Five Fictional Employers Ranked from Best to Worst

We all appreciate a kind employer.  That boss who bothers to properly outline all our responsibilities.  That boss who makes sure that all the employees are getting along with each other.  That boss who pretends he doesn’t notice the raccoon we accidentally let into the supply shed.

However, as far as literary characters go, fictional employers are a pretty mixed bag.  Here are five fictional employers ranked from best to worst.

Thorin Oakenshield.

General stress factors relating to epic quests permitted, this guy is actually a decent employer.  Thorin believes in fair compensation and will likely honour his commitment to pay you in however much dragon gold he thinks your services merited.  And if he does suffer the occasional bout of dragon sickness and attempt to murder you despite the fact that he considers you his friend (it happens), at least he’s humble enough to make amends with you before he dies a glorious line-of-Durin-worthy death.

Aunt March.

This crotchety spinster loves making random helpful statements along the lines of “Your Pa and Ma have no more worldly wisdom than two babies.” However, she’s always one for a helpful offer to her impoverished relatives.  Oh, you suddenly lost your fortune in the process of trying to help someone?  Even better than a loan, how about I take one of your children?  Ease that financial burden of yours.  Endowed with “the art of rousing the spirit of opposition in the gentlest people,” she enjoys being opinionated and prickly.  But her pockets are deep and she’s a great first employer for a young lady determined to make her own way in the world.

Aunt March frequently gets in disagreements with her family members.  Nonetheless, these arguments generally blow over.  And after she’s forgiven you, she’ll secretly gift you an expensive pile of linen as a peace offering.  Can’t ask for much better than that.  Well, obviously you can.  But you won’t, or else you’re not invited to France.

King Oberon.

No one said that working for the King of the Fairies would be easy.  Oberon orders Puck to anoint the eyes of a certain man in order to right the course of true love.  Then, he realizes that this might be difficult to do without a clear description of the man.  So, he tells Puck that he will “know the man by the Athenian garments he hath on.”

And undoubtedly, this would have been a fantastic description.  Except for the fact that literally everyone in the play except for the fairies is wearing Athenian garments.  Because the play is set in Athens.  So, when Puck mistakes one Athenian man for another, I don’t really think he’s to blame.  On a scale of one to ten, I’d give Oberon a nine for providing interesting employment opportunities, but a three for his ability to clearly outline required tasks.

Don Quixote.

Full credit to this knight-errant-wannabe for intending to compensate his squire.  He’s mostly a reasonable employer, because even after he’s dragged you across the countryside, and gotten you blanket-tossed/beaten numerous times, he still believes in fair remuneration.  This means that as long as you are a loyal squire, he will make you governor of an isle.

Unfortunately, Don Quixote is literally insane.  Like, first-class, straight up, banana-bread, crazy!  He is not a real knight.  There is no isle.  And even if the isle did exist, Don Quixote would not have the authority to give it to you!  Forget about being a governor, you probably won’t even get paid a modest sum, despite all that time spent following him around as he picks fights with inanimate objects.  And in the rare event that you do actually get paid, it will probably be due to some outrageous accident.  Definitely not the kind of employment opportunity that you want to rely on for your pension.

Miss Havisham.

This old lady is just the worst.  Not only has she raised her adopted daughter to break men’s hearts for the sake of her weird vendetta, but she singles out an eight-year-old as the victim of her revenge.  She’ll invite you over for a creepy play date surrounded by super-old memorabilia from her failed wedding.  Also, she’ll only pretend to be paying you.  She won’t actually be paying you.  Then she’ll essentially screw up your entire love life.  And she won’t repent until you finally save her when her ancient wedding dress catches on fire.  So, it’s not just that Miss Havisham is a terrible employer.  She’s actually a terrible person.