Crazy Things People Say To Their Bosses Without Getting Fired

Amazing stories of people who got away with it

C6XRE1 Portrait of an angry businessman at his laptop, on gray background
Even the best of us have fantasized about saying ridiculously inappropriate things to our bosses. Most of the time, the threat of unemployment stops us, but this isn't the case for everyone.

A recent Quora thread asked the question:

What is the craziest thing you have ever said to your boss, with or without getting fired?

Below are some of the (unverified) testimonies:
Sending an inappropriate instant message.

An anonymous user on Quora accidentally sent "F--- you" to a superior instead of a friend.

Didn't realize this initially but when my friend didn't reply back, I looked at the open chat window and gazed in horror. Seconds later, she looked at me, I had this look of terror, explained it to her that it was not intended for her and pinged it to her by mistake. She didn't say anything, and when nothing happened over the next few hours, I relaxed and things went back to normal and I still had my job.

Quoting a Pink Floyd song.

Before personal computers became a must-have accessory, Jay Bazzinotti was 26 years old and working as the manager of the business unit at a high-tech company. After their modems failed to work properly for an oil company, he was flown from Boston to the west coast as the "sacrificial lamb [his company] would send to the slaughter." He would meet with the senior vice president who "had the power to overthrow third world countries or have people killed."

Here is how he described the experience:

Finally the door opened and the SVP came in. A hush fell over the room. Here was a man that everyone in that room feared and respected. You could feel the power and electricity coming from him as he strode in.

The SVP opened the meeting as if it were a legal proceeding, reading a summary of the problem and all the actions taken to date, emphasizing our failure to solve it. As he got into it he became angrier and angrier. He started pounding the table and he got red as he spoke of how much time and money had been wasted and spoke of "fraud" and "malfeasance" and "misrepresentation". All of this vitriol was directed at me. He was further insulted that our company had the nerve to send me, of all people, not even a VP. Finally he pointed at me and said in a harsh voice, "If you can't fix this problem today, right now, around town your name isn't going to be worth squat!"

And then, without even thinking, I said, "Around town it was well known that when they got home at night their fat and psychopathic wives would thrash them within inches of their lives"

Then he stopped.

"Wait a minute," he said, "I know that line..."

"Yes," I whispered, "It's from Pink Floyd's 'The Wall' album."

He said, "I knew that. You like Pink Floyd?"

"Yes," I said, "It's my favorite group."

"Mine too," he said, suddenly smiling and getting up, "I saw the 'Wall' concert in LA in 1980. It was fantastic! I even caught one of Gilmour's guitar picks. I have it framed in my office with the ticket stubs. Come on, I'll show you!"

The SVP ended up giving the high-tech company a few more weeks to solve the problem, which they successfully did.

Calling him crazy, narcissistic, juvenile, crude, sexist...

In the late '90s when entrepreneur Scott Dunlap was working as a product/marketing executive, he had the following exchange with his boss:

Boss: Make it happen.

Me: What you're asking us to do is physically impossible given the constrains of today's technology.

Boss: Maybe you didn't hear me...I told you to make it happen.

Me: I get that you are holding the bar high for us, but this is crazy. In fact, you are crazy. You are narcissistic, juvenile, crude, conniving, sexist, and lacking any ethical boundaries whatsoever. You are crazy! Yet somehow you consider that combination of attributes to be your leadership style. You are seriously fucked up, like, in a need-a-strait-jacket sort of way.

Boss: [pause] You forgot "rich".

He went on to the next meeting with a smile.

Promising a do-or-die solution.

When Prameet Kamat, a manager for DuPont, was a 22-year-old chemical salesman, one of his bigger accounts complained that the fabric he sold them changed its pH balance and smelled like a "combination of rotten eggs and dying fish":

[The plant head] came out to meet me holding yards of printed fabric "Your product has ruined an important shipment for me! this fabric stinks!" and by god, it did. It stank of a combination of rotten eggs and dying fish. "I have got a 100,000 units of this - " "Is this the guy from that damn company?" Louise stormed in - cigarette dangling and as tall as a skyscraper "I am going to SUE you guys - I am losing 900,000 Euros on this shipment alone! Get out and fix this or you are not going to leave this plant."

I walked around the shop floor for the four loneliest hours of my life. Changing temperatures, chemical dosages and whatever else I could try. I must have looked a sight muttering to myself, looking under equipment runs, taking pH at different points. And the fabric line just kept humming. And stinking. It was late afternoon and it started to finally to get better, and the smell had come down to a mildly unpleasant odor instead of knocking you out. I still didn't know what I got right, but at least something was working.

It was then that I said it - the six words that were either going to be genius or put me in prison. "Put them out in the sun." He blinked at me. "Wot!" I don't know what made me say it - the green sunny lawns that I could see from the windows probably. But I knew it was the dumbest thing I could have said.

Luckily his plan worked and the plant head didn't think the garment smelled after being laid out in the sun for two hours. Whether the ridiculous operation worked or not is a different story:

I might have looked calm or whatever but honestly I just couldn't say anything. I just wanted to collapse. I took the fabric to smell it for myself but honestly I can't say if I smelled anything or not. I had smelled a ton of that fabric day and my nasal sense was dead as a doornail.

Banging on the desk and flipping out.

Lucia Lu had a direct boss who liked to play with things he found on his employees' desks. One morning, he picked up a notebook and started reading it aloud. When this user realized it was her notebook, she asked her boss to give it back. He said "no." Here's what happened next:

Before I even realized it I banged the desk and flipped out: "GIVE IT BACK!"

He stared at me and silently handed it back to me. Strangely, I wasn't even mad at him. I think I was just over annoyed at that point. I do get over-protective of my possessions, especially one that I constantly write who-remember-what in.

Humiliating the boss during a sales meeting.

In 1987, when user Chuck Block was a young stockbroker, he worked for a "sleazy and obnoxious" sales manager.

During a sales meeting he asked if anyone knew where the largest oil reserves in the world were located. I suggested that they were located in his wardrobe. He didn't fire me but when I left the firm he enforced my employment agreement which cost my new firm some money. Back then employment agreements were very rarely enforced when a rookie left for another firm. I think that was his way of retaliating.

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Just yesterday my boss asked me to help with with something and though I tried, it didn't work out so well. He jokingly made a comment about my hair color and I said to him "STFU." No comments from the peanut gallery please. :)

March 09 2014 at 9:13 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I once had an employee tell me he 'couldn't be at work till 9:30 because he had to stop by the meth clinic every morning' ....... (I should say EX-employee....)

October 19 2013 at 10:10 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

TRUE story: My husband's bookkeeper once told him she couldn't concentrate one day because her boyfriend had "- - - - ed" her for five hours...... I have no words......

October 19 2013 at 10:09 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I have always worked in the medical field in different levels of nursing. I am a Psychiatric/Critical Care RN now. I have to say that in nursing my experience has been that as long as you are reliable...come to work as scheduled....demonstrate competency and are able to communicate well with members and treatment team that most nurses have almost 100% autonomy on the job. There are so many resources available to answer questions: pharmacy.....infection control...dietary etc. Most nursing supervisors count on their nurses to be highly functional and independent. The problem I have encountered is with the old nasty *war horse* nurses who are old as dirt......and want to boss everyone around. Try putting one of those nasty old *mafioso* cartel members in place:) LOL thank God they are a *dying breed*! Even the most educated PhD level RN's steer clear of those old hags:):)

October 17 2013 at 7:45 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Real talk about the workplace -

Lots of humor, insights and observations!!!!

October 17 2013 at 3:41 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Six weeks after I went to work at one place, a man who worked in the room (different group) committed a murder-suicide. We had the same upper management, but I was not acquainted with him by that time. This left me to wonder, what the H did they do to that man???

October 17 2013 at 1:08 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

A boss I had used to ask when things went wrong (such as finding out that one of our major exhibitors hadn't submitted their listing for the Show Guide two days before it was due at the printer), "What other surprises are out there waiting for us?" There is no good answer to this question, but once he caught me with the filters between my brain and mouth turned off. I said brightly, "If we knew that, they wouldn't be surprises, would they?" He told me not to get smart with him, but I did notice that he stopped asking that question after that.

October 17 2013 at 12:49 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Skeet !!

After over 30 years government service including time as a front line manager, I was fortunate enough to get a handsome front line manager whose new position went straight to his head. I remember telling him to forget the trip to the hat shop for a bigger hat and that he was asking Santa for a Stretch Armstrong when I was in management. He would come to me for advice after that.

October 17 2013 at 11:05 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

My boss asked me why I was always coming to work late. I said it was because the donut shop wasn't open yet. The job started at 5:45 a.m. He suspended me for one week. I thanked him for the suspension because this was prime bass fishing season. He doubled the suspension to two weeks. Fishing was great! I later became a supervisor, the same job he had.

October 17 2013 at 10:01 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Cassie Poo

I worked at a movie theater that was once one of the glorious Movie Palaces from the 1920's, and we wore Flapper dresses as uniforms to compliment it. The uniforms were somewhat risque, and most of the employees were like myself, 18-20 yr old size 4 females. Our General Manager was a self proclaimed 30 year old stud who loved to try to humiliate us in front of the crowd believing that berating an employee was the way to show them who was in charge. It made for a fairly intimidating/powerless situation with him. One day, he felt that I was too slow to get the doors open for an exiting early show and screamed at me for being lazy in front of the crowd. When it came time for the late show to exit, he wanted to make a big show of opening the doors to show us how much we employees sucked. My primal brain wasn't having it, so I rushed over to open the door and knocked him to the floor faceplanting him in front of the exiting crowd. Horrified at what I had just done, all I could do was point at him and laugh hysterically. Anyone else would have certainly fired me, instead, it broke the ice with him, and he was much easier on all the employees afterwards.

October 17 2013 at 9:51 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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