'Didn't You Have Cancer?': Worst Things Bosses Have Said to Their Workers

A viral Reddit post has prompted thousands of online commenters to share the awful things their bosses have said to them at one point in their careers.

Posting in Reddit's popular "Antiwork" forum on Wednesday, Redditor u/Disastrous-Use-2373 asked: "What's the worst thing your boss has said to you?" The post has garnered over 7,100 upvotes and nearly 3,000 comments from Redditors, many of whom said they quit their jobs over their managers' hurtful remarks.

Bad Bosses

Some research suggests that the old saying is true—people leave bosses, not jobs. Roughly half of U.S. adults surveyed in a 2015 Gallup poll said they previously left a job because of management. Further, a 2018 study conducted by Udemy yielded similar results, leading Inc., an American business magazine, to conclude that "among the many relationships employees will develop at a company, those formed with one's manager have a significant impact on overall workplace experience, even more so than one's relationships with other peers."

Lynn Taylor, a national workplace expert, author, and leadership coach added while speaking with Insider: "A bad boss won't just jeopardize your career growth—they'll also negatively impact your personal life. A good manager will bring out the best in you and have a more uplifting effect on all aspects of your life."

Upset employee
A viral Reddit post has prompted thousands of commenters to share the awful things their bosses, past and present, have said to them. Pictured, a representation of a woman getting berated by a boss at her job. Tero Vesalainen/istock


Unfortunately, the original post proved that bad bosses are all too common. From making snide remarks about their employees' pay to asking their workers about their personal medical history, here are some of the worst things managers have purportedly said to their workers:

"You aren't worth the paycheck we give you."

Redditor u/tomcatx2 said they approached a boss of theirs in the 1990s to ask about a raise. At the time, they were making minimum wage but working 70 hours a week across a variety of teams, including product development and quality control. Despite all their hard work, however, they were still "paying for groceries with a credit card."

When their boss denied them the raise, they began looking for other work, and eventually found a higher-paying job.

"Let's hope the funeral is [over] the weekend."

u/Somedaydreamer22 told Redditors that they were only a week into a new job when their best friend's mother was put into hospice care. They warned their boss that they would likely need to attend a funeral within the coming weeks and, sure enough, the following week, they were notified that their best friend's mother had passed.

When they approached their boss to share the news, their boss' first response was to make a snide remark about the funeral. The Redditor ultimately quit two months later.

"Didn't you have cancer?"

u/MsWumpkins said her manager of five years asked her the question after his wife was diagnosed with cancer. Of course, u/MsWumpkins, who'd never battled cancer but did struggle with other medical issues during her tenure with him, was shocked by his question.

"How do you miss an employee having f**king cancer?" she asked.

"So? Her son is already dead, it's not like you can do anything for him now."

When u/SuperShineeCoinToss7 received a call that her best friend's newborn baby had passed, she approached her boss and told him she needed the day off work. Sadly, he couldn't understand why she needed to leave.

"Any reasonable adult would have some compassion and at the very least, have the decency to not give such a callous heartless remark," they said.

Other Viral Moments

u/Disastrous-Use-2373 isn't the first "Antiwork" poster to go viral.

A cancer patient posting in the forum sparked fury after sharing that they were being forced to work in-office amid their treatment. A restaurant owner faced backlash after a screenshot of the threatening email they sent to employees went viral. And last week, another employer was dragged for refusing to pay their employee's PTO.