When Your Boss Is an Ogre, Enter a Contest

Feb 23, 2010
This article is part of a series called News & Trends.

Jobs of the damnedGail Washington quit her job at a university in Dallas when her boss chose to belittle her, rather than help her solve a problem.

Music Teacher at a Brooklyn preschool must be careful not to say “ladies room” around her politically correct boss for fear the fangs will emerge.

Courtney should have expected problems when she ran into her boss at a party. “Drunk and drugged, Michael passed out into a flower box and broke two of his ribs.”

These are but three of a collection of appalling stories about psycho bosses, unwanted sexual advances, dysfunctional corporate culture, and too-sensitive workers. They appear on the aptly named Jobs of the Damned website. The first two stories are winners of a $200 weekly prize, while Courtney’s tale is on pace to be this week’s winner.

Stories like these pop-up periodically on the Web. Everyone has them.

So, naturally, there are plenty of places to “rate your boss.” A Google search turns up a quarter-million sites where that phrase appears with the first few pages full of places to submit a rating or review. One of the better known is Glassdoor, a site you better check regularly if only to know what your hot prospects already know.

Now, indie publisher Heliotrope Books has decided there’s a market for these stories; enough of a market and enough stories that it has decided to issue a series of books called Jobs of the Damned. The samples above are likely to be among the 200 to appear in the first volume, entitled appropriately, The World’s Worst Bosses.

Heliotrope is collecting these stories via a contest. Each week readers will vote on the best story of the week, which gets $200. Judges will pick the top three stories out of all the submissions. First prize is $2,000.

Before you go writing your own story of a monster boss (mine would be of a CEO who weekly berated his C team in language for which mom would have washed out his mouth with soap), before you go rushing off expecting to win, know that Heliotrope is charging authors $10 for each submission. It’s almost a no-lose proposition for the publisher, which judging from the number of submissions on the website, looks to be almost breaking even on the weekly contest.

There’s no way of knowing how many of the stories are true. Authors can remain anonymous if they choose. Don’t expect, however, that this is the place the disgruntled can get even; no names or other identification is permitted.

This article is part of a series called News & Trends.