Seven Worst On-screen Bosses of All Time

Posted by Jeff Pelliccio on Dec 3, 2015 8:41:00 AM

In ICS insights

The end of the year is usually the time when we take a moment to reflect on our lives and try to find more happiness and fulfillment going into the New Year. This often means looking for a new job.

Many of us have encountered a difficult boss at one point or another in our careers.  We cannot guarantee your boss is always going to be perfect but these impossible bosses might make you feel like maybe you don’t have it so bad after all.

1.     J. Jonah Jameson, Spider Man (Comic Series)

Portrayed in all three Spider Man movies by J. K. Simmons, this mustached menace will go to any length to discredit the merit of the superhero. Filled with greed and rage (two FANTASTIC qualities in a boss), he is hell-bent on discovering Spider Man’s true identity.  Excessive pride and self-confidence are Jameson’s most damnable personality flaws, and one that rears its ugly head time and again when forced to acknowledge the heroism and selflessness of poor Peter Parker. Be thankful that you’re not on the payroll at the Daily Bugle.

2.     Bill Lumbergh, Office Space (Movie)

Played by Gary Cole in the sleeper hit Office Space, Bill Lumbergh is the quintessential cocky, micro-managing boss. From his gaudy blue Porsche with vanity plates, to his shiny suits and suspenders, Lumbergh embodies the typical hated slimy boss man; and what’s up with him thinking it’s ok to have his employees come in to work on a Saturday? His monotone catch phrase “that’d be great” is enough to make any employee want to beat the snot out of the office fax machine. 

3.     Miranda Priestly, The Devil Wears Prada (Movie)

Meryl Streep’s spot-on portrayal of this glass-ceiling shattering magazine editor instilled anxiety in aspiring fashion magazine writers around the world. Cunning and mean, Priestly epitomized that boss who could demoralize you with a glance and whose ability to make you feel as small as an insect was almost inhumane. Her demands for ever-present scorching hot Starbucks lattes and steaks made to order from Smith and Wollensky brought poor newbie Andy (played by Anne Hathaway) to her knees on a daily basis. Long hours, intense stress and thankless tasks were the norm under the rule of this tyrannical lady boss.

4.     Mr. Burns, The Simpsons  (TV Show)

The owner of the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant personifies the evils of corporate America on The Simpsons. This greedy tycoon finds it fun to (literally) unleash his attack dogs on those who displease him. Homer is repeatedly forced to endure the schemes of heartless Burns, who cares little about his employees and underlings. Motivated by the almighty dollar, Mr. Burns spies on his factory workers and thinks nothing of placing them to life-threatening situations. Where is OSHA when you need them? 

5.     Michael Scott, The Office (TV Show)

This self-described ‘Worlds Best Boss’ falls far short of the title he has bestowed upon himself. Ill-equipped to be a leader or motivator, Scott much prefers to chat up his Dunder Mifflin employees with inappropriate sexual innuendos or his love for Meryl Streep. Every HR director’s worst nightmare, Steve Carrell portrays a manager who believes that boundaries are meant to be ignored, crossed, and trampled on.

6.     Gordon Gekko, Wall Street (Movie)

Michael Douglas embodied the epitome of the sleaze ball boss in the 1987 hit Wall Street and its 2010 sequel Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps. Greed, excess, and corruption were the names of the game and you better be willing to play hard ball if you were playing with Gordon Gecko. With Charlie Sheen as his protégé, Gecko led with a kill or be-killed, take no prisoners mentality. The thin line between right and wrong was easily blurred by this crooked stock broker. This is NOT the boss you want as your mentor if you are trying to stay in the good graces of the SEC.

7.     Ebenezer Scrooge, A Christmas Carol (Novel and Movie)

The catchphrase of stingy bosses everywhere, “Bah Humbug” was immortalized by the original mean boss, Scrooge. Dickens iconic villain from the classic, A Christmas Carol, is content to count his fortune while his employees froze in their unheated homes. Long before labor laws existed, this ruthless tycoon exploited his minions with long hours, squalid working conditions and meager wages. You know your boss is heartless when it takes 3 hallucinations to smack some sense into him.

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