Amanda* is one of those bosses you just love to hate. She doesn’t speak to her staff; she yells and screams at them. She criticises and ostracises anyone who doesn’t play by her rules. And she makes those on her team feel guilty for taking time off – even when they are sick or entitled to annual or childcare leave.
I worked under Amanda for four years. Looking back, I’m surprised that I lasted that long. From day one it seemed like she was out to get me, yet I stuck around, because it was a prestigious company and I’d worked hard to get a position there. I told myself to hold on for as long as possible and to get at least a few years’ experience before moving on.
I wasn’t the only one who hated Amanda. Our entire team of eight all despised her. We dreaded going in to work every day. Amanda treated us all with no respect. We were all so petrified of her that none of us had the courage to stand up to her or argue with her. We just took the abuse.
A bad boss in more ways than one
Over the years that I worked under Amanda, I observed many instances of her abuse of power. For one, she would threaten certain people to work extra hours without extra pay – or risk not having a job the next day. Second, she would deny people’s requests for childcare or emergency leave on the basis that these team members were poor performers who couldn’t afford to take time off. And then there was her foul mouth. If she was angry she would scream out vulgarities for everyone to hear, and she would even call us – her own team members – ‘idiots’, ‘dummies’ and ‘losers’. Little wonder, then, that our team morale was non-existent.
But it wasn’t just Amanda’s lousy attitude, rudeness and poor leadership. She ran our team as if she owned all of us. I rarely saw her work hard. Most of her time was spent breezing in and out of meetings and acting like she was important, and schmoozing with the higher-ups. When things got tough at work, she was nowhere to be found and we had to figure things out for ourselves. Of course, when bad stuff happened Amanda always blamed us, but when the going was good she took the credit for it.
During my four years under Amanda, I must have had 100 different colleagues on my team. Most people would leave after several months because they just couldn’t handle working for such a horrible person. The ones that stayed on – myself included – suffered in silence.
Most people might ask why Amanda never got fired for being such a bitch. The answer is simple: she had her boss wrapped around her little finger. He was always travelling for work anyway, so he had no clue of the problems within our team. In his eyes, Amanda was a brilliant, fair and efficient boss who got results.
Amanda’s dirty little secret
I never thought to get back at Amanda. I’m not the kind of person who causes trouble and I don’t have a bad bone in my body. But late one night, as I was working at my desk, I witnessed something that got me thinking that I could well be the one to get Amanda kicked out of the company.
It was about 8pm. The office was pretty much empty, but I’d stayed behind to prepare for a meeting the next morning. As I walked to the bathroom, I noticed Amanda and a man in her small office. I thought it was another colleague but when I looked closer I realised it was some guy I hadn’t seen before, and he was having sex with Amanda on her desk! I should’ve just walked away but I was riveted. I hid behind a filing cabinet and watched the whole scene play out. Amanda and her guy friend were naked from the waist down and making passionate love right by her computer.
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Almost immediately, I started thinking that this could be how I could get Amanda thrown out of the company. Our company has strict rules about non-employees visiting the office after-hours, so Amanda had already violated this policy. Now I just needed proof.
I worked late the next several nights, waiting to catch all the action on my mobile phone. A week went by with no luck. Then, on Friday night, it happened again. This time I noticed the guy walk into Amanda’s office with her. Neither of them could see me from where I was sitting. Half an hour later I heard giggles coming from the room. I quietly approached, once again hiding behind the filing cabinet so that I couldn’t be seen. Then I whipped out my phone and recorded the whole scene, from the time they stripped off right to when they finished having sex.
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Who’s in trouble now?
I didn’t tell anyone on my team what I saw. The next day, Saturday, I set up an email account from home but I didn’t use my real name. Then I sent Amanda’s raunchy sex video to one of our company owners – a pretty conservative man –with a message saying that he ought to know what happens in the office after business hours. I signed off, ‘A concerned and disgusted employee’.
I knew that, if anything was going to get Amanda fired, it was this gross video. Violating company rules about visitors after business hours was one thing, but she was using her office as a hotel room.
On Monday morning I got into work at 9am sharp. I noticed that Amanda’s office was empty and she was nowhere to be found. As I started up my computer, one of my colleagues from another department came over and asked me if I’d heard the news – Amanda had been fired over the weekend for unprofessional conduct! She had come in to work on Sunday to clear out her office, so as to avoid seeing any of us. I pretended to be shocked but inside I was celebrating.
As the morning went on and the office started filling up, news of Amanda’s departure spread. Everyone had received an email from the bosses stating that Amanda had left the company, but no reason was given as to why. Of course, I knew exactly why she was sacked.
Amanda was replaced by another woman, Beth*, who was everything Amanda wasn’t – kind, sensitive, understanding, professional, intelligent, and sharp. It was such a joy to work with her. Weeks later I found out that Amanda had trouble finding a decent job after leaving our company. She ended up taking a low-paying position at some unknown company, and I heard that she was unhappy. I wanted to feel sorry for her but I couldn’t. She had ruined so many careers and now she was finally getting a taste of her own medicine.
*Names have been changed.