The Best of November - Horror Stories From Advertising

While I would love to share two stories as per the norm - I am actually going to write about a situation that spans several months...

November 2006 was a rough month. I had been in a new position at my company for a short time. The holidays are crazy - so I had not received any training besides how to use the computers - nothing about policies stations I worked with - nothing about who I could and couldn't speak to regarding certain situations - just "Here's a machine - here's how you enter work orders - welcome to the team. The day of the company Holiday Party 2006, just before I reached my 90 days in the new department - - I was having a meeting about a last minute situation regarding a "Snow Sale" when The Boss came stomping into my direct supervisors office (her ugly little midget clogs in all their glory) and began screaming at me. Apparently I had not learned via telepathy that there were newly restrictive cancellation policies with one of our station groups, so when I cancelled a schedule within the 2-week window (by 1 day) she received a call from the Sales Manager saying they would hold us to that 1-day of advertising (about $350 of spots on a $6,000 buy). I tried to remain calm, but when she began shaking her finger in my face I broke down crying. I tried to leave, but The Boss followed and continued yelling at me in front of the entire department… After several minutes of being shouted at for my incompetence (while in front of my peers), I said I needed to leave. As I walked out the office door, she simply said, “Don’t let this keep you from coming to the Holiday Party.” I went to the party, but was horribly uncomfortable all night.

Jump ahead to February - my company got back an advertiser that had been using a different agency for over a year because of a lack of creativity at my company (understandable - it can be hard to keep creative juices flowing when clients want a commercial to look like it was produced at a national level but for a budget of $300 - kind of restrictive). My direct supervisor and I didn’t want to keep the station pre-purchased spots that had been reserved by another agency because budgets were changing. Our alternative plan was to cancel the pre-books, and then place as needed for 2 months so we could get a feel for the buying load and pattern. That conversation being overheard by The Boss (who no longer wanted to be involved in the process and was working towards becoming an operations manager) said, and I quote: “Employees like you are a dime a dozen. If you are unhappy and don’t want to do things the company way, I can find someone to replace you in a heartbeat.” Talk about a vote of confidence when she hadn't been involved in anything on the account until that moment.

In April my husband and I had planned a trip to Washington DC to visit our close friends who had moved there less than a year earlier. The night before we left I worked until 1:00 in the morning to help The Boss with a project completely unrelated to my clients - basically saw her panicked and decided that since no one else would stay it was the least I could do before vacation. The Boss drove me home - and on the way said she thought I was burning out and that if I wanted to look for another job I didn't need to worry about her finding a replacement for me because there were tons of people waiting to work with her. (Really? Is your ego that big? Thanks for the pat on the back for everything I've done for you.)

So my husband and I decided on vacation that the time had come - If I was really that disrespected by a woman that I had given so many chances to redeem herself then I should just go. He couldn't bear to keep working with her when she had no understanding of what it means to have a loyal employee who is willing to forgive personality flaws SEVERAL times only to be humiliated repeatedly.

I am in business for myself now - and I have a beautiful hand-painted vase on my workbench which reads "Ashes of Problem Bosses" - to remind me that the worst is in the past. My husband left the company as well, started contracting for companies across the country, and is soon to be featured in a prominent technology magazine for his expansive knowledge that he was sharing with the old company at 1/2 the going consulting rate for our city.


Anonymous Anonymous said...


I just quite and man does it feel good. I also like your picture of the boss, it looks just like her. She was distroying my health,that woman isn't right.

10:05 PM  

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