Confessions of a Toxic Boss

Life is too short to let a tyrant steal it away

Nabil Alouani
4 min readDec 6, 2021


Picture of an adult woman in a deep thinking state

His name is Bill and he’s about my age. I hired him shortly after quitting my corporate job to start an online business. “We’ll mainly create content,” I told him. “We’ll also do consulting in tech and decision-making.”

Bill loved the idea and immediately signed the contract. What he didn’t know is that he was about to enslave himself for the following 16 months. In fact, it wasn’t until two weeks ago that Bill finally woke up to reality.

It was a Friday evening and Bill was getting ready to leave the office. That’s when he heard the door slide open and saw my smile emerge from behind it. “Glad I caught you, Billy!” I said. “Just wanted to thank you for bringing in a new client.”

Bill smiled back effortlessly, but his big brown eyes were full of skepticism. He must’ve felt something else was coming, and boy was he right.

“Have you read this?” I said, waving my phone. “It’s an ebook written by our new client. Your new client,” I added. “It would be awesome if you could take a look before our meeting on Monday. You know, get a sense of her story, current challenges, and business goals. Wanna do that Billy?”

Of course he doesn’t “wanna do that,” you sneaky bastard with your sneaky smile. But you know he will, don’t you?

Bill nodded, but this time it clearly took him a tremendous amount of effort to sketch a smile. “You rock Billy!” I said. “I promise we’ll discuss your vacation sometime next week. Enjoy your weekend!”

What weekend, you hypocrite?

It wasn’t the first time I’d robbed Bill of his freedom. On multiple occasions, I’d asked him to sacrifice his evenings to attend online workshops held in different time zones. Same story with e-meetings and business calls. I even exploited his lunch breaks by “suggesting” what podcasts he should listen to and what books he should read. I knew he often ate solo, and in business, even your employees’ loneliness can be an asset.

Speaking of assets, I also benefited from Bill’s willingness to learn and grow. I’d convinced him that email marketing and graphic design were valuable skills to master. “The world is going digital!” I’d told…



Nabil Alouani

True masters are eternal students || 100% human-generated content || Engineer || Software & Data || Weekly Emails: