Rita Lawson had managed the medical office of Dr. Jerk for twenty-eight long years. Why had she put up with the ungrateful Scrooge all these years? Undeserved loyalty? Masochism? Stupidity? His idea of a generous Christmas bonus was a dinky box with three bath oil beads from Wal-marts. She hadn't  received a raise since Clinton was in office, and even then it was twenty-five cents an hour. Despite coming in early and leaving late, (with no paid overtime because she was a "salaried" position) never once had he said, "thank you." In twenty-eight years, she had only missed two days of work---for a severe vomiting gastroenteritis. Even then, her boss said, "Gosh, if I'd known it was just a stomach bug, I could have given you a shot of Phenergan and hooked you up to an IV right here in the office. Then you wouldn't have gotten behind with your work." He patted her shoulder and added, "But I'm sure you'll be able to make it up this weekend." He then scrubbed his hands with Germ-X, as he sure didn't want the vile virus himself! When he added a new medical partner, did he add an extra employee to help her with the billing and extra workload? Of course not! Instead, he heaped the extra piles of work on her desk and made his one and only attempt at humor in the years she'd worked for him: "You should thank me for this. Now you won't have time to get into trouble." Ha ha, ha!

Things reached a climax when Rita's gall bladder misbehaved and she needed an urgent cholycystectomy. She was admitted to the hospital and I consulted a specialist who arranged an ERCP and surgery. Not surprisingly, the first words out of Dr. Jerk's mouth when she called to inform him why she hadn't made it to work were, "What a lousy time to get sick. Don't you have to get the office Christmas cards out by Friday or they'll arrive late?"

She felt like slamming down the phone on the uncaring old codger, boss or no boss! Here she was in the hospital, bilious and in excruciating pain, and all he could think about was the office Christmas cards? After barfing into her vomit basin, she informed him curtly that she was sorry her gall bladder didn't wear a watch. She ended the call before she snapped something ugly. But she fumed all night. She'd slaved for decades and all he cared about was Christmas cards? How about a, "I'm sorry you feel so bad." Or, "Don't you worry about your job; just focus on getting better."

After the surgery, while still groggy from anesthesia and pain medications, Rita was shocked to see her boss walk into her hospital room with a small bouquet of flowers. (Okay, the vase had a Kroger sticker marked, "Reduced for quick sale:  $9.99" and several of the roses were dropping pedals, but still, she was touched---the cheapskate had actually forked out ten bucks on flowers and made the effort to come visit her in the hospital. Maybe, beneath his crusty exterior, he really did care! She oohed and aahed over his discount flowers and thanked him for coming.

Then he dropped a bomb, in the form of a huge sack of Christmas cards, envelopes, addresses, and stamps onto her night stand. "I figured while you were sitting around in the hospital doing nothing, you could address these envelopes, stuff 'em, and put on the stamps. That way we'll get them mailed in time." He seemed pleased with himself for coming up with a solution to his holiday card problem!

Rita stared at him dumb faced. Did he seriously just dump four-hundred Christmas cards on her nightstand mere hours after major surgery?

Then he dropped the second bomb over Japan: "Actually, Rita, the real reason I'm here is because no one else in the office knows the password to the computer and we couldn't get into the system to schedule appointments." He pulled out a notepad and pen and handed it to her. "Could you write down the exact steps and passwords I need to get the computer working?"

She wanted to take his wilted flowers and bag of Christmas cards and clobber him over the head!  For twenty-eight years, she'd been the first one in the office and the last to leave, so she'd always taken care of logging into the computer. The new receptionist, while pleasant, was techno-challenged and never could remember how to log in correctly, so she'd always just done it!

She gritted her teeth and gripped the bed rails. She had a good mind to write down the WRONG password and make him suffer for a few days; maybe, for once, someone would appreciate all she did in the office! But she decided against it because starting tomorrow, she was seeking a new job, and she'd need a good letter of recommendation from Dr. Jerk to obtain it. She could put up with a lot, but this was the final straw.

Tell me about loser bosses you've had in the past. Any worse than Dr. Jerk? What's the worst thing they've ever done? (Note: Terri, Edith, and Claudine, you are so banned from responding to this question!!!)