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Help! My Boss Hates Me and Wants Me to Leave

Dear Work Coach,

I have been in a job for 5 1/2 years. The first 4 years were great until a co-worker (who disliked me from day one) was promoted to supervisor. Getting work done and reaching decisions really don’t matter because it’ll all be wrong anyway.

I have talked to her and she said she was trying to get rid of me. She gave me a needs improvement standard. The job is boring but the pay/benefits/location are great. I have filed grievances against her but nobody wants to step up to the plate and demote and/or fire her. She is unprofessional, dresses like a hooker to work, talks like a 3 years old (we goin’ to wha meetin).

Oh, it’s a state job – what can I expect from people who walk around saying I have 4 years, 2 days and one minute left to go. I’m searching for employment elsewhere while dealing with this boss. I suppose I’m a dead woman walking, there is no way out of these situations except to find another job or get your walking papers. She tells people whom to befriend and other clerical workers don’t talk to me because of it but she rates me bad for team work,

I pray that God helps me make a decision because I don’t want to be without a job in today’s economy.

Sandra

***

Hello Sandra!

When I read stories like yours, I really wish I had a magic wand that could help. Since you’ve already tried speaking to your boss, and you also say even if you do your very best you still get the evil eye, then it looks like you are the only one with a magic wand that can help you right now – meaning you can find a way to help yourself. I’m glad you’ve already started that by looking for another job

To anyone just beginning in a job, this is a great reminder why you should make every effort to build allies over the years, not only in your department but in other parts of the company. And in other companies, just in case. :) I had a friend in a similar situation in a government job, and when her new boss (who never even gave her a chance) decided to let her go, she went to her allies who stepped in and saved the day. But as in Sandra’s case, that may not be enough.

Although I don’t know all your circumstances, from what you tell me if I were in your situation I would step up my efforts to find a new job. And since you say “I pray that God helps me make a decision”, this may be a gift from heaven after all. A boring job day in and day out eats at your spirit and your health. But when there are good conditions, it’s so hard to leave. Maybe you can think of this as a chance to find something that you actually like!

While I’m not particularly religious, I’m reminded of a wonderful joke about a woman who was trapped by a flood and prayed to God. When a boat came, she sent it away saying God would save her. Then a helicopter came, and the pilot begged her to climb up – but she said “No. God will save me. He always has.” And she stayed firm in her faith of that and waited some more. Unfortunately, she died as the waters continued to rise and carried her away. When she got to heaven, she asked God why he didn’t save her. God said “I sent you a boat AND a helicopter!”

This may be your helicopter.

Again, this is just my opinion. Only you know your circumstances. But if it feels right to you, I would suggest making a very strong effort to find yourself a new job. That means not only applying to things you see posted, but contacting friends, past employers, and anyone you can think of and let them know you are looking for a job that you really care about. And don’t spend a lot of time telling folks about how awful everything is where you are. As valid as your complaints are, you’ll get further in a job hunt by being positive. Also look for places you’d like to work and send them a great cover letter and resume. (I have posts on that elsewhere on this blog.)

Meanwhile, hard as it may be, keep doing your best where you are. Be extra friendly to your boss and treat her as if everything is ok. That’s not about being phony. It’s about letting go of what’s not working for you and instead setting your mind and heart on your future – and a new job that is going to be so much better. That positive energy will carry over into your day and help you when you meet people who might know of a job. Don’t let this boss keep your spirit from finding the helicopter waiting for you out there!

I’ve had a long lifetime of careers and have had horrible situations that moved me to find something else. Of course, I tried to make it work at first; but sometimes you just can’t. And each time, as much as I might have hated giving up the good parts and as much as I might have cursed some of the people who made it horrible, I was always grateful that something had happened to make me look for a new job that was even better for me.

Hope that helps, even if only a little. Please let us know what happens.

I wish you much luck, Sandra.

Ronnie Ann

***

In case you’re curious, this comes from a comment in another Work Coach post: When Bad Job Evaluations Happen to Good People.

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Comments

  1. i have had my share of horror stories considering I have mostly worked in the culinary world. I have to say the worst one was when my boss over worked me and i fainted the first two days on the job. Yea…didn’t continue that one. I would have to say that the environment in which you work in can help and/or hurt your experience. I work at a local gourmet food store at the moment as it’s summer for us college students and I have to tell you that one of my bosses is a piece of work. EVERYONE hates her. However, I stay because the people I work with are amazing and I love the job that I am doing.
    Jamie

  2. Hi Jamie!

    Bad boss but good people and you LOVE your job? Sounds like you’re WELL ahead of the game. :)

    Thanks for sharing your story. Sometimes it’s a matter of finding a balance that works for you. I’ve rarely heard of the perfect job, but anyone who says they love their job is doing great already!

    Good luck at school and in the rest of in your career. (Oh, btw…I added your live link to your login name.)

    Ronnie Ann

  3. I was looking at what I wrote over a year ago in this post and want to add a bit more…

    Although maybe not in Sandra’s case, sometimes in cases like this you can turn things around for yourself…or just wait it out until things change. I’ve seen people outlast awful bosses and do just fine afterward. The trick is digging in, doing your best, looking for new allies to connect to, and maybe surprising people by offering to take on new projects or improve existing processes – and doing a great job.

    Even if you still get the evil eye from your boss, it’s worth giving this approach a shot! At the very least, you’re taking back your power by taking action. And even if it gets you nowhere in this job, you can feel better about yourself…a good thing for interviewing should you wind up deciding to look for a new job after all!

    But all that said, I still suggest looking to see what else might be out there while you’re trying to change things…just in case. And this is where networking with people you know can help a lot!

    Ronnie Ann

  4. i hate my boss , he made my life like hill , he doesnt stop bothering me . fuck him

  5. I’m so sorry Lola. My heart goes out to you. I can only wish you luck finding a better boss as soon as possible. In the meantime, I removed your full name since employers can find your comments on the internet and this can hurt you in your job search.

    Good luck. ~ Ronnie Ann

  6. Huilan Li says:

    Thanks Ronnie Ann, I got a lot of good insights and conforts from your answering to other people’s comments.
    You see I am up at this time because I am bothered for the job performance evaluation I got yesterday afternoon. I work at a state government agency but has a horrible working culture. I have a Ph. D. degree in economics and self – motivated person. One problem I have is that I don’t spend much time to talk to people daily. But people here talk to each other every day. I like my job very much and feel there are a lot of things to learn and do. When it is time to come to promote, I don’t get promotion. I have been at my job for four years and never got a promotion even though an undergraduate co-worker got promoted.
    My boss seems not like me since I am an asian. She recently fired two african americans and I guess if she came before me she might fire me as well. She is very good at using words. On one side she would say I am very independent work and ask me to help junior staff. In reality, she has two new staff she hired under her direct supervision. She talks to them everyday as soon as she gets into the office. I did my part and went to talk to them if there is thing needed. Another thing I observed is that my boss never comes to my office to talk to me. When I went to her office to talk to her, she often stood up to leave office or she had things to do. We don’t have a good cozy relationship as she has with two others. I have been trying to tell myself I am a professional and have to do my job. So I keep her informed as anything I think she as my director needs to know, I always go to her office to talk to her.
    In general, I feel I am unfairly treated. Now my question is how I make a good move to improve my communication with my boss. Do you have any suggestion to effectively communicate with her?

    Thanks for your help,
    BTW, please don’t use my real name in any situation.

    Huilan

    • Hi Huilan!

      First, I won’t use your real name anywhere else, but if you have already used it in this comment, let me know and I will change it in all places. This comment including your name can be found on the internet!

      I’m so sorry you have to work in this kind of environment. As for how to improve communication under the circumstances you described, I’m not sure I have a good answer in your situation. Sometimes opinions are formed and it’s hard to undo.

      Unfortunately, the one thing that will help you is being more open to talking to your co-workers, and not just about business – although asking for advice and ideas is a good thing too, as is offering to help them but in a kind way, not as if you know more. It builds trust and camaraderie. But not sure if you can recreate yourself where you are at this point, but very glad you want to at least try. It might take a while, but you have nothing to lose considering how it is now…and maybe something to gain.

      I’m also a little shy, believe it or not, and had to teach myself to be friendlier at work. Makes a big difference not only in the workplace but when creating business and networking relationships for the rest of your life. Best part is you can start anytime to build for the future.

      If it were me, I’d ask to talk to my boss and be very honest about saying you would like to find a way to fit in better with everyone and need her advice. Look her in the eyes and listen carefully, smiling and thanking her. Then do your best to do what she suggests, if at all possible. If it works, report back and tell her – again thanking her. And meanwhile, be friendlier with your co-workers. If you can get one or two more people to say hello to and ask how they’re doing regularly – and really listen – you may create some openings for improving things. And as wonderful as it is to have your degree, an employee’s true value is the organizational “fit”. Good luck trying to make it work better for you!

      BUT…just in case you can’t…it is time now to also think about where you can go next. Are there openings in other areas of the agency? Do you have connections in other places? Again, this is where networking and good business relationships help. Even relationships with former classmates and teachers. So do your best…but prepare to look elsewhere if that is at all possible. And the next time, along with your degree, bring your smile and your sincere desire to get to know your colleagues. You’ll be surprised how much better work feels when you have people there who support and like you. ;-) And vice versa, of course.

      Hope that helps. Good luck!

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