WORKING

Friday, August 24, 2007

Rotten Top Bananas

One boss required the most junior person in the office to staff the help desk for 45 minutes as fire filled his workspace with smoke.

That boss was bad enough to win the bad boss contest sponsored by Working America, an AFL-CIO affiliate. The just-completed contest drew hundreds of bad boss stories -- including many tales of chiefs who wouldn't let workers take time off for important personal needs.

Other bosses create dysfunctional environments, cancel vacations or kill creativity and innovation.

Those bosses -- cheap, cold, nasty -- should be avoided by sniffing them out before signing on.

"Watch how the boss treats other people," said Robert Fox, deputy director of Working America, who suggests taking a potential co-worker to lunch and dishing about the boss.

You may want to check health and safety records -- Occupational Safety and Health Administration or state violations -- find out about union protections or read the employee handbook for policies.

"Go with your gut. If you feel creeped out, there is probably a reason for that," Fox said.

And if you suspect the boss is a bad one, avoid them like a burning building.

-- Vickie Elmer

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