Scream queen

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

We've encouraged unhappy workers to vent about their bad bosses for two years now through Alive's Worst Boss in Columbus Contest. This year's entries were far less venomous than last year's horror stories, but we did find a clear winner deserving of the career-coaching sessions prize.

Their tale offers a drastic example of finding a way out of working for a wicked boss. It may not be the best strategy at a time when many are just happy to have a job, but it's certainly inspirational for anyone who's ever worked for a tyrant. -Molly Luffy

I was hired as the executive assistant to the president of a mid-sized, growing company. I wasn't too happy about the location of my desk, about 10 feet in front of my new boss. I faced a wall with my back to her.

I grew concerned when, throughout the day, she'd shout - and I mean shout, as if I were deaf - that she needed this or that. She had me bringing her coffee several times during the day, even though the kitchen was only a few feet away.

One day, my boss gave me a rush project with an end-of-day deadline. I turned to my task, tuned out the world and got started. Not 30 minutes had passed before I was startled by hot breath in my ear and my boss shouting, "Hey! I'm talking to you!"

Surprised, I turned to find her in my face, scolding me for not responding to her most current demand. Her breath was foul and she launched into a verbal assault, calling me a deaf nincompoop, a word I didn't know anyone used anymore.

The second week I was told to go buy a $300 gift for a colleague of hers. I asked for petty cash or a company credit card, but she said to just expense it and I'd get paid back. She made me return the first gift because the box had a scratch on it. When I got back, she demanded I finish my work for the day, making me stay an extra three-and-a-half hours because I took so long buying the gift.

The next day brought on another shouting spree, initiated after I didn't respond quickly enough and she hit me in the back with a paper wad. What? Who was this crazy woman and why did I think I needed a job this badly?

I never turned around, and as she was shouting I typed up a quick resignation and handed it to her before she had a chance to recover from the scream-fest.

She skimmed it, cussed while wadding it up and threw it at me, telling me to get my stuff and leave now. I gave a two-week notice but was thrilled to be leaving that day. And I never got reimbursed for the gift. -B.H.

Molly Luffy, MBA, is a local business coach who helps people shift from surviving to thriving at work. Send your questions to All submissions are kept strictly confidential.