Is Boss a Four-Letter Word?

Sunday, Oct. 16 marks an important holiday. Surely, you didn’t forget? Father’s Day, Mother’s Day? No, it’s National Boss Day.

For entrepreneurs and small-business owners, Boss Day could be any day, really. And be thankful for that; as you can probably attest, there’s some pretty bad bosses out there.

Celebrated on Oct. 16, or the nearest working day, National Boss Day began in 1958 when Patricia Haroski, a State Farm Insurance secretary from Deerfield, filed the date with a national registry. Was this a lame attempt at “suck-uppery”? Perhaps, but her boss was also her father. She’d forgotten his birthday days earlier, and made this gesture instead.

Does that suggest the relationship between a boss and his or her employees can be parental? Sure, but that’s just one girl who forgot her dad’s birthday. Mentor to mentee, trainer to trainee, sometimes even tormentor to tormentee can also describe that unique bond with someone whom you spend 40 or more hours with weekly. Do you have any of the following types of bad bosses?

The Michael Scott (The Office television series): A delusional but well-meaning person whose management techniques were taken from the back flap of leadership books he skimmed while standing at Barnes & Noble. Watch for misused words and gibberish corporate-speak.

The Kate Moss (International supermodel): A temperamental drama queen whose personal life spills into the workplace and whose work productivity can be measured by her mood index. Beware of flying objects.

The Sue Sylvester (Glee television series): A sneaky one she is, this boss can insult you with a smile. No idea is good unless it’s hers. No person works harder, she thinks, than her. You are merely allowed to exist in her presence; don’t try to shine or she’ll knock you down a few pegs. Can be killed with kindness.

The Gordon Ramsey (Reality television chef): This boss doesn’t tolerate anything but perfection. His voice goes from a yell to a shout in the time it takes you to say,” What did I do wrong?” He uses colorful language and expressions, and has an affinity for calling you a “donkey.”


Journalist, podcaster and southpaw Shelby Skrhak is the former director of digital content and social media for Before joining SUCCESS magazine, Shelby launched the weekly suburban newspaper Plano Insider, and covered topics ranging from cops and courts to transportation and fashion. Her handwriting should be a font.

Leave a Comment