The Domestic Servants of Downton Abbey: Part 2-The Butler’s Pantry

Butler: At Downton Abbey, this is the guy who's in charge of the household staff as well as the post you assume on an estate after a failed showbiz career and a relationship in which your girlfriend dumped you for your Vaudeville partner. Though fatherly and stiff, can be quite amusing when trying to hopelessly interact with new technology like a phonograph or a telephone.

Butler: At Downton Abbey, this is the guy who’s in charge of the household staff as well as the post you assume on an estate after a failed showbiz career and a relationship in which your girlfriend dumped you for your Vaudeville partner. Though fatherly and stiff with a rigid code of conduct, can be quite amusing when trying to hopelessly interact with new technology like a phonograph or a telephone. Yet, suggest that a maid serve a duke in the dining room and he’ll think society collapse is inevitable.

The role of the butler is one of the more recognizable jobs in a Great House or a large estate and Downton Abbey is no exception. On Downton Abbey (and in most media in general), he’s seen as head of the household staff and sometimes attends to his every master’s need (though this is more of valet’s job description, which I’ll get to later). On one end, he can be well dressed, unfailingly polite, devoted to his employer despite being more level headed and smarter than his boss. On the other end, he could be a manipulative schemer who could kill his boss during a dinner party. However, while we usually see the Butler as the most senior employee nowadays, this wasn’t always the case in history and could sometimes depend on the household. In fact, the butler’s original purpose was to look after the wine in the cellar and was of middle rank yet later this included cheese, bread, and other basic provisions sometimes known as the butler’s pantry. Yet, from the 17th to 19th centuries, his stature slowly rose even though sometimes, he wasn’t always the servant in charge and could be outranked whether it be by the valet or Groom of the Chambers. But nevertheless, the liveried butler is still the most familiar intermediary between the upstairs world and the downstairs staff. So without further adieu, here are the jobs relating to the Butler and his retinue from the Butler’s Pantry.

1. Groom of the Chambers
Function: Responsible for announcing company, answering bells, making sure the principal seeing rooms are in proper order as well as supplied with pens, ink, candles, and paper. Also assist in decorating such as flower displays, making sure card tables have cards, and sees that rooms are in proper order. Keeps a book of invitations given to his employers to remind of their engagements as well as arranges invitations for special events. Sees that guests are properly attended. Supervised servants and specialized in furniture maintenance.
Pay and Benefits: I’m sure he receives a generous sum of money as well as room and board.
Status: Member of the Upper Staff, addressed by last name, and reported to the master or House Steward. May even outrank the butler.
Hours: Worked 7 days a week from 5:00am-10:00pm.
Typical Candidate: Usually a man who spent considerable time as a footman, butler, or other member of the male staff with leadership skills.
Characters who had this job: This job doesn’t exist at Downton Abbey but it’s likely that the estate might’ve had one. Then again, Carson performs a lot of this job’s duties anyway and might’ve went obsolete in the late 19th century.

2. Butler
Function: Highest official servant and responsible for running the house and from the 19th century onward assumed the House Manager’s responsibilities. Charged with supervising the footmen, the plate chest (making sure it’s properly cleaned before use), and affairs relating to any alcohol purchased and consumed by the household (such as keeping accounts, decanting it for lunch and dinner, and putting it away after every meal). Can even bottle wine and brew beer. Takes over valet’s duty when there’s not one in the household. Announces visitors during afternoon hours, readies rooms for use every day, as well as tidies them. Also, polishes the silver and keeps it in pristine condition. Responsibilities depend on the size of the establishment.
Pay and Benefits: Annual salary of 40-60 pounds ($4,300-$6,400). Also receives gratuity money from vendors selling goods to maintain the house. Has his own room on the estate or a cottage if married.
Status: Highest ranking of an official servant and is only answerable to the family.
Hours: Worked 7 days a week from 5am-10pm.
Typical Candidate: Usually a seasoned male veteran of the domestic service establishment who’s risen through the ranks over his career. Most butlers usually served many other positions while in the same house.
Characters who had this job: Mr. Charles Carson is Downton Abbey’s resident butler and does possibly everything described above except make alcohol and take over the valet’s duties (which Thomas does). Not surprisingly, he’s been working at Downton longer than any of the other staff or at least as early as the 1890s before the Crawley girls were born (then again, he may have been a servant before his career in Vaudeville).

3. Under Butler

Under Butler: At Downton Abbey this is the job you give to the estate's resident scheming asshole after he's caught sexually assaulting a footman in his bedroom. Sure he's worked as a footman for over 10 years, served as NCO in the war, and has experience as a valet. But, really, that incident could've landed him jail, let alone get him fired.

Under Butler: At Downton Abbey this is the job you give to the estate’s resident scheming asshole after he’s caught sexually assaulting a footman in his bedroom. Sure he’s worked as a footman for over 10 years, served as NCO in the war, and has experience as a valet. But, really, that incident could’ve landed him jail, let alone get him fired. Talk about giving a promotion to someone who doesn’t deserve it.

Function: Shares many of the butler’s duties but is only second to him among the male staff as well as takes control of staff when butler’s away. Also, takes over as a footman during special occasions. Responsibilities may vary according to household. Though not all estates have this position.
Pay and Benefits: Well, less than the butler as well as housekeeper and his own room or cottage at the estate depending on his marital status.
Status: Member of the Upper Staff and only answerable to the Butler. Addressed by last name.
Hours: Worked 7 days a week from 5am-10pm.
Typical Candidate: Again, a male veteran of the domestic service who’s worked for the household for quite some time to rise through the ranks.
Characters who had this job: Thomas Barrow has had this job at Downton Abbey since Season 3 (after an incident that would’ve gotten him jailed, let alone fired in real life. Then again, his homosexuality has been an open secret at Downton anyway. However, since he’s the resident baddie {especially after O’Brien left}, his position at Downton is relatively secure unless Rob James-Collier wants off the show). Nevertheless, Thomas has been working at Downton for over a decade.

4. First Footman

First Footman: At Downton Abbey this is the job you give to the handsome footman who's kind of a prick not above hazing his competition. Though this job may not get him laid by the kitchen maid who has a crush on him, it may make him prone to some awkward moments of unwanted sexual  attention.

First Footman: At Downton Abbey this is the job you give to the handsome footman who’s kind of a prick not above hazing his competition. Though this job may not get him laid by the kitchen maid who has a crush on him, it may make him prone to some awkward moments of unwanted sexual attention. Also has a former boss who won’t leave him alone.

Function: Next in line to replace butler (unless there’s an under butler in the household staff), with his main job to be tall, handsome, and to represent the estate’s grandeur. Aside from regular footman duties, he accompanied the lady of the house on shopping trips, served the family meals, and assisted the butler.
Pay and Benefits: Annual salary of 30 pounds a year ($3,200) as well as room and board (though he typically had to share one). However, like most footmen, the taller and handsomer he was (or the more similar he resembled the second footman), the more he got paid. Could be supplemented by 5-15 pounds annually ($500-$1,500) in tips and other gifts from the lady of the house.
Status: Highest ranking member of the Lower Staff. Addressed by first name and reported to Butler.
Hours: Worked 7 days a week from 6:00am-11:00pm.
Typical Candidate: Usually the footman who’s spent either the longest time at the estate. If not, then hotness and height.
Characters who had this job: Thomas Barrow starts out as the first footman in Seasons 1 and 3 until his promotion to under butler. Onwards, it’s been Jimmy Kent as of Season 4.

5. Second Footman

Second Footman: At Downton Abbey this is the job you give to a military age guy who's not the resident asshole or romantically pursuing the boss's daughter. Mainly exists as a nice guy to get killed off in WWI during Season 2. Because we all know that someone at Downton had to get it.

Second Footman: At Downton Abbey this is the job you give to a military age guy who’s not the resident asshole or romantically pursuing the boss’s daughter. Mainly exists as a nice guy to get killed off in WWI during Season 2, dying peacefully after his rushed death bed wedding with the kitchen maid. Because we all know that someone at Downton had to get it.

Function: Similar to the first footman but in an apprenticeship capacity.
Pay and Benefits: Annual salary of 25 pounds ($2,700) but can depend on hotness, height, and resemblance to the first footman, as well as having to share a room.
Status: Member of Lower Staff. Addressed by first name and reported to Butler.
Hours: Worked 7 days a week from 6:00am-11:00pm.
Typical Candidate: Usually the footman who’s spent a long time on at the estate. Yet, if he bore a resemblance to the first footman or was reasonably hot or tall, it was even better.
Characters who had this job: William Mason was Downton Abbey’s second footman until he joined the army in Season 2 (yet was killed in WWI so didn’t return to his post. However, since he, Thomas, and Branson were the only servants of military age on the estate, his death was no surprise.) And from Season 3 to the time he left for culinary school in London, Alfred Nugent served this post (of course, he was hired as a footman only because he was O’Brien’s nephew but he probably would’ve just gotten to work as one at Downton due to being 6’4” alone). Since then, it’s been Joseph Molesley (who probably got in since he was Matthew’s valet and aching for a job) as of Season 4.

6. Footman

Footman: At Downton Abbey, this is the job you give to men that are: complete assholes, kind-hearted cannon fodder, culinary aspiring nephews of lady's maids, guys fleeing the unwanted attentions of a female boss, and ex-valets desperate for employment after their boss suddenly died in a car accident on the way home from the hospital.

Footman: At Downton Abbey, this is the job you give to men that are: complete assholes, kind-hearted cannon fodder, culinary aspiring nephews of lady’s maids, guys fleeing the unwanted attentions of a female boss, and ex-valets desperate for employment after their boss suddenly died in a car accident on the way home from the hospital.

Function: Male staff part of the butler’s pantry department. Usual duties include laying the table, answering the door, waiting at the table, receiving and carrying packages and mail, and accompanying the family while traveling on foot, carriage, or car. Also looked after male guests who came without a valet. May even carry heavy items and move furniture for the house maids. Their roles were similar to waiters, bodyguards, busboys, and escorts.
Pay and Benefits: Annual salary of at least 20 pounds ($2,100) as well as room and board. Pay also depended on the footman’s looks such as height and hotness since they were meant to be seen by family and guests. A footman over 5’10” could earn as much as 40 pounds a year (which may be over $3,500), (Alfred could’ve earned this much money).
Status: Member of the Lower Staff. However, since they were hired to be seen, the notion of a handsome footman was the 19th century equivalent of the hot pool boy. And yes, affairs between footmen and their mistresses did occur. Addressed by first name and reported to Butler. Have expensive livery uniforms, refined mannerisms, and general appearance. Still, an estate like Downton Abbey usually had 4 of them.
Hours: Worked 7 days a week from 6:00am-11:00pm.
Typical Candidate: Well, must be an unmarried young man of great height and reasonably hot. Most were in their late teens and 20s (Moseley would’ve not been hired as a footman in real life since he’s balding and may be over 30. Yet, was made one nevertheless to keep him on the show. Yet, despite Alfred’s not being a servant before, he certainly would since he’s 6’4” tall {even if he wasn’t O’Brien’s nephew}.) Butlers usually had this position before rising to their current position.
Characters who had this job: Let’s see for there’s quite a list of footmen at Downton Abbey. Well, Season 1 has Thomas Barrow (until Season 3) and William Mason while Season 3 has Alfred Nugent and Jimmy Kent. However, since Thomas’ promotion and Alfred’s departure, it’s been Jimmy Kent and Joseph Moseley as of Season 4. Also, Carson was most likely a footman while the Crawley girls were young.

7. Page or Tea Boy
Function: Apprentice footman responsible for attending a person of distinction as well as guests. May have even served other servants in the Servants’ Hall.
Pay and Benefits: Annual salary of 8-16 pounds ($860-$1,700) depending on age, appearance, height, and abilities.
Status: Member of Lower Staff and addressed by first name.
Hours: Worked 7 days a week from 6:00am-11:00pm.
Typical Candidate: Usually a boy between 10-16 years old from the lower classes as well as shows higher ambition. A lot of footman started out this way.
Characters who had this job: This job doesn’t exist on Downton Abbey but I’m sure someone like Thomas Barrow and Carson worked as one for a time.

8. Hall Boy
Function: Assistant to the lowest footman who takes cards in the hall, polishes shoes and boots of visitors, and empties chamber pots.
Pay and Benefits: Annual salary of 13 pounds ($1,300) as well as room and board.
Status: Member of the Lower Staff and one of lowest male servant ranks. Addressed by first name.
Hours: Worked 7 days a week from 6:00am-11:00pm.
Typical Candidate: Usually a boy between 10-16 years old and from the lower classes. Many footmen, valets, and butlers started out this way.
Characters who had this job: Well, this job may or may not exist on Downton Abbey but it’s likely that men like Thomas Barrow and Carson might have worked as one.

9. Pantry Boy
Function: Responsible for maintaining the pantry as far as I know.
Pay and Benefits: Besides room and board, not much pay.
Status: Member of the Lower Staff and one of the lowest ranked male servants. Reported to Butler.
Hours: Worked 7 days a week from 6:00am-11:00pm.
Typical Candidate: Usually a young boy or a teenager at least 10, maybe even younger.
Characters who had this job: This job doesn’t exist at Downton Abbey. However, outside the show and in real life, this the job real life butler Eugene Allen started out with during his long career at the White House. So this job definitely existed somewhere.

10. Boot Boy
Function: Responsible for cleaning, polishing, and caring for the household members’ boots and shoes as well as other odd jobs.
Pay and Benefits: Besides room and board, not much pay.
Status: Member of the Lower Staff and lowest ranking male servant. Addressed by first name and reported to Butler.
Hours: Worked 7 days a week from 5:00am-10:00pm.
Typical Candidate: Usually a young boy or teenager. May be as young as 10 or even younger.
Characters who had this job: This job may or may not exist at Downton Abbey. Yet, these boys weren’t meant to be seen.

The Domestic Servants of Downton Abbey: Part 1-The Professionals

Estate Manager: On Downton, this is the job you give the Irish chauffeur after he's managed to procreate with the boss's daughter who's died in childbirth.

Estate Manager: At Downton Abbey, this is the job you give the Irish chauffeur after he’s managed to marry and procreate with the boss’s daughter who’s died in childbirth from eclampsia. Yet, despite not having a college education and being an Irish Nationalist and self-professed Anarcho-Socialist involved with terrorism, he’s perfect for the job because he’s grown up on a farm and is the father of the boss’s granddaughter by his dead daughter.  Oh, and I’m sure the boss will forgive him for leaving his pregnant wife in Ireland while on the lam, supporting the Russian Revolution, and blowing up a castle.

The British show Downton Abbey is a hit period drama (or soap opera) in both the UK and the US which tells the story of a great house during the early 20th century which kicks off when two of the male heirs of Downton and to the Earl of Grantham died aboard the R. M. S. Titanic and since the Earl only has daughters, the next in line is a lawyer in Manchester who the Granthams hadn’t met until the second episode. The show is now in its fifth season which airs on PBS during the months of January and February in the United States. Since my series on the real people from HBO’s Boardwalk Empire has met great success (I’m still getting hits on the posts since September) I figured I could do a similar series pertaining to Downton Abbey as well. However, I couldn’t do a series on the real people of Downton Abbey because there’s barely any, which would take a very small post (and most of these people appear in Season 4). Instead, I decided to do a series on an aspect the show revolves around: the servants.

For a long time in Great Britain, domestic service was a big industry, especially in the 19th century where servants were employed by almost every family that could afford one. In the 1850s it’s said that 1 in 3 women between the ages of 15-25 were servants while the other 1 in 3 were prostitutes. By 1900, British domestic servants amounted to 1.5 million of the country’s population of 36 million. Of course, unlike what you’d see from Downton Abbey and in other media portrayals, the relationship between master and servant wasn’t always of mutual respect between social boundaries. And it would be more fair to say they were treated more like appliances than people. Not only that, but servants’ lives could actually be quite miserable, degrading, exhausting, and thankless work. Some people could be forced to surrender their identities for a matching hair style and a generic name. Not to mention, servants could often be targets of abuse and could be fired for getting married, pregnant, or other reasons. Many of them worked 17 hour days for a pittance wage but the competition was fierce since servants had a roof over their heads and regular meals. Not to mention, there were worse situations to be in at the time such as in a factory or on the streets. Still, when it came to employment options a servant would rather work in a great house like Downton than a small one (which would’ve had a staff much bigger than on the show). At least working at a grand house would mean not doing as many chores and meeting people. And as far as loyalty goes, it wasn’t unusual for a employers to hire 32 maids in 34 years. However, despite the romanticized picture Downton Abbey gives, there was much more separation between the lives upstairs and downstairs and a lot of times the people downstairs didn’t have it so great (and at times their lives could totally suck since their employers couldn’t be held accountable if their bosses did anything horrible to them). Yet, what the show does get right is that servants did have their own hierarchies and were a great part to the grand house economy on the estate. Of course, I should remind you that not all the servant jobs I feature in my post pertains to the time of Downton Abbey or even the 19th century in that matter either.

In this first post, I’ll cover a group of those who worked on the estate or the Great House but weren’t actually designated “servants” since they didn’t reside in the house or at times didn’t work directly under the master and his family. Rather many of them have the designation as, “professional” employee since many of them had some degree of education and skill, yet may or may not work when called upon. Some of them may have their own house on the estate while others may just be looking for a place to apply their skills or live elsewhere. Yet, compared to most of the servants you’d see, they’re usually treated better, have much more independence or power, work shorter hours, and are more likely to be better paid. Not to mention, they don’t really belong in the other categories you’ll see later. So for your pleasure, here’s a list of jobs you’d see from an English estate under the designation of, “professional.”

1. Chamberlain
Function: Charged with the management of the living quarters of a sovereign or member of the nobility. May be in charge of receiving and distributing funds.
Pay and Benefits: Well, this is a job that allows for generous compensation as well as a private house on the estate. May have servants of his own.
Status: Highest steward of the servant hierarchy and regarded as a professional employee. Is answerable only to the master.
Hours: Depends on their duties during a specific era. Medieval chamberlains had the longest hours and most duties compared to their later successors.
Typical Candidate: Usually a member of the nobility or the royal court, particularly lower than the person they’re serving.
Characters who had this job: This job doesn’t really exist on Downton Abbey, except maybe in the King’s household with Lord Chamberlain.

2. Land Steward or Estate Manager
Function: Responsible for managing the farms, collecting rents, and undertaking all those activities associated with making the estate profitable. Other duties include leasing farms, surveying the property, settling disputes over land and farming, and detailing records of such affairs. When master isn’t present, usually supervised cultivation of land, lending his ear to tenant farmers and the sophistication of agricultural practices. Communicated with lawyers, family members, architects, suppliers, and tenants as well as saw to processing every aspect for the family and its affairs.
Pay and Benefits: Annual salary of 100-300 pounds ($11,000-$33,000) and a private house on the estate.
Status: Regarded as a professional employee with a status higher than the family lawyer. Is answerable only to the master.
Hours: Usually a regular work day with a flexible schedule or as needed.
Typical Candidate: Usually a highly educated gentleman. Lawyers preferred, especially those who have a financial and managerial background.
Characters who had this job: The Earl of Grantham and his family had Jarvis who served the estate from 1880 to 1920 until Downton Abbey was struck with financial disaster in Season 3. Since then, it’s been shared by Matthew Crawley and Tom Branson (since he grew up on a farm). Yet, after Matthew’s sudden death during the Christmas Special, it’s just been Branson.

3. House Steward or House Manager
Function: Responsible for all purchasing, hiring, firing, and paying the servant staff. Engages with the male and female servants except the family, lady’s maid, nurses, and valet. Orders goods, pays bills, and keeps books. May also act as the Land Steward as well. Usually submits books to the master for review on a monthly basis. Basically the chief servant and the estate’s accountant.
Pay and Benefits: Annual salary of 50-100 pounds ($5,500-$11,000). May have his own private house on the estate with its own sitting room.
Status: Regarded as a professional employee but he’d be the chief male domestic servant in a household. Reports to the master and does not wear a livery.
Hours: Works on a daily schedule on the estate.
Typical Candidate: Must be male as well as a certain amount of education in finance and management. Usually lower born than the Land Manager.
Characters who had this job: Downton Abbey doesn’t really have this job since the House Manager is usually employed in larger households where the accounts are too extensive for the Housekeeper to manage. However, in the show, the House Manager’s duties are usually split between Carson and Mrs. Hughes.

4. Bailiff
Function: Either a free agent or employed under the Estate Manager. Manages the farm on his master’s country estate, buys cattle and horses for the plow, and is responsible for husbandry, the breeding and raising of livestock of the estate. May assist the Estate Manager in tenant and leased land issues as well as other administrative duties. Occasionally may assist in the dining room.
Pay and Benefits: Well, may have his own house as well as a generous annual salary.
Status: Well, as far as the grounds goes, he may be either professional or servant. If servant may be Upper Staff but not share in the privileges.
Hours: Typical working hours, save maybe special occasions.
Typical Candidate: Usually a reasonably educated man, preferably someone who’s grown up on a farm.
Characters who had this job: This job doesn’t really exist on Downton Abbey though Tom Branson usually fulfills many of the duties (he grew up on a farm).

5. Family Lawyer

Family Lawyer: At Downton, this job doesn't just pertain to legal consultation or representing the family on legal matters. Not only is he the go to guy when someone needs to get out of a jam but he also exists to explain the complicated legislation driving some of the plots.

Family Lawyer: At Downton, this job doesn’t just pertain to legal consultation or representing the family on legal matters. Not only is he the go to guy when someone needs to get out of a jam but he also exists to explain the complicated legislation driving some of the plots.

Function: Assists the family with legal matters and represents them in a court of law as well as in legal transactions. Serves executor of the will and is the first one called if a family member is facing legal trouble.
Pay and Benefits: I’m sure lawyers in those days didn’t come cheap, especially those who served wealthy families.
Status: Regarded as a professional and didn’t live with the family unless he was related to them.
Hours: Came to the family as often as needed but tend to have a regular work schedule.
Typical Candidate: Usually a highly educated man from the upper or middle classes. May be part of a firm or the family even.
Characters who had this job: George Murray, QC has this job at Downton Abbey and he usually exists to explain the complicated legislation that drives the show’s plot. Tends to give sound financial advice, even if Lord Robert ignores it.

6. Librarian
Function: Basically responsible for things most librarians are such as managing the books in the estate library as well as family records and archives. Keeps a catalog of books, manuscripts, documents, and other pieces of information.
Pay and Benefits: I’m sure the librarian got a fair compensation as well as their own private house on the estate.
Status: Considered a professional and not a servant. Addressed by last name.
Hours: Regular working hours.
Typical Candidate: Usually someone from the educated middle classes with at least a college education. Could be male or female but if the latter, she was usually single.
Characters who had this job: An off-screen character named Mr. Parkison has this job on Downton Abbey as of Season 4.

7.  Secretary
Function: Personal assistant providing a variety a clerical functions such as dictation, correspondence, typing out documents, organizing, and maintaining files. May also handle bookkeeping operations, greet visitors, and make travel arrangements.
Pay and Benefits: I’m sure they received a generous compensation.
Status: Considered a professional, addressed by last name, and reported to the master.
Hours: Regular working hours or as needed.
Typical Candidate: Usually a young unmarried woman or man with some experience in clerical skills.
Characters who had this job: This job may or may not exist on Downton Abbey. However in Season 1, Gwen Dawson trains to be and becomes one for a telephone company.

8. Journeyman
Function: A craftsman who’s completed his apprenticeship but isn’t yet a master. Responsibilities may include repair of furnishings or specialist cleaning.
Pay and Benefits: Depending on the journeyman’s fee or trade.
Status: Considered Casual Staff since they don’t live on the estate.
Hours: Called on as often as needed or if they’re passing through.
Typical Candidate: Usually a man who’s completed his apprenticeship but isn’t a master.
Characters who had this job: This job doesn’t exist at Downton Abbey for many of the skilled trade jobs fell by the wayside during the Industrial Revolution.

9. Tenant Farmer

Tenant Farmer: At Downton this is a job you give to guy who's family has lived on your estate since the Napoleonic Wars, is suited for agriculture and animal husbandry, and needs to repay the boss a debt inherited from his dead father. Basically a guy who agrees to farm your land to spare you from labor and that he owes money to you. Also, willing to tend to pigs and secretly take care of any illegitimate aristocratic children.

Tenant Farmer: At Downton this is a job you give to guy who’s family has lived on your estate since the Napoleonic Wars, is suited for agriculture and animal husbandry, and needs to repay the boss a debt inherited from his dead father. Basically a guy who agrees to farm your land to spare you from labor and that he owes money to you. Also, willing to tend to pigs and secretly raise any illegitimate aristocratic children.

Function: Tending to the livestock and crops on the estate’s lands as well as paying rent in exchange for a home and compensation.
Pay and Benefits: Well, they rented land they had a private house on as well as some compensation for what they provide to the estate.
Status: Well, they were renters and partly beneficiaries so they weren’t considered servants in the usual sense. Reported to the master or estate manager.
Hours: Worked from sunrise to sundown, especially during the spring through autumn.
Typical Candidate: Usually men from tenant families who’ve resided on the estate for generations.
Characters who had this job: Downton Abbey has a lot of tenant farmers on the estate, but only a man named Timothy Drewe is named from Season 4. His family has been tenants at Downton since the reign of King George III. Has a wife and 3 sons and is in charge of the pig sty.

Bad Movie Bosses

Of course, we all have to deal with a bad boss sometime or another, especially if we’re working a job we don’t like or possibly the only one we could get. Still, when it comes to work, most of us decide to put up with terrible bosses since you really can’t quit a job like you can quit a relationship or what not. After all, people depend on their jobs for so much that they’re willing to put up with 8 hours in hell if they could get a paycheck to pay for their basic needs. And in a job market like this, it’s not easy just to tell your boss where to shove it and throw caution to the winds because getting another job isn’t easy (it’s actually a complete hell, especially if you have student loan bills to worry about). Of course, sometimes the movie world is no exception to this in which a lot of bosses do make their life difficult for their employees. Some of them are incompetent and careless. Some are downright evil and chronic backstabbers. And some just abuse their power as well as cause a lot of destruction. So to salute Labor Day weekend, here is a list of terrible movie bosses you don’t want to work for.

1. Captain Ahab

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From: Moby Dick

Occupation: Captain of the Pequod.

The Problem: Single-minded obsessions which are self-destructive and result in his crew’s endangerment. Also, is practically insane.

Sure we all know that killing whales is a grisly and dangerous profession that requires months away from home in the early 19th century. Of course, people today wouldn’t approve killing whales for lamp oil and other products (besides food if you’re Japanese or a Pacific Northwest Indian) but people’s homes have to be lit some way. Still, Captain Ahab makes the list of bad movie bosses because of how his single minded obsession not only leads to his own self-destruction and insanity but also to the endangerment of his crew and ship. Ahab may be a competent captain who inspires great loyalty in his crew but his obsession with Moby Dick practically consumes him that he cares about little else whether it be his crew’s welfare or focusing on the mission’s bottom line which is to hunt whales. It doesn’t help that his second-in-command Starbuck realizes that his captain has gone insane and shouldn’t be in command.  Even  worse is that Captain Ahab is competent and charismatic enough to get most of his crew to go along with his Moby Dick obsession (not that they had any choice since they’re all stuck on a ship, you know). Still, though Captain Ahab is dragged into the ocean by the white whale in the end, the ship is destroyed and everyone in the crew is dead save the narrator. Let’s just say that such destruction would’ve been avoided if Starbuck’s sense of duty didn’t override his common sense to throw Ahab to the sharks.

2. Willy Wonka

Willy Wonka Wilder

From: Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Occupation: Confectionery Industrialist and Entrepreneur

The Problem: Workplace endangerment, caring little for people, and heavily skewed priorities. Also, isn’t quite right in the head.

Let’s face it, despite having a factory to the specifications of any kid’s dream (or nightmares), you don’t want to work for Willy Wonka. Sure he may love his candy and his factory, but we have to understand that Wonka is a nutty recluse and control freak who doesn’t give a damn about other people and he’s very lucky that people in his community don’t have a raging hatred for him. Wonka may have a right to be overly concerned with corporate espionage since the candy business was highly competitive. Yet, firing your entire workforce with perhaps little or no compensation just seems a bit of overkill. And replacing it with a nation of Oompah Loompahs who don’t earn any money for their work kind of seems to add insult to injury. Not only that, but Wonka kind of isolates these people in his factory who may be susceptible to who knows what after he takes a group of kids on a tour. Still, Wonka’s employees may look up to him but he uses them for experiments with candy that wouldn’t be FDA approved and his  factory is basically a dangerous work place filled with all kinds of death traps. And it doesn’t help that Wonka is more preoccupied with aesthetics and his candy than practical safety issues. Not to mention other concerns that the movies haven’t shown. You can read it all here from one of my previous posts: https://historymaniacmegan.wordpress.com/2014/08/21/willy-wonka-and-the-workplace-violations-report/ . And if there’s a movie boss whose workplace violations report can make a good blog post, then Wonka is a very bad boss indeed.

3. Dr. Julia Harris D. D. S.

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From: Horrible Bosses

Occupation: Dentist

The Problem: Sexual harassment, sexual assault, abuse of power, no respect for consent laws or workplace ethics, and blackmail.

Now Horrible Bosses has three people who can be worthy of the World’s Worst Boss mug. Yet, out of these three, Julia Harris seems to stand out for me, especially how she treats her hygienist Dale Arbus. Julia belongs on this list since she’s one of the best movie examples of how sexual harassment in the workplace could make an employee’s life an absolute hell, especially if the harasser is your boss. Sure Julia may be played by Jennifer Aniston, but she’s constantly making sexual advances on Dale who doesn’t like it at all. Of course, Dale is engaged to be married, a fact Julia doesn’t seem to respect and is willing to ruin his relationship unless he sleeps with her, willingly or not. And it doesn’t help that Dale is basically stuck working for her due to being on a sex offender list for public urination near a playground nor the fact that Julia tends to sexually assault her own male patients while unconscious. Basically Julia’s behavior toward Dale makes him feel so powerless and sees her as such a threat to his relationship with his fiancee that he’s willing to commit extralegal activities like murder and blackmail. Being a hygienist for a gorgeous dentist might be a straight man’s fantasy but not if her sex crazed antics have a potential to ruin your life.

4. Fagin

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From: Oliver Twist and its subsequent adaptations

Occupation: Criminal Gang Boss

The Problem: Takes advantage of poor desperate children and doesn’t give a rat’s ass about them. Also, kind of abusive.

Now you probably don’t want to work for a lot of bosses in many Dickensian works since many of them tend to be bastards who make bastards who make little kids work in horrendous conditions for starvation wages and aren’t held accountable to whatever damage they cause since these works were written in the 19th century. Let’s just say that out of all Dickensian bosses Ebenezer Scrooge is benevolent in comparison even before being visited by three ghosts on the night before Christmas. Bad as Scrooge may be but at least most of his employees were adults with desk jobs as far as the adaptations are concerned. Still, I have Fagin on the list because he’s basically a bottom feeder in an awful system. Now he’s the kind of representative criminal you’d find in the slums of Victorian England who would take in children who basically have no where else to go but either the workhouse or the streets and train them in pickpocketing and other illegal activities. Sure Fagin may teach these kids how to make a living but he’s also creating a legion of juvenile delinquents destined to go to very bad ends, thus making him a terrible role model. Also, he makes them steal for him and takes a share of the proceeds adding to his wealth. Not only that, he cares more about accumulating wealth and not getting caught than the welfare of those under his wing, especially those kids hanged by the authorities. And he also displays abusive behavior to those kids who don’t do his bidding like the Artful Dodger as well as throw others out who don’t perform up to snuff. Basically this guy is a bastard in more ways than one and the fact he’s a criminal who recruits children he unapologetically mistreats just makes it worse.

5. Franklin Hart Jr.

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From: 9 to 5

Occupation: Corporate Executive

The Problem: Corruption, incompetence, bullying, sexual harassment, sexism, and blackmail.

Dabney Coleman was the go to guy for corrupt corporate executives in the 1980s and this film is no exception. Of course, what stands out is that he’s a sexist pig in a workplace of mostly female employees. And it’s perfectly clear that many of them are more competent of running the company than he is, especially Violet Newstead who has great ideas Hart is willing to steal from, but isn’t willing to give her a promotion solely due to her sex. He hits on his married secretary Doralee Rhodes by spreading false rumors that they’re having an affair (though they are not) that results in her losing credibility in the office. Oh, and he cruelly yells at and threatens Judy Bernley after she made a mistake on her first day at work and fires another female worker over an overheard conversation on salary differences. And what’s worse is that Hart sees absolutely nothing wrong with any of it. You can see why Violet, Doralee, and Judy conspire to murder (and later kidnap) him and the office is a much better place after they do.

6. Jeff D. Sheldrake

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From: The Apartment

Occupation: Corporate Executive

The Problem: Being a top boss in a toxic corporate culture, rewarding employees for what they could do for him than actual competence, sexual harassment, corruption, and driving a female employee to try to kill herself.

Fred MacMurray may be best remembered by your parents as the father on My Three Sons despite the fact he was an utter turd in The Caine Mutiny and couldn’t keep it in his pants in Double Indemnity. In The Apartment, he’s an utter turd who can’t keep it in his pants with a family as well as a cushy senior executive job at any insurance company. Now C. C. Baxter’s is a man who’s so desperate to get ahead that he’s willing to let his superior executives use his apartment for their extra-marital proclivities. Unfortunately, this leaves Baxter with an undeserved reputation as a hard drinking womanizer and not much of a personal life outside his workplace. Despite his apparently nice facade, Sheldrake is basically the worst of the lot for not only does he promote Baxter on the condition that he use his underling’s apartment for his own affair but is also sleeping with Baxter’s crush an elevator girl Fran Kubelik who has a bad case of low self-esteem. And Kubelik is only one  in a long line of Sheldrake’s conquests who were all manipulated and lied to just so Sheldrake could get a little bit on the side. Sheldrake cares nothing about Kubelik and when his Christmas gift to her of $100 leads her to attempt suicide, he just spends Christmas with his family and has Baxter deal with the ordeal. Let’s just say if you have to choose between your career and love interest while working for this steaming piece of shit, go with the love interest.

7. Gordon Gekko

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From: Wall Street

Occupation: Corporate Raider

The Problem: Greed, corruption, has no concern to care or invest in employees’ well-being, abuse of power, bullying, and backstabbing.

Gordon Gekko is basically unrestrained greed personified and a man who truly loves capitalism above all else. Sure he may seem charming at first and may be wiling to show you the ropes of corporate finance. However, remember that while he’s great to work for when things are going well, he’s absolute terror when the deal goes bad and doesn’t give a damn about who he screws over or which employees he throws under the bus. All he cares about is making money, gaining power, and being rich, plain and simple. After all, he did say, “Greed, for lack of a better word, is good. Greed is right. Greed works. Greed clarifies, cuts through, and captures, the essence of the evolutionary spirit. Greed, in all of its forms; greed for life, for money, for love, knowledge, has marked the upward surge of mankind and greed, you mark my words, will not only save Teldar Paper, but that other malfunctioning corporation called the U.S.A” Gekko will claw his way to the top even if it means dirty dealing and insider trading or go to jail for trying while taking a few with him. And he’s not above berating his employees or resorting to physical force if he so chooses. Still, it’s no wonder that Michael Douglas cringes whenever he hears from stockbrokers how Gordon Gekko inspired them to become stockbrokers. Gekko may be seen as a financial role model for libertarians and people on Wall Street, but he’s a horrible man you wouldn’t want to work for as well as a horrible human being.

8. Lieutenant Colonel Nicholson

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From: Bridge on the River Kwai

Occupation: British Army Officer and POW

The Problem: Basically drives his men complete a building project as a morale building exercise, but ends up having his unit commit treason instead. Also driving his men to exhaustion in order to complete the said bridge. Having very skewed priorities.

Of course, being POW in a Japanese prison camp during World War II was a terrible experience for any soldier, especially in Southeast Asia since it involved a lot of hard labor in the jungle as well as sparse accommodations and torture. You can hardly blame Lt. Col. Nicholson for wanting to make things better for his men at the prison camp as well as try to build their morale. Nicholson is willing to stick up for his men as well has have the Colonel Saito conduct his camp in accordance to the Geneva Conventions. Yes, he has a lot of guts and means very well yet Nicholson thinks that helping the Japanese build a bridge for their railroad would be a great morale building exercise for his men and its completion would exemplify the ingenuity and hard work of the British Army for generations. And he’s willing to drive his drive his men to exhaustion to complete the bridge on time whether they like it or not. Unfortunately, Nicholson basically too consumed in the project to realize that he’s collaborating with the enemy and having his men commit treason against their own country at a time of war. I’m sure that once the war is over, his men are going to wish they would’ve fragged him or at least escaped with Shears when they had the chance. Despite that Nicholson isn’t a bad guy and may have redeemed himself by blowing up the bridge, his soldiers are going to remember him as a national disgrace and regret what they’ve done, especially if they’re being tried for war crimes back home. Nicholson should’ve just tried to escape or at least not have cared so much about building that damned bridge.

9. Hilly Holbrook

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From: The Help

Occupation: Housewife and Socialite

The Problem: Racism, thanklessness, entitlement, vindictiveness, and overall nastiness.

Now in being a black maid in segregation era  America was a very thankless job that pertained to doing housework for some white woman who saw their servants as less than equal. Minny Jackson has it incredibly bad under Hilly, a snooty and entitled bitch who treats her employees like disease ridden animals (as well as everyone else’s). She even insists that her maids use a separate bathroom and fires Minny for using her bathroom during a potentially deadly thunderstorm. Luckily Minny gets the last laugh by having Hilly eat her chocolate and feces pie. Minny’s successor Yule May Davis has it far worse since she ended up fired for stealing and pawning Hilly’s ring so she could have money to pay for her twins sons’ tuition that Hilly wouldn’t lend to her which was $75. Oh, and she has Aibileen Clark framed for stealing loaned silver cutlery and fired by her boss after Aibileen basically denounces her as the godless vindictive woman she is.

10. Margaret Tate

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From: The Proposal

Occupation: Executive Editor in Chief

The Problem: Sexual harassment, forcing an employee to marry her, blackmail, and abuse of power.

Now Margaret Tate may be a maniacal, insensitive, and annoying career bitch. However, she makes the list because she basically forced one of her employees to marry her when she’s under the threat of deportation. Sure this movie is a romantic comedy but making an employee marry you for whatever reason (or pretending to be engaged) whether expired Visa or not is an abuse of power. Oh, and it doesn’t help that she’s putting Andrew Paxton at risk for felony charges for immigration fraud that amount to a fine of $250,000 and 5 years in prison. Of course, to avert this means they have to go on a trip to meet Andrew’s family  in Alaska. Now Margaret and Andrew may live happily ever after as far as we know, yet we’re sure that having a relationship with your boss wasn’t much of a choice for Andrew. And it doesn’t help that he disliked her so much while working for her. This isn’t a great beginning to a beautiful relationship and if I had a male employer who tried to force me to marry him for whatever reason (even with blackmail), I would just quit my job, especially if I disliked the guy in the first place. Besides, I’m not sure if Margaret knew whether Andrew was seeing anyone in the first place, which also has its share of negative repercussions.

11. Colonel Nathan R. Jessup

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From: A Few Good Men

Occupation: United States Marine Corps Officer and Commander of the Guatanamo Bay Naval Base

The Problem: Being a trigger happy psychopath, showing no loyalty to his troops, having a volatile personality, hypocrisy, illegally ordering a murder, driving a subordinate to suicide, corruption, refusal to take responsibility, and abuse of power.

Now say what you want about Lt. Col. Nicholson but he’s practically a saint compared to Colonel Jessup who is just one bad guy running Guatanamo Bay almost akin to a Nazi prison camp. While Nicholson tried to do what he thought was best for his men, Jessup shows no honor and loyalty for his troops and would sooner have one physically punished illegally and so dangerously that he dies from the encounter which he covers up rather than send him away on point of principle. He also forces a subordinate to forge a transfer order of a murdered marine which leads the guy to commit suicide before he could testify against Jessup in court.  And even when Jessup admits to directly ordering an illegal “Code Red” disciplinary measure, he feels incensed at being held responsible for it and feels that he’s totally justified in what he’s done. Sure he may give a great speech like “You can’t handle the truth!” and talk about how it’s supposed to be the duty of the strong to protect the weak, but he basically betrayed when he had  a kid brutalized and accidentally killed for being weak. If your commanding officer is like him, I suggest you file for a transfer immediately before he orders you to do something that could get you court-martialed. And if transfer wasn’t an option, you might want to opt for a dishonorable discharge on insubordination since the most popular court-martial defense is “I was just following orders.”

12. John Milton

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From: The Devil’s Advocate

Occupation: Attorney

The Problem: He’s basically Satan and technically evil. Also, corruption, murder, and nepotism.

The aptly named John Milton is basically the devil in the flesh in this 1997 film in which he runs a corrupt, high-powered, and multinational New York City legal office with global connections called Milton, Chadwick & Waters which is composed of immoral humans and his own demons. Of course, many of these lawyers they also happen to be his kids to all kinds of women he raped, including Kevin Lomax himself. And he hopes that his kids would mate with each other and produce the Antichrist. However, he’s not above bringing out the worst in his legal employees and his influence has Kevin transform from a simple country lawyer to a highly corrupt and morally dissolute New York City attorney that would make the cast of Boston Legal seem like a church choir. And as for Lomax, working for the devil, he becomes engulfed in demonic forces that ruin his career and drives his wife to madness and suicide. Oh, and he uses his legal firm to exploit the legal system to get as many violent criminals off the hook and spread corruption all over the world, hoping that Earth would become such a perversion that it will hurt Heaven and God. Also, tends to kill any of his employees who threaten to expose him. Basically he’s a literal boss from hell.

13. Patrick Bateman

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From: American Psycho

Occupation: Wall Street Investment Banker and Corporate Executive

The Problem: He’s an absolutely competitive and a complete psycho with rather disturbing fantasies. Also has a lot of addictions and is inflicted with conspicuous consumption.

Sure he may be played by Christian Bale and seem rather charismatic and friendly with a taste in designer clothes. However, as to why anyone would want to work for him or with him is anyone’s guess. And it doesn’t help that his gay colleague and his secretary are both in love with him. Bateman has the distinction as one of the most believable psychopaths in film and has scored hire on the APD/sociopathy checklist than the Joker or Hannibal Lecter. To put a long story short, Bateman is a rich, shallow, yuppie type who’s addicted to sex, drugs, and conspicuous consumption. Yet, he has another hobby on the side which is killing (and sometimes raping) people whether it be colleagues, prostitutes, or the homeless. Also, he could kill his colleagues (or subordinates) for some of the stupidest reasons whether it be over a business deal nobody knows about in detail, having a better business card than him, and being able to get a reservation at a popular restaurant. Oh, and he’s willing to sarcastically confess his crimes and sociopathy to fellow colleagues which nobody seems to take seriously. And he tries to murder his secretary with a nail gun when she finds a journal depicting his grisly rapes and murders. I’d rather be unemployed than work for such a racist, sexist, homophobic, and extremely elitist selfish killing machine. This is especially true if he’s a fan of Huey Lewis & the News.

14. Meredith Johnson

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From: Disclosure

Occupation: Corporate Executive

The Problem: Sexual harassment, abuse of power, attempted rape, and backstabbing.

Despite being played by Demi Moore, Meredith Johnson is the worst boss you’d ever want to be involved in a relationship with, especially if you’re her ex Tom Sanders. Right from the time she’s promoted to CEO of DigiCom (a job that Tom probably should’ve had), Meredith aggressively tries to resume her romantic relationship with Tom despite that he’s now married family man and repeatedly turns her down. Yet, Meredith doesn’t seem to care and even forces herself on him though Tom ends up spurning her and pushing her to the ground. In revenge for not having sex wit her, Meredith tries to ruin Tom’s life and career for suing him for sexual harassment and later tries to make him a scapegoat for the recent problems with the quality of the company’s products. And for a while, it seems that Tom is screwed since nobody in his company believes what Meredith was doing to him. It’s basically what you get if the lady from Fatal Attraction was your boss, well, sort of. Still, if Tom had given in, his marriage would’ve been over and Meredith still would’ve sued him for sexual harassment anyway.

15. August Rosenbluth

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From: Water for Elephants

Occupation: Circus Owner, Ringmaster, and Head Animal Trainer

The Problem: Cruelty to animals, abuse, bullying, and intimidation.

He may seem charming and kind at first but he has a vicious streak a mile wide. This guy is an animal slave driver who’s willing to drive his four legged performers to exhaustion and injury since he believes that the suffering of animals is nothing compared what people go through. He’s not so much nicer to people since he expects his animals and employee to follow his orders to the very letter. And he’s not afraid to throw people from the train who disobey him or beat the shit out of them. Oh, and he’s possessive and physically abusive to his wife and if you try to run off with her, he’ll go to great lengths to make sure you’re dead even if he has to send two thugs to beat you up. Let’s just say, nobody wouldn’t be upset if he got trampled by an elephant on any given day.

16. E. Edward Grey

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From: Secretary

Occupation: Attorney

The Problem: Sexual harassment, taking advantage of employee’s insecurity, and abuse of power.

Now this movie is basically what 50 Shades of Grey would be as a workplace romantic comedy. Of course, E. Edward Grey may not be an abusive psycho boyfriend like Christian Grey would be, but he’s not a great guy to work for. Sure engaging in consensual BDSM may be all right but basically hiring a legal secretary for that very purpose and firing her after engaging in sexual intercourse isn’t whether having sexual insecurities or not. Of course, this is especially true if the sex was basically his idea in the first place, which is sexual harassment. And it doesn’t help that Lee Holloway had just been released from a psychiatric hospital after an episode of self-harm, which almost makes Grey seem much worse. Also, I’m not sure the power dynamic in the workplace is a great foundation for a healthy relationship in the bedroom, BDSM or not.

17. Pontius Pilate

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From: Monty Python’s Life of Brian

Occupation: Roman Governor of Judea

The Problem: To make a long story short, he’s basically an idiot who no one could take seriously, not even his employees. Also incompetence, no sense of humor, and being easily offended.

Now Pontius Pilate was a bad boss in real life as testified by Josephus as well as Philo of Alexandria and the fact that he was recalled to Rome because the Romans thought he was too brutal. Yet, to the extent he’s depicted as a jerk in the Bible and biblical movies kind of depends on interpretation. Yet, he’s portrayed as a guy reluctant to crucify Jesus in the Gospels because the writers didn’t want to depict the Roman authorities in a negative light. In Life of Brian, Pilate is basically an idiot who no one could take seriously especially since he has trouble pronouncing the letter “r” which the crowd of people goes to great lengths to ridiculously exploit just to make fun of him. The scene when the soldiers bring Brian to him is particularly relevant of his ineptness as well. It’s obvious that the guy has no sense of humor and is easily offended when his soldiers laugh whenever he mentions the name of his friend in Rome, “Bickus Dickus.” Of course, the soldiers obviously view such moniker as a joke name, a concept that Pilate has no understanding. Yet, he ends up sending one of his soldiers to gladiator school after not being able to keep himself from laughing at the name “Bickus Dickus” which seems pretty harsh. Still, Pilate’s foolishness and lack of any sense of humor basically keeps the Roman soldiers from doing their jobs and inadvertently helps Brian escape.

18. Daniel Plainview

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From: There Will Be Blood

Occupation: Oil Industrialist and Tycoon

The Problem: Workplace endangerment, abuse of power, disdain for humanity, alcoholism, bullying, corruption, murder, and others.

Of course, this movie is about the contention between two guys the audience will despise but at least the self-centered religious preacher has nobody working for him even if he bullies his dad and manipulates his flock and ultimately sells his soul to Daniel Plainview in the end. Daniel Plainview, on the other hand, may be a determined boozy miner who just wants to earn a living or basically do whatever it takes to get a buck even if it means stepping on everyone he needed to in order to advance his own goals as well as exploit everyone in the film with a speaking role. Yet, he’s indifferent to life and has no qualms about cheating folks in California who basically work like oxes and give him oil to sell. Too bad for them, a few of them fall victim to occupational hazard including Plainview’s adopted son H. W. who goes deaf by the sound of an oil well. Of course, you can bet that these workers’ families won’t get much compensation as far as Plainview is concerned. He also personally kills a few people, abandons his son who… failed him, takes general pleasure and dominating everyone, and perceives the world as much more evil than he is. Still, Plainview can’t care less about those who work for him and bring him wealth and is willing to fake care through his manipulation to outright bullying. And even his adopted son H. W. is seen is merely a prop to him that he uses to create a pretty face to help him make business deals. Let’s just say, you don’t want to work for this guy, especially when he starts to lose his sanity.

19. Jonathan Shields

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From: The Bad and the Beautiful

Occupation: Movie Producer and Studio Mogul

The Problem: Forming relationships with employees whom he’s perfectly willing to use as tools that can be disposed of. Also, tries to toy with his workers’ personal lives just so he could make a movie. Not to mention, he’s kind of a perfectionist, control freak, and backstabber to the max.

Jonathan Shields loves movies and loves making them though he cares more about the quality of his films than his human relationships. In fact, he basically uses his relationships as a means to an end, whether it means being buddies with a director when they were first starting out, hooking up with an actress she wants in his film so she won’t spend her spare time drinking or sleeping with other men, and taking a screenwriter on vacation with him so the guy won’t have to be distracted by his wife while he’s writing. Yet, once he’s done with them, he ends up basically stabbing them in the back whether it be by denying his director buddy a chance to make the film of his dreams, having his girlfriend walk in when he’s screwing another actress after celebrating her success at the premiere after party, and not telling his screenwriter that he inadvertently left the guy’s wife run off with an actor that later leads to them both dying in a plane crash. Sure he screwed these three people to the ground leaving no small wounds, but all three were better off achieved greater success because of him. Of course, you can basically call Jonathan Shields an unpolished turd with the Midas touch yet even if he did help your career, you’d still be bitter of how he hurt your feelings by screwing you over.

20. General Boulard and General Mireau

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From: Paths of Glory

Occupation: Generals in the French Army

The Problem: Basically these two guys are disconnected from the reality of the trenches and basically ordering what amounts to a suicide mission. Punish a whole regiment by having 3 soldiers shot at random for cowardice. Also, abuse of power and inability to take responsibility for their failures.

World War I was a terrible war with many losses resulting in the upper brasses disconnect with what the soldiers are really facing and the deadly results it led to. In fact, Mireau basically doesn’t believe that there’s such a thing as PTSD as well as orders his artillery to bomb their own trenches and that both of these guys are staying in fine housing accommodations while anyone who’s not a general is basically having to reside in vermin infested quarters. These two generals are basically epitomes of this when they order Colonel Dax and his regiment to attack the Anthill which is a suicide mission, a fact that’s apparent to every soldier in the regiment. Yet, when Dax’s soldiers’ common sense overrides their willingness to obey orders during the actual attack, these two guys refuse to acknowledge their responsibility just to save face and preserve their quest for personal glory. In fact, they basically punish Colonel Dax’s regiment by having three of his soldiers court-martialed and executed for cowardice by firing squad. Of course, the two generals have made sure that the court-martial is a kangaroo trial and that these three condemned men are doomed to die for no reason at all.

21. Lord Raglan, Lord Lucan, and Lord Cardigan

From: The Charge of the Light Brigade (1968)

Occupation: Generals in the British Army and Aristocratic Peers

The Problem: These three guys are incompetent upper class twits, inability to work together, have no concern for their men, and other factors that led a major miscommunication and one of the biggest military disasters of all time.

Now these three guys were just as bad bosses in real life as they are in this movie due to the systematic problem that these guys basically purchased their own commissions. Yet, while Raglan is the least worst of the bunch he’s more or less incompetent who was just promoted beyond his ability yet ordering Lord Cardigan to lead the Charge of the Light Brigade and promoting Lord Lucan over him weren’t very good ideas. Yes, they were brothers-in-law but they absolutely detested each other and neither were very bright in the least. Seriously, Cardigan was described by historians as, “an overbearing, hot-tempered fool of the most dangerous kind in that he believed that he possessed real ability.” In the movie, Cardigan also tends to treat his troops like personal property. And when Lucan received Raglan’s order, he basically ordered Cardigan to charge his men through a gauntlet of fire to capture the guns at the far end of the valley. The result was that the Light Brigade was driven off by overwhelming enemy numbers and they retreated through the same way they charged leading to 278 British casualties and nothing accomplished. Oh, and right after the charge, Cardigan basically has lunch on his yacht and tells the survivors that the disaster wasn’t his fault. So there you have it, the Charge of the Light Brigade was a disaster due to incompetence, mutual jealousy, and miscommunication between these three guys who make desertion seem like a viable option if any of them were your commanding officer.

22. Tony Stark (a. k. a. Iron Man)

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From: The Iron Man Series

Occupation: Billionaire, Superhero, Tycoon, Inventor, and Philanthropist

The Problem: Egotistical, high maintenance, immature, selfish, and basically has his assistant do everything.

If you think having Iron Man as your boss would be cool, then prepare to be disillusioned if you’re hired to be his personal assistant. Stark is basically a big baby with a huge ego and lots of expensive toys who’s horribly dependent on Pepper Potts for basically everything from running his company, organizing his schedule, making excuses for him, installing a personal arc reactor to keep his heart beating every once in a while, and calling the contractor every time Stark blows up his workshop. Pepper Potts may have a job that pays well, but unfortunately this means her whole life basically revolves around Tony Stark and basically has no time for anything else. Also, her job must be incredibly stressful and bound to drive any normal person insane. Tony must be lucky that he has such a dedicated assistant willing to put up with all his hijinks and activities simply out of being in love for him. Yet, how she manages to keep Tony’s life in order while being able to retain her appearance and take proper care of herself, I have no idea.

23. Miranda Priestly

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From: The Devil Wears Prada

Occupation: Editor in Chief for a Fashion Magazine

The Problem: Demanding, abrasive, verbally abusive, and being a major control freak.

Working in fashion must be one of the most nightmarish fields for most women, especially since it’s one that’s shallow and pertains to ridiculous clothing. Compared to other bosses on the list, Miranda isn’t as bad as many of the bosses on the list. I mean she’s not physically abusive, gets people killed, commits crimes, or sexually harasses her employees. Also, she’s perfectly capable of doing her job. Yet, she’s a real pain in the ass who terrorizes and insults most of her staff, including Andy Sachs. She is a major control freak who oversees every aspect of the magazine at every stage of production and thinks nothing of turning everyone else’s schedule around while micro-managing her own. She also likes to use Andy as a punching bag by hurling insults at her about her weight, criticizing her writing, and assigning her to do impossible tasks which greatly takes a toll on her personal life. And she also seems to take positive relish in it. It’s a wonder why people are willing to work for her and not go insane. Also doesn’t tolerate anyone who disagrees with her.

24. Calvin Candie

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From: Django Unchained

Occupation: Planter

The Problem: He’s a sadistic slave owner who has his charges fight for the death for his own enjoyment as well as having a slave being murdered by dogs as well as other dastardly deeds. Also, racism and intimidation.

Slavery was a brutal institution that put blacks as inferior to whites as well as be seen as having no rights of their own and doomed to involuntary servitude. It wasn’t unusual for a slave owner to be an abusive rapist as well as torture his or her slaves on a regular basis. Still, while he may be played by Leonardo DiCaprio, Candie may seem charming at first but he’s actually a sadist who seems to inflict violence on his slaves for a lot more reasons than just keeping them in line. In fact, he seems to be very insensitive to it and seems to get pleasure in seeing two slaves fight each other to the death or casually letting a slave unwilling to fight get torn apart by dogs, which sickens even the most hardened bounty hunter Dr. King Schultz. Still, he’s a complete monster even by slave owner standards and Candyland is basically a plantation of horrors. Let’s just say that slave owners would’ve thought twice about having their own slaves fight each other or having a runaway ripped apart by dogs, especially since they were substantial financial investments. Putting slaves in gladiatorial battles just wouldn’t make any sense to an antebellum slave owner. You could see why King Schultz had to shoot him in the chest when Candie offered to shake his hand.

25. Idi Amin

2006-9-24-lkos1

From: The Last King of Scotland

Occupation: Military Dictator of Uganda

The Problem: Basically he’s a ruthless dictator who was responsible for killing as many as 500,000 people. Robbing his countrymen and not taking being cheated on well despite having 3 wives. Also being batshit insane.

Working for a dictator is no fun at all. In fact, dictators make really terrible bosses in general, especially if he goes by the name of Josef Stalin. Idi Amin is no different and though he may seem charming at first but remember this is one of the more notorious African dictators as well as responsible for genocide during his 8 year rule of Uganda. Also, he’s one of the few famous dictators to have a feature film about his rule which is depicted so menacingly. By sharing his love of Scotland being impressed at his ability to shoot a cow, he manages to charm Nicholas Garrigan into becoming his personal physician and help modernize Uganda’s health care system.. Yet, working for a genocidal dictator has a lot of strings attached such as having to rationalize your boss’s crackdown of the opposition and expelling South Asians out of the country. Also, the fact that Garrigan can’t keep it in his pants and ends up knocking up one of Amin’s wives. Still, let’s just say you don’t want to work for a guy who isn’t above beating you up or hanging you up on a meat hook by your skin, no less. Let’s just say I’d rather work for Darth Vader than this guy.

Why I’m Fed Up with the Job Market

Even though I’m a college graduate, I’m still unemployed and living with my parents. Perhaps this makes me kind of an unproductive loser who’s mooching off my folks while contributing nothing to society but I don’t mind nor do I feel sorry for myself. Sure I may not be earning money right now but that doesn’t make me a lowlife by any means. I’ve never been a slacker for I’ve written pieces on word documents I’ll publish eventually on this blog and when I get enough clicks on this site, I plan to get a way to make money from the advertising. But for now, it’s too early. Not only that but I also wrote a book which I published on Amazon and am well on my way to writing a second one. Not to mention, I volunteer for a museum a couple of days a week to fill in the collection records on Microsoft Excel. Also, since I graduated from college I’ve worked two temp jobs and practically worked myself out of the second. Maybe I don’t have a regular source of income I could count on yet but I have plenty to show that I work hard and I’m making a difference. I’m just not getting paid for my contributions, that’s all and I’d still be living with my parents whether I was employed or not. Perhaps the only reason that I’d ever want a job is just because I need the money to pay off my student loans and I don’t want to go to jail for robbing a bank. Still, though I understand that the stakes of finding a well paying job in this economy aren’t great right now, I know that whatever job I do get isn’t going to last long. However, even though I know there are jobs out there, the thing that’s hard for me isn’t finding a job, doing a job, or even applying for a job (though I do know I’m at a disadvantage when they ask for experience since I barely have any job experience to begin with). Rather it’s trying to get the job which is the most difficult and stressful for me for a lot of reasons, especially when there’s the interview which is fairly challenging.

I know job interviews are no fun and I don’t feel up to the challenge either. As an applicant, I’m expected to give the interviewer what he or she wants and the person never really tells you anything except be there at such and such a time. Still, it’s not that I want a job but I don’t want the process to be ridiculously complicated and unpredictable either which basically means putting myself under a magnifying glass and making sure I don’t screw up my chances. Rather I prefer to come prepared and think ahead of time so I could know what to expect. I also wish that I didn’t have to jump through hoops like trying to charm the interviewer or getting him or her to like me or seeing whether I could fit in or trying to make that perfect first impression. Sure a first impression could tell a lot about a person, well, sort of sometimes. I think are plenty of instances where first impressions don’t tend to reveal a lot about a person such as in history or on the news. I mean there are plenty of people who’ve been misled by a good first impression like victims of crimes for instance. This is especially true in the workforce with reports of people committing crimes against their own employers, which happens almost all the time. Obviously these people made a good first impression during their job interviews or they wouldn’t be able to rob the store in the first place or possibly set fire to it. I mean how reliable are first impressions? They might mean that you could fit in the workplace and perhaps get along with your co-workers but doesn’t determine whether the candidate is a competent worker or even trustworthy. Not to mention, there are plenty of other job candidates who would fail to make a good first impression but would otherwise make fine additions to a staff. I mean there are plenty of people who don’t have the best people skills but they can get stuff done nonetheless and won’t steal from the company either. I am not a person who either gives a good first impression nor automatically judges people from their first impression but when I eventually get to know them better. Not to mention, when given a task to do (as long as it doesn’t consist of chores), I set myself straight to work and won’t quit until it’s done. I also try to get the job done as best I can as well as try to show up on time and would rarely miss a day unless it was for some good reason. Not to mention, though I may lack social skills, I do have certain ethics as well as try to get along with my co-workers the best I can. Yet, to the world of the job interview, first impressions are everything and it’s because first impressions are so important that many times the most qualified candidate doesn’t get the job. Sure first impressions may be important but like people skills in general, tend to be overrated.

Another problem I have in terms of getting a job also stems from the job listings themselves as well as the kind of jobs willing to hire anyone. As a college graduate who lacks certain people skills and has no driver’s license, I know I’m not going to have an easy time with my job search especially since many of the jobs out where I’m at require at least either, not that I would want any either. And it also doesn’t help me that I live in the country where it basically requires a car to go anywhere. As with the jobs I might like to have, well, there’s always something. For one, the job might be in Pittsburgh and require me to move, which I’m in no financial shape to do so. For another, the job in question may require something known as “experience” in the field like over two years even for an entry-level job, which is put there by the employers to drive college graduates away since they don’t want to train people for the position. Also, it’s mostly due to the recession since employers know they can get someone else for that job. And even if I do apply for it, chances are likely that I’m not going to be called for an interview.

Then there is the fact that no matter how I try to find a job, the process just seems never ending cycle of filling applications, attending interviews, and being turned down afterwards. When I graduated from college, I thought that I might have a job within a few months but that wasn’t the case. In fact, after a while it began to be apparent that the concept of getting a job was taking over my life and soon my reasons for finding a job eventually became less about money and more about not having to look for one anymore. In other words, I was so frustrated putting as much effort as I could into getting a job and wasn’t getting the result I wanted. Perhaps I felt that I had to work harder than everyone else while my sister seemed to land jobs pretty easily. Maybe I just didn’t want to work as hard getting a job as doing the job and saw how much work had to be put in the former such as charming people and making myself seem more appealing than I was. In some ways, I was probably more concerned with keeping the job than getting the job since I didn’t want to spend my life trying to get someone to want or like me. And perhaps I was tired of the concept of finding a job and trying to get one because it so obligatory and something you couldn’t give up on. But maybe I was just tired of being seen as worthless or not good enough for a certain position or thought that trying to find a job was starting to become a waste of my time. Then again, perhaps I was just tired of being judged by my social skills and appearance instead of my abilities to do the job. Yet, the reasons why I wasn’t getting a job were sometimes blurred for me. At first it seemed that I wasn’t a good job candidate since I don’t have good social skills and have tried to improve my abilities. Not to mention, I’d sometimes showed up at interviews with greasy hair and at times answered the questions in ambivalence. And I’ve tried to improve on my abilities to handle job interviews and all the steps of the application process. Then again, from what’s been going on in this economy who knows since it’s always the employer who tends to make the decisions on hiring and maybe I’m just one of the ones who don’t make the cut. And many times, it might take a longer time for the employers to make a hiring decision or perhaps not hire anyone at all. I may not be sure why the job market hasn’t been kind to me but sometimes I feel that the notion of the job application process doesn’t seem to be helpful nor does the fact that I have to compete with people who may have a better hiring potential than I do and for a common retail job at that. In some ways, I feel disgusted by the fact that I have to go through the same process time and time again just to get the job I applied for when I rather earn my money my own way where I don’t have to worry about another job interview or being disposed of after a certain amount of time. Rather I would rather earn money where I wouldn’t have to count on being social and likeable to strangers nor have to count on a first impression. Well, perhaps I just want to get a job in a way I wouldn’t be at an unfair disadvantage and just not care about pleasing anybody because I think the process on getting a job seems to amount to kissing ass. No thanks, I’ll stick to writing about how dumb the job application process is.