the smell of my desperation has become a stench

Happy Second Annual Dooce Got Fired Day

With all the exciting sleeplessness going on in the Armstrong household I somehow managed to forget the anniversary of losing my job because of this website. If you are unfamiliar with what happened you can read about it here or here, but all you really need to know is this:

You shouldn’t write about your job on your website.

Last year I celebrated the first anniversary by opening up comments and asking readers to share what song and book they’d take with them if they had to flee a nuclear holocaust. I thought that would be a healthy alternative to how I really wanted to celebrate which was to drink a lot of alcohol and take a lot of drugs and listen to a lot of Joy Division. I was in a bad place last year.

This year I’m in a much better place albeit a much less rested place. Even if I weren’t breastfeeding and could drink alcohol or take drugs I probably wouldn’t because that would mean I could miss a frog smile or a frog sigh or a frog flailing of the legs while I’m temporarily not sober and considering that there are a limited number of frog smiles before they turn into frog screams and frog slamming of doors and frog outbursts of the You’re totally embarrassing me, mom! variety, being temporarily not sober right now is just not worth the sacrifice.

This year I’d like to open up comments again, a highly dangerous endeavor on this website as my comments section tends to attract the most deranged people on the internet. I guess I’m so sleep deprived right now that I’m looney enough to take this risk.

This year’s question is more job-related seeing as I am celebrating the loss of a job-related thing, that being my job.

What is the most insane thing your boss has ever said to you?

I’ll go first, and this is totally 100% pure and complete genuine truth:

“You look like a naughty school girl in those black tights. I’d like to spank your bottom.”

Why I didn’t sue that company for the entire $70 million dollars in venture capital it wasted is one of the true mysteries of my life. I think I just ignored the whole thing because my boss was British and had really bad teeth, and I figured that British men with really bad teeth just didn’t know any better.

(note: House Rules still apply for commenting. House Rules are as follows: 1) Be nice. 2) Don’t say anything mean about Britney Spears.)

  • Wednesday White

    2004/03/07 at 8:46 am

    “If you really knew what you were doing, you wouldn’t be using [a command line FTP client].”

  • Jess

    2004/03/07 at 8:49 am

    My old boss once asked what I’d done over the weekend and when I said I’d been refinishing a headboard, he asked if I was going to handcuff my husband to it. Then he told me a variety of handcuffing stories that I didn’t want to hear.
    He also liked to crouch outside my open office door and then leap in, shrieking, but that was more nonverbal.

  • HRH

    2004/03/07 at 8:55 am

    Putting on my sweater over a shirt before I’m about to go home my Irish ex-boss says to me “If it looks as good coming off as it looks going on, your boyfriend is a lucky man.” Classy.

  • Ferra

    2004/03/07 at 8:58 am

    “Before you go home tonight, you’re going to have to find a way to wrap this 66-pound anchor in such a manner that I will be able to carry it on an international flight without being stopped by TSA officials AND without me having to pay extra because it is motherfucking heavy and also because IT IS A BIG GODDAMNED ANCHOR”

    …or something like that. I am not ashamed to say that the anchor broke my spirit and I cried.

    Also, his sandwich orders are ridiculous: meatball sandwich with two teaspoons of parmesan cheese, a long slice of pepper jack (not triangular), two jalapeno peppers (one on each half of the sandwich, like a little red-hot surprise in the middle of your cracker jax) and a “handful” of olives. Working for family is hell.

  • anne

    2004/03/07 at 8:59 am

    my (former) boss asked for clippings of my nether hairs to verify that my hair color was my actual hair color, which at the time it was. he wanted other stuff, but that was kind of the weirdest. “pull up your skirt when you’re talking to me” is virtually pedestrian. fortunately i was still vibrant enough to weather bloated lonely men with itty bitty bitty members and big imaginations.
    happy anniversary! because frogs are a zillion times better than bad bosses!!

  • zchamu

    2004/03/07 at 9:03 am

    “So tell me about your erogenous zones. On you, I’m thinking the back of the neck and the nape of the knees.”


    He was fired shortly thereafter, remarkably for something completely unrelated to the above.

  • Neil

    2004/03/07 at 9:14 am

    Me: I just sent you an email with the documentation for the web site.

    Boss: Okay, let me take a look. (sits down at computer)

    Me (long, awkward pause): Um, you know you’re in Microsoft Word?

    Boss: Of course, stupid. This is where I get all of my email.

    (points at very annoying Office Assistant as it animates in the corner of his screen)

    Boss: (has “I’m so smart” smug look on face) Look – Here comes your email now!

    Me: (backs away slowly, then breaks into a run straight to another company)

  • dvl

    2004/03/07 at 9:15 am

    my boss and i are friends and have a no-holds-barred policy on banter, and i would certainly violate both rules 1 and 2 if i mentioned some of the things we say to eachother… but this grown man attorney continues to shock me from time-to-time in his displays of helplessness — one time he asked me for a ride home because his car was in the shop; i drive him home and as he gets out of my car says “you have my spare set of keys, right?” fucktard. we had to drive all the way back to the office to get them.

  • cheesefairy

    2004/03/07 at 9:16 am

    “I’m here at the tradeshow to present brand new software that I, as president of my own company, helped develop. But I forgot to bring my laptop, yeah, the one with the presentation on it. Can you ship it [cross-border] so it gets to me by the end of the day?”

  • Carla Beth

    2004/03/07 at 9:18 am

    “Let’s hope the new agent has larger breasts.” Special agent, that is, working for the federal government. This was six months after the Anita Hill and Clarence Thomas thing. I complained, sworn statements followed, buttface got demoted and relocated, and I quit and moved to Alaska. The best thing that ever happened to me.

  • Adam

    2004/03/07 at 9:21 am

    I once had a fast-food manager outline in great detail what a ‘golden shower’ was and how thrilled he was to receive one from his wife on their honeymoon.

    I was in high school, and even at that young age, thought “How gross, his wife finally had the ring on her finger, and she still felt the need to mark her territory.”

  • kelledy

    2004/03/07 at 9:21 am

    I used to wait tables in an upscale restaurant inside of a very annoying upscale department store. It was Halloween, and attempting to be festive at my super snooty and uptight job, I drew a pumpkin on my cheek with face paint. My boss walked in the restaurant during the lunch rush, and just as I was about to take another order for Cobb salad bleu cheese on the side, my boss had a breakdown and just kept pointing at me and spastically repeating “GET IT OFF!!! GET IT OFF YOUR FACE!! GO TO THE WASHROOM!! GET IT OFF!! {insert choking noise} GET IT OFF YOUR FACE NOW YOUNG LADY” And so I went to the bathroom and used the pink public bathroom soap and my face was tight with degradation for the rest of the shift. When I came out of the restroom, someone had summoned the paramedics, as Mister GETITOFF had hyperventilated. He had real pumpkin issues, apparently.

  • Alex

    2004/03/07 at 9:27 am

    “Uh, Alex…how do you keep your teeth so white?” this was said by my very first boss as she looked in the mirror picking out black shit from in between her two front teeth. My reply was, “I brush them.”

    Other than that, all of my bosses have been mild mannered and sadly, shock-free.

  • kelly

    2004/03/07 at 9:28 am

    I’m an office assistant on a college campus.

    “Kelly, great job cutting up those flyers. We’ve got about 800 of them now, right? That’s not too many…”

    “Yeah, I guess 800 isn’t… too… many?”

    “That’s what I thought. There’s 3 mistakes on each of them. Here’s a sharpie.”

  • Paula

    2004/03/07 at 9:30 am

    My boss did a vanity search on my name and found my blog. This was when he decided he needed to start accumulating reasons for pushing me out after I refused to side with him against the entire department on matters too stupid and long to get inot here. Anyway, while I didn’t write anything about anyone or any goings-on there, I had written some things after my stint at IBM. He found a post where I mentioned taking a personal day and going to Borders and then to a coffee shop and started yelling at me, cornering me in my cube and flailing his arms about. He said “This is fucking bullshit! How the hell do I know that when you take a sick day you aren’t just running around shopping and sipping lattes. Or, maybe you’re just surfing the net and wiping your ass to my stupidity! This is fucking bullshit!”

    On the last declaration of bullshit, his finger — the one he’d been pointing in my face for several seconds — actually made contact. The next day I went to HR and the rest is history (I’m currently collecting unemployment).

  • TobyJoe

    2004/03/07 at 9:36 am

    “Go ahead and laugh, retards always do!”

  • Mark

    2004/03/07 at 9:36 am

    “Don’t deposit your paycheck until NEXT Wednesday”

    Paydays are Tuesday.

  • mihow

    2004/03/07 at 9:41 am

    “I’ll pay you overtime.”

  • stace

    2004/03/07 at 9:41 am

    worked in a candy store for four years- district manager said: “have you ever given a blow job with these pop rocks in your mouth? it’s great!”

  • Bette

    2004/03/07 at 9:43 am

    Hmm. A former boss — female and childless — said, “Well, you’re past your first trimester, so you shouldn’t be tired anymore.” Heh. If I hadn’t been so freakin’ tired, I woulda educated her on the fact that women experience pregnancy differently…and kicked her teeny, hemorrhoid-less ass.

  • rosebaby

    2004/03/07 at 9:43 am

    has it been two years already? no schoolgirl comments, but tied for first for me are 1) “your fired for doing _x_”. when i said i didn’t do x, they came back 10 minutes later and said “nevermind, you’re not fired, you’re right, it wasn’t your fault”. and 2) “i’m sorry that your grandmother just died, but you can’t leave until you finish making your sales calls”.

    happy frog smiles. give chuck a hug from buck.

  • Zosia

    2004/03/07 at 9:44 am

    “Um, we’d really like you to not use IM on your lunch break,” as the classic AIM chimes and a white box popped up on her computer screen.

  • lavonne

    2004/03/07 at 9:48 am

    Working as a radio news director, I was once told, “We don’t care about the news. Your job is to make us SOUND like we care about the news.” I gave notice shortly afterward.

  • Kat

    2004/03/07 at 9:55 am

    she: did you use up all the jello?
    me: yes.
    she: good. never make jello again.

  • Maytina

    2004/03/07 at 9:57 am

    Well, while working in a hotel bar/night club run by a family of coke heads, the main boss guy was always a pervert. After working there for six months or so, I find myself restocking the beer fridges alone with him and he says ‘I’d love to get a closer look at those pink panties’. I was pretty sure I was wearing black ones and I brushed it off as him being weird. Upon discovering that I was, in fact, wearing pink panties I just about had a heart attack. HTF did he know that?

  • Win

    2004/03/07 at 9:58 am

    Both of these from the same editor: (I’m a reporter)

    1. I was writing a story about a high school kid who, while robbing a gun store, killed the gun store owner with one of the firearms he was trying to steal. Crazy editor was on my ass all night to find schoolmates of this kid and “find out what he’s all about.” After entirely too much time reporting, I was able to find out the kid was in the high school band. Rather than being pleased with this bit of journalistic gold, Crazy Editor snapped, “Oh yea?! What instrument did he play!?”
    “SHOTGUN,” I snapped back.

    2. On the night of the great northeast black out last year, we did NOT lose power here. Crazy Editor’s breathless assignment to me was “Can it happen here?!?”
    My response: “You mean could the power ever go out? I’m thinking yes.”

  • Jeorg

    2004/03/07 at 10:01 am

    Well, mine isn’t as good as everyone elses, but this is the dumbest I’ve gotten yet…

    I was at work and not feeling well (think retail), and so I started with the vomitting and looking pale as a ghost. My boss told me I couldn’t leave, but that I could go lie down in the break room. So I did (Yes, dumb on my part, should have left). Things got worse, and when I did go home, I went to the pharmacist to ask if I could take anything. She said there was a bug going around…
    Next day, call in sick. My boss, who had seen me sick, pale, out-of-it crazy, and all sick smelly, actually said she was going to need a note from the doctor excusing my absence. I told her that if the day before wasn’t proof enough then this was my immediate notice. She proceeded to chew me out for my unprofessionalism, and I let her have it. I then went and puked. I felt much better a couple of days later.

  • Lester Nelson

    2004/03/07 at 10:04 am

    Ha ha, these comments give me great material to use on my employees!

  • Patricia

    2004/03/07 at 10:05 am

    My boss once came to my desk, bend over and whispered in my ear with a naughty smile on his face :
    “Are those real??”. I looked into his eyes with an innocent smile and said , like , seriously :”Well , when I decided to have that sex change surgery, I made clear that I wanted,not only to remove my penis, but also to have some nice ,large boobs”. And then he asked : “Shut up , you were a guy ??” with a larger smile and a very excited look in his eyes.
    I should´ve had the idea of creating my own website then, because after that I SO wanted to get fired.
    He kept making some really sick homossexual comments in my desk and asked me out every weekend of the next month that I worked there. And dude,like ,the guy was married. To a woman .
    Why I didn’t sue that company is one of the true mysteries of MY life too.
    I had nightmares for a decade ,and I´m still looking for the right support group.

  • susu

    2004/03/07 at 10:11 am

    While on an internship at a kindergarten, my “boss” called us all together for a small meeting to talk about the current situation of a 3-year-old child and his parents. While talking, she suddenly went all “You! *pointing at me* What are you doing here? Shouldn’t you be fingering yourself on the staff toilet or call your sugar daddy for some new vibrators?”

    To this day I tried to supress what she said to me, but I honestly broke out in laughters. She never really talked to me again, and I was quite happy when my internship was over.

  • m

    2004/03/07 at 10:11 am

    i had an english boss, too.
    he said, after refusing to speak to me for 6 months, “it took me one call to get you into medical school, and it will take me one call to make sure you never get in.”
    he was a shrink. gotta love the manipulation that comes with that title.

  • Amber

    2004/03/07 at 10:12 am

    I’ve had bosses say SO many things to me. However, one from my nanny job in Berkeley takes the cake. I had walked in and shown her (remember, this is Berkeley) that I had just gotten my belly button pierced. She looks up, and says, loudly:


  • Kim

    2004/03/07 at 10:13 am

    My former boss had a stuffed Tribble in her office, which is apparently a Star Trek thing, which gives you an idea of her interests. It was featured WAY too much in office shenanigans. She once attacked me from behind with it, making like it was eating my neck, while she shouted something like “GIH GIH GIH GIH GIH GIH!” Some months later I was almost fired for having a “bad attitude.”

  • karen

    2004/03/07 at 10:17 am

    i’ll admit this wasn’t said directly to me, but: i worked at a newspaper and there was a fire in the building. my boss came through the newsroom telling people to head outside. he said, “there’s a fire, everyone needs to get out.” then to those working on putting the pages together, “if you’re on deadline, let your conscience be your guide.” the same boss also once pulled his pants down in front of a circle of female employees to show us his little heart tattoo.

  • Illuminn

    2004/03/07 at 10:24 am

    I’m sitting in his office one day asking why he didn’t tell me about X when it had a major impact on the way I will be doing my job. He says to me, “Well I know you’re seeing a therapist I didn’t want to read the paper tomorrow and discover that you killed yourself over something I said.”

    No ego there. Nope, none whatsoever.

    Interestingly enough I happened to be working for a “Christian” seminary at the time. No compassion either.

  • Lola

    2004/03/07 at 10:35 am

    “You really need to make sure not to get your body cremated when you die, because you’ll need it for the resurrection.”
    That’s the best one I can think of atm. It’s so totally awesome being the only non-Mormon in the office.

  • a.j.duric

    2004/03/07 at 10:40 am

    Walking into Dickhead’s office (his name was actually Dick) early one morning, I saw him prone on the floor under his desk and feared/hoped he’d finally died from exhaustion after weeks of all-nighters and stress meeting a deadline working on code for a client. He popped his eyes and muttered, “Get my whip”, and then promptly fell asleep again. Deranged freak.

  • Lisa

    2004/03/07 at 10:43 am

    “You’re not a very good value proposition.” (this after completely changing my job role 180 degrees and expecting me to make the switch in 3 months)

  • jen

    2004/03/07 at 10:56 am

    Monday… “So, Jen, if you, um, ever stop working here, do you think we’ll still be friends?”

    Tuesday… “We’ve decided to eliminate your postion. But do you want to get together for lunch next week?”

    And, no, we’re not still friends.

  • katkat

    2004/03/07 at 11:00 am

    I thankfully don’t have anything so horrible that it really stands out, but a close close friend of mine once worked for well known fast food chain way back when she was in highschool. This friend had been burned in a fire as a baby and had scars on her face and hands.

    When she realized everyone [but her] had been asked to work the cash registers she asked the manager what was going on. He replied, “Well i’m sorry, but if I put you out front where customers can see you they’ll lose their appetite and never come back.”

    Yes there was a lawsuit. And yes, the big bad world dominating corporate fast food chain lost.

  • nick

    2004/03/07 at 11:05 am

    I work for a tech company, doing random things including design work. I am still in college, and I asked for a raise. Keep in mind, most of our consultants make about $75/hr billing out at around $150. I am billed out at $120/hr.

    After asking for a raise from $11/hr, my boss tells me that “the experience is worth at least $60 an hour.” and “you’re already making too much.”

  • Amanda

    2004/03/07 at 11:06 am

    I over-hear my boss’s wife say into the telephone, “Yes, is this Rick Perry’s office? Well, I would just like to say that I am for prayer-in-school.” When she hung up I asked her what she thought about all the non-religious, Jewish, Muslim, etc. kids in school that may not agree with the common school prayer they would be subjected to. She said, “Well, I don’t care about all that. All I know is I’m a pro-Christian Texan.”

    This is the same place where I hand-washed everybody’s coffee cups and was forced to wear heels with my jeans on Fridays.

  • Paul Gutman

    2004/03/07 at 11:07 am

    My boss, post-my-resignation sent me an instant message saying he needed to talk to me and was out of the office, could I just dial this number. It was the New York City Rejection Line.

  • samsarra

    2004/03/07 at 11:13 am

    (after working for 30 hours straight, a week after giving two week’s notice.)

    Boss: Where are you going?

    Me: Home, to sleep.

    Boss: You can’t leave! Company meeting is in an hour, and it’s against company policy to miss it!

    I don’t think I even laughed at him as I walked away.

  • Broch

    2004/03/07 at 11:15 am

    “I know that your starting pay may SEEM low, but do know that employees that stick it out with the company will be richly rewarded.” WTF???? Don’t EVER believe this lie!

  • Beaniesue

    2004/03/07 at 11:22 am

    I asked a supervisor a question and his answer was not clear. When I told him I didn’t understand he replied “You do not have to understand you just have to obey my directives.”

  • leduse

    2004/03/07 at 11:24 am

    far too many to choose JUST ONE. but i’ll give it a college try.

    me: rocking out to some led zeppelin during the dinner shift at my bar.

    him: bopping around like molly ringwald in the breakfast club dance montage. “i love ‘chicago’. they kick, like, so much ass”.

    me: pondering homicide.

  • Kitsune

    2004/03/07 at 11:35 am

    My best friend Kameron and I decided to take a job as waitresses at a high-class country club a couple summers ago.
    One Friday, the club’s manager asked me what I was doing the next weekend.
    “Probably just hanging out with Kameron,” I answered.
    I am not exaggerating or paraphrasing his reply at all.
    “What I wouldn’t give for a night alone with her…Here’s a little advice: get her in the jacuzzi with a bottle of champagne and strawberries, and she’ll be putty in your hands.”

    We are both heterosexual, and were in fact dating other male members of the wait staff.

    He was fired shortly after for sexual harassment, again, surprisingly unrelated to this incident.
    He now works as a bus boy at a spagetti restaurant.

  • liza

    2004/03/07 at 11:36 am

    The secretary of my boss asked me to go for a drink at the bar across the street. although being totally out of the ordinary, i went. we were awkwardly shooting the shit when by boss showed up, bought us a round, then left. Instantly the secretary turned to me and asked, “do you find peter attractive? and would you be interested in doing a threesome with me and him?” cracking up i hauled ass out of the bar back to the office to grab my stuff only to see the office had been cleared of people and peter was sitting at my desk with his tie loosened and shirt untucked. now that’s confidence! i got payed a good penny to keep my cool and laughed all the way to the bank. 🙂

  • Tabbie

    2004/03/07 at 11:42 am

    Once my manager walked up behind me at the hostess stand, just stared at me a sec and said “I’m a very well respected man in Peru”
    We also used headphones and one night all the managers had them on and started asking what everyone’s favorite 80’s movie/teen horror flick/ etc was. This was after we’d been told by the trainer not to play around on the headsets.

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Heather B. Armstrong

Hi. I’m Heather B. Armstrong, and this used to be called mommy blogging. But then they started calling it Influencer Marketing: hashtag ad, hashtag sponsored, hashtag you know you want me to slap your product on my kid and exploit her for millions and millions of dollars. That’s how this shit works. Now? Well… sit back, buckle up, and enjoy the ride.

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