Bad Boss Won’t Let ‘My Best Employee’ Attend Her Graduation, Gets Response He Deserves

How do you know when you’ve got a bad boss? This one’s an open-shut case.

We’ve all heard bad boss stories, but this one takes the cake. And here’s the kicker: This story came from the bad boss himself*, not from the employee he treated like garbage.



In a letter titled, “my best employee quit on the spot because I wouldn’t let her go to her college graduation,” the bad boss asked for advice from the Ask A Manager blog.

He runs a call center and one of his workers asked if she could come in two hours late…So she could attend her own college graduation ceremony. He answered yes, but only if she could find someone to replace her for those two hours. Alas, not a single person in the toxic hell hole this incompetent manager built proved willing to help their coworker out.

In response, she did what all of us who’ve ever been mistreated by a bad boss have fantasized about doing: She turned in her work ID and quit.

I told this team member that she could not start two hours late and that she would have to skip the ceremony. An hour later, she handed me her work ID and a list of all the times she had worked late/come in early/worked overtime for each and every one of her coworkers. Then she quit on the spot.

If anyone has ever needed to read “Good Boss, Bad Boss: How To Be The Best and Learn From The Worst,” it’s him.

This classic up-by-the-bootstraps college grad was this sorry excuse for a manager’s top employee.

Some of us would gladly walk out on a boring graduation ceremony. But this particular woman truly had something to celebrate. She grew up in the foster care system and briefly wound up homeless after turning 18. Yet she somehow accomplished the near-impossible: She got a job at the call center, put herself through night school, and earned a college degree.

And here’s the kicker: this enterprising young woman was his “best employee!”

I’m a bit upset because she was my best employee by far. Her work was excellent, she never missed a day of work in the six years she worked here, and she was my go-to person for weekends and holidays.

Wow. If that’s how this bad boss treats his best employee and “go-to person” for weekends and holidays, I hate to think of how he treats the others.



So, was this guy asking for advice on how to apologize for his callousness and get her to come back? No. Our bad boss extraordinaire wants to give her some advice.

Even though she doesn’t work here any longer, I want to reach out and tell her that quitting without notice because she didn’t get her way isn’t exactly professional. I only want to do this because she was an otherwise great employee, and I don’t want her to derail her career by doing this again and thinking it is okay.

Because, apparently, this woman’s bad boss thinks growing up in the foster care system makes you some kind of delinquent.

She was raised in a few dozen different foster homes and has no living family. She was homeless for a bit after she turned 18 and besides us she doesn’t have anyone in her life that has ever had professional employment. This is the only job she has had. Since she’s never had anyone to teach her professional norms, I want to help her so she doesn’t make the same mistake again. What do you think is the best way for me to do this?

The scathing response from Ask A Manager‘s Allison Green and her fans likely wasn’t what he had in mind.



Ask A Manager to clueless manager: “What?! No, under no circumstances should you do that.”

After expressing her disbelief and telling the bad boss that “under no circumstances should you do that,” Green advised:

If anything, you should consider reaching out to her, apologizing for how you handled the situation, and offering her the job back if she wants it.

And in case this guy remains unclear on the concept, she added:

I’m not usually a fan of people quitting on the spot, but I applaud her for doing it in this case. […] I’m hard-pressed to think of anyone who deserves to be able to attend her own graduation ceremony as much as this woman does. You should have been bending over backwards to ensure she could attend.

Allison Green then proceeded to tear him a new one for making an exception to his rule for an employee who’d paid for a concert ticket but not for her.

And you note that she was your “best employee by far”! She never missed a day of work in six years, she was your go-to person, she covered for every other person there, and she was all-around excellent … and yet when she needed you to help her out with something that was important to her, you refused.

Finally, she tells this egregiously bad boss, “there’s a lesson to be learned here, but it’s not for her.”

The Internet weighs in.

The Internet clearly agrees. The post is going viral with over 1,600 comments from readers at the time of this writing.

Hundreds of readers expressed outrage. Alas, this kind of unfair treatment and exploitation is par for the course these days.

What’s most upsetting is that this employee was the “go to person for weekends and holidays.” Sounds as if an employee who seemed vulnerable– foster homes, no family of her own– was taken advantage of. An appropriate rotation schedule for weekends and holidays would be fair… Not singling out the most jr, vulnerable employee to be the ONE go to person.

If anyone knows who this woman is, please send her to AskAManager.Org. She’ll find that hundreds of managers here appreciate her and would gladly hire her. But not her bad boss, because he’s not worth a bucket of sour owl spit.

I have to say that I’m dazzled by the poor quality of the manager. The lack of concern and appreciation for someone’s personal efforts, particularly when they are cited as one’s best employee, is staggeringly narcissistic. There are plenty of other things besides working for a company as small-minded as this and I am very happy to hear that the employee in question didn’t buy into the BS that this job was more important than anything. And, btw, if she *had* been dumb enough to forego her graduation in favor of working that add’l two hours, what would her reward have been? I didn’t hear of a darn thing save the implicit idea that she could keep her job. Well, I think she made it very clear what her priorities were. For the record, if I had someone who came to me for an interview and said “You should know I did this” and described handing the manager his/her a clear “Up yours!” in this situation, I would be strongly inclined to hire her, because I view the employee’s actions as perfectly professional. The manager, OTOH, wouldn’t be worth sour owl spit.

In decades past, workers had more protection against employers like this woman’s bad boss. But, nowadays, the rules are weakened or don’t get enforced, corporations outsource so they can’t be held accountable, and all of us who have to work for a living lose.

*We don’t actually know whether the boss is a he or a she, alas, the English language lacks gender-neutral pronouns.

Featured image: Embed via Getty Images.