May 18, 2005

Workplace Drama

OK. I haven't posted in a while because I am super busy with lots of things and the least of those things is not the drama at my work. I'll fill you in a little:

As I may or may not have made clear, I go through my day thinking that I might be fired at any moment. The reason I might be fired isn't because I do anything unethical or that I am a poor performer. The reason I might be fired is because my boss is really tempermental and I manage to piss him off with some regularity.

On more than one occasion he has said, "If I had seen you yesterday, I would have fired you." And on none of those occasions have I been very clear on why that level of rage and frustration is warranted. I usually have no idea what he's talking about and have to pow-wow with my peers after meetings to make sure we're all doing the same thing. (I'm not the only one who thinks he speaks a foreign language sometimes.) And he changes his mind a lot about what he wants. Basically, I think he's insane.

So, I avoid him when I can.

Alternatively, I've also managed to document many very egregious short-comings in my boss' performance.

Can you see where this is going?

Well, I reported him to HR and then I confided this information in two trusted coworkers.

One of them promptly told my boss. And my boss confronted me.

Naturally, he can't fire me or retaliate because I'm on record with HR.

Most people immediately ask if I talked to him about these problems first, to which I have to say I have not. And why would I? Why would I confront my boss about his faults when I believe that he will get angry and try to fire me? Why would I risk MY livelihood telling my boss that it is his responsibility to show up to the office more than just 2 business days in a week? How is it even my responsibility to tell my boss that it is unethical for him to tell my peers about how he almost fired me? Why would I think it my place to even suggest to my supervisor that complaining to the entire staff about HIS boss is improper? Especially in light of the fact that this is the same man who snapped at me, "Are you coaching me?" in one of our very first meetings when I suggested a more effective application of our email software. (He has not mastered the use of Outlook to this day.)

And isn't this what the Human Resources department is for?

Unfortunately, I actually think he's looking for a reason to fire me now, so I avoid him even more. But he's avoiding me, too. He is refusing to respond to my requests for information. He leaves me off of meeting invitations and notices the affect my job.

I didn't think work could get more miserable, but at least now my day is filled with the constant adrenaline rush because every time I hear a knock at my office door, I think it's him with a box and a pink slip.

drama drama drama...

Posted by Flibbertigibbet at May 18, 2005 08:05 PM

Man, that sucks to the highest of suckstivity! I had a situation just as disagreeable at one of my old jobs, and to deal with it I fell on one of the best pieces of advice I ever got in my life. It deals with how to handle an unpleasant situation at work, and it's got a neat mnemonic to boot: CAR (or CAL--take your pick).

C is for Change: Can you change your situation? Not necesarilly the situation--it may well be too late for your boss to change, but can you change anything about it? Your work style, change to a different department within the company--anything? If change is not an option, then...

A is for Accept: Can you accept the situation? Lots of things go into this decision (job market, benefits, salary), so think *hard* about it. If you can't accept it, your only option is to..

R is for Resign (or L is for leave): Seriously. If neither C nor A is a viable option, start looking for a new job--life is too short to be miserable.

Remember this, too: It's standard operating procedure for your employer to put a new hire on probabion for ninety days, but a company is on probation to you for as long as you work there. The powers that are have only as much power over you as you let them have. I wish you the very best of luck.

Posted by: Victor at May 19, 2005 09:23 AM

That's really good advice. I wish I had it over a year ago.

But, honestly, this has been building for about three years. It sounds crazy that I would be conscious of a downward trend in job satisfaction for that long, but it has only in the past year crossed the line into "no longer worth it."

So, I'm on my way out. I've got my resume together and I'm applying to new places. It's just a matter of landing a solid offer now.

Posted by: Flibby at May 19, 2005 06:35 PM
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