[Two Pronged] The boss from hell
Rappler's Life and Style section runs an advice column by couple Jeremy Baer and clinical psychologist Dr Margarita Holmes.
Jeremy has a master's degree in law from Oxford University. A banker of 37 years who worked in 3 continents, he has been training with Dr Holmes for the last 10 years as co-lecturer and, occasionally, as co-therapist, especially with clients whose financial concerns intrude into their daily lives
Together, they have written two books: Love Triangles: Understanding the Macho-Mistress Mentality and Imported Love: Filipino-Foreign Liaisons.
Dear Dr Holmes and Mr Baer,
I am in my early 20s, a fresh graduate, and working at my first job in a multinational.
My predicament emanates from my boss. The way he runs the office is very unprofessional, unproductive, and authoritarian. The real mandate of our office is not being executed, instead we are turned into his personal assistants. We do things not even related to our work. He treats his employees badly and generally disrespects us. Our boss often yells and finds mistakes in everything we do even though we accomplish each task. He has anger management issues and blames his mistakes (as a result of his irresponsibility) on his employees. As a team, we have zero motivation and morale.
Hence, we are all very unhappy at work – which then affects our performance.
My question: Should I quit my job? I am having a really bad time at work and even if I try (very hard) to leave all the work-related burdens in the office, I carry them around everywhere – thus affecting my health and relationship with family and friends. My boss makes us feel bad about ourselves. And I also no longer want to continue working for a man I do not respect. He has underlying motives for everything he does. He is not a genuine leader, in everything he does (or orders us to do), he makes sure that he benefits from it.
I no longer wish to work for a condescending boss who like to deceive people. I pity our clients who are constantly being used by my boss.
Is it wise for me to quit my job?
- Positive points about my job: High pay (considering that I am a fresh graduate), fixed schedule
- Negative points: Super mean boss, dreadful work environment, too much (dirty) politics in the company, this job is making me depressed.
Thank you for your thoughts.
It is a sad fact of life that the inefficiencies, ineptitude and sheer incompetence that permeate all our endeavors inevitably invade the workplace as well, liberally laced with the gamut of human emotions. You, Anabel, can testify to this first hand given your experience to date in your current job and it is therefore perfectly natural that you should be weighing the pros and cons of a change of employment.
Given that offices that are oases of tranquility and goodwill to all men and women who work there are few and far between, most of us have to resign ourselves to varying degrees of imperfection. Sexual discrimination, sexual harassment, bullying and other indignities are routine in so many workplaces and we are often faced with the choice of suffering in silence or voting with our feet.
The problem that arises with changing jobs is that there is no way of knowing whether the new place will be any better than the old. This is no problem when there are many employment options open to the job seeker but obviously becomes more problematic the more specialized the person is. Another factor to consider is that most HR departments will ask questions about an employment record with multiple resignations.
You are far from this stage. Your list of pros and cons seems to indicate that you have virtually decided to resign.
What job could possibly be worth affecting your health and relationships outside the workplace? And I strongly suspect you are not receiving all the training laid down in the corporate manual either. So unless the high pay is something you simply cannot afford to sacrifice, I suggest it is time to move on.
All the best,
Thank you very much for your letter and thank you very much too, Mr Baer, for answering all Anabel’s questions directly.…and then some. Because you are right: It is crystal clear that Anabel has “virtually decided to resign.” So I guess all she really wants from us is permission to do so? Does that sound about right, Anabel?
It is very tempting to agree with you that your boss is not the sort of man one should work for and the sooner you are shot of him, the better. But agreeing with the letter writer about things/people one has no basis to agree with except hearsay (as in, what I hear you saying) suits only one purpose—to bolster the self confidence of the letter writer, which is sometimes necessary, and sometimes not. I have a feeling Mr Baer thought it was in your case.
I do not know I agree.
What I do agree with, however, is that your responses to your boss bear commenting on: It seems difficult to imagine this is just about an idealistic graduate’s disappointment in her first boss. They are so strong, so visceral, I cannot help wondering if this is all that’s going on.
You have given the behavior of your boss, a person you did not even know existed before you took on this job, the power to affect your relationships and your health. I mean, who does that, Anabel? Your boss does not even own the company you both work for, he is merely an employee, as you are.... admittedly on a higher pay grade but… really?
It is not in my remit to insist or even strongly suggest you explore what might truly be going on “behind the scenes” (in your past, in your history, does anything about him resonate with someone else in your past?) but I think it might be a good idea if you try and do so.
Should you want further help from us, we are a mere email away.
All the best,
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