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Three Fictional British Bosses You Wouldn't Want to Work For

Updated on October 15, 2014

The degree to which you enjoy your job is likely to depend largely on the type of relationship you have with your boss. If you're lucky, your manager will be a courteous professional who goes out of his/her to reward good work yet doesn't mind cracking the whip when need be.

If you're not so lucky then you may be faced with the situation of having to spend each and every working day trying to keep as far away from your manager as you possibly can. Perhaps your boss is a hard-arse, an old-school disciplinarian who would rather be in charge of androids than people. Or maybe your manager is a soft-touch, a wet blanket who everyone takes advantage of and is only really a manager in name. If you're really unfortunate then you may be lorded over by someone who is completely inept yet maintains a personal view that everything they do is fantastic.

If you are stuck with a manager who you do your best to avoid whenever you can then you will probably find there are times when they seem like the de facto worst boss in the world. During these darker periods, you may find it useful to reflect upon the fact that, as deplorable as they may be, at least your boss is nowhere near as bad as the following culprits from the world of fiction

1. Malcolm Tucker (The Thick of It)

Malcolm Tucker is the policy co-ordinator for Number Ten in the bitingly accurate political satire, The Thick of It. If it were possible to combine Basil Fawlty, Gordon Ramsey and Hitler into one person then Malcolm Tucker would no doubt be the result. Calling Tucker dictatorial is bit like calling Jack the Ripper 'a bit of a ladies' man': he is an out-and-out tyrant whose whole raison d'etre is to get ahead in his job by making everyone's else's life an absolute misery. Malcolm's management style (such as it is) involves slamming doors, destroying peripheral devices, launching astonishingly foul-mouthed tirades and – from time to time – punching people in the nose. Imagine phoning him up on Monday morning to call in sick..?

2. Ian Beale (EastEnders)

Ian Beale is a local businessman, investor and entrepreneur in the BBC's long running shoutathon-come-soap opera, EastEnders. Beale is the classic example of a man who treats people in his employ badly because he himself is treated with contempt by those who know him. To be fair, Ian has had to endure more than his fair share of misery in Albert Square. Aside from getting threatened, blackmailed and beaten up on a semi-regular basis by East London's finest meatheads and gangsters, Ian has also had at least one mental breakdown and been targeted for assassination by one of his many ex-wives. Making his employees work long unsociable hours and paying them far less than they deserve is Ian's way of getting back at the world.

You can't help but feel Ian's man-management skills would improve drastically if only he would move away from Walford...

3. David Brent (The Office)

David Brent is the general manager of Slough-based paper merchants, Wernham Hogg. From the outset, Brent doesn't seem so bad: he's relaxed about work and keen to engage with his fellow workers. The truth is though, Brent is a frustrated entertainer who sees his underlings as being little more than a captive audience for him to unleash his bad jokes and politically incorrect views on whenever the mood takes him.

He mistakenly believes he is held in high regard by his staff when the truth is everybody bar Gareth Keenan (himself a deeply unbearable 'team leader') cannot really stand to be in the same room as him. Rather than being an out-and-out dislikeable man, Brent is a boss who has the uncanny ability to slowly suck the life out of those who are forced to spend too much time in his presence: rumours that Ricky Gervais based Brent on Piers Morgan remain unsubstantiated.

Final Thoughts

Whilst the bosses listed above are of course fictional, it's a pretty safe bet that there are managers just like Tucker, Beale and Brent holding court in businesses all across this great nation of ours right this minute. So next time you're looking at your boss (from a distance) and thinking 'what did I do to deserve this', take a moment to look at the bigger picture.


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