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Monster Bosses and Other Workplace Horror Stories
November 6, 2012
Some of us don't need to ride a roller coaster or watch a scary movie to get the chills because there are plenty of shocking things to be found in the professional world. From bullying bosses to nightmare interviews, the workplace is full of hair-raising tales. Employees face a unique set of fears in their day-to-day lives. Awkward, uncomfortable and even downright horrifying workplace scenarios are all too common. Let's take a look at some of the more frightening aspects of being a worker today. First there's the job interview. Leigh S., told CareerBuilder about one poor soul who came to interview for a job in his "quaint old office building" on a rainy day. There were a couple buckets catching leaks in the roof, Leigh says, and while he was interviewing one candidate, he "heard a crack, a swoosh and then a huge splash." He came out of his office to see that "the ceiling tile just above the candidate had collapsed under the weight of the rain water and drenched her." The jobseeker informed Leigh that she was going to look elsewhere for work. Even typical office furnishings can pose a risk. Kevin Keegan explained to the Washingtonian that a friend of his was being interviewed while sitting near a floor-to-ceiling bookshelf. When he leaned back to think about a question the interviewer asked, "books cascaded down, with the crashing bookshelf narrowly missing his head." But let's say you escape the interview with both your dignity and your health, and end up getting hired. Great, but your first day on the job could be a disaster. According to one new employee, her first day on her first job in high school - as an usher and candy counter clerk at the local movie theater - "the box office clerk didn't show up," so they made her work the ticket counter. As she says, "there was no cash register or even a calculator - just a little old tin cash box and a roll of tickets. I was totally FREAKED. I think they lost about $100 by the time they yanked me out and put me where I'd been hired to be... then the manager who put me there chewed me out later!" There are many different kinds of bosses, ranging from mean and horrible to flat-out intolerable. You could end up like Erin, who told AOL Jobs that on her first job out of college, her boss treated her essentially like a servant, asking her to perform all sorts of personal duties, such as writing Christmas cards and party invitations, neither of which were part of the job description. Then the boss invited Erin and her boyfriend to a party at her house. "I should have been suspicious when she said how pretty my white blouse and black skirt looked on me, and would I please wear it to her party," Erin said. Sure enough, when Erin and her boyfriend showed up to the party they were introduced to the caterer as "the waitress" and "the bartender" and put to work. Or your boss could work you like a dog - literally. According to AOL Jobs, one employee had a job as assistant to the administrative officer of a sponsored research lab at a leading university. During conversations the boss would suddenly "snap, and her facial expression would change, she would lock eyes with you and her voice would drop very low." You probably think she was nuts, like RV and his co-workers did, until she mentioned one day that "she had learned this technique in obedience class with her dog," and had "found it to be an effective tool in managing people." Enjoy working for a woman who thinks she's the Dog Whisperer and you're Fido! But let's say you survive the interview, your first day isn't a complete disaster and your boss treats you with reasonability and respect. Think you're in the clear? Nope. In fact, you could be laid off during a fire drill! According to the Milwaukee Examiner, a "large office campus" was evacuated of hundreds of employees for a fire drill, and then announced to everybody over a loudspeaker that the company would lay off half of its staff. The stunned employees were told to re-enter the building, and that "if your employee card does not give you access to the building, it means you have been laid off and will not be allowed inside the building." Don't even think of going back to try to reason with your managers after getting fired because they'll be ready for you. Inc.com tells of former Sunbeam head "Chainsaw" Al Dunlap, who "expensed his handgun and bulletproof vest after axing half the workforce" and "throwing a chair at the accountant who approved it." It may be wiser just to start the whole employment process all over again. And this time wear a helmet to the interview.