Horror Boss Stories: Here Are Some Stories of the Worst Bosses in Malaysia

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You’ve started your first week at your new job. Your co-workers are cool, the culture is chill, and you don’t mind your work. All in all, pretty good, right?

Until you find out what a raging pain in the ass your boss is. He yells at you in front of your coworkers. She expects you to work late and on the weekends. He grinds you hard and promises a raise – only to give a 100 ringgit bonus at the end of the month.

Simply put, your boss is an asshole.

We hope you don’t have one, but here are stories of some of the worst bosses in Malaysia.

Quitters need not apply

Start-ups demand a lot out of their workers and pay very little. Naturally, you’d have to have the passion working for one. Despite the measly pay with no overtime rates, Xin Yen loved the work and liked her team. The boss? Not so much.

The company was his brainchild, and he expected every one of his employees to commit 110%. He’d come in a few minutes before work ended for the day, and told her team that he was expecting everyone to stay until midnight.

“No excuses,” he said. On top of that, he insisted that there was not going to be a dinner break, because working at a start-up meant getting used to skipping meals.

When asked by the full-timers if they could claim a leave day for all the overtime, he asked them that if they thought they deserved a rest after the bad work they’ve done.

In her 4 months of working there, 3 full-timers resigned. The working conditions were affecting their health. When she asked him about it, her boss said, “I don’t need quitters.”

Not a mind reader

Employers often stress the importance of good communication skills. It’s a shame that not many practice what they preach.

When Jack joined the company as a copywriter, he was new to the business. The boss promised to assign him a mentor—a senior member on the team. The first week passed, and there was no mentor. Jack reminded his boss.

He said that he didn’t remember making such a promise. Jack was told that he would learn on the job instead.

Naturally, on his first assignment, he made mistakes. The boss went off on him.

It was “fucking shit” because it didn’t fit certain criteria—which he had forgotten to email to Jack earlier. Still, Jack apologised, and told him that he’d take his advice. He’d try better next time.

A few months later, Jack was yelled at three times more—all for the same reasons. He realised that it wasn’t because he didn’t follow the criteria, it just wasn’t what the boss had in mind. Instead of helping Jack improve, his boss got personal. He started to blame Jack’s anxiety and low self-esteem. His boss told him: “You should try writing an instruction manual, because this is as boring as one.”

As it turns out, everyone in the company was subjected to his verbal abuse, and for the same reason—not being mind readers.

Still in high school

We all remember our teenage years – all the drama and backstabbing. You‘d think that all that stayed in high school. I mean, work is hard enough as it is, right?

That wasn’t the case with Hafiq’s 56-year old manager. She smiles and compliments, but behind their backs, it’s a whole other story. She takes credit for their work, and gossips about them with the board of directors.

He brought it up with his other colleagues, thinking that he could trust them. But in the next meeting, she outed him in front of the department heads. Someone ratted him out to her. As punishment, she decided to publicly humiliate him, and destroyed his credibility with the senior management.

But that wasn’t the worst of it. Hafiq’s close colleague had just resigned. She hated the office politics, so she applied for another job which paid better, and one she was passionate about.

The manager found out, and as it turns out, the recruiting employer was a friend of hers. She sent an email saying that Hafiq’s colleague was a slacker, she gossips, her work is terrible, and that she used company resources for her own gain. It was all a lie of course, but all the same, his ex-colleague never got that job.

Profiting off the dead

Corporations have a reputation for being greedy and heartless. Profits are the only thing that matter, not the consequences. Gina witnessed first-hand just how far people would go for money.

Gina worked in the human resources department in a construction company. The nature of her job dealt with sensitive information—wages, performance reviews, disciplinary actions against employees.

Gina was privy to some the shoddier actions of her director. He recorded lower profits (for tax evasion), underpaid foreign workers, and refused to pay benefits—all for a bigger profit. Still, this was normal, right? It’s not like this was the first company that was dishonest.

However, one day she got news that an employee had died from accident on-site. He was a foreign worker, trying to make ends meet for his family in Bangladesh. The company had an insurance policy for their staff in case of accident or death. The policy was a lot of money—enough to provide his family an easy life, at least for a while.

Instead, the director pulled some strings to wire that money into his account. Gina didn’t find out until she was told by her department head. It was another secret she had to keep. She decided to leave a month after.

Yikes. Maybe that awkward chat in the lift isn’t so bad, now that I think about it. And there you have it, 4 horror boss stories in Malaysia.

(Names have been changed.)

Do you have a horror boss story? Share it with us in the comments below!

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  1. Yea I got my share on bad bosses..

    They were partners and I’ve known them back when we worked together in a construction company.

    One day they both had some dispute with the boss and quit the company on the spot.

    Few days later i got a call from them and they needed my help. Turns out they had started their own construction company and they needed some bungalow designs from me since i was the designer in the old company. I kept my integrity n didn’t give them anything from the company but i did some new designs at home and sent them to these guys.

    After a year i quit the company and went to further my studies. During my time being a student, these two guys kept hiring me as a freelance designer for their company up untill the final days of me being a student.

    After the finals they offered me a job in the company as the head of design department but on few conditions.

    1. They must provide me with a set of computers to do the design works

    2. If there are more than five projects running i will be needing an assistant

    3. Appointment letter to be sent prior to the date of me starting to work there

    They agreed to all the conditions but they didn’t keep their promises.

    One day i went down to one of the costruction sites and to my surprise, all the workers there asked me for their salary. I told them i wasn’t the one handling the accounts. They told me the bosses held their payment for almost 3 months.

    So i went back to the office and asked the accountant for accounts reports. It all seemed well untill i detected a huge amount of money had been transfered from an account to the company account and then to another personal account after 3 days.

    It turns out the company landed a big project (millions worth) and already received the deposit for the project. Then these two bosses used some of the money to buy themselves a car and a superbike each.

    That was where it went south for the company. They didn’t have enough money to carry the project ao they used the money from another project to cover. Then used the money from another project to run that project and the pattern went on and on.

    We were handling seven projects at a time but all of the projects seems to be behind schedule and the workes salaries had not been paid on time.

    When i confronted the bosses, they yelled at me saying that it wasn’t my business to go snooping around in other departments.

    Well, i just cant work with selfish and arrogant people so i quit on the spot.

    Last i heard that the company went broke and didnt finish some of the projects. One of the project owners even called me to make sure i quit the company since he wanted to take the case to court and didnt want me to be involved.

  2. I have been in the retail company for 12 years,been watching my lady boss from her executive era until became a branch manager,but her unprofessional ethics bothers me sometime,yelling to staffs in front of the customers is her normal habit even in busy hours,sometimes proposing a ridiculous new SOP that could pop up from her head but only lasts 2 or 3 weeks until she thinks about another SOP, i do argue with her sometime when i demand for black & white document from HQ if that certain law that proposed by her exist,
    But lately her health declined after diagnosed as mild stroke, shes kind of slowed a little bit for few weeks but bad habit wont go that easily, she still screams and still being ridiculous as usual with us ignoring her..but hopely we didnt have to carry her in a shopping trolley if she faints from stroke because it would be shamefull for her regarding she always boasted about her good health and all..yep..its a true story from a supermarket at klang town..

  3. I used to work in the legal industry, but decided to change path as my heart was never really in it in the first place. So after looking around, I decided to take up this particular position at an event management company. I was put in a team where we were supposed to come up with proposals and ideas for events, but apparently my ex boss had another plan for me altogether. From the get go he kept asking me to review agreements and work on all legal related documents and matters because of my background. Heck he even asked me to represent him at an industrial court on my 2nd week of work for a case that his ex-employee brought against him eventhough I no longer had such capacity! (Should have been a Red Alert for me then!) Even though I told him that this was not part of the JD, he insisted and said that it was “part of the role” I was hired for. I just let it slide as I was so new to the company. For 6months (also the period of probation) I had to endure so much stress as I had to take instructions directly from him. He would always asks me to draft him letters, documents etc in my own words/style as he said that I had a certain flair to it. And he also made me write all these “angry” letters to people of higher position in the industry he was dealing with, but in a so called “subtle” way. But being a control freak, he would literally changed every single words of my words to his. Every time I submit my first draft, he would complained that it was not his style and I didn’t put in his words (like someone mentioned above, another ex boss who expected that I’m a mind reader). And in the end, the draft I had to revise ended being word for word from him own mouth (that was like after minimum 10 revisions). I was basically just a typewriter at that point. I understand that Event Management is a stressful line, but my ex-boss was definitely out of bound. At one point within that 6months, I became pregnant. But because of all the stress I had to endure, I suffered a miscarriage at 10weeks, and it was really bad. I honestly believe until today it was because of the unnecessary demands from him which caused it. Even when I was on Medical leave because of it, he had the audacity to call me up to help him draft the agreements ASAP. Funny part was, he actually hired external lawyers to help him out with this, but he just wanted me to be the person doing all the work and just submit the draft for the legal to check when it should be the other way around. He also loves to scold anyone with awful words in front of everyone. And in my case, I think I’ve probably chopped off so many trees just trying to redo all his letters/and documents by reprinting a whole set just because he wanted to change a single word. Then after the probation period has ended, he refused to confirm my position as he said he failed to see my capabilities in performing my job based on the original JD and he admitted I have been doing jobs not within my scope. So he offered another 6months probation period for me to perform the original JD. He even practically “signed” a letter (not official but a scribbled letter with his signature, but in law it was still valid) to say that he promised to confirm me as soon as the second probation period has ended. I had to accept as I didn’t have any other jobs lined up for me yet at that point and I was pregnant the second time around. But this time, I tried to take it easy and eventually I just couldn’t care less anymore. I still work based on my actual JD, but I didn’t give in so much to his demands. Then after the 2nd 6months almost up, I tried asking him about my status there. But about 1 month before my time was to end, he refused to see me and kept giving excuses that he was busy. Then he also never replied any of my texts or emails (when he usually was very vocal and prompt). Even on my last day where the rest of my colleagues had a farewell, I never saw his face. At that point, I really don’t care whether or not I had a job (I was about 5months pregnant when my 2nd probation ended) but I felt a huge relief after I left. So for 1 year I worked my ass off under the false pretense that I’d be hired as a permanent staff, when in fact I think it was always his plan to have me as a contract staff all along. Cost saving I supposed as he doesn’t have to increase salary, no bonuses etc. After that I found out another 8 people also left, and that his team apparently always changes every year except for 1-2people. I was unemployed for about 1year and a half after I had my baby, but having to leave that place after all that, was a huge relief! I eventually found a job, a better one in fact, which revolves around events too. From time to time I would see him attending our functions, and I even approached him once, but he pretended not to know me. When he did, he slowly slipped away. Funny how life works out.

  4. I was working in an automation trading company. My boss was a narcissistic and controlling person. He also loves bragging to others about how “big” his company is, when in total there are less than 10 staffs including him.

    He would always say that business was bad and such things, while paying us such low salaries, with him constantly purchasing new gadgets (he is an Apple addict) and luxury goods.

    I was holding the position of Sales Admin during my tenure in the company. Though that was my position, the only work I think is within my job scope is to issue invoices and reply enquiries. He would always throw work that are not related to my job description, always changing his mind, and forcing us staffs to do work unrelated to the company. Besides, he also expects us to work on holidays and does not like us leaving the office on time. He will say that we are lazy, and it is a very bad attitude to leave on time.

    He is also a boss which enjoys manipulating staffs. When I got sick of his manipulation, I started challenging him back in meetings and in normal day to day work, whatever I feel that is not within my job scope. That was when he started picking on me, blaming me for other staff’s mistakes, blaming that it was because I was always treating this staff terribly, when I did no such thing. Also, the work environment was getting really toxic when the new staffs he hired were incapable of doing their own job and will always pass their job to me. I did it quietly out of respect as I was the youngest there. But when I needed help, nobody was willing to help me.

    When I finally handed in my resignation, he started scolding me in front of staffs, and whatever work I was doing, was handed back to me for revisions because it was wrong, while all the while I was doing it as how I would do it the past few months. And he would also say that I do not have teamwork, as I ceased talking to the rest of the team because I knew they were a bad influence. Also, when I tendered my resignation, he said that my attitude was bad, and I wouldn’t get a good job with this kind of attitude etc.

    I was left with 2 more weeks on my notice period when he scolded me in front of other staffs. That was the last straw. I couldn’t be bothered with finishing the notice period. I ended up taking 2 weeks unpaid leave for the remainder of my notice, and never looked back.

    I am now working in an IT company, with much better pay and benefits, surrounded by an amazing team. I couldn’t be more grateful.

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