Bad bosses

Note: Because I happen to have quite a few drafts in the queue, there won’t be a “Throwback Thursday” post today or next week.


Did you ever have a bad boss? Since I started working at Kodak in 1976, I’ve had A LOT of supervisors. How many? The other day, I sat down, put on my memory cap, and actually came up with a list of the 25 supervisors that I’ve had in that 43 year span. Wow, 25! Some of those supervisors were good, some were bad, and some were very bad. There were a couple of times I was treated very unfairly by my supervisor and I elevated the issue to their boss. Taking that kind of action is always risky. Both times, the issue was not resolved appropriately, however, in the long-term, it all worked out.

What prompted this post? My wife is a nurse and has worked 17 years for the largest healthcare network in the area. She initially worked in the hospital respiratory ICU that operated according to very strict procedures because of the critical level of patient care. Four years ago, she transferred to an outpatient department where the care level is much less critical and the standards are more lax. Without going into great detail, I’ll just say there were some personnel issues in the department that were not being addressed by my wife’s new supervisor. My wife and a few of her peers raised red flags several times. As her “reward,” my wife, who has always received an “outstanding” overall rating on her yearly performance appraisal, received just a mediocre, “meets expectations,” overall rating.

Yup, someone else in the department was seriously underperforming, but my wife was penalized for making it an issue. Many years ago at Kodak, I learned it’s often not a matter of right and wrong, but of playing the office politics game according to the boss’s rules.

My wife requested a follow-up meeting and things devolved to the point where the supervisor recommended that the hospital’s Human Resources department intervene. As of this writing, the issues are still being reviewed and may never be completely resolved.

As Christians, we should certainly respect our bosses and follow their leadership, but that doesn’t mean we should remain silent when company policies and/or fairness laws are being violated.

Justice! Where is the justice? There may not be any immediate justice for unfair treatment or a wrong that’s been done at the workplace. There are some situations that we can only hand over to the ultimate judge, our Just and Holy God. The Bible says we are to even pray for those who abuse or mistreat us. That’s hard. We desire justice and revenge when we’re wronged. But we also know the Father has shown us great mercy by forgiving our sins against Him; forgiving us through His Son, Jesus Christ! Let us show mercy and forgiveness as well. By repaying evil with goodness, unbelievers will see the love of Jesus Christ within us.

“17 Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. 18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. 19 Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” 20 To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” – Romans 12:17-21

How many bosses have you had? Did you ever have a bad boss?

On the flip side, being a supervisor is a demanding and often thankless position. I was a production supervisor for ten years and the monetary benefits were not worth the daily stress and strain. This post was about bad bosses, but supervisors often have to deal with apathetic and bad employees.


24 thoughts on “Bad bosses

    1. Thanks, Spaniard! Yes, people are so used to “dog eat dog” as the way people generally interact in society that they’re genuinely surprised when someone conveys the love that comes from Jesus Christ.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You know, I had a dream the other night about loving my enemies.

        [The Dream] I was outside of a building and a Muslim picked up a stone and started his way into the building. After seeing that, I did likewise but it was to protect the people inside the building. The Muslim sat down and I was going to hit him over the head but it didn’t seem right to me to do that. The dream then switched to me explaining how to love people with a real-life example that really happened to me with a Christian who I didn’t know at the time but I was helping him with something and he gave me a hug. In the dream, it was showing me that that is how you love your brothers and show it.

        Through the hug I felt genuine love.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Thanks for the good dream illustration! It’s counter-intuitive for us to show love and forgiveness to our enemies as Christ instructs us to. I think of the Christian martyrs I have read about who prayed for their executioners as they were led to their deaths. What a testimony that was to the executioners and spectators!

        Liked by 1 person

  1. So true. Happy you see both sides. I continue in pray for each of us see this also and remember, Man knows no justuce but his own. May our God prevail there.:)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great post. I’m a consultant now but was a manager for over 40 years. I joked that managing would be fun if it wasn’t for the people. 🙂

    Like you, I had some great bosses and some not so great bosses. It seems to work out in the long haul though.

    The toughest thing though is standing of for the principles of Jesus with those who don’t follow Him.

    Thanks for the insight.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for your prayers! The meeting with my wife, her boss, and the HR rep actually went well for my wife because the truth (and God) was on her side. She had nothing to hide unlike her boss. I failed to mention that the boss had also ridiculed her very inappropriately behind her back (spinning a finger around one ear and saying my wife was crazy) in front of my wife’s peers, which my wife happened to catch when she just happened to turn around quickly at the moment. That was also brought up to HR. So, what steps HR is going to take, if any, is up in the air.

      Liked by 1 person

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