First time poster, long time lurker [Help with boss]

I am posting this because I respect the opinion of the members of this board.

I hope someone can help with this. It’s a slightly different take on the bad boss thing.

My boss really does not like me; he’s pretty bad in a roundabout way. A rather benign example - I will ask for something that would require the department spending money on me, he’ll say no, I say okay, I am disappointed. Of course, there was an earlier conversation on how we need to invest in so-and-so.

At no point does he come out and say it – it’s always implied. This is just one example among so many – it can just be described briefly. There are many other incidents, some of them very cruel, involving other team members smearing me or isolating me.

I tried fixing the relationship - but all conversations end up badly. He takes offense at the slightest thing, and he’s not above telling me I just said something I didn’t say to justify his latest hissy fit.

The problem is not that I don’t realize what’s going on; I do. The problem is that I am almost paralyzed by all this. The quality of my work is deteriorating, my concentration is shot and I can’t even begin to look for another job.

What has worked for you in situations like this? How did you get strong enough to take effective action?

(I am in my mid-50s with a good job, BTW.)

(Yes, I have posted in another board - guess I am crowdsourcing here.)

If this is against the rules, Mod please delete thread.

I, too, am in my mid 50’s and am having trouble with a particularly nasty boss. My solution is that I’m looking for another job. When talking to him no longer works, it’s time to cut and run IMO.

Oh, and welcome to the boards! :slight_smile:

I am looking for coping methods because I am completely paralyzed.

If the “having the job” out weighs speaking your mind and possibly losing the job, then you just need to learn to relax and let the shit flow over you like water and ignore it. If you can’t then maybe another job is right, but in your 50’s may be hard to do that.

My boss and supervisor are OK, but the 2IC is a total nutjob. Same as you described: over-sensitive and ‘‘implying’’ instead of communicating. I also spent months trying to rectify this situation… my solution now is to avoid him as much as possible (being as polite as necessary, but not expecting anything constructive from him), and reporting him to boss/supervisor when he goes overboard. It’s a tricky situation, but I’m also not in a position to change jobs any time soon. Good luck!

Welcome to the SDMB!
Nothing wrong with the topic, although I’ve moved it over to IMHO (where advice threads usually go) and slightly modified the title just to show it’s not the usual “I’m new” thread…hah.

Then you just have to ask yourself, how paralyzed will I be if he decides to just fire/lay me off?

Right now you are in some control of the situation because you can research, look for, and find another job, all while still earning a comfortable wage. When/if he lets you go, all control of your situation has been lost.

And remember, it is much easier to find another job when you already have one than it is when you are unemployed. Unemployed at 50 years old is a really shitty position to be in under the current job market. Age descrimination is illegal, and it is also very common. Don’t let yourself be left at the mercy of a merciless job market.

You are in an abusive relationship. Show him that he doesn’t affect you. Be strong, positive and make your own weather. If you are around him, and he is in a bad mood, be happy and upbeat. If he is in a good mood, and your not connecting, be up beat too, but don’t outshine him.
It’s the oldest cliche in the book, but read “7 habits of highly effective people.” That book is tailor made for your situation.

Well, as a general rule, if you have a shit boss, look for another boss.

I would recommend not listening to all the “it’s tough looking for work after 50” bullshit. It’s overly negative and not particularly useful to your situation. Yes, it’s tough finding jobs at 50. It’s tough finding jobs at any age. If nothing else, there are fewer positions that need someone with 30 years of experience when 5-10 years will do just as well.

Let me ask you this. If you think you are going to get fired anyway, would you rather get fired for not kowtowing to your jerk boss well enough? Or would you rather get fired for telling him to fuck himself? That might be extreme, but how would you react to someone talking to you the way your boss talks to who isn’s your boss?

Start looking for a new job. If you’ve tried to change things and it’s all turned foul, it’s because the well is completely poisoned and you’re never going to salvage it.

Movement on the job search front is the solution to being paralyzed on the current job.

Once you find a different job, you’ll be amazed at how much it changes things for you.

2 bits of info that might facilitate better advice occur to me:

  1. as generally or specifically as you feel comfortable with, what field of work. At least how specialized & how skilled.
  2. how long has this relationship with this particular boss already existed (how long have you worked together) & hownlong have you worked at the job, if those time-frames differ.

Without those I couldn’t even begin to ponder a strategy to suggest. Even with them…

I have been in this exact situation, and started trying to look for another job without much success. So I developed a few coping strategies that not only worked for me, but ended up dramatically improving my relationship with my boss.

#1 - My boss is always right. Yeah, it sucks to kowtow and be dishonest. But with the right attitude it can be less about sucking it up and more about putting one over on the boss. In private you can roll your eyes all you want, but at work be the employee your boss wants. For a while it was incredibly tough, but once my boss started to think that he had “broken” me, he stopped trying so hard. Sometimes when he has a ridiculous assignment for me, all it takes is me saying, “Absolutely, when do you need it?” for him to decide that he doesn’t need it after all, or that someone else can do it.

#2 - Play The Amazing Race. I’ve mentioned this strategy before. If you haven’t seen the show, each week they are assigned ridiculous, often nonsensical tasks, like moving a pile of dirt or painting an elephant. The tasks have no intrinsic value, but you can’t advance in the race unless you complete them. Try to see each element of your job in this way, as something that you must complete to get to the next step, without putting too much emotion into the content. I often tell myself that I’m doing it for the million dollars, since I’ll have earned more than that if I stay at this job until I retire.

#3 - Speaking of which, know your end point and keep your eyes on the prize. I know my retirement year and frequently count the years until I will get there. Since you are older than I am, you have an even shorter count. Keep telling yourself that you can make it through 10 more years of this (or whatever applies). Doesn’t mean you have to do it, but it will put things in perspective and help keep you focused so you can do your job.

#4 - Take pride in your abilities. Mid-50’s with a good job means that you are good at your job. Tell yourself that everyday, and every time the boss treats you badly. Don’t let him get inside your head. I set a computer password that was an affirmation that I am good at my job to remind myself. I try to see every horrible thing that happens at work as a challenge, rather than letting it upset me.

While you absolutely should look for a new job, these techniques can help you to feel better about where you are now and get you unstuck. As a bonus, they might also improve the situation with your boss, or at least help you to see it in a different light. Good luck.

HR is not your friend.

Update your resume. Post it on Monster. Get a pro to check your resume.

Update your LinkedIn page, start linking like crazy.

Talking to a psychologist really helped unparalyze me. I was in rough shape; paralyzed well describes it (worse actually). He was able to help me put things into perspective. After 5-6 CBT sessions he declared me “cured” and I was - never went back.

I was lucky and outlived the bastard. After he left the company (a couple years after my therapy) there was a collective sigh of relief from the others under his thumb and his “peers” whom he’d constantly let down.

I hope you will be as lucky.

This cannot be understated!

You mean overstated? :confused:

Yes… sorry. 2am, way past my bedtime , reliving job horrors. I did mean to say ‘overstated’

Hi there ARCADIA.

I’m in a similar situation as you. Or I was. Or I might be. Everythings still a bit up in the air.

2 months ago, I reached the ‘I can’t keep doing this’ point. After years of management snarkiness, general back stabbery - like the time confidential info from my staff file was put up on the notice board, theft of my personal belongings at work, etc, I was completely, well, fucked. I was spending hours just staring at the wall. One day the state manager came in to talk to me. To me. Not with me. To me. My supervisor had complained that I was thinking too much. The state manager explained that my duties don’t require thinking - I was to stop thinking while at work. Prick.

So 2 months ago, I advised my manager that I felt I couldn’t maintain the company standards for behavior in the workplace, and was going on sick leave. I made it clear that it was the actions of the managers that had caused this situation.

Now, I’m fortunate that I have 6 months sick leave in the bank, and another month of annual leave. So I have some time to get things sorted. Have you got sick leave available? Maybe just getting away while seeking help might make things easier?

The doctors I’ve seen have been very understanding, and are happy to keep me on my personal sick leave, but they have also said they’d back me if I decide to make a claim against work to compensate for the medical costs. At the moment I’m covering all expenses. I guess I will have to decide at some point what the I’m going to do, but, well, you know that paralysed feeling, so I don’t have to explain that.

The doctor mentioned that she wants to try CBT on me. I don’t start that until next week, so can’t give any advice on how that works. I only hope she means Cognitive Behavorial Therapy, rather than Cock and Ball Torture. I guess I’ll find out when I get there.

If you are worried about your health, please see your doctor if you can. They can advise you of options that maybe haven’t occurred to you.

I felt a little embarrassed to admit to struggling with ‘mental issues’ at work, but just actually making the decision to seek help, helped. It was a step towards getting out of the circle type of thinking that leads nowhere.

As for coping mechanisms? At the moment, I don’t really have anything to offer than - hey you know you have a problem, good start. You’re actively seeking help - even better. You’ve broken out of the complete mental paralysis, so that’s one of the biggest steps out of the way.

Good luck, and I hope you find some of the Dopers advice helpful.

Thanks Ruby – yes, I can’t talk to him at all any more; something always happens – he takes offense over the slightest thing and then feels he needs to discuss what happened with the team. BTW, he didn’t hire me - he’s always talking about the lame team he inherited; I am second on the list, he got rid of the last one.