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Weird Requests from the Boss
"Nobody likes beets, Dwight! Why don't you grow something that everybody does like? You should grow candy."
"Pam, I'm public speaking, so please stop public interrupting me."
"Alright, Kevin... you are accused of making sexually suggestive remarks to Angela, that made her feel uncomfortable. Solution: Angela, you are to make sexually suggestive remarks to Kevin that make him feel uncomfortable."
Do any of these requests sound familiar to you? If not, they should -- they come from Michael Scott, the world's most famous boss. Unfortunately, the world of bad bosses isn't limited to cable network television.
We asked our readers what weird requests they've received from their bosses, Michael Scott style. Here are 10 of the most entertaining responses we received*:
1. "The boss who made me send out autographed pictures of himself to people when he was really a nobody. But that's the entertainment business for you."
2. "I have had lots of strange requests from my bosses. One of the weirdest was at my last job. My boss -- a partner at the biggest law firm in the county, a pillar of the community -- brought in a couple of huge hunting knives covered with blood and hair. His request? Take them home and wash them. His reason? His kitchen was being remodelled and his wife wouldn't let him wash them in their bathtub. I refused. He couldn't believe it. Thought I was kidding. I wasn't."
3. "I had one boss who had a Michael Scott-like genius for unsettling the office. She created dissention by scattering candy dishes around an office where most of the employees were trying to diet. She decided to lift people's spirits by filling the office with motivational banners, and asked (actually insisted) that everyone contribute a saying."
4. "I had a boss tell me I'd be a lot better off once I realized life isn't fair. Call me crazy, but that doesn't seem like a philosophy I want to embrace."
5. "I had another boss who told her team (three of us) that we all needed to work harder so she could take a vacation. She went on to say she hadn't taken a vacation in more than two years. Meanwhile, we weren't responsible for whether or not she took a vacation, no one was preventing her from taking one, and we were working hard."
6. "When I was in my 20's, I worked for a boutique stereo store and the owners were husband and wife. When they had marital fights, they brought it into the workplace by giving employees conflicting orders, seeing whose orders were taken out, or as they saw it, taking sides. Sometimes they got really ugly when they were losing in the employee roundup tally. Employees usually found duties to perform away from the unhappy couple. When faced with idle employees, they looked for anything to do to keep us constantly busy. One slow day we were asked to get a ladder and sweep the roof. Luckily, it was a flat roof and even luckier, it wasn't me. But I wasn't completely spared. My retail job somehow turned into a construction-remodelling job when they expanded into the unused space upstairs."
7. "I had a one-year retainer agreement with a school to develop marketing initiatives that would increase enrolment, and was on location there three days a week. The academic offices were housed on the founder's estate, as was his residence. One day, after several months, I went in and the administrative offices smelled like old fish. After an hour or so, he called me over to his desk, which was perched atop a two-foot platform. He told me he'd like me to clean the refrigerator, and get rid of a large rotting fish that had been caught and was festering in the not cold enough freezer during the weekend. I politely declined to clean the refrigerator and dispose of the fish. By the end of the week, I was paid and dismissed by his CFO."
8. "I had a manager once who sensed there were problems between himself and a subordinate that were starting to impact our entire group. Rather than address the issues with the individual, he chose to throw him a surprise birthday party. Problem was, our boss ordered the rest of us put the event together, didn't explain the sudden interest in birthdays three-quarters of the way through a year in which no one else's birthday had been celebrated, and ignored the fact that the man's birthday was two months ago. His ridiculous request resulted in an awkward party and the rest of us wanting to simultaneously clobber our boss and the co-worker."
9. "My boyfriend and I were laughing over this Facebook message his recently ex-boss sent him:
'hey i miss you. know why? the damn custodian keeps breaking the doors in the bathroom and i swear to god no other man can fix it but you. not soroush, not chayce, not james. damn i miss you......hey mister fix it man....can you drop by one day ???? (smile) how are you other than that?' (sic)
This was an office at a college by the way; my boyfriend was never responsible for any sort of manual labour, his job was an office desk job."
*Due to the nature of this content, some of our sources have requested to be kept anonymous.
Rachel Farrell researches and writes about job search strategy, career management, hiring trends and workplace issues for CareerBuilder.com. Follow @CBForJobSeekers on Twitter.