It’s National Bosses Day, and while we’ve all had some great bosses, I’m sure we’ve all also had some not-so-great bosses.
So, in solidarity with everyone who has experienced a job with a bad boss, here’s a look at some of the worst literary bosses!
5. Captain Ahab
Famed captain of the Pequod from Herman Melville’s epic, Moby Dick. He lost his leg to the massive white whale and yearns for revenge, even putting his whole crew in serious danger. If I were Ishmael, the novel’s narrator, I don’t think I would’ve set foot on a boat with this captain.
4. Miss agatha trunchbull
The Trunchbull from Roald Dahl’s Matilda is about the worst school principal imaginable. Cruel, mean, tyrannical, and not above embarrassing teachers and students alike. It takes help from Matilda’s beloved teacher, Miss Honey, as well as Matilda’s own amazing telekinetic powers, to bring this boss down a few pegs.
3. nurse ratched
The head administrative nurse at Salem State Hospital in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Nurse Ratched tyrannically oversees the patients through medication, coercion, and punishment. Once Randle McMurphy scams his way into the facility as a patient, they butt heads over her authoritarian rule over the patients. Cold and calculating, she is a boss you wouldn’t want to work for, and as a patient you, you wouldn’t want her as your physician.
2. ebenezer scrooge
Of course, I’m talking about Ebenezer Scrooge (from A Christmas Carol) before his spiritual awakening (facilitated by three Christmas ghosts). The Ebenezer that we meet at the beginning of Dickens’ classic Christmas tale is miserly, cheap, underpays his workers and mercilessly hounds his debtors. His love for money has become so engrained in English culture that even his name, Scrooge, has come to mean a miserly, bitter person. And to top it all off, you can bet there would be no Christmas bonus from this guy!
1. Dolores Umbridge
Do I even need to explain?
I distinctly recall the feelings of intense, seething rage I felt for this character throughout Order of the Phoenix. Her passive-aggression, her cruelty, her dismissal of beloved characters such as Dumbledore and Harry Potter, her condescension…. The list really just goes on and on! Seeing her sentenced to Azkaban at the end of the Wizarding War truly brought a tear to my eye.
Got any more awful literary bosses? Or even any personal stories of bosses that deserve their own spot on this list? Post it in the comments!