after seeing what that girl did to the boy for revenge, I wasn’t about to tattle on her) and refused to let him have the 2 days off, saying the kid had to chose between the concert and his job. The kid chose the concert, which I thought was the right choice.

Thanks. I truly had to suffer for that story.

Might as well throw my hat into the ring. You guys think that’s a bad boss? You don’t know a bad boss until you’ve been to Korea and worked at a hagweon 학원.

Pull up a chair, pop the top of your favorite summer beverage, fluff the pillows, put on your shades, and just relax, friends, because this will be long.

Okay, the contract appears in the e-mail after the telephone interview. Contract looks good. Has some nice round numbers for the pension, the tax, and the health. That should’ve been a Very Big Clue That Something Just Ain’t Right[sup]tm[/sup], but I was green to the hagweon business. (Not that green; I did it way back before they were called hagweons and one boss decided not to pay me my month’s pay–a Korean friend of mine got it for me from that scum.) The contract also had some nice promises in there about housing: free and non-shared.

Hah! When the managers picked up a Canadian dude and me at the airport, we got dropped off at a fourth floor apartment, building had no elevator, we had to share the place, and the heating system did not work. This was in the beginning of February last year. It was cold, mighty cold, incredibly cold, polar bears thought it was excessively cold.

Ah, then the director of the joint tried to get us to agree to share the place. We pitched major fits and finally got impressive places about an hour and a half’s commute away. The Koreans thought we would turn them down because of the commute time. Pshaw.

Not so long after that, the director decided that she needed some new foliage around the hagweon/kindergarten combination. Of course, that means the foliage needed fertilizer. Care to guess what kind? Luckily, not human; however, I have no doubts whatsoever that had she thought of it, she would have docked our pay for not crapping enough to fill an arbitrary quota. So, nobody could leave the joint until the cow manure was spread. I did minimal help: cut the bags open.

Then there was the trust factor. Trust us foreigners? Yeah, right. I told one kid to shut up and that was apparently as bad as starting World War III. The so-called academic manager told me to never again curse at the kids. When I asked her what specific curse word I used, she said “shut up” is a curse word. Then I laughed in her face and told her I think I know what are and aren’t English curse words. She, who happens to be Korean and can’t speak English particularly well, proceded to tell me that I don’t know much about English.

Ah, but that’s not the worst of it. Let’s talk finances.

  1. Falsely reported hiring date and salary to government while at the same time taking out that nice round figure for deductions. Of course that nice round figure turned out to be twice the actual deduction rate. And, of course, the director was pocketing the differences.

  2. Tried to fire the Canadian teacher on the last day of the contract. This as an attempt to keep him working there. I still don’t see how they expected someone to continue working after being fired, but then that’s just me, I guess.

  3. Tried to get the Canadian teacher to recruit his own replacement for after the end of his own contract.

  4. Tried to have the Canadian teacher pay–Yeah, I bet that woke you up, didn’t it?–for a substitute teacher until a new teacher could be hired.

  5. Refused to hire a number of other teachers, because they weren’t: North American, Female, Blonde, Blue-Eyed, big-boobed.

  6. Threatened to have me arrested on trumped up charges if I appeared at the Labor Board hearing for the Canadian teacher.

  7. Tried to get back the airfare to San Francisco and threatened to sue me for damages because I didn’t leave the country after leaving their “kind employ.”

Oh, we got our money, and I’m kind of proud of what got the so-called manager into doing it. Don’t worry, nothing illegal, but quite funny.

So, folks, let me know if you’re planning on teaching English over Incheon way and tell me the name of the joint. I’ll let you know if it’s the same outfit. Anyway, this is just a little bit of it. Hey, I’ll just send you a copy of a full report on the “lovely place.”

Oh, yes, I left out the important thing:

Visas for us foreigner workers are completely tied to the place that sponsors us in the first place. Unless and until they give a letter of release, even if we get fired, there’s no way to get another job legally in the country until the end of the contract period.

When my first husband and I were first separated, it was a very emotionally difficult time for both of us. The old high school where I had taught for many years had closed and I was in a new situation without my old colleagues for support. I began to lose a battle with depression and eventually had to be hospitalized in the mental health unit of a large hospital. I notified the school about where I was and why – or someone in my family did. This was over 25 years ago and I can’t remember for certain.

For privacy reasons, the mental health ward would neither confirm nor deny if someone was a patient. So when my principal called to check up on me, he couldn’t find out any information. He didn’t like that. So he continued to call. The nursing staff told me about it and asked if they should give him the number of the public phones that patients used in the common area. I was reluctant, but since he was so persistent, I thought maybe there was an emergency.

So the nurses gave him the number that is usually reserved for families. The principal gave it to my substitute teacher who called me to complain about discipline problems! I was just leaning against the wall, shaking all over, trying to tell her how to be a teacher. I was so sick I could barely stand up. Even now I want to shriek thinking about the injustice of it all.

And either the substitute or the principal told at least one of my students (if not all) where I was because one of them came to the locked door of the ward and stared at me through the window. I knew I was being stared at, but I didn’t look to see who it was. I remember that I had on my robe and I didn’t like being watched from outside, but I think I was waiting on fresh towels.

After five weeks, I was well enough to be released and I soon when back to school. The student who had watched me asked me why I hadn’t acknowledged his presence or I would never have known who it was. He was a good student and meant well, but I shouldn’t have had to go through that.

That first day back was tough. My principal did not plan on making it easy for me. I brought a statement from my psychiatrist verifying that I had been hospitalized. The principal accused me of having my estranged husband (who worked in the mental health field) arrange a bogus situation with bogus verification. I don’t think he got the reaction from me that he had hoped for. I just told him to check with my psychiatrist’s office if he had any further questions.

I was a tenured teacher with no marks below “excellent” on any of my evaluations for all nine years that I had previously taught. He had no reason to doubt my integrity. It’s this kind of bully that takes much of the pleasure out of teaching.

Sadly, he wasn’t the worst principal I had. There were three that were worse.

I ain’t got nothing on you guys, but I have an honorary mention for an incident that didn’t happen to me: my Starbucks manager continually promised one guy a promotion from barista to shift lead over several months. For some reason, she wanted some kind of credentialing from him (for shift lead?!), and so he handed over his B.A. that he had earned back home in the Phillippines.

Granted, he should have given her a photocopy…yeah, she LOST it. But the really bad part was that she vehemently denied ever receiving it from him, when he had handed it to her in person! It was going to cost him several hundred dollars and a lot of time to obtain a replacement, and she used that as an excuse to pass him over for the promotion ('cause she didn’t have the documentation, so her hands were tied, you see?).

I was suspicious because she was always telling me how she thought people with a college education lorded it over her (a mere high school grad), and she had a HUGE chip on her shoulder about never going to college. Look at her – she was living proof that you didn’t NEED a higher education to succeed! What kind of dumbass would spend $30k a year to sit in class when they could be out in the world and succeeding like HER! How DARE people who spent several years in higher education think they’re SMART or something, the sheer audacity! SHE was smarter than the whole world!!! etc., etc.

I later heard through the grapevine that she worked her way up in the district, had a huge breakdown, demoted herself to barista, and then finally quit – but not before driving the morale of every store she worked at straight into the earth’s core. Good riddance.

Oddly, my bad boss ran his own business, and, as we’re a fire-at-will state, treated employees like klenex. Payed minimum, even if you somehow managed to survive several years there. If you -did- survive, he knew you either didn’t have any other choices, or you were a masochist, so he’d continue to assign you more and more work, and verbally browbeat you if you messed up on any of it. Towards the end of things with me, he was literally assigning me two jobs that had to occur at the exact same time in two different places.
I got wise and split a few months in. My best friend went for two years along with his spouse, who literally had a nervous breakdown before he finally realized this probably wasn’t the best place for them to work.

I saw the business on sale on Ebay a few years back, but found they didn’t meet their minimum (which kinda surprised me; it was a valuable business). Family still owns and runs it, and me and my buddy still flip it the bird when we drive past.

Monty, you know the rules. No mentioning stuff like this and then not telling the story.