Unless you’re an entrepreneur at some fancy start-up or the inventor of the next Instagram or Vine, chances are, you have a boss. They may be a fabulous human being, who turns a blind eye when you walk in 15 minutes late every morning with Starbucks in hand. Or they could be the spawn of Satan and monitor your computer activity for time spent on social networking sites. Either way, National Boss Day on Oct. 16 is the perfect opportunity to celebrate their existence, whether that means dropping off a cupcake at their desk or burning them in effigy.
In honor of the national holiday, we’ve rounded up our favorite horrible bosses from television so that you can be thankful they’re not the ones you have to greet every morning. Luckily, we’re confident that bosses like these would have been fired long ago in the real world.
Michael Scott (The Office)
According to the mug that he bought for himself at a Spencer’s store, Michael Scott (Steve Carell), of NBC’s The Office, is the “World’s Best Boss.” But his actions speak otherwise, although his only real fault is his desperate need for attention and admiration. He blackmails his employees into spending time with him, sends nude pictures of his own boss around the office, reveals the shutdown of branch offices at a company picnic, and is targeted for racial sensitivity training after he tries to perform Chris Rock’s stand up. And those are just the start of an extensive laundry list of fireable offenses. Despite all this, you can’t help but love the guy and and all of his misguided words of wisdom.
Wilhelmina Slater (Ugly Betty)
As creative director of MODE magazine, Wilhelmina Slater (Vanessa Williams) is ruthless, conniving and constantly trying to get her perfectly manicured hands on the editor-in-chief position. She’ll do anything to claw her way to the top, including using blackmail, threats and schemes that would have been right at home on a daytime soap opera. And she’s happy to use (or step on) anyone—including her employees. She even convinces one of her underlings to act as a surrogate and carry her baby! Still, we loved couldn’t help but love her for her impeccable fashion taste and her banter with her assistant, Marc St. James (Michael Urie).
Ron Swanson (Parks and Recreation)
Ron Swanson (Nick Offerman) would actually be a pretty great boss—if he was working in a different industry. As a foreman at a lumber mill or the owner of a gun shop, he would probably be a great guy to work for. But as the Director of the Parks and Recreation Department in Pawnee, Indiana, it’s a miracle that he wasn’t fired years ago. Despite his job, Swanson despises the government and bureaucracy (and salad, skim milk and all of his ex-wives named Tammy) He regularly stops government projects, refuses to listen to citizen complaints and doesn’t even follow building codes in his own workshop.
Don Draper/Roger Sterling (Mad Men)
We couldn’t choose between these two horrible bosses, so we’re including both. Did ad men in the sixties really get away with the type of stuff these guys pull off daily? You’d think that drinking themselves into oblivion, sleeping with se
cretaries, stumbling in late and taking couch naps were all a part of their job description, by the frequency in which they indulge in these activities. I pity the poor secretaries who have to make excuses for them and clean up their messes. At this point, Peggy should just be given all the power.
Dean Pelton (Community)
Like Michael Scott, the dean of Greendale Community College—played brilliantly by Jim Rash—is a well-meaning guy but horribly ill-equipped to hold any position of power. Just one example is when Dean Pelton tries to come up with a new “ethnically neutral” mascot for the school that avoids all stereotypes or discernable traits, ending up instead with the frightening Greendale “Human Being.” There was also the time when he blackmailed one of his students, Jeff Winger (Joel McHale), into spending time with him, resulting in a particularly memorable rendition of Seal’s “Kiss From a Rose.” Or when he tried to make a new commercial for the college and ended up thousands of dollars over budget and locked in his office with an opossum after mentally abusing the entirety of the Greendale staff and students. The Dean would be much better off taking his creativity and big personality elsewhere, but Greendale wouldn’t be the school it is without him.
Gregory House (House M.D.)
The physical personification of the word “curmudgeon,” House (played by Brit Hugh Laurie, with what was the most flawless American accent on television) is a brilliant and narcissistic surgeon. He’s stingy with guidance for the team of doctors studying under him, regularly pops pain pills and enjoys making fun of the stupidity of others, including his patients. Although he’s supposed to lead his team to help them become better doctors, he’d rather try to avoid them.