8 Real Life Horrible Bosses

career advice from movie bosses

Good or bad, you can probably remember every single boss throughout your career. Some are worse than others, and every so often you probably run into a boss that is actually kinda cool or okay at the very least. However, some people weren’t as lucky as that and have had experiences that will send shivers down your spine. Take a read through these stories from horrible bosses.


#1: “Freezing Temperatures Are Good for Ya”

If you think your boss was sometimes tough on you, well, check out what happened to poor Scott Donovan, from Charlton, Massachusetts. He was working for a small marketing agency, and during one exceptionally bad winter day, it was so cold the winds made the temperature drop rapidly. The boss sent him out in the freezing cold to wash the windows. According to his own words, the boss told him to put some alcohol in the bucket so that the water doesn’t freeze while he’s washing. When he asked: “The water? What about me?” the boss cold-heartedly replied: “You’re too young for alcohol.”


James Cameron: The Titanic of Bosses

Out of all the top Hollywood directors, James Cameron (The Avatar, Titanic, Terminator, etc.) is is the one who is notorious for being the most demanding and the most strict of them all. Word has it that he lives according to the proverb: “Firing is too merciful.” People who worked under James have stated that he tends to drive people insane after “long hours, hard tasks and harsh criticism” (via HBR).

Actress Kate Winslet was known for saying that she’ll most likely never work for him again after she nearly drowned and chipped an elbow while shooting the blockbuster flick “Titanic.” Cameron is presumably known for a variety of extreme policies and gestures towards his employees. It’s been reported that he used a nail gun to attach staffers’ cell phones to the wall while the movie “Avatar” was being filmed. “I have my bad days, and on my best days I’m no Ron Howard,” says Cameron.


Boss 3: “You know this is My Drinking Time…”

On one particularly nasty working day in the life of one Elizabeth B., Georgia, her boss announced that she will at long last be promoted and will get a paycheck raise. She was quite understandably overjoyed. The next day when she inquired about the raise, the boss denied the whole thing and an argument ensued, which ended with his words: “You know better than to take me seriously in the afternoons,” he said. “I’m drunk every afternoon.”


Boss 4: “Innkeeper, More Wine!”

Bonah Bachenheimer from Long Beach, California, has an interesting little story to tell. During one especially draining and very, very busy Friday afternoon at the law office, her boss, was hundreds of miles away, spending that same afternoon at a luxury resort before a meeting. While the hectic work schedule resumed for her and others at the office, she received an urgent call from the boss, who said: “You have to phone the hotel right away. It’s important. Ask them to send someone to the pool area immediately.” She was concerned that something was seriously wrong and that it was a major emergency. She asked what was going on and the boss replied: “We haven’t seen a waiter in 20 minutes, and we need our drinks refreshed.”


Boss 5: “You’re Fired… Literarily”

Talking of bad bosses, it’s safe to say that the following example is as bad as things can get. In March 2009, in Soviet Russia, a group of minibus drivers working in Nizhny Novgorod went on strike, after their salaries were cut. The men were all Uzbek nationals and they were very upset because their boss cut their pay, and on top of that confiscated their passports, which of course meant they couldn’t leave the country. When the strikers confronted the boss, asking for payment, things went from bad to utterly tragic.

After a heated debate the boss in question took his pump-action gun and fired at the strikers, thus wounding 47-year-old worker Aktam Khuzhamuratov. The boss fled the scene, while Khuzhamuratov succumbed to his wounds and passed away.


Boss 6: “Get out of here, you hero!”

Four Walmart employees in Salt Lake City experienced some extraordinary events in January 2011. They confronted by a robber who pushed them into the office, they struggled with the robber and rather heroically managed to snatch the gun away. Having disarmed the culprit, they waited for the police to arrive. The heroic deed had a tremendously disappointing climax. All of the employees involved were sacked, following these incredible acts of bravery. These people risked their lives to stop the robbers and they got in fired in return.

According to the news report that day: “They were fired for violating the store’s policy on shoplifters, known as AP09. AP09 shows employees are allowed to use reasonable force to limit movements of struggling suspects. But if a gun comes out, associates must disengage and withdraw.”


Boss 7: “Kiss Until Your Nose Breaks”

Back in 1999 a rather bizarre thing happened when Vogue publisher Richard “Mad Dog” Beckman was out with two of his employees – Carol Matthews, West Coast ad director, and Emily Jahncke Davis, Vogue’s international fashion director. Beckman was known for bullying people around. One day he had desired to see the two aforementioned women kiss, and quite impulsively he then smashed their faces together. The forced smash broke Matthews’s cheekbone, and as a result, she needed reconstructive surgery. Despite Beckham’s subsequent apology, Matthews decided to sue. After she received a pretty fat pay-off, she left the company.

Scott Rudin

Boss 8: “This Blackberry is Aimed at Your Head”

Movie and theater producer Scott Rudin is known for having one of the crappiest bosses in the business. Numerous former employees said that Rudin fits the role of being the worst possible boss you’d want. He’s a walking cliché in that sense. He is especially known for throwing things at people. When he got his new Blackberry, most employees were counting the hours until that same phone turned into a missile that’s flying towards someone’s head. Other employees had to endure being fired… more than once. Such things were sometimes common, so much so that people would get screamed at and fired, and they’d go across the street for a cup of coffee, and then wait to be called back by the office manager, who proceeds to tell them that they are rehired. These stories are mostly based on experiences from people who used to work as Rudin’s personal assistants. Some of his assistants were told to be on call 24/7, and they were actually forbidden to use take the subway because they are unreachable that way. Scott Rudin was named Gawker’s “Worst Boss of 2007” and Hollywood Reporter called him “The Most Feared Man in Town.” When talking about his management style, Rudin himself described it as “a cross between Attila the Hun and Miss Jean Brodie.” All of this turned the man into a living bad-boss legend, turning the position of his personal assistant from a $75,000 to $150,000 year gig – which clearly requires the person to be a 24/7 robot with no life, needs or feelings.