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My boss is nutso...

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Old 25th October 2013, 4:57 PM   #1
Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: southern CA
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My boss is nutso...

For starters, she makes me call her when I arrive at work and when I leave. No one else in the entire company has to do this - she just doesn't trust me for some reason.

Every time she talks to me, it's nothing but criticism. I can never be fast enough, accurate enough, thorough enough, etc. etc. etc. The thing is I was hired to replace 3 people. And those original 3 people combined could not keep up with the massive workload either. How can one person possibly?
Nevertheless, it is expected of me. And it's a losing fight.

Then there's the added bonus of dealing with my boss' "inventiveness." She tries to implement new ideas for my position on a whim ("we're going to do things this way from now on!") even if they don't make sense or cost the company extra money, which is the exact opposite of what I have been trying to do for the last 3 years.
However, when I try to explain to her why her ideas won't work for my position, she accuses me of being resistant and insubordinate, and threatens to fire me.

There's not a day that goes by that I'm not getting criticized and scrutinized by her. She treats me like a child.
The thing is she has no idea how to manage my position. She is clueless about what it entails, what is most efficient, and what really goes on. I have tried explaining things to her but it falls on deaf ears. My office is on an entirely different floor than the rest of my department, and my boss just started managing my position 2 years ago.

As I've mentioned, the workload is ridiculous, especially for one person. It involves a lot of physical labor too so it's kind of like doing step aerobics for 8+ hours. At the end of the year, the workload quadruples. Quite often I will come home from work and collapse because I'm too exhausted to eat or do anything but sleep.
I have worked countless hours of unpaid overtime, I have worked through lunch, through breaks...I have worked while sick and while injured, and all my boss can do is complain.

A few months ago, she gave me the worst review I've ever gotten and did not give me the standard 2% raise that employees usually get to compensate for inflation. My wages are already far below that of people in similar positions.

At times I think of sabotaging myself just so they will fire me because unemployment is looking preferable at this point.
And yes, I am currently looking for another job - I have no intention of staying with this one any longer than is absolutely necessary.

Anyway, thanks to anyone who reads this. Feel free to share your horrible boss stories - at least we'll be in good company.
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Old 25th October 2013, 5:12 PM   #2
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Do you have a human resources department?

Not getting paid for overtime is illegal. Many other incidents you cite should be brought to the attention of HR and have them deal with it.
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Old 26th October 2013, 11:07 AM   #3
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Are you exempt or nonexempt employee? If you are nonexempt, and in CA as your tag seems to say you need to look into the over time you are owed as well as meal/break issues, and premium pay.

CA is a very employee friendly state. Please go to the department of labor website as well as EEOC. And talk to HR.
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Old 26th October 2013, 7:31 PM   #4
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Document, document, document. Any witnesses?
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Old 30th October 2013, 6:22 PM   #5
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@CarrieT & Got It: Yes, my work has a Human Resources dept., however I cannot go to them to complain because my boss will immediately know that it was me who complained (since the things I would be complaining about only pertain to me) and she will fire me.

Also, she does not force me to work overtime without pay - I do that voluntarily because it's really the only way to cut down the insane workload. I am doing it totally without my boss' knowledge.
I also cannot report this to HR because my boss will fire me.

Due to family finances, I cannot afford to lose my job right now. I am trying to secure a new one but we all know how tough they are to find.

@Firemanq: There are several people who have seen me at the office after closing but not on a consistent enough basis to really prove anything. They also do not know that I am not being paid for my extra time there.

Today I did not call her when I arrived this morning and she physically walked her fat @$$ downstairs to my office to check if I was there (which I was), then she chastised me for not calling. Just a few minutes ago she sent an email chastising me again and stressing the importance of calling when I arrive and leave each day.
Again, no other employee has to do this. She is totally overstepping her boundaries and treating me like a child. But of course I can't complain to her or HR or anyone because I will get fired.

I am so sick of this.
At this point I am seriously debating reporting her to HR, getting fired and living on unemployment for awhile. Were it not for my family, I would have done this a long time ago.
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Old 7th November 2013, 8:13 PM   #6
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So the drama continues...

Awhile ago I went upstairs (where the rest of my department is) to get tomorrow's work to find that my boss had left early. She usually does.
She makes bloody sure I work a full 8+ hrs each day (I have to call her when I arrive and leave to prove this) yet she cuts her shift short almost every day?
How is this OK???

At this point I have decided to report her to HR. Damn the consequences.
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Old 9th November 2013, 3:06 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Noise Electric View Post
So the drama continues...

Awhile ago I went upstairs (where the rest of my department is) to get tomorrow's work to find that my boss had left early. She usually does.
She makes bloody sure I work a full 8+ hrs each day (I have to call her when I arrive and leave to prove this) yet she cuts her shift short almost every day?
How is this OK???

At this point I have decided to report her to HR. Damn the consequences.
Consequences on you? I fail to see why YOU would suffer any consequences. This woman is overstepping boundaries and abusing her position as your boss, and if you report her with proof, SHE'S the one in the wrong and will be dealt with. Not you.

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Old 13th November 2013, 11:59 AM   #8
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You're far too worried about being fired. You've been there long enough that the reality is employees have a lot more rights once they pass probation than you seem to realize.

If you get fired unjustly you can sue, and I'm sure they'll be far more worried about being sued than anything else.
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Old 13th November 2013, 12:50 PM   #9
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Its called whistle blower protection. Its illegal for her to retaliate against you for reporting her.
Peace is a lie, there is only passion.
Through passion I gain strength.
Through strength I gain power. Through power I gain victory.
Through victory my chains are broken. The force shall free me.
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Old 14th November 2013, 8:37 PM   #10
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Listen, I hear you. I also work for a difficult boss who seems impervious to literally every managing up tactic there is. I had gotten to a point where I was so broken by my inability to please her that I had to take leave to get my head on straight; her lousy management skills were sending me into a tailspin and I hated feeling like every day I came into work was going to be the day I got fired over something trivial.

Flash forward to right now: I am about to return to work after my leave. I spent the whole time really focusing on how to deal with things when I get back. I think the most important thing I'm realizing is that you have to just radically accept that you work for a difficult person and that you're in a situation that is hard to tolerate. Then you have to start thinking of what you really want to do... you know... weigh up your options.

I'm not saying it's easy, though. I hate feeling like I ALWAYS have to be the bigger person when it is so obvious that she [my boss] is the one in the wrong, but it's the game you have to play, unfortunately. I am focused on making it work long enough to transfer to away from her to another team or to maybe even make a career move out of my company entirely.

And document like there's no tomorrow. I run into a problem where I think that something is easy to remember or that it's not a big deal, I don't have to write it down... until later, when I'm trying to plead my case to leadership, and my boss has a laundry list of **** to protect herself and I have zero evidence of what goes on. You'd think the fact that five people have been through our four person team in the same position in the space of two years would be indication enough, but what do I know...
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Old 28th November 2013, 5:15 AM   #11
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I know this is going to feel like a total pain when you're already overworked, but you really need to have a few days where you record each task you do. You say that a lot of it involves physical labour. If, for instance, you're having to cart files around, make a mental note of how large they are so that it's possible to guess weights. It seems quite likely to me that if a lot of what you do is physical and wears you out then it might be that you're not being provided with the equipment you need to reduce the physical demands (not to mention injury potential) of the tasks.

What you need is to have these detailed records - maybe one day a week over a space of four weeks - so that if and when you do go to HR you are ready for questions they ask. It's all too easy in these situations to become so overwhelmed that you just snap and produce a litany of complaints without being able to provide details when you're asked. Creating those records will mean that you're ready for any difficult questions. It will also help to highlight whether some of the tasks you're being asked to do are unnecessary.

Be careful about telling them that you work through injury and sickness. They'll say "well, that's unacceptable - did you report your sickness/injury?" and if you have to answer no to that, you could find yourself in a bit of bother. Particularly with the injury part. They'll see you as a legal action waiting to happen and they'll go into back covering/blaming you mode. It's more important that you highlight how and why your workload could potentially cause sickness or injury - and with those concerns, present some suggested solutions. Equipment that could make your job easier, tasks your boss is giving you that maybe aren't necessary.

While the HR dept isn't necessarily your friend, it isn't necessarily your boss's friend either. So you do have an advantage on that score. At least your boss doesn't own the company. I had a nightmare scenario with a boss very recently which isn't necessarily resolved yet, but it did improve as a result of me letting her offload various stresses she's under. Also, while she can be a bully she also has valuable experience that, when I'm able to put my personal feelings about her approach to one side, is very useful in helping me to improve the way I work. It's difficult though, and when somebody is prone to use that critical and bullying approach it can do a lot of damage.

Another boss I had used to "motivate" staff by calling us all in regularly and telling us that the business was likely to fold and we'd all lose our jobs if we didn't buck up. It's not an uncommon approach amongst bosses in the profession I'm in. They feel oppressed by the demands of the regulatory body we work under, and they pass on that stress and fear to other staff. After a couple of these "motivational" episodes, I stayed behind after one meeting and quizzed her about whether the company really was in that much trouble. The reality was - no, not at all, but who knows what the future could hold? So really, it was a combination of her anxieties about the future generally and her believing (as she admitted) that threatening to sack people was a good way of motivating them.

We had a secretary at the time who I found excellent - very helpful and efficient, and nice to deal with. In the boss's eyes this girl was awful, and..."I'm the one who pays her wages not you, yet she gives your work priority over mine. Where's the respect in that?" The girl had an anxiety disorder so to me it was patently obvious to me why she would perform badly for somebody whose critical, panic-mongering approach threw her into a paralysis of fear and anxiety. I told the boss that, and she was stunned. It genuinely hadn't occurred to her (even though she knew about the girl's anxiety disorder) that her critical, bullying approach might be reducing rather than increasing productivity for reasons other than people just being rebellious, passive aggressive, not liking her etc.

A lot of bosses impress customers and superiors with their tough, take no prisoners approach...but often their teams aren't nearly as good/productive as they should be because the boss is more concerned with their own ego or stresses than they are with seeing staff perform to the best of their abilities. Sounds like your boss might be a bit like that.

Last edited by Taramere; 28th November 2013 at 5:24 AM..
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Old 14th April 2014, 5:54 PM   #12
Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: southern CA
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Well, it's been awhile since I posted anything here so I just thought I'd do an update.

As fate would have it, I was laid off on the last day of January. It was with mixed emotions that I left the worst job ever and it's definitely taken some adjusting. I have been living on unemployment and my parents' generosity while looking for a new job. There's not much opportunity out there so things are looking pretty bleak for now.

On the other hand, most of my job-related health issues and injuries have gone away or gotten much better. I like the freedom of not having to work right now and I don't miss my old job at all. Things could certainly be worse, ya know?

Anyway, thank you everybody for your advice, suggestions & support. Looking forward to writing the next chapter of my working life.

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Old 14th April 2014, 8:28 PM   #13
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Noise Electric- Thank you for the update! Was agasp that you endured that tenure with your previous employer. I swear as I was reading it that your boss was my boss's twin!! I kind you not. There is an innate set of boss's that give gastro Doctors a great set of patients! I visited my gastro doc more during the wrath of my one boss then need be. As you pointed out, your mental health and physical health do suffer under those set of business duties. I only feel compassion that you worked so hard for an unrealistic person only to lose a job. Yet the bright side is...your health has improved and most employers moving forward will be a walk in the park from what you experienced. Consider it a lesson in earned your stripes...Now is the time to regroup your skills and find something more palatable to your skills and work environment. Best to you.
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