Most of us have had a bad boss at some point in our careers. And as much as we might want to get even with them, it's not always possible. So when I came across these tales of petty people getting delicious, ice-cold revenge on their dreadful bosses, they were just too good not to share:
1."I recently resigned from my job. I was tired and burnt out and my CEO kept pushing me hard. Enough was enough, I got so tired that I resigned. I didn't have another job lined up, but I was okay financially. As soon as I resigned, my CEO called me into the office and asked me to leave straight away. I was escorted off-site like a criminal and he wouldn't even let me say bye to people, touch my laptop, or clear my desk. It was like I was being fired. It was so embarrassing."
2."Mid-pandemic my boss disappeared. Just as we were gearing up for our most challenging, time-intensive project in the last five years, he dropped off the face of the earth. We kept working for a week or so without him because we didn’t really need him. But some decisions were beyond our discretion, so we could not move forward on those aspects of the project until we received a response from him."
"Week eight. He finally reappears, logging into a morning meeting as though nothing happened. He looks well-rested, well-fed, and has a tan. He says something quickly to the effect of, 'Yeah, that was brutal. Glad to be better and glad to be back. Let’s get to work.' But doesn’t want to talk about what happened or answer any of our questions."
"Fast forward to about four or five months after this. My sister sends me a promo for a fairly new reality show and says, 'Isn’t this guy a friend of yours or something?' I watch the trailer for this show, and lo and behold, there’s my boss. Participating as a contestant on a reality TV show.
"It did not take long for me to put the pieces together and realize he took extended leave to go on TV and lied about it under the guise of a vicious disease that nearly all of us had lost a loved one to.
"I sit and stew with this information, unsure of how to handle it. I slept on it a few nights and then the opportunity fell right in my lap. I got an email from corporate encouraging teams still working remotely to plan 'virtual social functions' to keep a collegial culture going and to stay in touch. Among the suggestions were: game night, trivia, and… watch party.
"With the premier of the show only a couple weeks away, I got busy telling everyone how I’d been meaning to get into this show, laying the groundwork to guilt them into coming to a virtual watch party off-hours. Finally, I sent an e-vite to all my boss’s bosses, and any other members of corporate I could justify inviting without making a total ass of myself. Because this was entirely virtual, my boss was unable to overhear any of the chatter. He didn’t realize I was hyping up this show and planned a watch party for it.
Hulu / Via giphy.com
"The night comes and I am screen sharing the show to a whopping 64 people. A huge chunk of my department. Many members of corporate had showed up because I was the only person stupid enough to buy into their virtual social work party scheme, so they felt pressured to support it.
"As my boss was introduced, right down to what he did for work, and I could see people register delight and surprise, then go blank — just before sliding into confusion and rage. Perhaps one of the best bonuses is that you could already tell from episode one that the character arc the show assigned to our boss was 'bumbling idiot'. He had his true colors on in full display and some production-massaging upped them to the 11th degree.
"Boss was fired. My good buddy was promoted to his place. I am an office legend now especially since no one is 100% sure whether or not it was intentional. And it was all so satisfying that it was almost worth the dozens of hours of uncompensated overtime that led to it."
3."I had worked really hard to get a job I loved, I was great at, and paid decently. My team loved me and everything was going great. I made the stupid decision to change departments. It was the same job but this department paid 5% more. I went to my first meeting in the new job and knew I had made a mistake. The operations manager made someone cry."
"So I left the department and started to work somewhere else in the same company. About six months later, that boss rings me in a panic and explains he has a big interview but can't find the project pack. I say I'll send it across.
"I dig out the pack but put in a roles and responsibilities page before I send it. I had my name as lead on pretty much everything. I get a call later on from a coworker who said that boss had gone to his interview, explained he ran this project, did X, Y, and Z.
"And then he went through the pack which had the responsibilities and he looked like an Idiot. That rattled him and impacted the rest of his interview. Boss was fuming but my coworker backed me up.
"Boss didn't end up getting the promotion and I like to think I played a small part in that."
4."I was an intern at a local magazine during college. A small office of three interns put the mag together, with an editor who will always be the most incompetent person I’ve ever worked with. Anyway, after months of petty bullshit, my car broke down over Thanksgiving. I called the editor, letting her know just in case I was ever late showing up, as I planned to take the bus and bum rides. Her response? 'Oh, your car broke down? You are no longer needed as an intern.' Click."
5."My boss (we'll call him Steve) is one of those guys who's always attached to his email. Whether he's at his desk or answering them from his phone, he will stop the conversation immediately and read the email. No warning. The sound will go off, he'll stop mid-sentence, read and reply to every email. This annoys me. A lot."
"Steve's taking charge of the meeting, and I retreat to my office, where I can still clearly watch the presentation but don't have to participate. As he's talking to one particular VP, he gets an email, and in normal shit-lord fashion, he stops mid-conversation and reads it. The VP did not like this, not one bit. He interrupts Steve's email reply with a hand wave. This is where I get my second idea for revenge.
"Eventually, Steve gets to the PowerPoint presentation, yammering on like he's the one who spent all the time on the fancy fly-ins, formatting, research, etc. Until he gets to slide seven. I can see him pause, break his jovial manner, and begin reading word for word what's on the slide. He's no longer chipper and poised, he's floundering.
"Little does Steve know that I'm about to launch an email war on his psyche that he is ill-prepared for. See, since I've been in my office, I've been collecting all the emails that came in that needed replies, drafted the replies, and have them sitting on my desktop. I've CC'd Steve on every one of them, because I'm just that good of an employee.
"As he skips to the next slide, I send the first email. I hear his phone jingle. He pauses and instinctively reaches for his phone, throwing him off his presentation. He looks around, and then continues. A minute later, I send the next email, then after a short pause, the next, and the next...
HBO / Via giphy.com
"I can see him sweating bullets, his brain imagining some catastrophic failure. But he can't check his emails without breaking from the presentation and pissing off the executives.
"It's still going on. I have about eight more emails to send, and he has about an hour until he'll be able to slink away and cower over his phone like Gollum holding the One Ring.
"I'm glad I went to work today."
6."I was a data and reporting analyst and did all the ad hoc reports for the company. My boss, we'll call her Kerry, was useless. The only thing of value she did were all the regular reports: sales, revenue, etc. We suspected she got away with it because she was having an affair with her boss, we'll call him Stewart."
7."I had a manager who hated reading emails and would miss important issues and meetings because of it. I even suggested text to speech to make it less unpleasant but he told me off. He spent a lot of time 'playing golf with clients' and was mostly inaccessible. It got to the point where most of the team cc-ed me so I could grant approvals for stuff like expense reports and help out on projects my manager was supposed to work on."
NBC / Via giphy.com
"When I was getting married, I requested three weeks off for my honeymoon. I had five weeks vacation accumulated and didn't think it would be a big deal, especially since I was requesting it well in advance.
"Then a 'vacation request denied' email comes in from our 'time off' system. I emailed the manager following up, left voice mails, and after a week he finally replied to an email, 'Look, we need dedicated people. If you think you can take three weeks off for a vacation, you need to reconsider your position here.'
"I replied with, 'No consideration needed, my last day will be X. Let me know about transitioning duties.' I forward this to HR, cc'ing the manager and HR sets up my exit interview, but HR tells my manager to set up transition for my responsibilities. During my notice period, I even replied-all to this email twice, asking about transition plans, since I didn't get any transition plan.
"I tell my team. They ask manager what to do with my duties and manger says he'll think about it, but doesn't do anything nor email anything out. Four weeks later, I get a call from my old boss, 'Are you planning on coming in this week? Stop messing around, get your ass in the office.'
"'HR asked you to develop a transition plan and to attend my exit interview. It's not my fault you don't read all your emails.'
"I hung up and blocked his number, but screenshotted the call log and sent it to the HR contact with an innocent, 'Should I be worried that he thinks I still work for him?'
"Things went from bad to worse for my old manager. Apparently, I was doing most of his managerial duties, so he actually had to try and get stuff done himself. He also got into some legal issues (Those client golf outings? He played golf...but not with clients) that made his termination with cause, so no severance for him."
8."A few years back, I started my first job as a mechanic and was informed of a mandatory monthly kart race on the local track which was promoted by my boss and owner of the company. He didn’t care if you enjoyed it or not, he booked the time slot, and we all had to show up (after working hours and paying our own ticket to drive). It was supposed to be a team-building exercise."
"On the evening of the event, I drive to the kart track and, upon arrival, I see my colleagues all in jeans and t-shirts and my boss in racing overalls, racing boots, gloves and even a custom helmet. It dawned on me the reason for the event and why so much attention was given to it: kart racing was his thing.
"With about 15 racers, I asked to start dead last. Starting from last, I proceeded to overtake all other karts, including boss man on the outside of a fast corner (overtaking on the outside is often seen as a bold arrogant move). After just a few more laps, I reached him again and, as I was about to lap him, he went into the pits and stepped out.
"I duly won the race and, as I left the track into the bar, someone told me that the boss had left. At the bar, the topic of the evening was how I had outraced everyone and how the boss, who had won all the races since forever, was livid with my performance.
"After that, I was always courteously invited but never again required to show up to his events. I went a few times but arrived late on purpose so I would just take part in the bar thing and not the race."
9."We recently launched a project to a select group of beta testers. Late on a Sunday evening (I'm not paid to be on call or work on weekends), I get an email from the boss, cc'ing everyone involved in the project, that the entire site is down, please can I get it sorted urgently, as this makes the company look bad. Complete with a screenshot of the problem."
NBC / Via giphy.com
"I'm really glad for the screenshot. I didn't even need to open my laptop to see what the problem was. I'm mildly peeved at the tone of the email and I don't think including everyone plus the janitor was really necessary. So I reply-all, saying that the reason the boss is getting that error is because he has typed the wrong website into his browser.
"I get a sheepish email from him the next day saying that no, it was actually one of the beta testers that had sent him the message about the website not working and he had just forwarded it, and wasn't he glad it wasn't actually a problem. Suuuuurrrre, buddy.
"Very petty, but I got a kick out of it."
10."I used to work in a mid-sized company in the engineering department. One of the managers started to get upset because if he walked around at exactly 8:30 a.m. everyone was not in their seats. He felt that engineers were being too lax with their time. The edict went out that all engineers had to be in their seats exactly at start time."
"Is the manager having a meeting that was supposed to end at five but is running a little late? A series of alarms would go off and everyone would stand up in the middle of the meeting to leave. Does operations need technical support at 4:55? They have exactly five minutes on the phone with the engineer before he will have to get off the phone.
"Is someone trying to discuss a work-related issue at 8:28? Better wait a couple minutes because no one in the engineering department is answering work-related questions for another two minutes.
"Needless to say, the policy didn't last very long."
11."I was working 50-plus hours weekly for a huge corporate bank on salary. My apartment was one mile to my office and both had rental bike stations I used regularly. My boss at the time was a time cruncher and regularly disregarded the overtime I was working to point out a few minutes here and there. One day I went home for lunch, walked my dog, got on my bike, and within 30 seconds was hit by a car."
"So I didn’t go home and change. I went right back to work where the head of the department immediately called me in seeing my ripped and bloody attire. I explained what happened and told them I would not take more than 60 minutes ever again, regardless of the circumstances. My boss was pleased but I was sent home to change.
"A few weeks later, they asked me why I stopped working 50-hour weeks. Well if lunch is only 60 minutes, then work is only eight hours. And I haven’t worked overtime since."
12."I worked as a bartender at a bowling alley. My boss was a mean lady and it was difficult seeing morale drop on the team from the garbage she would say or do. So when I was closing the bar, I started setting things up for the next day. I would pre-make the coffee, and she always asked to make one a little different because it was for her."
HBO Max / Via giphy.com
"When she was rude to us, I would make her coffee with decaf for the next day. I lost track of how many times I did this. I think it was nearly every shift there towards the end. I still giggle about this."
13."When I was 18, I started working in an ice cream parlor. I worked there every spring and summer. My second season there I got 'promoted' to shift supervisor (more responsibilities, same pay). Every time they needed someone to pick up a shift or start earlier, that person would be me. Cut to my third season. I got a complaint filed against me from a customer because I refused to serve her once we were closed one evening."
"This all kept happening until I got notice that they had overscheduled a shift and that I didn’t have to work that day. When I dropped by, imagine my surprise that there was someone working who wasn’t even scheduled because it was so busy!
"I asked the owner to have a conversation with me, and they said, 'We don’t owe you any answers.' After this conversation I quit right there. Cue petty revenge.
"I happened to know that their air conditioning was ridiculously dirty. They had not done anything about it, and when given the opportunity to get a new system at a VERY discounted price, they just laughed and said it was too expensive.
"Guess who anonymously tipped off the health department. And guess who had to close for a week while their AC got replaced and got a pretty hefty fine?"
14."I work with a big company that lets me work four 10-hour-shifts a week with Fridays off. Occasionally, I would get a text on a Friday from my boss. Or a text when I’m off on vacation. These annoyed the hell out of me. Nothing about my job has that level of urgency."
TV Land / Via giphy.com
"The biggest annoyance to me was when I had the day off so I could move out of my house (just across town) and he texts me that morning. I certainly ignored it. Then he calls me. I ignore it. He calls me again a few minutes later and I answer it. What he wanted to talk about was something that 'could wait until Monday' but he called me anyway.
"So I decided to start handling things with a little pettiness. Anytime you want to text or call me on a day off, that’s fine. But I won’t respond until after 6 p.m. and I will always ask a question with it — to make him work when he isn’t working.
"After a few tries of this, he figured it out (subconsciously or consciously) and never texts me when I’m off anymore."
15."I worked in a very busy, high end seafood restaurant in a resort town. I was a busser. I was trying to move up in the restaurant, but my manager kept giving me the runaround for over a year. By this point i had started a full time job in my chosen career path and the restaurant gig was just extra cash. I talked to the manager about it again and got another runaround, so I gave him my notice."
CBS / Via giphy.com
"I should note that this restaurant had pretty clear standards on hair, facial hair, and whatnot. I had grown my hair out to about the back of my neck by this time, and my hair is thick, dark, and very curly.
"I jokingly asked if i could show up to my last shift with a mullet. The bossman quickly agreed, not believing I would go through with it. Saturday night, the place was packed. The look of horror on my manager's face when he saw me was absolutely priceless. Customers were asking their servers if this was real life or some kind of joke/prank.
"Even my manager from my new job had come in and was at the bar laughing her ass off. They tried to keep me in the kitchen, I refused. They tried to send me home, but I had followed every rule in the employee handbook so they literally couldn’t even find a reason to. It was fucking glorious."
Note: stories have been edited for length and clarity.