In October 2014, Marcus Lemonis of CNBC's "The Profit" spoke at the Inc. 5000 Conference and Awards Ceremony in Phoenix, Arizona. In the course of his lecture, he told attendees what qualities he sees in certain bosses that drive him completely nuts.
"I have very little tolerance for people that don't know their numbers," he said. I have very little tolerance for people that don't come in early and stay late. I have very little tolerance for people who mistreat their employees. I have very little tolerance for people who don't take care of their customers."
If you've ever worked for a living, chances are you've had at least one boss with shortcomings comparable to those mentioned above. Maybe it was a passive-aggressive boss. Or a micro-manager. Or an unhinged, stapler-throwing tyrant. Whatever the case, it was someone you didn't want to work for, and you ran for your life the second you could.
CNBC.com spoke to people across the professional spectrum about their bad bosses, awful employers and hateful higher-ups. Read ahead and see what they are.
By Daniel Bukszpan
Posted 13 Nov. 2014
"," follows self-made millionaire and serial entrepreneur Marcus Lemonis as he saves struggling businesses while investing his own cash in the process, Tuesdays at 10 p.m. ET.
Ken of Hillsborough, New Jersey, has worked under multiple tyrannical bosses. In fact, he once worked for one about whom he said, "I still check the obituaries to see when he dies." He also worked for "the queen of passive-aggressive bosses," who used the office Christmas party to exact revenge.
"She had our office holiday party planned and then tells me a week before out of the clear blue that she canceled it," he said. "When asking why, she said the staff was irritating her and performance was slipping. Mind you, our account teams had just hit their stretch goals for the fourth quarter."
Ken's long nightmare ended when this boss fired him by email.
Sandy of Rochester, New York, described a former boss as "awful beyond words … every single person who worked for her ending up quitting, requesting a transfer, bringing her up on HR charges or having a semi-nervous breakdown." Sloane found her boss' hypocrisy particularly galling.
"When one of us requested to work from home due to a sick child, she denied the request every single time," she said. "However, once she actually suckered someone into marrying her and had a child, she worked at home for weeks on end, claiming the baby was sick."
Roy from New York City worked at an investment bank during the 1980s. He said that his boss epitomized the Leona Helmsley approach to managing employees.
"She was known for throwing objects," he said. "At various times and for no reason in particular, she threatened to fire me, castrate me or make sure that I never worked again.... She also told me that she 'knew' people. I just assumed she meant the kind of folks who carried weapons and did nasty things."
When Marcus Lemonis isn't running his multibillion-dollar company, Camping World, he goes on the hunt for struggling businesses that are desperate for cash and ripe for a deal. In the past 10 years, he has successfully turned around over 100 companies. Now he's bringing those skills to CNBC Prime and doing something no one has ever done on TV before. He's putting over $2 million of his own money on the line. In each episode, Lemonis makes an offer that's impossible to refuse: his cash for a piece of the business and a percentage of the profits. And once inside these companies, he'll do almost anything to save the business and make a profit, even if it means firing the president, promoting the secretary or doing the work himself.
Andrew of Port Washington, New York, recalled a boss who might have benefited from a seminar in properly motivating employees.
"The boss walked into someone's office one day and asked about an assignment," Lavin said. "The meek account executive responded and said, 'I haven't gotten to it, I have a lot of work in my inbox.' The boss grew red-faced, picked up the pile of paper in his inbox, threw it fiercely into the garbage can and said, 'There, now you have nothing in your inbox to do.' "
Erin from Belmont, Massachusetts, was fired for a missing a deadline, due to circumstances beyond her control.
"I had missed work two days prior because the Boston Marathon bombing suspect was being hunted four blocks away," she said. "We were in lockdown mode with hovering helicopters over our homes for 12 hours, while watching every branch of our armed forces roll down our streets in tanks."
She was now out of a job, but her former boss remained in her life for a little while longer.
"Until I disconnected from her, I would see her face pop up on my LinkedIn profile every three days like a horror movie," she said.
Kimberli from Torrance, California, once worked for a law firm whose boss was a "raving lunatic," with unusual needs that his underlings were expected to tackle.
"His secretary … had to pick him up from his home every day and drive him to work because supposedly he was too blind to drive," she said. "Miraculously, his blindness was cured when his license suspension was lifted from his previous DUI." Still, whatever his shortcomings, he knew a thing or two getting noticed.
"He once faked a bomb scare against his client to initiate a press conference at the office about how his client is a victim," she said.
Daryl from Los Angeles recalled a "purely evil" former boss who had so thoroughly alienated everyone with whom he came into contact, that he once found an extremely personal "gift" sitting on his desk. Eventually he was fired, and left the company with the same dignity that had defined his tenure.
"He was forcibly escorted out of the building with two security guards, and once he jumped in his fancy, expensive sports car, he tore out of there and burned rubber, nearly hitting one of the employees in the process," he said.
Walter of San Diego, California, said that his worst boss was the manager of a men's clothing store where he worked during college. One day he showed up to work the late shift, and the boss greeted him by firing him for missing the opening shift. The boss had redone the schedule the previous night and changed Walter's shift, but overlooked the small matter of letting him know.
"[I] called my then-girlfriend, told her I suddenly was free for the evening and asked her to pick me up," he said. "As I was hanging up the phone, the manager came up to me and said, 'Adam just called in sick. Can you work tonight?' And I said, 'You just fired me, remember?' He said, 'I know, but I was just mad. I really need you to work.' "
Harrine from Bethesda, Maryland, had a supervisor who "screamed at me, hung up the phone on me, would speak to my cubicle neighbors on either side of me and walk right past me and not speak." Then, a miraculous transformation would occur.
"Thirty minutes or an hour later he would talk to you in a pleasant voice as if nothing ever happened," she said. Then, after some time had passed, he would revert to his more contentious posture.
The boss also never read any of the emails that she sent him, so she had to take matters into her own hands. "I would have to sit with him while he read the emails I sent him or review the email attachments with him because he never read his emails," she said. "He also never listened to his voice mail messages."
When Marcus Lemonis isn't running his multibillion-dollar company, Camping World, he goes on the hunt for struggling businesses that are desperate for cash and ripe for a deal. In the past 10 years, he has successfully turned around over 100 companies. Now he's bringing those skills to CNBC Prime and doing something no one has ever done on TV before. He's putting over $2 million of his own money on the line. In each episode, Lemonis makes an offer that's impossible to refuse: his cash for a piece of the business and a percentage of the profits. And once inside these companies, he'll do almost anything to save the business and make himself a profit, even if it means firing the president, promoting the secretary or doing the work himself.