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10 SIGNS YOU HAVE A DEMONIC BOSS (and what to do about it)

Updated on July 22, 2009

You come into work, wife or husband has been bitching at you all morning about the kids not being dressed on time for the school bus. The traffic was hell, and the dog took a shit on your shoes as you walked out to the door. The alternator on your car was dead so you had to borrow your spouse's car, and they were even more pissed at you then. Sound like a typical day? Wait until you get to work, and the boss is on his/her broom and already chewing your ass off in front of everyone, some of whom are thoroughly enjoying the show....


Fortunately, I've only had a few bad bosses in my day. It's twice as  bad when you rely on them to save your life and cover for you in bad show down with an offender, as with my line of work. By the way, my current boss--who reads my articles, is a saint!

Bad Boss From Hell

The 10 Tell-tale Signs That You Have A Bad Boss


  • everything you do is wrong: approach the boss with a positive spin and ask how the boss wants it done differently. Only the most insecure boss will not appreciate the fact that you solicited feedback and didn't blame them.

  • he wants to reinvent the wheel and his shit always stinks less.


  • it's never good enough: again, emphasize that you want to solve the problem and improve your performance.
  • good dialogue example for employee: "I hope you can help me with something. I've noticed that you monitor my work closely. What can I do to increase your confidence in me?


  • secretion of abnormal levels of adrenaline: this is a psychological response to stress or annoyance.
  • recognize when he/she is yelling(won't be hard to tell) and keep your adrenaline in check. Don't blast back at the boss no matter how much you want to.
  • let the boss explode because interrupting will only fuel the fire.
  • walking out is seen as disrespect.
  • take deep breathes and try to listen to the substance of what he/she is saying. The tone is wrong, but the point may not be.
  • if the tirades are abusive or abnormally frequent, take it to HR- or leave.
  • address the boss when he is finished and request to think about what what was said and to invite discussion at a later time.


  • this one gets me every time, I hate procrastinators and people who don't get their job and their point across!
  • lazy, distracted by family issues, burned out, or over his/her head. Yep, I've seen this a time or two! You can't change the boss, so get help from senior coworkers or other supervisors.
  • good dialogue example for employee: " Could I speak with ---- about that? He's an expert" or "I know you are busy, would you mind me speaking to Supervisor ---- about it?"


  • dodges work, gets credit for someone else's work, and is a huge liar. Haven't we all had one of these?
  • confronting your boss on this issue, no matter how tactfully, probably won't work and will challenge his honesty....or threaten his job.
  • tattle-telling equals firing in most cases.
  • leave or become the status quo.


  • they are never around and that sets you up for failure or having to scramble for help with an unenthusiastic supervisor not over you.
  • you can count on your position being like stale water and not going anywhere because they are never around to see your accomplishments.
  • request to be assigned to another supervisor: worked for me!


  • they never defend you or acknowledge you exist: I'd have a hard time conceptualizing someone not acknowledging me...but then....
  • sometimes this boss takes the tough jobs and sometimes he never know because he is not spiritually there ever. SEE MIA BOSS.
  • tell-tale signs he/she meets this criteria: they take all the credit and says things like,"this is what you should have done."
  • if you have a better job offer, they talk you into staying. The next day they fire you, and that job offer? GONE!


  • see hothead: Dr.Jekyll-Mr.Hyde-- how the hell do you approach this boss?
  • they are the predatory boss that crushes your spirit and leaves you in tears.
  • you are the scum of the earth, never forget that!
  • you start second guessing yourself so much that you ask for a third party's opinion.
  • you may become substance abuse/dependent because you can't cope any other way...


  • who doesn't like a badass cop supervisor? Anyone? Anyone??!
  • "I'll do it because no one can do it right."
  • "look at my trophies and plagues. Fuckin' shut up because I fought for your freedom and I can take it away!" (an especially effective way to get an offender to loathe you....)
  • this will be the first person to speak in a unit meeting and the last person to speak in a unit meeting.
  • people are afraid to approach this one. It could also be a coworker that fits this category...


  • see unethical boss: this is not a coined phrase for a fat person's outfit over the swimsuit they poured themselves into....
  • you have now discovered after a few years of scratching your head that there are "good ole' boys" in the company. They can get away with murder!
  • you find yourself on Easter weekend or Christmas fixing their screw up so the boss doesn't get fired or the employees directly under him/her doesn't get canned.
  • Bah Humbug! Don't forget to do my stats report because the city manager wants it on his desk by morning. How did this become part of your job description??!



  • what are there pet peeves?
  • poor planning and a lack of respect don't go far!


  • mine hates mornings and creative talking:keep it simple stupid!
  • even pretending to like their style goes far and shows you pick up on things


  • mine has two in particular he always has a kind word to say to. Immolate that person!
  • forget jealousy or disgust, if you want to eat, be like these people (at work of course)!


  • today,  I walked into work, where our offices are in an open round table style forum. One was bitching about training next week,one was shoveling his marine background down an offender's throat, and another was reminding an offender of how quickly he could rip the guy's freedom away.
  • true, any job can suck, but keep your gripes to yourself!


  • now, they helped me with a harassment issue, but they aren't always on your side. Remember they represent the company, not you.
  • they may take it to the boss, not you and that may cost your job.
  • they are never the friend!


  • remember the aforementioned harassment suit? yep, I documented!
  • Make sure every comment, every broken promise, every out-of-control comment is game.
  • don't keep the list at work dummy. Find a nice safe place.


  • think about, write about it, and file it way.
  • get to know the head hunters of your field (mine being commissioners, chief of police, and regional directors)
  • you will feel so good when you can pull this document out and know you have a way out when the time comes!


  • yep, I said it! Be aware of every information you give them, because it will be likely be used against you.
  • know the boss's weaknesses and objectives and how you deliver your everyday messages.
  • be aware of your working style (fortunately I am a go-getter like my boss) and plan how you can balance the two.


  • how obvious is this??
  • your car breaksdown, fine. The dog craps on your shoes, fine. But don't make this an everyday excuse.


  • "Don't ask me if you should buy lunch for the client, they are coming for lunch--so do it!"
  • They pay you to do your job, so don't be a lazy piece of crap!


  • this is probably an issue for me....
  • completely ignore instructions from your boss and go off and do somethin else instead....this will drive your boss bat-crap-crazy!


  • again, what did I say about keeping it to yourself? I repeated this twice because of the sheer importance and widespread lack of employee compliance on this issue!
  • bosses don't want to put heir butts on the line for you and then hear crap in as difficult as it may, return the favor with sweet nothings and appreciation in their ears.


  • they like you, but experience tells them that liking you clouds their judgement.
  • no, they don't want to drink a cold one with you after work....unless they are unethical.


  • they don't give a damn about the toilet paper....
  • thy don't want to hold your hand or feel like they have to worry every time they leave the office...


  • come on people....lying to your boss only makes it worse: every time!
  • the biggest insult is that you think they believe you.


  • this is a humdinger at my flash: the boss has a life outside of work.
  • He/she just slaved at a 12 hour shift, came back at the crack of dawn, required to stay motivated, and then YOU fall asleep in meetings. What's wrong with you people??
  • this reminds them that they don't really give a rodent's behind, but they have the job to force you and everyone else to care anyway.

Really Bad Boss/Clip from Chrismas Vacation


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    • profile image

      JMK Australia 6 years ago

      How about learning to spell ? When do you us "there" = ie here and there !

      "Their" means, yours, mine and theirs. Got it ?

    • profile image

      Laughingcowcheese 7 years ago

      I not only enjoyed reading this, but I totally empathised as I (and the two other wonderful ladies with whom I work) currently slave away, working under a boss like the one you describe. It somewhat helps to know we're not alone in our misery! lol

    • profile image

      DB 8 years ago

      I don't think immolate means what you think it means ;-)

    • kea profile image

      kea 8 years ago

      Great hub - well put together! I agree with all your signs! I enjoyed reading this.

    • profile image

      Harry Paul 8 years ago

      Studies have also shown that the biggest single reason people quit their jobs is the behavior of their immediate boss–they were either abusive, didn’t care about them, didn’t listen or appreciate what they did or were only out for themselves. This is why Bad Bosses normally need a painful jolt of reality before the will even consider making the changes necessary to become a Great Boss. This is why we instituted the Bad Boss Tagging program. It provides that necessary but painful jolt of reality.

    • profile image

      cosette 8 years ago

      oh boy. this hub makes me want to laugh and cry at the same time :)

    • Ladybird33 profile image

      Ladybird33 8 years ago from Fabulous USA

      I have a boss that I don't like so I completely related to this hub! It was great and somewhat of a stress reliever :) Thanks.

    • mayhmong profile image

      mayhmong 8 years ago from North Carolina

      Sounds like I've been in your shoes when it comes with a bad ass boss!

    • Lady_E profile image

      Elena 8 years ago from London, UK

      Interesting Hub. There are some nasty bosses out there, but lets hope we don't meet them. You got me thinking about that film - "The Devil wears Prada". Lol.

    • AsherKade profile image

      AsherKade 8 years ago from Texas

      I have a REALLY bad coworker...from the backside ghetto of HELL. He is my next target hub....thanks for enjoying this hub....I do love the boss I have now, just to reiterate. He supports my writing...

    • dohn121 profile image

      dohn121 8 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York

      Ha ha ha! I'm SO glad I no longer work in an office. It was the absolute pits! Thank you so much for this gem. Did you know that 90% of the people who quit their jobs is BECAUSE of their boss? It's true. So, when the time came for me to get promoted, I just treated all of those under me the way I always wanted to be treated. It worked like a charm.

    • profile image

      ralwus 8 years ago

      And then there is my wife

    • fen lander profile image

      fen lander 8 years ago from Whitstable

      Funny stuff. Love it. Keep up the good work- and keep your head down.


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