Posted by: silverstar98121 | August 4, 2008

Bad Boss Syndrome

Reflecting on the troubles of Daisy Fae’s Boy, I began to think back over my life, and some of the bosses I’ve had. And they were a rich and varied bunch. However, I don’t know what I did in a past life to deserve it, but I think I have had more than my share of bad bosses for one lifetime. And some have been really bad.

In last place, but probably only because I only worked there a month, is the owner of the Hometown Restaurant (not it’s real name.) We worked under the tip credit scheme where your tips were supposed to  make up about half of your minimum wage. If you didn’t get enough tips, the boss was supposed to pay you whatever you didn’t make, up to minimum wage. Things were much looser back then, and the boss told me if he didn’t know what my tips were, I wouldn’t have to report them. Of course, if he didn’t know what my tips were, he wouldn’t have to make up the rest of my wage either. To expect anyone to earn half their wage in tips in this place was ludicrous. Most of the business was farmers drinking coffee all afternoon. They were so cheap that they wouldn’t even leave you the penny for tax, much less a tip. And the truckers thought that a whole table leaving you fifty cents was adequate. A month of working for eight-five cents an hour was enough.

Next we have every boss that wanted me to come in when I was sick. Hey, didn’t you ever hear of infection control? I was working with vulnerable elderly here, what inconvenienced me might kill them. Just for fun I’ll include in here the boss that kept using me as a free “rent-a-nurse” to fill in for everyone else that called in sick, even though I was so exhausted from untreated sleep apnea that I was falling asleep at my desk and driving on the way home. During this period, I was waiting to get into the pulmonologist, and then waiting to get into the sleep clinic. Or maybe I should promote her. I was “free” because I was on salary, she didn’t have to pay me overtime.

Next comes the boss who fired me because I disagreed with her on what the state registration law allowed nurses to do, and tried to tell unemployment I quit to go to school. I left this particular discussion to go to my classes. Oh, by the way, my nickname is Britannica. If I’m telling you something I have chapter and verse on it. You’ll lose.

And in first place, with the most egregious crap yet, comes The Bitch. She was wrong in so many ways. The only reason I worked for her as long as I did was that my grandfather was in that nursing home, and I was there to protect him. I quit the day after he died. I had warned my mother about the place, but she figured since I lived literally across the street, I could keep an eye on him. And then I went to work there, too.

First thing, she had each of her nine children on the payroll. Despite the fact that we rarely saw seven of them, and wished we had never seen one of the others. She didn’t pay her bills, and merchants cut her off. When my grandad was dying I had to personally pay for a tank of oxygen for him. Sometimes Sunday supper was half a sandwich and a piece of canned fruit. After which Grandpa would toddle (roll actually) over to my house and eat a steak dinner. She was having residents who couldn’t speak for themselves buy treatments for their bedsores out of their personal allowances, which were to be used for clothing and such. Strictly illegal, but I didn’t know it until I left. And the capper: collected our Social Security but didn’t pay it in for two years. We found this out by accident. One of the older nurses, who was tired of all this stuff, and thinking about retiring, requested her Social Security records, and discovered no payments for two years. And so we all check ours, and sure enough, she hadn’t paid it in. Fortunately, as long as we had pay stubs and W-2’s that showed that it had been deducted, we were credited with it. She took a trip to Russia with the money.

Reading back over this, I realize I was a co-dependent doormat. But any time I tried to assert myself, I got it wrong. I wonder why I don’t mind not working anymore?


  1. Silverstar:

    That’s quite a list of crappy bosses, for sure.

    And another nursing home horror story. I have to wonder if there is any such thing as a “good” nursing home where the motive really is providing a caring environment for infirm and elderly people rather than blatant money grubbing and making a buck off the misery of others.

    My late wife was a rec therapist. Her passion was seniors and she a bona fide desire in enhancing their lives. She worked at one lodge here in the Fort for about six months. Not as bad as the place your grandfather was in, but definitely on the same slippery slope. Seems that the MO was to drug up the residents so there were as little trouble as possible and leave them in diapers in their beds as much as possible. Really disgusting treatment.

    I know it will be difficult, but I am resolved to not put any of my loved ones into any such place.

    Reading your post makes me realize how fortunate I’ve been. I’ve never really had any “bad bosses”. The worst was one guy who was a bit petulant and self-involved, but for the most part, I’ve had bosses who were pretty decent human beings.

  2. Rob, this was at a time before OBRA came in in the US. Now it is better. Although they are employing more nurses, mostly to do paperwork that says the residents are getting better care, whether they are or not.
    It’s very difficult to drug residents in nursing homes in the US now. We are supposed to take residents off any “inappropriate” drugs. For instance, we had a man come in on haloperidol, a powerful antipsychotic, to help him sleep. Well, that’s inappropriate, so we weaned him off. And then we found out he was taking it for the hallucinations that kept him awake. Completely appropriate. But neither the family or the doc told us that. No siderails in the US, and no restraints. The residents have the right to fall.
    Most of the good nursing homes are small, non-profit, and run by religious organizations. IMHO, the for profit ones universally suck, because we are working to pay investors, not care for patients.

  3. I agree with silverstar. the gimcrack is a not for profit organisation and they are really good to work for, with the majority of the staff and the board of directors genuinely caring about the patients…….

    as for bad bosses – I was fired from my one and only waitressing job when I was 17 because the boss said my “limp” was putting people off their food. (I had a hip operation as a child, most people don’t even notice I sometimes favour that leg when I’m tired. can’t help but think I must have been a really lousy waitress but he couldn’t bring himself to tell me that 🙂

  4. you’ve had some wing-dingers! and your “top” bad boss? Criminal…

    when we shopped for a rehab nursing facility for mom after bypass, we got LOTS of references (my niece even interviewing people as they left the facility – as to how their loved ones were treated). It was a non-profit, small facility – not as fancy or new as others – that we selected. It was the staff that made the difference. Low turnover. Many folks had been there for 10-20 years.

    But not paying your social security?!?! Taking a vacation with the stolen funds? be-yatch! Jail time wouldn’t have been enough… drugging her, putting her in a diaper and feeding her a half sandwich and piece of canned fruit for a few years, maybe…

  5. Nurse Myra, I think it was excellent that you escaped waitressing. You have so many other talents. And you’d have needed a hip replacement by now if you’d stayed at it.

    Daisy Fae, criminal is precisely correct. I am only sorry she made a deal with the government to pay it back, and didn’t rot in jail for the rest of her life, along with eight of her children. Only one was decent, the one who did medical records. When the manure finally did hit the oscillating rotator, and the owner of the building kicked her out, her daughter hid the medical records so that her mother couldn’t destroy them. She would have, too.

  6. “when the manure hit the oscillating rotator”


    You hadn’t come across that particular euphemism for “shit hit the fan”? You Aussies live such sheltered lives.

  7. I keep meaning to blog about my old french boss. Crazy Pascal. Who I once chased around the office threatening to kill him with a letter opener. He thought I was joking. And then the mad Chinaman I once worked for, who kept chasing me round the kitchen, ogling my boobs and wondering how tasty I’d be. And the Israeli who used to play with knives…ai… the list.

  8. And one again, Dolce, you win. You have better boobs and better stories. And I want to read them.

  9. […] boss” blog called “Where is Bob?” This guy almost, just almost makes my bad bosses look not so bad. She’s only been posting this month, six or eight posts, but you should go […]

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