In real life, everyone has a story of 'horrible bosses'

They lie. They throw tantrums. They play favorites.

They’re not tykes. They’re bad bosses.

They’re fodder for movies — “Horrible Bosses” debuts Friday, featuring three workers who hate their managers so much that they consider murder. (Not a wise move.)

They’re the reason for a national contest under way at, a community affiliate of the AFL-CIO, which will award prizes today for tales about the worst bosses.

And they’re the focus of hours spent on psychologists’ couches as unhappy employees try to deal with flawed workplace relationships.

Whenever the job market flounders and workers feel stuck, there’s a noticeable increase in attention to unhealthy work relationships.

There are many, many wonderful managers, to be sure, and it’s unfair to demonize supervisors as a class.

But nearly half of all workers, 46 percent, said in a new OfficeTeam survey that they’ve worked for unreasonable ones.

Workers cite a panoply of human frailties on display in workplaces: Micromanagers. Incompetents. Spotlight grabbers. Bullies. Lousy communicators. Saboteurs. Lazy bones.

Complaints recorded in the online “bad boss” forum include the nearly comical: “My boss comes into my cube and picks his nose. Then he flicks whatever he has removed from his nose into, thankfully, my wastebasket.”

And they include the frightening: “If you fill a form out incorrectly (misplacing a comma, perhaps) he’ll go off into a rage. It’s almost like a cartoon. He’s a gigantic guy, his face turns bright red, and he starts mumbling to himself. It’s usually how incompetent you are. Then he tells you how stupid you are, in front of all your co-workers. If you dare to speak up against him, in any way, he bad-mouths you to his boss, who will side with him no matter what. He’s uttered the phase, ‘I’ll come in and kill everyone.’ ”

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