Share your "My boss is an idiot" stories

O.K., here’s mine:

My boss has issues. He appears to have an infantile emotional attachment to inanimate objects around the office. When these objects need to be updated, he experiences acute seperation anxiety. I’m not kidding - he really does. I do my work on a PC with a Pentium 1 processor running Windows 95, and a 33.6K internet connection. We never would have gotten that had it not been for the fact that it became literally impossible to continue running DOS on a 486 machine. When I made him get the new computer, he wanted to know if it was possible to still run the programs in DOS.

In addition to needing a new computer, I need a new printer as well. The manual feeder just doesn’t work right anymore. Sometimes I have to print a stack of 100 envelopes, and they will jam in the feeder approximately every other time. But he’s the kind of guy who would pay someone $200 to repair a printer that’s out of date rather than spend $300 for a brand-new printer.

The office copier was a dinosaur that he nursed along for 12 years. It would break down about once a week, and he sunk thousands of dollars into repairing that copier, which was never going to work well because it was simply too old.

One day in December, I came to work, and he told me he had received a large payment from a client, which he had to spend before the end of the year for tax purposes. I thought, “Ahh, finally we can get some of the stuff I’ve been bugging him about for all these years.” Well, apparently he had already spent the money. What did he get? A laptop computer for his wife, a new printer for his personal use, two completely unneeded battery backup systems, an air purifier, a paper shredder, and an electric stapler. Meanwhile, I am still hand-feeding 100s of envelopes individually in order to print them.

We finally got a new copier this week, but only because the old one gave up the ghost, and was literally impossible to repair any more.

He frequently does stuff like this: He did some web research, printed out pages and pages and pages of material, handed it to me, and asked me to type the material into an index. When I asked him why he couldn’t have saved the material to a floppy disk rather than printing it, thus saving me all that typing, he said, “I didn’t think of that.”

I could go on, but I think you get the idea…

I’m not making this up. My boss (female) claims to not to be able to operate a PC because it hurts her finger to click the mouse - this stemming from a “freak college injury” some 30 years ago.

I could go on and on. . .

Ugh. I’m right handed, but I use my mouse left handed, because I got used to doing that while playing DOOM. (Right hand on 10-key pad, left hand on mouse)


I think I may have worked for your boss, Blowero.

My former boss was charged with building and maintaining a web site for our department. This task was then delegated to me. After I’d been coding for a day or so the boss calls me in to pitch this staggering suggestion:

“You know our sister company over in Shelbyville? They have a web site too. Now, I don’t know if this is possible… But is there any way to… I don’t know… ‘LINK’ their web site to ours? So someone who looked at our web site could also look at their site?”

I tried to keep my face neutral while my mind wanted to laugh and scream at the same time. Then I slowly nodded my head and said, “Yeah, I think I can figure out how to do something like that. Give me a couple of days.”

As I left the office in amazement, I realized that actually he was a genius. He had invented the internet all over again! Sites that acutally LINK to other sites - whoda thunk it?

When I was a video producer for an ABC station, the News Director came to me and started giving me a lecture / yell at me for not putting NATS (“natural sound”) on a tape I had edited. He went so far as to take me into his office and play the tape for me. I told him that there was sound on the tape and that he needed to have the volume up on the TV when he wanted to hear the sound. He turned up the volume on the TV, heard the sound, brought the volume back down to 0 and then apologized for getting angry. :mad:

I worked for an incredibly incompetent nonprofit once that purported to serve the working poor (especially blacks and Latinos) in the southern US. Really they just wasted donor money. The executive director was an insane woman with a toxic personality – at least, that’s how the board president described her, onstage, at our tenth anniversary celebration.

In 1999, I worked for them, and they hired a smart, nice young guy to write the organizational newsletter, which would come out quarterly. The director wanted it to be thirty two pages – an absurd length for a newsletter. But he gamely worked on it, and wrote enough decent articles to fill the space.

The director read it and didn’t like it, so told him to rewrite everything.

This was in June, mind you.

When I resigned in October, he’d taken to spending his days at the organization lying on the couch clutching his migrained-filled head. She’d taken his rewrites and was, um, working on them herself – no doubt ruining them with her error-laden, jargon-filled, impenetrable prose. He had nothing to do, but he was getting a paycheck,a nd so he was reduced to the couch.

The Director had attended some meeting or another at which she’d heard some halfwit spout off about Y2K and how the working poor would suffer the worst during the ensuing apocalypse, and so she told me to write a newsletter article about how to make it through the power outages etc. that we could expect. I told her as nicely as possible that Y2K was a media creation, that its dangers were vastly overblown, and that we would better serve our target demographic by not spreading hysteria. She responded by implying that I was a racist who didn’t care about the working poor.

Anyway, I resigned in October.

In late January 2000, my father received the organization’s newsletter, the first one they’d published since hiring the newsletter writer.

It included an article advising people how to survive the impending chaos that Y2K would bring about.

I have never had a more incompetent boss.

This is only one story among many.


My boss gets away with just about anything because he’s the “absent-minded professor” type. I swear I don’t know how the man gets dressed in the morning. It’s widely known through our office that you never ever want to leave something on his desk because it will be lost. He’s lost some very old, probably irreplaceable photographs belonging to customers. You have to be careful with what’s on your own desk too because he’s a klepto and often absent-mindedly walks away with other people’s possessions. And if he loses something, it’s up to all of us to find it for him.
What I love the most, though, is that he thinks he has the right to interrupt all of us no matter what we’re doing at the time. No matter if you’re on the phone with a customer or in a meeting, he just barges right in because what he has to say (or what he wants) at that moment is much more important. He also has the habit of ambushing me with a list of things to do before I can even take off my jacket in the morning and turn on my computer. He doesn’t seem to understand “can I take off my jacket and grab a pen quick?”. I swear I lock the door when I use the bathroom only because I know that if I didn’t and he wanted to talk to me just then, he’d walk right in.
Okay, and I know I’ve said enough already, but I really have to mention the heavy breathing. Is it really necessary to stand behind me at my computer and make those sounds when we’re going over something? They’re really not natural.
I also relate to being forced to use ancient equipment. My boss thinks that computers that are 15 years old must be worth something. He’d rather try to sell it and make $5 off it than just throw it in the trash.
Hey, that felt great! :slight_smile:

I can’t even begin to wrap my brain around that. A Righty using the mouse Lefty?!?! Next you’re gonna tell me you can chew gum at the same time.

Also, Chimera? Is that from… MI2?

My manager is a jerk, but not in a good way. He always seems to have it in for someone or other at any one time and lets it show in the most petty of ways. Here’s 3 examples that come to mind

  1. Last summer, on a particularly hot day, he left the office with no explanation. He came back 10 minutes later with ice creams for everyone except S****, who he had it in for at that time.

  2. Just before Christmas he came to work with a big tin of sweets. Through out the day he would emerge from his office and offer the tin of sweets around to everybody except J***, who he had it in for at that time.

  3. A few days after that, we had our firms Christmas do. You know the sort of thing. Nice restaurant, free meal, free drinks, that sort of thing. After the meal, he gets up and makes his usual unfunny speech, but then he breaks with tradition and starts handing out presents. Nothing expensive, just a couple of quid spent on each one, but everyone got a present that, in some way, reflected their persona within the company. Everyone, that is, except J***, the lady who didn’t get any sweets a few days earlier. Yep. She didn’t get a present.

Wow, legion, sounds like your manager isn’t mature enough to be president of the kindergarten class! I’ll cross my fingers that you don’t get on the “naughty” list!

My current boss is the smartest, funniest, coolest and fairest dude I know. My former boss was the most useless, petty and ignorant turd I’ve ever met. Go figure.

Former boss-slug used to sleep in his cubicle. If you walked in on him snoozing, he would sit-up with a jerk and say something incredably stupid like, “I was concentrating on something!” :rolleyes: He used to spend what seemed like an “inappropriate” amount of time in the bathroom. He always went in there with this stupid gym bag he kept at his desk. He was either wanking or eating, I’m sure of it. He did nothing!. He foisted all his responsibility onto one of his “team members” and took all the credit for the results. God, I hated this putrid excrescence. Anybody know him? His name was Ron.

Fagjunk Theology: Not just for Sodomite Propagandists anymore!

Nope, been using this Nym since the mid-80’s, in a wide variety of places.

And yes, I find it works great. I can type with the right while clicking with the left, while chewing gum and keeping an eye on the TV and thinking about something completely different… I’m a multi-tasking kind of guy.

anybody want to speculate about why so many idiots get away with so much? my theory is that senior managers feel more secure if their middle managers aren’t smart enough to be a threat. but i don’t understand how boards of directors etc. can put frauds and lunatics at the tops of their organizations.

The horrible director I worked for had one talent, and one talent only: she was a schmoozer par excellence. Gloria Steinem actually referred to her as a “living folk hero.” We got tremendous amounts of money from various foundations who apparently didn’t realize the corrupt organizational culture.

The director had also founded the organization ten yeras ago, and she regularly worked sixty and eighty-hour weeks. It’s not that she wasn’t dedicated – it was that she was an insane and incompetent control freak who would only give up responsibility for something after the fact, and then only if it had gone wrong. (The final straw for me was when she forgot to pick someone up at the airport, leading to this poor non-English-Speaker’s being stranded on the streets of Atlanta overnight, and she blamed me for her error, even though I’d given her a printed schedule of all the people needing airport pickups complete with gate numbers, flight numbers, and arrival times).


Because most senior types only know what the junior types tell them, and the junior types aren’t going to say, “Well, after sleeping in my cube, I go in the bathroom and wank” if they want to stay employed. Also, managers tend to protect their own. Once you’re in management, you’re no longer responsible for things going wrong. If something messes up, are they gonna believe the manager or the underling? The manager.

When I worked on stage crew at my school, the stage manager was… incredibly ridiculous. There was one time before a show when he asked me to run a prop to the opposite side of the stage. In the first scene he came up to me, looking frantic, and asked where that prop was. I told him I’d put it on stage left like he asked me to. Our conversation went on in circles much like Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean…

“But WHY isn’t the prop HERE?”

He lectured me on ‘being ready’ for about five minutes before he finally got it through his head that he could get someone from stage left to run the prop around back…

He still doesn’t realize the prop was on stage left because he’d told me to take it to stage left.

First post. Hey all.

We have a three-person unit administering 17 Unix and Linux servers. Our supervisor is supposed to be a working sysadmin. She’s been here nine months to my one year, we’ve been to all the same training classes.

Yesterday, she tried to write a core dump to floppies. (For the record, it would have taken 250 of them.)

Welcome to the SDMB, StrangeMuse !

Have you been briefed on the naked, salad-oil massages yet?

If not, e-mail Lynn Bodani and ask about it specifically. Volunteer to help with hers. You’ll get on her good side that way.

Now that’s funny.

I work in a secured area. There is an entry door, and then two more doors - one to the training area, the other to where I work. The training room door has a lock on it. The combination to the training room door lock is fairly well known, at least to those who have ever done training.

My boss had them install a lock on the work door one Tuesday night, after everyone went home. The combination to the work door lock went to everyone in an e-mail. Which we could only access from our PCs in our cubes. Behind the locked door.

I am usually the first person into work most mornings. So it was on this Wednesday. I saw the new lock, and began to think.

What would be the most ridiculously stupid way imaginable to install a door lock and make an area secure? Obviously, it would be idiotic to choose for a combination the same combination as the training room door, the source of the security breach. So I tried it, and it worked.

The boss was trying to save money on the install by hiring a relative. Said installer hooked up the doorbell so that it rang in the area used by an accounting firm on the floor below us. They were not (we discovered) light-hearted people about having their doorbell ring repeatedly, as our employees attempted to get into work in the mornings. The surly accountants complained that they were the victims of a particularly persistent group of ring-and-run pranksters.

I tried to explain the drawbacks of the current combination to the boss, who agreed that it would be a Good Idea to change the combination. Apparently it would cost extra to contact the installer during the day (this was apparently a moonlight job), so the idea was that the combo would be changed in the middle of the night again, but the new combination posted on a note on the outside of the door. When I suggested that this might not represent the tightest security in the world, and be rather against the whole idea of a locked door in the first place, my boss then agreed. The note, therefore, was going to be posted on the inside of the door.

My conviction that we should splurge and get the installers there during the day, when we could publish the combination to those who needed it (and fix the fershlugginer doorbell and not tick off the accountants) did finally carry the day, but it was a near thing. (The combination chosen was the same as the door to the server room, which nearly caused the network guy to break down in tears, but he knows how to change locks, and so dealt with the issue on his own.)


I forgot to mention the Honorable Mention Award for Dumb Boss.

This was back in 1997. My boss at the time wanted to hire Java programmers, as Java was the hot new language. But he only wanted the best.

So his job requirements were a minimum of five years experience coding in Java.

Java was invented in 1994.

Tragically, we couldn’t hire anyone. But, after all, standards are standards.