FlourishAnyway is an Industrial/Organizational Psychologist with applied experience in corporate human resources and consulting.
When You're a Target on the Boss' Radar
Perhaps you've had personal conflicts with various co-workers or you've spoken your mind once too often. Maybe you're a negative nelly, perpetually late, resistant to change, struggling with job performance, or all of the above. You could also be the victim of dirty office politics (I cast no judgments here). Whatever it is, your boss just wants you gone—as in, "out of the picture."
If you get the sinking feeling that your manager is simply tired of dealing with you, then you need to know what will likely come your way before it smacks you right in the middle of your cubicle. I can help to clue you in.
2 Ways to Go: Make It Quick or Make It Painful
Having been an HR representative for two Fortune 500 companies, I can tell you on a practical level that there are two ways your boss can facilitate your exit.
- He (or she) can take the direct approach, firing you quickly and decisively. Examples include discharging you for violating a company rule, strategically eliminating your job, or firing you for poor performance.
- More often, however, a manager opts for the passive-aggressive approach, wherein you (the unwanted employee) unwittingly participate in your own termination. The manager will subtly make you feel so unwelcome that you eventually fire yourself by quitting or moving to a different department.
Either way, you lose your job. If you're among your boss' least favorite employees, consider that what you thought was managerial incompetence may actually be something else entirely! (Take a moment to let that sink in.)
Signs You Have a Sneaky Smart Manager
The task of managing others is difficult work. A good manager does the following:
- sets reasonable goals and work objectives
- motivates workers
- measures an employee's progress against goals
- communicates success and shortfalls
- rewards accordingly
- provides ongoing training and development
- offers timely, fair, candid performance feedback
- affords opportunity for improvement.1
In contrast, the sneaky smart manager is a lazy person who would rather short-circuit the performance management process than do the more challenging aspects of his (or her) job. Faced with a disliked or low-performing employee, he/she, instead, invests in strategies to get rid of the "problem" employee.
He/she is often poorly skilled at addressing subordinates' training and developmental needs or at managing altogether. Thus, it's easier for him/her to blame the employee than double down on managing.
Conflict and Consequence Avoidance
He/she is also too cowardly and ill-prepared to fire the employee directly. This would likely involve defending his/her decision to HR, company lawyers, upper management, and/or a government agency (i.e., should the employee file for unemployment or wrongful discharge).
The sneaky smart manager wants to save face and avoid conflict (and the inevitable consequences of managerial decisions) so s/he takes the passive-aggressive way out by attempting to make the employee miserable enough to quit. But this, too, has its risks—especially if the reason the employee is "unwanted" has anything to do with unlawful discrimination, retaliation, whistle-blowing, etc.
An employee who feels they have been "forced" to quit may complain of constructive discharge, meaning it was not their free and voluntary choice to resign, but because the employer deliberately made working conditions so intolerable that any reasonable person would have felt obligated to make such a change.2 Constructive discharge is often challenging to prove, however.
Important Note: If you have questions about your particular situation, always consult an attorney in your jurisdiction—preferably before you quit.
Are You Being Targeted?
Below are 12 ways that sneaky and smart managers typically use to target unwanted employees. They cleverly wear down disliked and low-performing employees until they shout "mercy" with a resignation letter. Chances are, if you truly are an unwanted employee, then you'll recognize more than a few techniques.
As you review the list, concentrate on the overall pattern of how you and your boss interact. Then, compare your experience with that of co-workers. If the treatment is substantially different, that's a big clue about your future.
Strategy 1: Death by Overwork
Do all the assignments seem to land on your desk while teammates kick back and watch funny YouTube videos?
The sneaky manager can turn up the heat using disproportionately high workloads. Then, he'll add tight or unreasonable deadlines. These techniques are meant to increase your stress levels. Even if you adjust to the high-octane work demands, you'll pay a hefty price in terms of mental, emotional, and physical exhaustion.
Strategy 2: Resource Limitation
Leave it to the sneaky manager to discreetly limit your resources, therefore, making it harder for you to do your job efficiently. If you speak up, he tries to convince you that it's really not an objective problem. You're just overreacting (probably from being overworked). He urges you to "get creative" or "do the best with what you have" because his "hands are tied."
Strategy 3: "Go Solve It Yourself"
In this innovative lead-from-behind strategy, you ask your boss for help with a significant problem. However, the sneaky boss shoves it back on you by saying that a good employee does not present problems to the boss. The good employee presents solutions. (Nice deflection!)
While that sounds cute, managers are supposed to provide problem-solving assistance when an employee is stumped. Instead, the sneaky boss instructs you to generate x number of solutions to your problem, often on-the-spot. Usually, none of the solutions is sufficient. That's why you sought assistance from the manager in the first place! It feels like a dog chasing its own tail.
Strategy 4: Assigning Tasks That Don't Fit the Employee's Competency Level
The sneaky boss opts for one of two extremes. He assigns either
- unchallenging tasks that are substantially below your skill level
- tasks that are far too difficult and, thus, guarantee failure.
While everyone must perform some mundane tasks as a part of their job, getting stuck with too many can be boring, frustrating, and growth-suffocating. And, unless you have appropriate guidance and support, tasks that are too challenging can lead to anger and embarrassing public failure.
Strategy 5: Perpetual Distraction
When the sneaky boss is with the unwanted employee, he mentally checks out by texting, answering phone calls, or avoiding eye contact. He tries to rush the conversation along by saying things like, "Yep, yep, yep." And, if he consistently cannot bother to turn your way when you're trying to talk to him, then he's giving you the proverbial cold shoulder.
Strategy 6: Clamming up on Small Talk
Do you feel like you're in a social desert?
Having made it clear that your purpose for being there is to work, the sneaky manager eliminates all unnecessary conversation. Chit-chat is gone. He doesn't ask you friendly questions about your vacation or weekend, how your family is, etc. He doesn't care.
All of that non-work-related social interaction would just make you seem more like a person to him, and that would be ... well, awkward. Co-workers take note and they may stop engaging with you, too.
Cold Shoulder Got You Down?
Strategy 7: Formalizing Communication Channels
Claiming he's extraordinarily busy, the sneaky manager is personally inaccessible—at least to you, anyway. You must communicate with him primarily via email rather than through quick phone calls or by dropping by his office (as his door is always shut).
You may notice, too, that you have been excluded from certain meetings and have been left off key emails. If you inquire, he'll provide a reasonable rationale (e.g., an oversight).
Strategy 8: Stifling Creativity With Bureaucracy
Don't you go getting all creative! The sneaky boss is an enthusiasm and creativity killer. His favorite mantras include:
- "We don't do it that way."
- "We've tried that before, and it was a disaster."
- "We don't have time for that."
- "There's no way the ___ department would approve that."
Strategy 9: Limiting Rewards and Recognition
Everyone makes mistakes, but the sneaky smart boss ensures that everyone knows about yours. Be prepared for criticism in front of an audience. He may also email you criticism in lieu of a conversation or as a recap of a tongue-lashing you had 20 minutes ago. That's called "papering the file," and it's a bad sign.
On the flip side, when you make a praiseworthy contribution, don't expect the sneaky manager to high-five you. He'll instead take credit for your work by saving your creative ideas and presenting them as his own. He'll also give accolades to someone else or downplay your achievement altogether. That's just how it works.
Do You Give Up Yet?
Strategy 10: Aggression by Micromanagement
Micromanagers have serious control and trust issues, thus, they monitor and regulate the minutiae of their subordinate's job. Micromanagement is mismanagement, and, unfortunately, the tendency becomes especially brutal when there is an employee on the micromanager's radar.
Such bosses are often sneaky smart, and they typically engage in the following behaviors that drive their employees crazy:
- requesting constant revisions
- issuing frequent report requests
- asking for documentation rather than trusting your word
- making sure you know you're being watched
Do you feel anxious yet?
Strategy 11: Performance Management by the Book
When you're on the sneaky manager's radar, be prepared to be performance managed closely. You'll hear "accountability" and "deliverables" constantly. Your punctuality and how you're spending your time become very important. Your mistakes are magnified and documented. Expect to be counseled on minor rule violations that might otherwise go unnoticed.
In case you decide not to quit, your performance review rapidly becomes Plan B.
Strategy 12: No Room for Advancement
There's no better motivation buster than learning you work in a career graveyard. The sneaky manager bypasses you for promotions but always has "reasons." He informs you that there's no way you can realistically meet your career goals, and you have limited opportunities to learn new things. Read between the lines: he's inviting you to work elsewhere. What's it going to take?
Tips: Stay Smart, Stay Strong
It's important to be realistic with yourself if you're a disliked or are a low-performing employee. Anticipate that a sneaky smart boss who has not managed you well may engage in some of these 12 strategies to get rid of you. As you prepare for your exit, keep these tips in mind:
- Turbo charge your performance if it's an issue. Perceptions sometimes change!
- Stay calm and avoid outbursts. You don't want to provide a legitimate reason for them to fire you. Also avoid emotional venting to coworkers. It'll get back to your boss, and he'll know his efforts are working.
- Consider whether you want to complain to HR or upper management.
- Read and understand any company policies that affect you.
- Look for allies. They may be your support now and your references later.
- Take care of yourself emotionally, mentally, and physically. Consult a counselor to talk through your options as you move forward.
- Don't make rash decisions (e.g., quitting in anger).
- Double down on your job search. Revise your resume and practice your interview skills. A lot has changed since you last looked for a job.
7 Points to Consider When Quitting Your Job
Your Next Job
Do you have your next job lined up? It's easier to get another job if you're already employed.
How are your finances? Do you have a 6-8 month emergency fund? Quitting typically makes you ineligible for unemployment benefits. And once you hand in a resignation letter, all bets are probably off for severance.
The Resignation Letter
If you're going to file an unemployment or discrimination claim, that resignation letter will certainly be Exhibit A. Regardless, make it brief. You don't need to give specific reasons for moving on.
The Exit Interview
Typically, nothing useful comes out of exit interviews for the departing employee. Unless you are lodging a formal complaint, it's just water under a burned bridge.
Anticipate negative reactions from co-workers, especially if team workload is high. Try to share the news with them personally. As much as you want to, don't gloat or bad mouth your boss or the company on the way out.
Before turning in your resignation, obtain key information you'll need (e.g., examples of your work, copies of performance reviews, contact information for boss/co-workers).
Amount of Notice to Give
Two weeks' notice is a common business courtesy. Companies sometimes appreciate longer notices (e.g., 3-4 weeks).
1Wall Street Journal. (n.d.). What do Managers do? Retrieved August 8, 2014, from http://guides.wsj.com/management/developing-a-leadership-style/what-do-managers-do/.
2Duhaime, L. (n.d.). Constructive Discharge Legal Definition. Retrieved August 8, 2014, from http://www.duhaime.org/LegalDictionary/C/ConstructiveDischarge.aspx.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
Questions & Answers
Question: These things you are suggesting are so dangerous to the company. The employee who quits can file charges against you for Constructive Dismissal or Unfair Dismissal. Are you aware of the legal problems with the content of this article?
Answer: You have missed the point completely! At best, you may have skimmed the article. I am NOT suggesting to managers that they do these things. Quite the opposite. I am alerting employees that if these things are occurring to them, then this may be what their manager is trying to do to them. I even have a section on constructive discharge in the article and another section with tips for employees facing this. I hope you'll take another look.
Question: My manager tried to move me to a different department for 2 hours and I declined. He said if I didn't want to do it, I could go home and come back tomorrow and talk with the big boss. Can he do this?
Answer: The quickest way to get disciplined, including losing your job, is to refuse a reasonable request from your manager. That's called insubordination, or disobedience of authority, and typically it's only excusable under extreme situations such as when a manager requests that you perform an unsafe or illegal act, for example.
Working in another department for two hours doesn't seem that unreasonable on the face of it. Even when you're typically assigned to a given work area or department, sometimes business needs require that a manager reassign an employee for a short period of time, as it seems he tried to do here. You have to be a little flexible, right?
The only real choice he had when you refused was to send you home for insubordination, although he probably should have clarified. Saying something like the following would have made the consequences super clear for you: "Are you refusing my management direction by not going to the X Department? Because if so, that's insubordination, and I'll have no choice but to send you home and have you come back tomorrow to talk with the big boss. Typically, insubordinate employees are fired. Do you want a minute to decide?" You could then have weighed your options. I'm betting you would have made a different choice.
Just because he did not spell it out, however, doesn't mean you should not have known. Remember, we all report to someone.
Question: My manager is trying to get rid of me using several of the strategies you mentioned. I keep trying to make him happy, fix any mistake I make, and improve. I have offered to come in on days off and add items to my worklist, but he is running me into the ground both emotionally and physically. I am so run down I ended up with pneumonia last week. Is there such a thing as stress leave?
Answer: Based on what you’re describing, your manager is trying to performance manage you or drive you out. Unfortunately, you are working yourself up into such a tizzy that now not only is your job at risk but also your mental and physical health. (I’m not faulting you for this reaction. Many people respond this way.) If you're that stressed out, you probably do need a time out from your job.
Check your employee policy manual or company intranet or call HR to see whether you are eligible for a medical leave of absence (LOA)/short-term disability (STD) with the company. That’s what "stress leave" is. It’ll be a medical leave for psychological reasons, and you’ll have to be under the care of a health professional such a psychologist or psychiatrist for depression, anxiety, or other illness.
You do NOT need to give HR details at this point about why or what you’re planning. Remember that HR is not your friend or confidante. You just want to know 1) the company’s STD policy, 2) whether you are covered, and 3) how you can obtain the necessary forms.
See a psychologist or mental health counselor and describe the intensity of your job stress and symptoms. See if they will sign off on a request for a medical LOA/STD. Have the forms with you. Note that while you are on STD, you won’t typically be paid at 100% of your normal pay (usually there’s a brief waiting period, and then you receive 60% of your regular pay).
The upside, however, is that such a leave will buy you some time. It will get you out of that stressful environment. You can have time to regroup, look for another job, or otherwise figure out what to do. Typically, it’s not too hard to get a month minimum of STD for stress-related issues.
Question: I always find myself working for bosses who intentionally make my job intolerable and drive me to quit. It has caused me great depression and suicidal thoughts. How do I get a better job?
Answer: I can give you information about getting a different job, but if the same problem "always" seems to crop up, then you need to look within. One time is bad luck. Two times is the start of a pattern. Three times is a red flag and reason for self-reflection.
In looking for a new opportunity, the key is to just start. You'll find that once you do that and begin developing a plan for yourself, you'll feel more empowered. Draft or update your resume. You'll likely go through many iterations. Look on job boards such as simplyhired.com and indeed.com to see what is available in your career field and what the highly sought after skill sets in your area of work seem to be. Also consider branching out to allied fields. If needed, acquire the training or experience, perhaps even letting your current employer foot the bill. Update your Linked In profile or create one.
While you're doing this, also consider WHY you tend to end up in the same situation with jobs. Perhaps friends or loved ones can help you with answering this question by providing insight. Are you repeating unhealthy behaviors? Are you attracted to toxic work environments? Do you fail to fully vet the employer during the hiring phase? Do you become quickly disenchanted when an employer doesn't meet your expectations? Are you well suited for the type of work you're doing?
Do not give up on yourself. Work is one aspect of life. If you need mental health or vocational counseling, seek it out to get healthy NOW so that when you do find a new job, your issues do not follow you.
Question: A family member works for a small deli. They are bipolar and sometimes have bad days. A couple weeks ago, their boss their cut hours by one day per week and now another whole day. Does this look like he wants this person gone?
Answer: If your family member has had bad days at work -- especially those that impacted coworkers and customers -- then it's possible that rather than addressing the workplace issue, the deli manager has taken the coward's way out.
I hope it's not the case that the deli manager decided to reduce your family member's hours to the point that your relative decides on their own to look for other work. Bipolar disorder is a disability that is protected under the ADA, so don't take this as my condoning the manager's approach. Rather, it's a method that some managers evasively or "conveniently" handle issues when they don't want to tackle sensitive and complex people issues head-on -- especially issues with legal implications.
While it's possible that business has taken a serious dip recently and there is less need for your family member, one needs to consider WHO -- if anyone -- is getting the hours that used to be assigned to your relative. Were new employees hired? Are the hours given to other staff? Is the owner/boss handling the extra hours themselves? Taking a look at the larger business picture will help you answer the question as to whether the deli manager wants your relative gone.
Question: Can the office manager in a shop fire you on the spot for making a mistake?
Answer: Most employees in the United States work without an employment contract outlining reasons why they can be fired. You probably are one of these folks. Unless you're covered by an employment contract or collective bargaining agreement, you likely don't have specific terms that outline your employment and are employed at will.
The concept of "employment at will" means that an employee can be fired for a good reason, bad reason, or no reason at all, including with no warning. This is what you seemed to face with your on-the-spot discharge for a mistake.
There are several important exceptions to at-will employment:
1) The key exception is employment contracts and collective bargaining agreements that outline terms and conditions of employment, including specific reasons why you can be discharged. In some states, employee handbooks/policy manuals or sections of employee handbooks/policy manuals are considered employment contracts. (Hint: Look to see if your employer has a progressive discipline policy in which the employer stipulates that it will discharge employees only for certain reasons, according to a given process.)
2) The reason for at-will job dismissal cannot violate state or federal law, such as whistleblower or non-discrimination laws.
3) Federal employees cannot be discharged for violations of the U.S. Constitution or the constitutions of the states in which they work.
Start by asking yourself if you have an employment contract or policy manual? If not and you aren't subject to one of the other exceptions, the answer is unfortunately yes, the office manager can most likely fire you on-the-spot like they did.
Sadly, this is one reason why people organize unions -- to do away with such arbitrary and capricious treatment. I'm sorry you received such poor treatment over a mistake. Don't make the assumption that you are ineligible for unemployment benefits. Here is an article that may help you move forward: "12 Action Steps to Take When You Lose Your Job" http://hub.me/algYo.
Question: If an employer nags you about body odor to get you to quit your job, and they succeed, is there any recourse?
Answer: There are two related issues here. First, there was a job resignation that related to a person (you, I assume?) resigning their job under alleged duress from the company. Second, there is a smell and/or hygiene issue.
When you voluntarily resign a job, typically a company will request some kind of resignation letter from you or at least a signed form so that it can later prove that the employee quit voluntarily, if needed. Only you know whether you submitted this type of documentation and/or at least made verbal statements to your management or coworkers about why you were leaving. You may or may not have also participated in an exit interview. If so, I hope you were honest that conditions had become intolerable (or you at least you didn't give statements that contradicted the real reason you left).
At the heart of the matter is why you are alleged to be smelling poorly. You probably have some idea whether it's actually true or not based on others' reactions to you. Think of past scenarios and other settings. Has anyone else even hinted that you didn't smell good or is it just this employer?
If you do smell poorly, do you have a medical condition that would explain this? Is the reason instead related to your cultural or religious practices that the employer was being insensitive to, or are there illegal biases against you such as race, national origin, religion, etc.?
You indicate that your former employer nagged you to quit. I assume that there was a pattern of aggressive, escalating behavior towards you that resulted in you finally giving up and resigning. Before doing so, did you at least try to talk to someone in HR about it or complain about the behavior? I hope so.
Unfortunately, it will likely be an uphill battle. You might want to start with immediately filing an unemployment claim with your state unemployment office disputing that you voluntarily quit.
Question: I work in a manufacturing facility. I have been on Workers Compensation due to a shoulder injury. I was transferred to another building so I could continue working. My concern is that my current team leader will try to force me back to my original location when my work restrictions end. Can I quit and receive unemployment if this happens?
Answer: Your employer transferred you to a different location to keep you working--something that is beneficial for both you and your employer. Note that if you were out of work on Workers Compensation, you'd receive only a fraction of your regular pay up to a state-defined maximum. The formula varies by state, but it's not uncommon to see two-thirds of your pre-injury average weekly wage as a weekly payment amount.)
You're fortunate to have an employer who would give you "light duty." Many employees do prefer their temporary assignments to their regular work, and it's my experience that it's fairly common to see employees not wanting to return to their old job. You were probably told at the time whether this was a temporary job change that would last only as long as your restrictions. I'd be surprised if this were a "permanent" change. Expect to be transferred back to your old position when you are released from work restrictions.
Typically, unemployment eligibility involves job loss due to no fault of your own. Quitting is a disqualifier. Don't do it and expect unemployment. (Of course, check the eligibility requirements for claiming unemployment in your state before taking any action.) Your best option is to bid for a job in the new location or get your doctor to declare you permanently disabled in that shoulder. (I'm not sure how badly you're hurt?) Sorry I couldn't give you better news.
Question: I have a supervisor who has a personal grudge against me and has singled me out for poor treatment. She curses me out in front of multiple people or acts like I don't exist and won't acknowledge that I'm talking to her. Behaving like this means that she withholds information and makes my job more difficult. I have reported her to upper management and they tell me they will talk to her. However, a month has gone by and there has been no change. What can I do?
Answer: Do you have ANY idea what triggered this grudge against you? Treating someone differently because of a legally protected factor like race, sex, national origin, religion, disability, age, veteran status, etc. is actionable, but unfortunately, simple dislike of somebody is not.
However, by behaving like this, she is impacting not just you but her entire team and potentially customers as well. Mentally collect examples where others were negatively impacted or where the bottom line was affected by your inability to work together effectively. You can use them in problem-solving discussions or further complaints.
You have a couple of options which include but are not limited to:
1) Try to clear the air with her, with or without the assistance of a third party such as HR. Ask her for clarity on how you two got to where you are. Request a relationship reset and try to put aside your differences.
2) Complain in writing again to upper management, using concrete examples of how this has impacted you, the team, the bottom line, customers, etc. Reference previous conversations, giving the date(s) of your previous complaint(s) and report that her behavior hasn't changed.
3) Complain to HR about her management style, and if you don't get results, then complain again. If she treats you so poorly, she is bound to have treated someone else this way previously. It's critical to create a record of her bad behavior, as it may effect her promotion chances or performance rating.
4) Ask for a transfer to another shift, supervisor, job, etc.
5) "Kill her with kindness."
6) Find another job.
Because you spend so much time at work, it doesn't make sense to exist in this environment long-term under these circumstances. The stress will really get to you. Good luck in finding one of these solutions.
Question: My boss has not had me on the schedule for 2 months and said they will call me if they need me. Can I get unemployment?
Answer: You don't give a lot of details (such as what state you're in or what kind of hours you were getting before the reduction). However, there is absolutely no harm in inquiring or even filing for unemployment, so go ahead and do that NOW. You may not have been given a notice of layoff but if your employer has reduced your hours so substantially that there is lack of work, you are effectively unemployed.
Do not quit. Make sure you maintain contact with them to ask about the availability of work so you aren't perceived as abandoning your job.
You can typically file for unemployment online or if you'd prefer you can go down to your branch office. You're looking for the agency that administers the state's unemployment insurance program. Depending on the state, it may be called the state employment commission, department of employment security, employment development department, department of job and family services, or something services. If you're unsure what it is called in your state, search for "where to apply for unemployment insurance in [name of your state]." You can check out your state's eligibility requirements online before you apply.
Question: My manager asked me to omit facts from patients' file dealing with verbal abuse. When I notified my Director of Nursing, she said she would look into it the next morning. I didn’t agree, and she told me not to come back until I gained perspective and then when I would get a write up for insubordination. I will not quit or move to a different facility. I don’t feel safe working with her. What are my options?
Answer: I suspect your medical facility may be preparing for an audit, and that is why they are directing you to tamper with the contents of patient files. I’m not in the healthcare industry, so I don’t know what specific governing agencies that might be involved. Certainly, multiple patient complaints of verbal abuse would have to impact patients’ healthcare quality assessments that are important to Medicare and the Affordable Care Act, right? Another possibility is that you’ve been asked to cover the tracks for a bully who has a pattern of verbally abusing patients. You don’t say whether the verbal abuse involved one perpetrator or many.
Most employers have policies about employees not falsifying records. Use this to your advantage. Make sure to read your employer’s specific insubordination policy, too, because it probably has important exceptions (e.g., you’re not insubordinate if you defy an order that would break a law or company policy). Locate your employer’s policy on your its intranet or in your employee handbook.
Consider consulting an attorney. Complain in writing to HR and hospital administration (whoever is over the Director of Nursing). Be sure to articulate WHY you feel “unsafe” working with the Director of Nursing. Did she threaten you? Were the verbal complaints against her? In your complaint, make sure you clarify what you are seeking as a remedy (e.g., reinstatement, backpay, … .)
If you are out of work for several days you might also consider filing for unemployment as if you were laid off since you were basically told there was no work available for you. Usually, there is a waiting period of several days; it depends on what state you’re in. Finally, as an absolute last resort, you might also contact your state delegate, Congressperson/Senator or news outlet. They might be very interested in medical staff fudging patient files. That’s a “nuclear” option, however.
Question: I’ve had problems with my crew, and now my supervisor is telling me to hang tight and that I cannot go to work with this certain person. What should I do?
Answer: Your supervisor might not be able to give you a lot of information, but s/he does owe you clearer direction. You can probably assume that a complaint has been officially filed against you with HR by or on behalf of the person you must stay away from. As a result, you are the target of an employee investigation.
Usually, allegations of discrimination, harassment, threats of workplace violence, and other intense and high stakes issues involve the requirement that the supervisor refrain from working with a specific subordinate until the matter is resolved. It’s normal for the Person Complained About (PCA) – that’s you – to be dislocated rather than force the complainant to switch shifts or otherwise modify their work.
You’re in limbo right now because you know very little. Tell your supervisor that you understand they can’t say anything but you are guessing a complaint has been filed against you by the employee you’re not allowed to work with. Don’t expect him or her to say yes or no, but tell them you need more direction from than “hang tight.” (In truth, your supervisor is likely getting their direction on this from HR and will need to go back to them on this. That's okay.)
Here are some things you may need to know: Are you supposed to report to work at all? If so, when, what job/shift/location, and for about how long? If not, will you be paid? Will you get an opportunity to understand at some point what the problem is and present your perspective?
You’re in an unenviable spot. If you happen to run into the complainant, try to respectfully avoid them or simply nod to acknowledge them and quickly go your separate ways. Don’t discuss the complainant at all with ANY of your coworkers or subordinates. And finally, when this is over, don’t retaliate. I know that is awkward to say, “Don’t treat them differently,” but try to figure out a way to make things right no matter who was in the wrong. Being a first-line supervisor is really difficult!
Question: I’m working two jobs and facing mistreatment from my supervisors in one of the jobs. Is it better to resign from the job that’s causing me problems or just not show up?
Answer: You seem to have given up on the second job where you are facing mistreatment at work. If you simply do not show up, you will be discharged (fired) after three days of no call/no show typically and that won't be good for your employment record. You'll have a blemish on your work record on top of the mistreatment. Instead, start looking for a new second job ASAP and give your resignation when you're ready. Depending on the nature and severity of the mistreatment you have endured, consider complaining to HR about the supervisor's behavior before you leave.
Question: I’m on chemotherapy and have had to work from home a lot. A position opened up for manager which I’m qualified for, so I interviewed for it. I received an email that I didn’t get the job. When I requested feedback I was told that no one likes me or wants to work with me and that I’m mean and nasty. I help everyone who asks for it on a daily basis even when I am at home. Is this bullying or harassment?
Answer: Such negative feedback about your work style should have come as a part of your prior regular performance reviews. If you're indeed THAT difficult to work with, it probably didn't happen all of a sudden, thus it should have been part of routine performance feedback and you should not have been surprised to hear it again. Go back to previous performance reviews. If you've only received glowing written commentary about your work style, I'd call B.S. on that job interview. Your question then becomes what the real reason was you weren't hired. I hope the reason given wasn't a pretext for discriminating against you based on your disability (cancer and a history of cancer, even when in remission/cured is a disability).
You don't mention specific incidents of bullying, however any namecalling or statements about how inconvenient it is to have you at home should be documented. Keep in mind that you do need to meet qualifications for the job, but the Company must have an updated job description that outlines its essential functions. You also have the right to request job accommodations. Push for answers if you've never heard this feedback before.
Question: My boss has asked me a couple of times to leave the office when I complained about my exclusions from tasks. Does she have the right to do that?
Answer: She can send you home for any number of reasons, but I suspect she doesn't like the conflict or confrontation. If you are addressing her in a professional and respectful manner and she's doing this, then wait for a time when you're not in disagreement and ask for a discussion about it. You always have the right to complain to higher management or HR, but try first to work it out with her.
Question: How can I motivate my boss on not firing me?
Answer: This probably comes down to performance.
Question: I did something out of character at a work event. I lost my temper with a vendor at a nightclub party hosted by the vendor. I believe it was an isolated incident. I was provoked, and it was a reaction to my medication. Now there is a target on my back and my managers are trying to coax me out the door. I have some complaints about how I’ve been treated before the incident. Should I ride this bull until they excuse me?
Answer: You've previously had concerns about how you've been treated. You lost your temper at a work event (for whatever reason) and created embarrassment. Multiple managers are signaling to you that you need to leave. Your time at this company is nearing an end one way or another. Take control of your situation and make sure your leaving is on your own terms. Dust off your resume, bone up on those interview skills, update the LinkedIn profile and look for a new job starting now. I also recommend that you talk to a counselor about the stress of this situation so you can start your new job in a positive frame of mind, not bitter. We've all had jobs or workplaces that don't agree with us. Know when to move on.
© 2014 FlourishAnyway
FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on August 30, 2020:
Ann - Extremely small employers like this (I imagine there are just a handful of employees) are typically exempt from many of the HR-related regulations that protect employees, unfortunately. As the business owner, she can run her business as she sees fit, even if it's an unhealthy emotional working environment. She's obviously a coward, not wanting to confront you with the elusive "issue" for a year and a half. Alternatively, she was blaming the messenger of bad news regarding the conflict you brought forth to her. File for unemployment ASAP.
Ann on August 30, 2020:
I have been with employer three years, she fired me recently stating she had an issue with me for over a year and half. I have had no write ups, warnings nothing but raises and praises for such a great job.
I had a talk with her about a co-worker (my co-workers were complaining about her so I opened up to her to see if there was a resolution we could touch on---which I thought was confidential but she ended up calling employees after hours to verify). Of course those employees denied all accounts--we have no HR dept and she pays our wages as she is the sole owner.
Why if you had an issue did you not bring up earlier?
FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on June 22, 2020:
Bill - Do not resign. Since you have sought counsel, follow that advice. Additionally, since you say you have an employment contract, you and your attorney should review that carefully. My experience is that if someone is on a leave of absence (you are not clear regarding what "off work" means here) the company is responsible for turning systems access off for the employee. If they neglected to take away your work computer, suspend your credentials, and didn't provide you direction well, then, that's bad management.
Bill power on June 21, 2020:
My employer has asked me to resign because I had access to emails whilst I was off work. I have sought legal advice and was told not to resign as I had access to emails when the systems would crash. I emailed to say I would not be resigning and received a reply to say I am now being investigated. The company does not have a policy for emails which states you cannot access them as that is my role. Where do I stand? Will I be fired and if I am, will I be able to claim anything? I'm very good at my job and don't want to leave, but feel relationship will not be the same. I have requested a copy of my employment contract to see if there's anything in there which states they can fire me I also have not been given the option to represent my side.
FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on May 14, 2020:
Sankajit - Thanks for stopping by.
Sankhajit Bhattacharjee from MILWAUKEE on May 13, 2020:
the reality of boss employee relationship is really interesting
FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on March 30, 2020:
Geoff - Is there any benefit for them to get rid of you over him? Was he the candidate that they wanted all along but just couldn't find when they hired you? Pointing out that you're not qualified only emphasizes the qualifications differences, but if there is a safety or compelling reason to do so, then just be careful how you do so.
Geoff on March 30, 2020:
Hi, My company has recently employed a foreign national and he has been paired up with me. We don't get along. He is a hard worker and is highly skilled in his technical ability, but has no social skills whatsoever. He is arrogant and rude and always in a angry mood. I have only been in this job for 6 months myself having left my previous job of 18 years. I have finally made a complaint to my manager about out toxic relationship. Two weeks have now gone by and the situation has got worse. My work load has increased significantly, and it is with him. My company is also nominating me as the lead engineer on every job even though I am not qualified. He is the qualified one. He is also on a lot more money than me. Do you think that my company is trying to make me quit because this would solve their problems?
FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on February 23, 2020:
Umesh - Thanks for reading.
Umesh Chandra Bhatt from Kharghar, Navi Mumbai, India on February 22, 2020:
This is an excellent article. Exhaustive and well presented.
FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on October 14, 2019:
Kjaerest - Last time you wrote you indicated you had all the information ready to lodge your complaint. When your rights are being violated, time is of the essence. Ideally, an employee would want to file a complaint before they are officially designated as a poor performer and put on a formal performance improvement plan. Being a poor performer potentially decreases credibility. However, since you have an employment concern you believe to be legitimate, there's nothing wrong with raising the formal concern. It just makes any potential retaliation argument a little more challenging should that ever come to pass. You might consider consulting an attorney. Just as a reminder, I am not one. I am an I/O psychologist with corporate HR investigations experience.
Kjaerest on October 14, 2019:
Wrote to you before...boss wants to put me on a PIP ... is this a pre-emptive strike to mitigate maybe what they perceive as complaints I have against them? Now what do I do?
Sorry to bug you again!
FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on October 03, 2019:
Step-by-step – Not every job is a good fit, and you seem to realize that you are not well placed right now. Unfortunately, your former colleague/new boss has likely made your performance their "pet project," so expect them to focus on your job performance intensely with the aim of moving you along.
Hopefully, your new boss had an early discussion with you and other individual teammates when s/he first assumed his/her new role. His/her purpose should have been to understand who you are as a subordinate. If so, I hope you were able to share that you
1. never had access to the division performance targets
2. never had any individual performance objectives
3. had zero performance management discussions throughout the year (thus any negative feedback is a SURPRISE to you) and
4. you still don’t know what your performance objectives are.
If your new manager didn't have this introductory/management transition conversation, then shame on them, and you can initiate it ahead of your performance appraisal or discuss it during the appraisal meeting. If you had a good relationship with your former colleague, then perhaps you can be forthright with them and let them know that although prior management completely abdicated their responsibilities regarding performance management, you understand this role is not the right fit for you and you’re trying to find other work ASAP. (Maybe your new boss similarly received a lack of direction and no performance feedback when working under your shared former boss?)
I suspect, however, that you do not have such an amicable relationship with your new boss/former colleague. In such case, treat the conversation more formally. There will likely be a scouring assessment of your performance in your review based on input from your prior management and/or new manager. Performance appraisals should be interactive processes. Therefore, don’t be shy about asking WHY you’re hearing this feedback for the first time in your annual performance review, why you’re now being held accountable for performance targets that were never shared with you, and why management didn’t care until now that you didn’t have performance targets. Managers have a duty to provide TIMELY performance feedback in addition to training. Be aware, however, that you should also be prepared to defend why you didn’t more aggressively request performance objectives and feedback. After all, it’s your career.
In your written rebuttal on the performance appraisal, indicate that you STRONGLY DISAGREE with the fairness, accuracy, and completeness of the aforementioned assessment because you were never provided division performance targets, individual performance objectives, or performance management discussions throughout the year. Don’t sign your negative performance appraisal without a written rebuttal, and print a copy for yourself. It should buy you a bit of time although you should expect intense scrutiny moving forward.
You also need to go retool your resume and recraft your job search strategy. You may be looking too narrowly for that new position, not using your network sufficiently, and not looking on the right job search websites. I wish you well in finding something more suitable.
Taking step-by-step on October 03, 2019:
Firstly I want to appreciate you writing this article AND being responsive to the questions / comments eventhough the article is written quite some time back.
I have a tough tricky situation which I would like to seek your views on.
I know that both my newly former boss and my colleague-turned-new boss are using those several strategies you’ve mentioned (resource limitation, go solve it yourself, and assign tasks that don’t fit my competency right from the time I first joined). At the beginning of this year, after being 10 months with them, I decided that I find a new job to leave this current job. What I didn’t expect is that my job search process is taking longer, so long that it stretches to appraisal period, i.e. Nov.
They have never communicated with me on my annual objectives, not to mention the targets of the division itself. So during my first year with them, I created some for myself and then pretty much measured my performance against those during my appraisal. In the second year, i.e. this year, I didn’t discuss with either of them, thinking that if I focus my energy and time on the job search, I could leave the current job quickly. I suppose they both wanted me to leave the soonest too so they communicated with me very little this year, I was pretty much left to my own.
What both sides (me and those bosses) didn’t expect is me still being in this current job at this point. So now, appraisal period is approaching, my new boss is starting to use aggression by micromanagement and I have not much to show for the appraisal.
Do you have any tips on dealing with the appraisal period? I am staying mentally and emotionally strong throughout this year working hard on my job search. Would love to hear your thoughts on this, especially if anyone you know experienced such situation that I’m in before.
FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on September 26, 2019:
Kjaerest - Not a bother. Since you've already documented the information, it looks like you're ready to complain to HR. Cite the Company's Anti-Discrimination/Anti-Harassment Policy as being violated. It helps if you read it for yourself a few times then use it to outline your complaint, especially regarding the terms and conditions of employment (e.g., hiring, firing, transfer, pay, job assignments, promotions, layoff, training, benefits). Those are the specific ways you will allege different treatment on the basis of age. Then give your details. Include the offensive comments and inquiries about retirement obviously. You'll want to show a pattern of trying to force you out. Although you didn't indicate the age of the younger preferred co-worker, I'm assuming they are under 40 or substantially younger than you. For your own good, also read the Company's Anti-Retaliation Policy. Good luck in resolving this issue.
Kjaerest on September 26, 2019:
Ty FlourishAnyway for your insight...re: about mgr saying she had to give me this promotion is all the so-called "smoking gun" comments i have notated...but i feel my issues w/this younger subordinate that they probably wanted to give this job to and my younger co-manager is more an issue of disparate treatment? Does that sound about right to you too? And i HAVE documented Many incidents that i don't feel are right! In fact i document these matters almost everyday...there are that many occurrences...in fact, i have notes from 5 years or so ago where my supervisor previously made many comments about my retiring and his wanting to know those plans and many ageist comments. This is the same supervisor who took my newly employed at that time co-supervisor and decided he was going to show her the ropes and train her in on everything ...which set her on her path of success that she is on right now and for which i struggle as cannot BUY trng it seems! Once again any comments you can spare would be greatly appreciated and then i will be on my merry way and won't bother you ! TY again!
FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on September 24, 2019:
Kjaerest - Your boss told a younger co-worker he "had" to pick you? I'm sure he said some other unsavory things as well, such why he wouldn't have picked such an "old" person like you regardless or how he wished you'd just retire and give someone else a chance. Find out exactly what those things were, if possible. Then document everything -- who said what, when, witnesses, etc. -- and go to HR and lay out your complaint, comparing yourself to your younger peer regarding training, exposure, opportunities. Provide printed emails, names of people HR can interview, and relevant documentation. If there have been jokes, name calling, or other offensive treatment, be sure to include that in the complaint. Also, be super clear in what you're asking for (e.g., to be included in the project, trained on the new system, etc.).
No one can technically force another to respect him or her (that's more of a thought/feeling) but at work we can require employees to BEHAVE in respectful ways towards one another. Outline the disrespectful behaviors you've endured due to age and what you are requested to see changed. If you don't get results by filing a complaint internally, then file an EEOC charge. You're 62 and have just as much right to earn a living as they do. Don't put up with this from these people. One day if they are lucky they'll be 62. Try to pick one off from the insular pack of haters and be nice to them. I’ve found that strategy works. It’s hard to be mean to someone who is really trying hard to get to know you. Good luck!
Kjaerest on September 22, 2019:
About 6 months ago I was promoted. I am 62 and have worked for 35+ years....My boss told a younger co-worker that basically she HAD to pick me ! I also have a younger counterpart in same position who goes to many meetings about a new computer system we are getting in less than a year and for which i am totally in the dark about with the supervisor and which I am constantly left out of! Plus they meet many times a day.
As if this wasn't bad enough, my subordinates are constantly dredging up my past mistakes and criticizing my work and have little to no respect for me...which i have repeatedly told my supervisor about all of this...that i feel i am every day going to a job interview for which my subordinates think i am vastly unqualified for!
Would appreciate your thoughts on this!
FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on September 12, 2019:
Hypno - You don't provide the details regarding the medical leave and whether there may be a mental illness bothering your lead (coworker). That may be the real issue they don't know how to deal with rather than favoritism. You say that it's not just you but the rest of the team that is impacted with workload. You need to band together and decide on a strategy. Obviously, while the lead was out of work somehow the team got along without him. What did management do differently that they are not doing now? The work got done then, right? You are very conscientious employees, and sadly, that conscientiousness to perform your job well and serve your customers well even if you don't have the proper resources (and to hell with your own physical and emotional needs) is causing you great distress. Do NOT do this to yourself. You are causing yourself harm. Management will keep allowing you to do this because the work gets done. Your lead will continue to allow you to do it and so with HR. You've already reported the problem. Do what you can do with respect to work, then turn the rest over to management to handle. If it doesn't get done, the problems will begin to pile up. It will be painful to watch and you may want to look for other work to broaden your options. Your first job is to protect your mental and physical health.
Hypno on September 11, 2019:
So I'm kinda at a loss and need some advice..
I've been working in retail for almost a year (Oct is my anniversary of being hired)
When I first started working there I honestly really loved it and enjoyed working with customers and meeting my employees. Well I have a lead in my department and a manager in charge of the department. My lead a few months ago went on medical leave due to personal reasons but ever since he returned he does absolutely nothing to contribute to the team, he's lazy, go on multiple breaks and half of the time is on the clock but no where in the store and does everything in his power to do as little to no work as possible. Which leads to me and the rest of the team to struggle and work ourselves to death, I've gotten to the point where I'm so physically and emotionally exhausted that I went and talked to my manager, he basically just nodded and shooed me away and did nothing to fix the peoblem so I had to go to higher up and went to my HR again the same problem I was literally in tears explaining EVERYTHING that is going on and how he is and she just nods with a blank look and I expect to hear something along the lines like "Oh I'm so sorry to hear that well I'll do as much as I can to fix this situation" nope just tells me to leave.
I'm pretty much gotten to the point my HR and several of my other managers show major favortism towards my lead..and I've felt targetted to the point where I don't even feel comfortable going to work.
FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on May 30, 2019:
xxx - I'm sorry this happened to you.
I'm not telling you to not complain in this instance, but you need to consider whether it's truly worth your time and frustration. What do you expect to get out of it realistically? These people were jerks and chances are you aren't the only person for whom the job has ended badly. That employee likely had some kind of "ammunition" that they were using to hold the company hostage to their poor behavior. I've been in a similar spot with a badly behaving coworker who could get away with damn near anything (in HR!). She had been around so long at the company that she "knew where the bodies were buried" so to speak and they let her behave terribly.
Your manager probably thought the veiled warning was enough. With your anxiety, pregnancy, and the fact that you quit and left that awful place behind, you have to weigh whether you want to move forward or remain stuck re-living the issue. If it were me, I'd focus on health, family, and moving forward. Concentrate on getting a new job ASAP before you start showing. Come up with a reason for leaving that doesn't denigrate the prior employer but succinctly encapsulates why you left, and find people who can give you positive professional references. Refuse to let this woman terrorize you and fill your thoughts anymore.
You can always write an anonymous review of the company later on Glassdoor.com, Indeed.com, and other sites AFTER you become employed to warn others about the company culture. Living well is the best revenge. Go do that! Congratulations on your pregnancy.
xxx on May 29, 2019:
I have recently had this happen to me. I quit my job because my boss made it so intolerable.
I started my role 18 months ago in my first supervisory role. My manager pre warned me that some people I’d be supervising were very difficult and she avoided them as much as possible, I was subject to numerous acts of verbal abuse and other incidents that were never formally dealt with. Hence I found it difficult to get respect from my team as management didn’t discipline extreme acts of subordination. Eventually after she made a lot of effort to make my job difficult in ways you have mentioned, I was off sick with anxiety and stress. There was another incident of subordination which wasn’t dealt with properly yet again and being unwell, I went home sick as my anxiety was through the roof and I’d been having panic attacks at work. I was then pulled into the office and told I wasn’t allowed anxiety because I was a supervisor and it made me look weak. I was also told I dropped them in the shit for going home sick and was told off for not apologising to her, and told to think about working elsewhere. I met with her boss and he said he’d understand if I resigned, so I did. Anyway after leaving and having time to reflect on these events I’m wondering if it’s worth taking things further? I was never given proper training for my job, had no performance reviews and the positive changes I made were never acknowledged. I have also just found out I am pregnant and feel it is very unfair I’m in this position trying to find a new job whilst pregnant when I didn’t do anything wrong. Any advice would be great.
FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on February 12, 2019:
George - You are most fortunate! Many people would love to be in your place, and I'm sure you value the relationship you have with your manager. I've had wonderful managers in the past, too, and they make coming to work a joy.
George Xu from Philippines on February 12, 2019:
Mmm, I'm quite fortunate to have a master who's a great and competent manager. In addition, he's kind and understanding. He provides opportunities for improvement and training. And I'm on his good side. Quite like the Albus Dumbledore of real life. Always giving chance to others.
Note: I prefer calling him "master" over "boss". Boss just sounds bossy and mean.
FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on January 11, 2019:
Mean manager - Thank you for sharing your story. Sorry that happened to you.
Mean manager on January 10, 2019:
I was threaten three times with being fired for no reason in a meeting alone with no witnesses and now the manager denies saying anything wrong to me.
FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on December 16, 2018:
Kate - HIGH FIVE to you! No, you cannot fix a toxic work environment or a manager who only has his/her best political and personal interests at heart. Somehow, you have to remove yourself from a toxic environment that is truly horrendous.
Thank you for sharing your phenomenal experience of triumphing over adversity, although I sure am sorry you had to endure this. Sadly, not everyone is up to the task of managing employees as human beings using principles of fairness. I hope you use your unfortunate experience at the hands of that bad manager to become the best people manager you can be.
Kate on December 15, 2018:
I can relate to this article. My manager has poor management skills and poor people skills. I've been with the group for more than a decade. Some employees put in about 40% effort, are frequently not at work( not sick or on vacation, the company is paying them to sleep in and go to the gym- that's what they are doing for their work day!), and when at work cannot be relied on to perform. Manager makes excuses for them and requires nothing of them. She "likes" them so this is okay with her. They laugh and joke and are cool, fun people. So while "cool, fun" favored employee is out riding her bike around the county on a work day for pay,this leaves the work for those of us that do have good work ethic and show up.
At first my attitude was " hey, I'm here to work. Whatever needs to be done that's why I am here". I gladly took on any extra work with a smile and got it done well above expectations. The problem was, the lazy , out-playing for the day employee got credit for the work I and others did...and got rewarded !!! This became the manager's tactic to solving the lazy but favored employee problem. She did not deal with Lazy Friend Employee, no consequence, no reprimand. She just pushed the work on me and , as long as the work got done, she was happy. When I finally said I could not take on extra as I was overwhelmed and having to come in on the weekend to keep my head above water, she became angry and started accusing me of being difficult. I was really professional, laid out all my hours and all the overtime and, to my future detriment, informed her I had just gone through a divorce and needed to be present to my kids when I was at home as much as possible. For these reasons I could not increase my workload( already at 60 + hours weekly).
What followed was a full year of targeted bullying- too hurtful, disrespectful and nasty to go into here. I applied for other jobs within the company and was the # 1 candidate for a higher position. Just references were needed. After new potential manager spoke with my current manager, I received a terse email telling me I was not what they were looking for (despite the fact that the afternoon before I was exactly what they were looking for and all yearly evals were stellar). None of my other references were contacted. I was blocked from several opportunities to move to new positions this way and received no help at work and continued assignment to pick up the slack of others in an ever increasing work load. I was a single mom and could not just quit so I kept my head down and plugged away. This seemed like her strategy: she now knew I had just divorced and needed my job, she had a lazy employee problem but didn't want to manage it rationalizing that the lazies were "great people", if I couldn't leave she could continue to use me as a pack mule and , with all exit strategies blocked I either did what she wanted or quit and lost my livelihood. Kind of nasty.
Since I had no choice I decided to make myself indispensable to the other executives I work with and , as said above, became the cornerstone of a significant program over the past 8 years, being recognized by all but my manager. I helped build a program that was very successful and a money maker. Yet: No promotion, no wage increase, passed over for merit raises , etc. while Lazy Employee( a friend of the manager) actually got all the above.
This year I decided to challenge being passed over, as I outperform and have more credentials, education and professional accomplishments ( though, again, unrecognized by the manager) than her favored employee who got the advancements each time one was available.
We have a new director, a woman, and suddenly my manager began promoting me, recognizing me, taking me to lunch and acting like we are old pals and great "peers". All this in front of the new director who also began noticing my work. She began directing her assistant manager to "do whatever you need to do to get her that advancement". So I was advanced in my position to a higher level- not management or supervisory, just more advanced in what I do- which has been true for 10 years. My salary went up by 15%. But... simultaneously, somehow I was recommended for a promotion in another department with good salary bump. Very convenient. They heard such great things about me they were willing to do back flips to get me and , waalaahh, I have a transfer and promotion and I'm outta there.
This is great for me and I won't miss the toxic manager, I'm glad to be taking on a management position myself, and ready to have this chapter of work life behind me. However, I have to leave something I helped build and made successful for that to happen because she isn't going to promote me up the ladder where I am. This is tough as the execs in that program relied on me. manager told them " sorry, I don't have anyone to replace her. Too bad so sad but she has decided to transfer elsewhere". The execs got mad that they are left holding the bag and manager made sure their anger was directed at me, damaging years of great work relationships because they now believe I said " screw you" and left them hanging( I gave a 6 weeks notice).
This has been such a heart wrenching, fatiguing and soul crushing experience. A bad manager can destroy your life, damage your career and ruin good work relationships at will. I've learned from this experience and looking forward to not allowing this scenario to ever happen in my life again. You cannot fix a toxic work environment.
FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on October 27, 2018:
Joe - That's awful, but thanks for sharing the insight from the world of retail. I'd like to think karma will come back and kick people who treat others malignantly.
joe on October 27, 2018:
In retail, managers use "mystery shoppers" not for training purposes
but to get rid of you by mocking your intelligence so forth. The
management won't take ownership of initiating this tactic.
FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on September 17, 2018:
Anwesha - I can't guarantee that people will like or accept my opinions. If he's this disturbed about it, he should have an open and honest conversation with his manager, but be aware that the feedback may be very similar. Good luck to you both in moving forward.
Anwesha from Toronto, Canada on September 17, 2018:
I think it’s unfair to suggest that anyone is spoiled or sullen without knowing if they were. I never suggested he didn’t work hard, wasn’t professional and wasn’t a team player. Being open about his internal struggle on this forum was an error on my part. Thank you for your advise but it doesn’t help me help him with a resolution.
FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on September 16, 2018:
Anwesha - Since you're a manager yourself, then you understand that sometimes employees just need to be flexible and have a good attitude when they don't get what they want. This is especially so if it's a project rather than a permanent job change. Sometimes a company will have business needs that don't fit 100% what the employee wants for himself/herself personally, but it's important for the overall organization that the employee give their full ability and effort even if they don't like the temporary assignment. Your husband has missed an important opportunity to fulfill a key role, meet the needs of the company, demonstrate his adaptability, and even teach others chief knowledge and skills. It would have earned him additional credibility in the organization. Instead, he's acted spoiled and sullen. We can't all expect to be the leader all the time. He needs to support the team.
Anwesha from Toronto, Canada on September 15, 2018:
My husband was asked by his manager to switch from software development team lead to scrum master for 2 teams and my husband took on the role and did the certifications and was looking to move forward in his career. Then 6 months into it, he was asked by same manager to go back to software development as one of his teams had to be disintegrated for a bigger project that needed resources. Not only was he no longer going to be a scrum master, he was now assigned to a self managed team with an existing team lead. He felt demoted and soon the new team members started asking him how he felt now that he was no longer scrum master and he wasn’t invited to any meeting, when before, he was a key member required at many meetings. He has one on one’s with his manager which last all of 3 min where neither has any relevant conversation, small talk or updates. His team ignores him and he feels isolated. He used to be a very motivated and successful team lead before all this. He is depressed and anxious. He has been with the company 11 years and he is having a hard time finding work elsewhere so he can leave this negative environment. As a manager myself, I feel his manager has failed in every way to lead, motivate and mentor, which is what a people manager is supposed to do. How do I help address this, when I don’t work at his company?
FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on August 27, 2018:
Bill Loneing - Congratulations to you for wanting to further your education. Ultimately, however, it is the company's decision, consistent with their policies and business need. They have not only you to consider but also the rest of the workforce who might want a similar opportunity for such job flexibility.
Take a look at their policies on training, tuition reimbursement, and personal leave. Then try to put a brief, one-paged proposal in writing regarding a trial period (e.g., one semester) in which you lay out how this would work exactly. Offer to formally check in with your boss and HR every month regarding how it's working for both parties. Be as specific as possible, and approach it very positively. You can often get more with a positive approach, emphasizing benefits for the company, than with frustration (although I'm certain you feel it, based on their indecisiveness). Hope that helps.
Bill Loneing on August 27, 2018:
I want to go to school and its job related. The deal would only infringe 0n 3 hours of regular time I could easy makeup. I am getting flack and foot draging.
FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on August 27, 2018:
Yen - I'm sorry this happened to him. It seems very peculiar that after 5 years of good reviews he's suddenly not a good fit for the company, as judged by this new manager. I would try to better understand WHY and HOW this person understands so well what is good for the company, being such a new employee. I'd also want specific examples of how your husband is not a good fit for the company.
Two options seem front and foremost: 1) talking with HR and executive management in his function to request reassignment to another department (especially since there are departments willing to take your husband on) or 2) jumping ship to a company that values his talents. By requesting reassignment first before quitting, it will let your husband know whether he is valued by the company. These are not the only options, but they are the clearest options. He could also, of course, wait it out, or file an internal complaint if he believes the unfair treatment was motivated by a legally protected factor such as race. (Sometimes "fit" can be an implicit code for "white male" or "people not like you" so be alert for the explanation of how he doesn't fit!) Since his work record is so superb, I'm hoping the best thing will happen for him.
Yen on August 27, 2018:
My husband was targeted by his new manager. The manager asked my husband to delete the work my husband was hired to do. The manager gave my husband a bad review noting on the review that my husband had been repeatedly told to do tasks verbally and had refused. My husband told the manager that is not the truth, and the manager told my husband that it is his word against my husbands words. He put my husband on probation, meaning for the next 2 years my husband will not be allowed to promote or transfer. My husband opened a case with HR, he prepared documentation to show his work. The previous review he had received, it was even written, said that they realize my husband had to work a lot extra and they will try to make sure he doesn't have to work so much extra. He had been with the company for 5 years and have always received very good reviews and bonuses. The HR rep he met with told my husband that the documentation/proof/past work performances are irrelevant because a manager is allowed to give any kind of review he wants, and will not need any proof. It is purely my husbands word against his managers. There are many other managers who will be willing to offer my husband a position, but my husbands current manager blocked the possibility of that by placing my husband on probation. My husband asked his manager if he would be willing to let him transfer. His manager said "No, I just don't think you are a good fit for this company" My husband feels too stressed to take any actions, (he doesn't want to think about it is what he is telling me) I really wish he would strike back and stand up to bullies. We have young children, and that is what we tell them to do. So I feel very frustrated that we tell our children one thing and we allow bullies to get away with bullying us because as parents we feel that our number one job needs to be providing security, therefore we have no choice but to move on. My husband is now interviewing with other companies. We feel like we have no choice but to leave. Please let me know if you have any advice. Thank you in advance.
FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on July 29, 2018:
Anna - I'd ask your HR rep or management WHY your work is reviewed using a different process than other team members and why you are being treated differently from other employees. (Are they peers with the same or substantially similar jobs? That's the key.) Similarly, if you have not been adequately trained, ask for training or retraining so that you can perform your job satisfactorily.
First try to problem solve the situation productively via discussion and collaboration, but don't be afraid to complain internally then externally to the EEOC or your state human right commision if you believe you are being treated differently due to one or more legally protected factors such as **race, sex, national origin, religion, color, disability, age, veteran status, etc. For a complete list of legally protected factors in your jurisdiction, check your labor law posters that should be on your company's bulletin board near HR or the front office. (Some states and local jurisdictions add protected factors such as sexual identity, marital status, etc.)
The key is this: There's no legal protection for simply being disliked, but companies shouldn't treat you differently according to legally protected factors. If you work in a small organization, you may also not have these protections.
I hope this helps.
Anna on July 28, 2018:
Are these signs of managing me out:
My work is reviewed in a different process comparing to other member
Not allowed to talk or ask help for anyone in the team while the supervisor does not give much help
Monitor my work hours
Ask to change supervisor to review my work - they told me it was management decision but other team member is allocated with a different supervisor everyone they work on a new case
Pls advise what to do
FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on July 24, 2018:
Ryan - Other than complain higher in your franchise management chain (which doesn't seem to be effective for you), I can only suggest calling the corporate office. If you think it's related to a legally protected factor as mentioned previously, you can file a complaint with the EEOC or your state human rights board. Sounds like a sneaky manager.
Ryan Mizell on July 23, 2018:
Ive talked to the district manager about my hours being cut but she says katies a good person who looks out for me sp shez not gonna help i talked to my old gm today or yesterday to be exact and he said theyd always defend management over a driver unless i have hard proof.she gave me only 18 hours work time this next week.katies saying its cause of labor but everyone knows its retaliation.
FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on July 22, 2018:
Ryan - You can go higher up the management chain to complain. If the franchise has HR, contact them. If that doesn't work, call franchise or corporate headquarters.
The EEOC is for discrimination and harassment related to a legally protected factor such as race, sex, age, etc. They typically require that an employee complain internally through the company first. If you don't do that first, they'll deny the complaint.
Hang in there and appeal to higher management, emphasizing how long you've been with the company and your work record.
FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on July 21, 2018:
Ryan - If you have an employee handbook or employee portal, there should be a complaint process outlined. Some companies have corporate complaint lines, for example. Consider filing an internal complaint of retaliation. If you believe that your manager was motivated by an illegal discriminatory factor such as your race, sex, national origin, religion, color, disability, age, or veteran status, then it's important to specify that. Hope that helps.
Ryan Mizell on July 21, 2018:
Its me again they transferred the manager that threayend me but my gm katie cut my hours from almost 40 a week to 22 this week and anytime i tty to cover someones shift katie wont let me my dm is on her side as well.some employees have told me katies walking around saying she wants to get rid of me.ive been there 13 yeats and dont wanna quit cause she wins she foes alot of stuff she shouldnt be doing im considering going to the eeoc .everyone says shell eventually find a way to boot me.is there anything i can do?
FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on July 01, 2018:
Ryan - If someone specifically threatened you with violence, you could always go to the police and file a report against them. No one should be threatened with violence on the job or off. Safety is your key concern.
Ryan mizell on July 01, 2018:
Im having huve issue at pizza hut i was threatend by a supervisor with violence my gm katie wont do anything all she says if yall fight your fired.now shes mad i went to district manager.i think there gonna try and get rid of me at pizza hut
FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on June 20, 2018:
You mention that you get great customer reviews, are a high producer, and have a lot of senior level management experience. Based on the information you’ve provided, here are several observations.
When it comes to job performance, there’s the “what” and the “how.” The “what” refers to work output. You seem to be nailing that. The “how” refers to communication and other soft skills, and indications are that’s all over the map.
It appears that your manager doesn’t feel respected and may feel second guessed by someone who has more management experience. (The same may hold true for those two coworkers.) That’s a nice way of saying that perhaps you come across as a know-it-all, and they feel threatened by you. You could correctly call their reactions jealousy (of your work results), but it may also be a failure to professionally recognize others’ authority or competence. Regardless of what you think of them, these are the people your employer has selected to be your manager and teammates. You need to work more on trust with your coworkers. Keep your comments behavior-related. Perhaps have a discussion with one of your difficult colleagues to clear the air. Ask for feedback and request a fresh start in your relationship with them.
Reflect on whether you’ve ever been told by anyone else that you’re negative, aggressive, argumentative, or don’t work well with others? Is this the ONLY time you’ve had such communication trouble at work? If not, then you may need to adjust your style.
Definitely, learn to modulate your voice. Loud talking isn’t appreciated by many people, and it can quickly escalate a conflict. As a pointer, when you’re in conflict with coworkers, make sure you’re not standing up. Take a minute and sit down to discuss, as standing heightens the tension, especially if you’re the only one doing it. (Just a pointer.)
I’m wondering why you’re still in this role, particularly since it’s making you so thoroughly unhappy? Believe me, I get that you have specific education tied to the job, but many people end up pursuing employment fields other than the one they were degreed in. That’s true even sometimes when they have invested years of advanced education (e.g., graduate degrees) or certifications. Surely this cannot be the only employment option for you. There have to be market competitors, customer organizations, or other companies that you could work for. You seem to be too big for the current role, whether you’ve outgrown it, have too much experience, or perhaps took something below your capabilities. Were you perhaps demoted or reassigned to this role, since you mention you have so many years of senior management experience?
The coworkers who support you tell you they agree with you to your face, but what do they say behind your back? They may simply want to avoid conflict with everyone, you included.
I hope these observations have been helpful. Best of luck with your situation.
Cjules1st on June 18, 2018:
I was written up for lack of teamwork, aggression, negativity and being argumentative. I was just standing up for myself by using strong well formed educated sentences! I do have a loud voice so they think I’m yelling at them which I’m not. Two Co workers are sneaky and don’t follow the rules and are favored by the manager who stands up for them and thinks the rest of us are lying! I out perform these people so they want me out! They produce outright lies of communication between us and the manager believes them and says “ I don’t think you remember things well or you don’t think before you speak so you don’t remember what happens”. She doesn’t take anything I say as credible! 4 other coworkers see the crazy of the manager and these two coworkers and agree w me but won’t stand up and say anything in support. What can I do? I can’t loose this job as it is directly tied w specific education. I really don’t know what to do to make them happy. They act passive aggressive and do several of the behaviors in this article and it is wearing on the nerves. I get great customer reviews and am a high producer and the manager acknowledged that but because her “favorites” don’t like me that does not not seem to matter. Background info: i have many more years senior level manager experience than all these people but I am not the manager. I always make decisions/react w a manager hat on.
Help!!!’ Any suggestions????
FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on June 18, 2018:
Benji - That's a mouthful. Good luck to you, and be well.
zman12 on June 04, 2018:
I have been in the same company my entire adult life, live in a region where I must be terminated at cause, and have endured and outlasted2 junior managers who wanted me out. It is for me, flourishanyway, a mark of pride for me. The mere threat of a union drive is a weapon against specific managers and senior management has no loyalty to their underlings.
FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on June 04, 2018:
zman12 - That might be a good article -- how to make a bad manager go away. I was taught to believe that a workplace that has a union drive deserved it because they didn't take care of their employees. I hope you find a job you really love where you don't have to worry about people with sneaky tactics.
zman12 on June 04, 2018:
Fair enough flourishanyway, I never been part of a successful union drive, they all failed in the end, but they all were successful in making a manager with a bone to pick with me go away. When senior HR asks why it happened after the fact I always casually name drop said manager.
FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on June 04, 2018:
zman12 - I've worked union election and decertification campaigns (representing the company side). I can tell you that organizing a union takes a lot of like-minded employees who have drive and focus as well as outside help from an interested union. While it's one thing to get coworkers' signatures, it's entirely different to get a union voted in. Then, even if you do, there's the issue of negotiating the first contract. It's not uncommon to fail to reach a first contract -- delays, disappointment, and finally, decertification. Sorry, but I didn't forget that step. I'm not trying to discourage you from doing that if that's what you want to do, but it's not exactly going to make you more employable about town.
zman12 on June 04, 2018:
You missed a couple potential steps, Flourishanyway, my response to a manager trying to make me disappear like that by freezing me out was to instigate a union drive. Usually management gets the boot, successful or not.
FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on May 19, 2018:
Charles - That must have been some joke. At this point, you've handed in your notice, so you'll be looking for other work. The best you can do is try to make amends with coworkers and your boss and make it absolutely clear that the joke you made was in poor taste, you're truly embarrassed about it (so embarrassed you're leaving) and you hope that it doesn't change the way they feel about you. Apologize specifically to the person that the joke was mistakenly assumed to be about and clear the air with them. Get some references for your job search. Never tell jokes in the workplace again, even if they're good ones.
Charles diskens on May 19, 2018:
I need help,I told a joke to my Co workers and my boss and Co workers tot I was talking about other person in my job.my boss yelled at me and told me that he was going to call the cops if the joke was true.I told him it was a misunderstanding of the joke.that forced me to hand in my notice.
Does anyone have any advise to give to me please
FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on May 08, 2018:
Mike - It's sad that it happens, but it's really almost a recipe. Glad you're out of that environment, hopefully happy writing.
Readmikenow on May 08, 2018:
Great article. When I worked in an office environment, which I did for years, I saw all of this happen to people. You provided some good information on a difficult topic. Enjoyed reading it. Thanks.
FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on May 07, 2018:
Katerina GG - I'm a big believer in what goes around, comes around. Sometimes it takes a long time, but people who don't treat others well usually get what they deserve through their own doing. I'm sorry you were treated unfairly and hope that you are now happy.
Katerina GG from Yorkshire UK on May 07, 2018:
This is a great article on this difficult topic. I was also forced to resign from my Govt. position through most of the things mentioned. I knew from the outset my manager didn't want me to get the job but was over-ruled by the other 2 on the selection panel - she made my life hell from minute one. She directed me to 'fix' who was recruited to my team - her friends basically - when the company boasted of a fair and open selection process. When I refused to play ball, she removed from the panel and appointed her friend to the job...and got away with it. She undermined every decision I made - it was horrific. Karma prevailed after I left and she got caught out badly and lost her job...it was a great day for me when I heard that news.
FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on May 04, 2018:
Ashley - Sounds like a very toxic environment. You said she has no boss. I assume then that she owns a small business? Good luck in launching your own business. At least you have learned how to treat people and how not to treat people. Maybe you can take some good ones with you eventually.
Ashley Bergin from san francisco on May 04, 2018:
The boss at my current job actually acts this way to ALL of her employees. I’ve been with them for 10 years and have seen 30+ people come and go. She is far too passive aggressive to fire anybody, so instead she does the “fire yourself” thing, until people are so annoyed with her that they quit. Many of the people who quit were very competent workers… the “problem” was that they were looking to promote growth and creativity, both of which the boss does not want, because it would mean more work for her. She currently chats on Facebook all day and does next to nothing to contribute at all. Since she has no boss, she gets away it scott-free.
We all believe she creates this toxic environment because as long as we act like mindless robots she can 1) have the illusion of control over us and 2) slack on her own work, because we will do everything for her without question. There is ZERO communication from her (but all of the employees communicate with each other just fine). A quality boss would create a harmonious, positive environment where everybody is working together!!
Since I act completely immune to all her games, plus have quite a hefty work load, she hasn’t been able to get rid of me. I’ve been using the down time on this job to build a company of my own – soon I can finally leave this place and get on with a productive life in my self-established business.
FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on April 28, 2018:
Finn Liam Cooper - During such challenges, I have seen some employees crumble like a stale cookie while others were much more resilient. Glad you were able to withstand the assault with calmness and solemnity. Hope you're in a much better place now.
Fin from Barstow on April 27, 2018:
Some good tips. Wish I would have come across this about five years ago. Phew. However, even if you do keep some things in mind, the survival instinct kicks in and I was surprised at how focused and calm I could keep myself in a tough situation.
FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on April 21, 2018:
Mary - If there's any way to do so, then I agree. Unfortunately, some people are locked in with sign-on agreements, have tricky benefits or family situations that don't permit a lot of job movement, etc. There are a thousand reasons not to, but if you're really that miserable, you'll find a way.
Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on April 20, 2018:
Flourish, I know there are many managers out there who are so incompetent, they don't know how to handle employees under them. Often, because of their incompetence, they are also insecure so many employees especially the more competent ones make them feel uneasy and try to let them go even if it will impact the company negatively. There's always appeal to higher management although most of the time, they will support the manager they have chosen. So, my advice is to go with grace and find another job where you will be appreciated.
FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on March 23, 2018:
Seka76 - Performance appraisals usually cover a specific period of time in the job, not the entire person's employment history. Being that you're new to the role (3 months), you shouldn't be worried about simply meeting expectations, as there is a learning curve with many jobs. The best approach is to have a discussion about expectations, your positive work history, and your desire to learn. Assuming already that the boss doesn't like you may get you started on the wrong foot. Give both yourself and her some time and work positively together.
Seka76 on March 22, 2018:
I have been with my current company 10 and a half years so recently like 3 months ago I transferred to another location they just did my evaluation they gave me solid performer based of three months being new location. we are talking about same company . They didn't do my evaluation based of previous location and new location which in this case I feel I have been discriminated. Seems like I have worked only 3 months instead over 10 years.They didn't even bother to contact other location to ask or whatever. At other location I had an exceeds. I always get bad vibe from my boss that she just don't like me.
FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on February 24, 2018:
Brooke Rummel - If there's a "formula," then it definitely happens to others. I hope this helps you move on. Sometimes it all rains down at work in a concerted effort to passively aggressively fire an employee. It involves terrible management and traumatized employees (including those on the sidelines who watched it happen). I hope you're in a better situation now.
Brooke Rummel on February 23, 2018:
So incredibly grateful that I stumbled across this. It has answered so many questions and helped to clear up a lot for me after a nightmare I went through last year. It’s as if this were written based on my situation. It’s nice to have some validation and know that I’m not completely insane. Thank you.
FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on February 15, 2018:
Denise - Amen! Don't hang on longer than you need to. There are other employers out there. Go find somewhere where you will feel valued.
Denise on February 15, 2018:
If a company is mistreating you, giving you mixed signals, accolades on one hand and dis-approving messages on the other (speaking with forked tongues) find a better situation You will be glad you did. Nothing is as bad as organized creeps. You don't want to fit in with people you can't admire. They know who they are and how they roll. Don't admire people who don't care about people' lives.
FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on November 07, 2017:
Unwanted - Sometimes these people realize they are in over their heads with management positions and they go away in a huff. Press on with your conversation with the owner so that she is not later rehired or urged to stay somehow. Cite that there were witnesses. Report that your phone has been stolen but don't blame her because you don't know. It's part of a pattern.
Unwanted employee on November 06, 2017:
I hate to say this because I need the money to support my family. But when saw that I would no longer be working Monday's and Tuesdays anymore it was like a weight lifted of my shoulders!
I asked my GM later on in the conversation "what should I do?" (We've known each other a long time!) She was reluctant to say, but she said "if you feel like she's singling you out, discrimination?" And that was the end of our conversation.
Now I have until Friday to figure all this out. All I want to do is go to work, do my job, and go home. Now this "person" is doing this?
I wonder if management would feel different if they knew she's about to quit anyways?. I'm sure that's irelavant, but it's just wrong. She has no children
Unwanted employee on November 06, 2017:
It is NOT a small business. It is a franchise with 3 stores and around 400 employees. Only problem with that, is that our HR is the owner. The he has always liked me but now, I don't know what all she's been told ya know? As far as special skills, I have an Associates degree majoring in Hospitality Management. Plus several certifications. I've even helped her out. She didn't know what to do about an employee because she couldn't get in touch with the GM at the other store. I told her write an incident report. She replied "that's just it, I don't know where any of the paperwork is for that and, what is that?." I told her it could be on a sticky note! As long as it has the date and info on what occurred. Other employees also come to me about legal questions and I help them out. Now here I am and I don't know what to do. I don't understand why this occurred on a Tuesday yet it was not mentioned to me again until Sunday? When I was brought into the office to a write up. It states violation: "I have repeatedly failed to follow service excellence procidures." I looked up these "service excellence procedures" and if that's the "violation" then everyone there would be written up! I did not think to look up manager service excellence?!I was more looking for what i violated. It also states that "Rebekah cannot comprehend what her daily task are. It seems like Rebekah wants to do what she wants to do and not follow procedures put in place." Now, if that's true, wouldn't I have heard about this already? I've been back since August of last year?
Previous warning is left blank.
Then the statement says "Rebekah will only be working 3 days a week and will be terminated if there are anymore complaints!" Putting me off of the days she manages. Also, I just noticed it was dated on the 3rd? It was presented to me Sunday the 5th of November?
I was keeping notes, until my phone was stolen, at work, and the notes were in there. So I'm trying to remember as much as possible. And I never go into a meeting without notes, and a pad and pen to take notes during. I didn't feel safe!. Every single Monday and Tuesday I would feel pysically sick about going into work. What will I get yelled at for today, mocked for, stared at, just her waiting for something? She would get all over me for something that others do that is just not "her" way. This is most likely irelavant but just to give you an idea; Me and another girl had birthdays in August a couple of days apart. She said she meant to get me something but didn't have time. I never expected her to get me anything? But I thought it was a nice gesture. You know,, trying to be nice. The next day flowers came in with Happy birthday balloons, a cake, cupcakes and she had the cooks make 3 donuts put together that said happy birthday. I was like aww, that's so nice! She's trying and so am I.! Well,,,, they were for the other employee. Happy birthday written on the donuts was the other girls name, I mean, she could've at least thrown my name on one of the donuts. Instead, it was thrown in my face (figuratively). My feelings were so hurt I went home and just cried. I wasn't really expecting her to do anything for me, but to say you are? Then do that?
There was only a microwave above us and 2 industrial coffee machines and I don't think that qualifies as "machinery".
Along with the lying, I also found out that she had noted that I wanted to go to HR about another employee.....That was never said? I came into work on a Friday and a fellow server said I heard you went to"her" and wanted HR contacted. I was like ummmm what? No I didn't. Not sure what's going on there. I asked my GM about it and she said yes, I seen that written in the book. I explained to her that was never said? And she kind of giggled and said "I saw it but nothing else was said so I left it alone"?
There are also dates on the write up saying that I called out (insinuating that I called out on her shifts) I looked down at the dates. Well, one of them is my daughter's birthday. So I remember very much so that I did work that day,? What paperwork can I ask for?Should I ask the other two mangers that I used to work with on Mondays and Tuesdays to say that this never happened when they managed? I do have the cook/kitchen manager that has been there for 15yrs, I called him and asked if he heard the yelling. Well he did. So I have that, also the other server that was there said she heard her in the dining room screaming, we were in the kitchen? So there's a lie verified right there. We have cameras as well, which would show that when she said she wasn't in my ear, she actually was. Can I ask for those to be reviewed?
FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on November 06, 2017:
Unwanted - Describe that information to the owner because anyone truly concerned with running a solid business knows that this type of manager can only cause them more of this type of trouble next time she doesn’t get her way. Give them a chance to do the right thing when presented with all the facts. Also, given your information about being hearing impaired I wonder if your disability didn’t prompt her to yell so loudly right up in your face. Depending on the number of employees, you might pursue that line of thought. Good luck!
Unwanted employee on November 06, 2017:
Yes ma'am, I see it now. Thank you.
You hit the nail on the head when you said it seems she's let management go to her head!
I'm not sure why she doesn't like me? I do know that when I came back, our GM took her off of Fridays and put me on instead. She started out by calling me a shift stealer. It was under her breath several times on different occasions. The last time, I heard a little more clearly. I turned and asked "what was that?" She said "oh nothing". I said "no, please tell me what you said I couldn't hear you?" She then stated that she had called me a shift stealer. I asked why and that's when I found that out. I'm thinking maybe she has had a vendetta against me every since, but not sure. She later on confided in me that she was "so pissed off when that happened that she almost quit." But, she started working at another location on Fridays.
I know she singles me out, I feel like she hasn't cared for me since the very beginning. I do take medication for anxiety (PTSD) as well as the fact that I'm hearing impaired. I feel like she thinks she "better" than me because of this.
FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on November 06, 2017:
Unwanted, Hopefully you've had a chance to review the response by now. To reduce spam, each comment submitted must be vetted and either approved or denied by me. The process cuts down on truly off-the-wall comments. I wish you well!
FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on November 06, 2017:
Unwanted - This is a terrible situation that happens all too often. Sounds like she has let her management position go to her head. Do you have any idea why she dislikes you? Unless it's based on some legally protected factor such as race, disability, national origin, gender, veteran status, etc. then it would probably be deemed "personal animus" (personal distaste) and that, unfortunately, is her prerogative. I know that is unfair. Also, it sounds like it's a small workplace and depending on how small it is, there may be fewer protections even if it is dislike based on a legally protected factor.
Probably your best bet at this point is to carefully document for yourself all that you've accomplished in terms of work performance, years of service, company awards, teamwork (participation in work teams, etc.), your safety record, special skills, whatever else your company deems important that you bring to the table. Write these down as bullet points for yourself so when you meet with the owner you don't forget these important points. Emphasize that you love the COMPANY and you love your JOB except for this supervisor.
Think about when the issue started, any important incidents involving this manager and others, any witnesses to her treatment of you (not just this one incident). Emphasize (if it's true) that no one else has ever had an issue with you. Be ready to describe this manager's actions and quote her word for word as close as you can recall. If you have work rules, look them up and bring a copy of them to the meeting. There's got to be rules about not lying, not abusively screaming at others or violating their personal space. If she was aggressively yelling in your ear near moving machinery, it's a potential safety issue: (remember the words "I didn't feel safe"). IF this was the case, be able to explain how and be able to describe the solution you seek. Good luck, unwanted!
Unwanted employee on November 06, 2017:
FlourishAnyway.....I posted a comment earlier. Did you receive it? I cannot find it?
The "unwanted employee" on November 06, 2017:
Hey there, I have recently been treated very unfairly by a manager that only manages 2 days out of the week and is an employee the other 3 days. I was hired back by a company that I had worked for 7 years prior. I had moved, then when I was planning to move "back home" to be with family, I went back to work for the same company. I love what I do! I enjoy (most of) my co-workers and to my knowledge they have no discrepancy with me. However, this one manger has not liked me since I was first hired back. It's like one day she's fine with me, then the next she's singling me out? She always worked Fridays, however, when I was rehired I was put on Fridays and she was taken off. She did not manage at this time. The 2 days she managed WERE my favorite days to work! They were laid back and problem free. She became manger 2 days a week several months into my return. Since then she has made me so uncomfortable that is hard to do my job properly. She makes me a nervous wreck! I do have anxiety issues and knowing that she's watching my every move waiting for me to do something wrong makes me so nervous. There was recently an incident where I was apparently unable to perform my usual task. She in turn begins to yell at me, and ask me why I didn't get the task done. I apologized, said I was sorry, and just said "ok" to everything she was saying. Too nervous to say anything else and trying to avoid yet another conflict with her. She then walked over to where I was and began yelling into my ear "I'm your manager" I began to block out what she was saying to keep from screaming back. Yet she kept on and on and on! I remember saying please do not yell into my ear. When she yelled "I'm your manager and I'll talk to you however I want!" That's when I couldn't block out anymore. Still, I said nothing. She continued, "I could write you up because I'm your manger but I'm not, I can send you home if I wanted because I'm your manager but I'm not!" Literally screaming this into my ear while all I could do was stand there. Five days later I was called into the office to a write up with her and the GM. Saying that I did not perform the task expected of me and that I would only be working 3 days a week. Also, that if anything else happened I would be terminated. I really did not know what to say? I was kind of in shock. Because honestly, I expected the "manger" to actually apologize later on realizing how she had acted! I brought up her screaming at me. She stood there and flat out LIED!!!! That she "did not get in my face, and that she wasn't talking any louder than we were" right then. I could not believe she was saying that. It upset me so bad I looked at her and said "You are lying? "How can you stand here and lie like that?" I then walked out. When she left the office I returned to speak with my GM. Me and her had an adult conversation. Something not possible with "her" in there. I explained that I did not feel comfortable signing it or commenting at that time. I was given the write up and told to bring it back in 5 days (also given some friendly advice from the GM) It ultimately lays in the owners hands. I don't know what to do. I'm a single mother of two children and cannot support us working 3 days a week. Also, outside of "her" I love what I do.
Do you have any advice for me?
FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on September 08, 2017:
Melania - Thanks for weighing in.
Melania on September 07, 2017:
I agree with Efficient Admin
FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on August 29, 2017:
Sam - I'm sorry that is happening to you. I agree with your assessment. I hope you are able to take control of the situation and find a better opportunity.
Sam on August 29, 2017:
All what was mentioned of the 12 are very true and identical to what is happening to me now. It is very dirty, no moral and aggravating
FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on July 29, 2017:
anonymous - I hear you. Good for you that you did the best thing for yourself.
anonymous on July 29, 2017:
I walked out of a job like this and management acted oblivious. A lot of strategies to quantify ROI and a lazy manager. Who needs that?
Randall Jonas from Canada on July 24, 2017:
FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on July 24, 2017:
Randall - Thanks for reading. Unfortunately, these behaviors are all too common in the modern workplace.
Randall Jonas from Canada on July 24, 2017:
This is informative and highlights many of the realities of tacit things that go on in the workplace.
FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on July 20, 2017:
employee - It's not a "how to" but rather a description of what bosses do so employees can be savvier. I hope you get back on your feet again, bud.
FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on April 14, 2017:
Eric - HR reps can do that. Not all of them are like that. Something had to prompt them to concentrate on you?
Eric on April 13, 2017:
My HR sides with my manager and gang up against me.
FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on February 26, 2017:
Efficient Admin - That would be a good one! Thank you.
Michelle Dee from Charlotte, NC on February 26, 2017:
I'd love to see an article on how employees can make an unwanted manager go away.
FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on February 25, 2017:
Mary - So many jobs disappeared and are continuing to disappear during my lifetime, often silently. Even if computers take over, there must be the programmers, technicians, and data strategists to keep it going. Thanks for commenting.
Mary on February 25, 2017:
pretty soon, nobody will have to "work" as computers will take over completely. I am looking forward to this.
This judgmental hodgepodge called work is distracting the human race to move ahead.
FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on January 25, 2017:
New managers - Well said. Not a smart move on their behalf. Thanks for commenting.
New managers on January 25, 2017:
Frequently, when younger managers get hired, they come in like gangbusters, working 80 hours a week and make a great impression on their bosses. They then consolidate their power by getting rid of older employees to put in place their own hires. They pick the older employees' brains before running them out. So unfair.