Everyone has had a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad boss at least once in their lives. In the Cut’s My Terrible Boss series, people vent about theirs.
I worked for Noah* at a huge film studio — he was running the first digital department there. When we first met, he was really really wonderful. He took me under his wing and I became his confidante, which was a huge mistake.
He was a complete textbook narcissist. Any chance he could get to ridicule me in front of people, he would. He asked if he could review some artwork for a movie campaign we were working on. I warned him, “Hey, just so you know, this is the first round. I want you to know that it’s nowhere near done.” The next day, I went into his office and he told me to leave the door open, which was weird. He started laying into me. He screamed, “I can’t believe you would show me this! This is terrible! I don’t even know what you were thinking!” After that confrontation, it was all downhill.
Once, he told one of our biggest vendors, “You guys need to get me into the White House Correspondents Dinner,” which was like, what? Why would he go to something like that? I don’t know how they did it, but they got him there. Noah posted a bunch on social media, “I’m so proud of who I am at this point, I’m happy to be where I am.” His Facebook posts were always about being calm and loving life and being grateful — but he would scream at me for the smallest thing.
Another time I spent a whole day calling the corporate office of a huge sandwich chain because he said, ‘The way they cut their chicken is different every single day. You need to call their corporate office and make sure they do cubed chicken rather than sliced chicken.” He liked the chicken cubed. It was embarrassing, but I did it. “Is there any way that you guys could nail down one way to cut chicken?” They responded, “That’s not what something we can control …” But I went back him and said, “They’re going to think about it, they’re going to try to figure out a way to tie all of their strategies at their various locations together.” He was satisfied with that.
He would have me spend my entire day doing mindless things like that. By that time, I was a manager, but he treated me like I was his personal assistant. I was dropping off checks for his housekeeper, I would have to go to his apartment to walk his dog, and this was in the middle of the workday. He would have me plan his personal parties and then not invite me to them.
We would catch him lying constantly. He’d just lie for no reason. Even the execs were like, “What do we do with this guy???”
On my last day, he completely ignored me. He was walking around, making jokes and talking to everybody else. But he wouldn’t talk to me. He left me a card that only said, “Thanks.” He left before the day was even over but he knew it was my last day. Everyone else was so nice and threw a little party for me in the conference room. He didn’t even come. The craziest part is that I feel like I learned so much from him: I learned what not to do when you’re in charge.
*All names and signifying details have been changed.
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