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Contest seeks out the worst bosses in America
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette


July 05, 2006

Think your boss is bad?

Bad, as in: "I don't know why she had to take the day off. People commit suicide everyday?"

We didn't think so.

Working America, an affiliate of the AFL-CIO, is holding a national contest to determine the world's worst boss.

The idea for the contest grew out of the group's regular door-to-door canvassing. "The stories we were hearing when we went door to door were just jaw-dropping," said Karen Nussbaum, executive director of Working America. "We felt like we had to get these out in the open."

Thus far, the response to the contest has far exceeded the group's expectations. The contest began on June 19 and about 1,000 stories already have been submitted. Nearly 15,000 people cast votes for the first weekly "Bad Boss" contest.

Weekly winners are eligible to win the grand prize: a one-week vacation with $1,000 towards airfare.

Nussbaum said that she and her colleagues at Working America had been both impressed and horrified by the stories.

"You think, 'How do these people get to be bosses?' " she said. "The whole thing is really fascinating."

Working America makes no attempt to verify the stories, and does not release the names of the winners.

A few excerpts of stories in the running:

"I was leaving early the day my sister died and he asked me to finish typing something first and when I would be back that day. When I went cross-country for a funeral, he called me to ask me to bring nectarines to the office the next day."

"Later that afternoon she called asking if I could take care of her terminally ill cat who can't walk and has a bowel disorder that requires cleanup every two to four hours. When I said, 'Ma'am, I'm terribly sorry, but I'm afraid I made a mistake. Good luck to you,' she replied, 'You must have a mental disorder.' "

"I called him jerk (and worse) because he used to eat a big, greasy Egg McMuffin every morning, then throw the wrapper in my trash can so it wouldn't 'stink up his office.' ... The final straw was his last day of work (he left to go to another company). I was walking him to the door ... and I said 'Well, good luck,' and he gives me a big hug and says 'Take care of yourself. It's been great working with you, and I hope you finally lose that weight! I've always thought you could be a knockout if you were a little thinner.' "

To submit stories, or to vote, go to


E-mail Anya Sostek at asostek(at)
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by Scripps Howard News Service,

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