🗣️ The worst bosses of all time - The Hustle
The Hustle

🗣️ The worst bosses of all time

Happy Martin Luther King Jr. Day, everyone. We hope you’re enjoying a restful, long weekend courtesy of MLK.

If you’re looking for a worthwhile read in 2022, it doesn’t get better than the America in the King Years trilogy by Taylor Branch.

Today’s rundown:

  • Working for jerks: We asked you about your worst bosses and wow, you delivered.
  • TLDR Act: A new bill will force tech companies to simplify their terms of service.
  • By the numbers: Butter, boy bands, and electric mail.
  • Around the web: Puzzle games, fake soup, corgi trains, and more cool internet finds.

Let’s do it.

The big idea

Mean, micromanaging bosses are ineffective and outdated

We recently asked readers if they’d ever quit a job over a bad boss.

We received 278 responses. From our check-all-that-applied list, top reasons for leaving included:

Other common themes included bosses who ignored covid protocols, threw things, stole ideas, and demanded to know about bathroom breaks.

And then there were these stories (edited for clarity and brevity):

  • The COO was my boss. He brought baby food jars and pacifiers into meetings “since we were all babies.”
  • My boss would camp out by my car after work and ask me to come back in and talk.
  • She critiqued everything I did from my writing to my presentation skills, to what I did in my personal life. She was so toxic that I went to bed crying every night.
  • I was given a no-call, no-show for the day of my mother’s funeral.
  • He reprimanded the team for leaving town for safety during Hurricane Irma in 2017.
  • Our founder did not hesitate to yell at you or demean you in front of others. I remember getting berated once because one of my PowerPoint slides was pixelated. I felt like a pledge being hazed in a college fraternity.

Where do bad bosses come from?

Manuela Priesemuth, PhD, is an associate professor of management at Villanova University, and tells The Hustle that abusive behavior is often learned.

It trickles down from bosses to new hires who eventually practice what they endured — similar to the way children learn social behaviors from parents.

But while business cultures once prized “tough love” as a motivator, research shows it doesn’t work.

“It actually demotivates people,” Priesemuth says. “It destroys people. It creates anxiety, emotional exhaustion, and distress.”

A 2021 Australian study found toxic workplaces tripled the risk of depression. Priesemuth’s own research found it hinders teamwork.

It also hurt companies

An SHRM study found bad managers cost companies $223B in turnover between 2014 and 2019.

Other costs include lost productivity or destructive behaviors among employees — like taking fake sick days.

Companies also risk losing clients and customers if abuse is exposed.

What should you do if you have a bad boss?

If you hear a lot of “that’s just how it is around here,” Priesemuth says you may be in a toxic culture, which is hard to change.

But if you like the company, you could try HR. Priesemuth admits it’s not always easy and complaints can take a long time, but some key steps include:

  • Documenting incidents, including emails and recorded virtual meetings
  • Finding witnesses and allies — abusers often have multiple victims
  • Looking for other executives or supervisors to talk to

The maybe-silver lining? Few bosses are actually psychopaths.

“We are only the recipient of that type of bad behavior, but a lot of times, something triggers [abusive bosses],” Priesemuth says. “So perhaps it’s worth it to understand the antecedent to that behavior if we want to create a better workplace.”

More: Priesemuth shares more on how abusive bosses harm themselves here.


Major mandate: TJX Companies, the parent of TJ Maxx and HomeGoods, announced it will fire unvaccinated US office workers. #ecommerce-retail

Winnebago announced it will reveal an electric motor home this week at the Florida RV Super Show. #clean-energy

Quick breakup: Meta announced it will shut down Sparked, its speed dating service that launched in select markets last April. #emerging-tech

Popular cryptocurrency exchange FTX launched FTX Ventures, a $2B fund to accelerate web3 and blockchain adoption. #fintech-crypto

Big delay: Apple announced the release of its upcoming VR/AR headset could be delayed to 2023 due to overheating issues. #big-tech

MFM: Sam and Rob Walling break down how to start a tech company as a nontechnical founder. #mfm

Laying down the Law

Terms and conditions suck. The TLDR Act might help

When’s the last time you actually read the terms and conditions on a website?

Yeah, me neither.

Lawmakers feel our pain, and a bipartisan bill is in the works that would force tech companies to make their terms easier to understand, per The Verge.

The TLDR Act…

… stands for Terms-of-service Labeling, Design and Readability. The act will force companies to provide a summary statement that makes their terms and conditions easier to understand.

Along with simplifying legal jargon into accessible language, the summaries will highlight:

  • Any data breaches in the last 3 years
  • Any personal data that the site collects
  • If and how consumers can delete their data

Why now?

The act follows the testimony of Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen, which revealed alarming practices happening inside Meta’s properties, Facebook and Instagram.

As a result, lawmakers are pushing for more transparency from tech companies across the board.

The bad news? Now instead of blindly agreeing to whatever the terms of service entail — you may have to actually read something.

Free Resource

4 mad skill development templates for you

We don’t know who on your team needs to advance their organizational skills (you look uncomfortable), but all 4 of these templates can help “them” do that.

Maybe you want to break in a new habit, or manage your time better, or read more books this year.

Once you begin, it’s like figure skating. Just start with any one of these.

YOU get a template, and YOU get a template, and:

  • Individual skill development template
  • SMART goal setting template
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4 Free Skillets →
By the numbers

Looks like a platypus lol. (Source: USPS)

Digits: Butter, boy bands, and electric mail

1) Spread this news: For the week ending Dec. 11, 2021, the price of grade AA butter hit $2.02 per pound, up 40% YoY. Then, the week ending Jan. 7, 2022, the price hit $2.66 per pound. The culprit: shortages of resources and labor, as per usual.

2) Green mail OTW? The United States Postal Service said its 212k-truck fleet could go all-electric for $3.3B. Much of the cost is for charging infrastructure at its 17k+ locations. The organization operates at a loss; it’s lost $87B since 2007.

3) Strawberry Prince is a boy band with millions of TikTok followers, billions of views on YouTube, and 170k people watching its livestreamed concerts. The catch? They don’t exist — they’re animated and one of 10k+ virtual YouTubers from Japan.

4) Following a legal ruling that a Canadian company does not, in fact, have rights to the Denver Broncos, the team could now be put up for sale by the 7 children and sibling of former owner Pat Bowlen. The challenge? The children each own ~11% of the team — valued at $3.8B — and aren’t in agreement over what to do.

5) One page — literally, a single page — of art from a 1984 Spider-Man comic sold for $3.36m at auction last week. The page is the 25th in Marvel’s Secret Wars No. 8, and it’s the 1st place Spider-Man’s black symbiote suit appears.


💰 On this day: In 1950, 11 thieves made away with $2.7m+ from an armored car depot in Boston. They almost got away with it, but a failed assassination attempt led to their undoing.

🗝️ Cure boredom: Escape Team offers several escape room-style puzzle games. All you have to do is download their app and print out your mission. The 1st one’s free. Subsequent missions are $1.99.

😀 How to: For MLK Day, here are 5 ways to volunteer either in-person or virtually.

🍲 That’s interesting: Brown Windsor soup was a popular Victorian-era dish that appears in many cookbooks. Or was it all just a joke about a soup that never existed?

🍪 Useful: Super Agent is a browser extension that automatically takes care of all those pop-up cookie notifications based on your preferences.

🐶 Aww: And now, a corgi train.

Meme of the day

The OG horrible boss. (Source: imgflip)


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