'What Is There To Learn?': Internet Backs Woman Berated by 90-Year-Old Boss

A woman said that her boss, the 90-year-old owner of the company she works at, berated her viciously over mistakes—despite her only being in the position for three months.

Redditor u/libran-essence shared three screenshots from her Instagram story to the popular r/antiwork subreddit on Friday. In the post, she shares a photograph of notes she took during a conversation with her boss, identified only as "Jerry," and some text screens of additional context. Her post got over 10,200 upvotes and more than 1,750 comments.

She explains that one of her duties is to work with a coworker, "Glenn," on revising a manual. Jerry was upset about some errors that had apparently been introduced into the latest draft. She said that as soon as she came into the office, Jerry came up to her desk, and didn't even greet her before addressing the errors.

"Do you have some sort of attention deficit problem that is preventing you from doing your work correctly," Jerry asked her. When she replied that she didn't know what he was talking about, he said Glenn showed him some errors in the manual draft that were "correct in the previous version."

"You obviously do not know what you are doing and you won't be here much longer if you continue making mistakes," he added.

"Jerry, it is a draft and sometimes mistakes are part of the revision process. I did not do that intentionally, as I am still learning things about my role," she replied.

"What part of this job are you learning? What is there to learn? You don't want to learn from your mistakes, you want Glenn to clean up your messages for you which is not how we do things here," Jerry said, adding that when she replied that she didn't ask Glenn or anyone else to fix her mistakes, "You may not have asked, but you obviously expect it."

She said that she asked Jerry not to speak to her that way, and that Jerry rolled his eyes in response and walked away. Later, he asked Glenn if he thought Jerry would respond in that way. Glenn said she should "get used to it."

old man berate employee
Reddit users backed a woman who said her 90-year-old boss—and the owner of the company where she works—yelled at her for mistakes, despite her only being employed for three months. This stock photo shows a scowling boss counting money. iStock/Getty

One of the worst things that can happen to someone in a new job is being saddled with a boss who doesn't treat employees with respect. It can be hard to know what to do in such a situation, but according to a 2015 study, "Understanding cycles of abuse: A multimotive approach" published in the Journal of Applied Psychology, trying to avoid a bad boss doesn't work, nor does retaliation.

Perhaps surprisingly, the study also found that trying to kill a disrespecting boss with kindness by "going above and beyond, helping bosses with heavy workloads even when they're not asked," didn't work either.

Instead, the website Entrepreneur recommends focusing only on the tasks at hand rather that the boss, taking detailed notes so the employee has evidence of the boss' requests, setting limits, working with other employees affected by the boss' disrespect to log the boss' behavior and, ultimately, involving management and human resources.

Of course, in u/libran-essence's case, this last bit of advice doesn't apply, as the boss in question owns the company. In that case, it's best to start looking for another job and quit as soon as possible—and the redditor said she is indeed looking for another job.

Other redditors supported this decision.

"Keep us updated about the situation. I would love to see this company filling for bankruptcy," u/UltraWolf88 said.

"I think the most important thing to remember about the quitting process is 'f*** that bridge. Burn it' he isn't going to be a helpful reference for you anyway. So once you have something else secured, give no notice and tell Lord F***stick that you're leaving because he is verbally abusive and is bad at running a business. He cannot treat his employees terribly and expect them to stay. So you're leaving. Because HE is a bad boss," u/Rose8918 said.

"This is the same guy who, after OP quits, will sit around at the country club with other 90 year olds commiserating on how the country is falling apart and if these lazy 'insert generation title here' don't want to work," u/hangry_grandpa wrote. "They'll all nod their head and proceed to blame Joe Biden or some other public figure for their own mistakes".

"Imagine being 90 and spending what little time remains berating some overworked and unappreciated employees," u/xaradevir wrote.