My office is a hotbed of resentment and pain

It all started at about 9:00 this morning. Well, really, it started about two years ago. Back in 2002 the company did an employee satisfaction survey. In May of this year they did a follow-up survey. My department had a meeting today to go over the results of the second survey and compare the two.

I wasn’t there for either survey so I didn’t feel the need to attend but I was required to. Going through the results there was only one significant change, which was in satisfaction with management. The facilitator (from outside the department) wanted to talk about the various changes that had been implemented since the last survey and why people thought that stat would have gone down. No one had anything to say, unbtil one woman started talking about how she didn’t have time to get her work done and she didn’t like all the overtime she had to work and it was starting to affect her health, and I thought she was going to start to weep. Her voice was cracking and she was clearly on the edge.

The department management excused themselves at that point, and the meeting immediately turned into a full-on hardcore bashing session of my boss, “D.” People hate her. I had no idea. People were saying they were afraid to speak with her in the room for fear of retaliation. The woman who did speak up with her there stated flat out she knew there would be retaliation because it had happened before. They think D is a liar, a sneak, two-faced, petty and incompetent. The consensus was that the reason the management satisfaction scores went down in the two years was because D started working there two years ago.

They weren’t much kinder to the department head, “T.” They think D is a “bully” and T is her “enabler.” One woman said that if she’d been interviewed by D she wouldn’t have taken the job. She also said that working for D stressed her out so bad that she had to start therapy. Another woman said that she worked so much overtime that her daughter asked her if she was ever coming home.

I’ve only been there since September. I saw none of this coming. D hired me (and I come to find out that she supposedly looks more favorably on her hires than others’) and she’s always been decent to me. But there was so much anger in that room, and the fear was palpable. People would not leave the room until they felt they could go to the facilitator (who I think is in HR) when (not if) the retaliation happens.