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Dealing with Employees/New job nightmare


Hello, I need some advice about a job I started six months ago. I work for a city government, and back about 10 months ago I heard that this position might become available. I did a prescreening with the supervisor, and everything seemed great. I knew the position would be available for a few more months, so I took a seasonal position within the city in the meantime to make some lasting connections. When the job finally opened up, I interviewed with a panel that included the supervisor I had a prescreened with. I was offered the job and excepted without hesitation. The problem started on day one of this new job. Everyone else working in the department was a seasonal employee. I asked them how the summer has been going, and they all agreed… It was the worst job they had ever had, and the reason was because of the supervisor. I was brought on to be a year-round employee, and I wondered how they could feel this way when I had had such a good impression of the supervisor. But quickly, I understood why their summer has been so miserable. The supervisor is one of the hardest and worst I have ever worked for. He micromanages everything I do, only provides negative feedback often based out of personal opinion, discounts every idea I have and go so far as sometimes make fun of the ideas that I have, bullies me and forces me to do things that make me uncomfortable, even after I express it to him, and has literally turned my life into a nightmare. The job is not what was described in the interview. In the interview, they mentioned that they wanted the person in my position to develop programs for the department, get involved with the community, and change the culture of the program. This is not at all what the job entails. In fact, I spend more time doing errands for my supervisor that I do my actual job. I've tried talking to my supervisor and asking him for more structure in the job. I have asked him how he defines the success of this job and of my position, to try to better understand how to make him happy and how to perform to the best of my abilities. He will tell me to do A, B and C, and upon doing so well ask me why I didn't do D, E and F even though those were never originally mentioned to me. He is not sticking to the agreed-upon schedule, and expects me to work constantly changing schedule every week. He uses derogatory language, and does not treat me like a professional. I want to quit this job, but I know that it could provide me with great opportunities in the future. I am also afraid that if I quit I will burn a number of bridges, as there are many people who supported me and helped me to get this position. I have consider talking to HR, as well as my supervisors superiors, but the more time passes the more I realize how corrupt the city government is and that I don't know if I can trust the people but I am supposed to be able to trust. I feel stuck, and this job is seriously affecting my life mentally and physically. I know that sometimes you have to do what's best for you, no matter who you might hurt or piss off along the way, but I really would like to try to make this work before I call it quits… I'm just not sure how to handle this problem. Any advice would be extremely helpful. For more information, this article perfectly explains how I feel about this job.

Sorry for the delay in my response Lerin. Missed your question somehow.

I can absolutely understand how frustrating and stressful your situation might be. I am glad to see that you have already given it a lot of thought, read articles, considered possible alternatives, but are still stuck. That's important - that you are still not getting in to the 'victim' state.

So let me get right to the point; rather than explain the details. If you have any questions you can let me know.

I see you want to stick to this job, not because you love the job or your boss - but for some alternatives that you see in future. So you want to continue. But you feel mentally and physically sick too and have some concerns leaving the job. That's where you are stuck. Let me address the situation and concerns one by one.

- Do you have a precise date? After which you can happily leave your job? Sometimes we use future hope as an excuse to not take action. Give yourself a precise date. That puts a boundary to the challenge as well. It's still a monster, but a finite monster. If you cannot think of a date - its probably an excuse. Get out now.

- Are you sure your planned opportunities are pretty easy and certain? If not, then is it worth the current pain? We create other opportunities when we give up one.

- You cannot be "ignore and skip" your life experience. This challenge/pain/stress will be very much a part of your life and will take you to that next opportunity. How you will PERFORM in that opportunity  will be a product of all your life experiences: good, bad and ugly. Do you think this experience will make you feel more experienced, tougher, adaptable, mature? Or demotivated, stressed, drained out? If it's the former - it might be worth toughing it out. If it's the latter - then better start creating other new opportunities now than messing up this expected opportunity later?

- About dealing with the boss: I see you have tried all tactics of trying to define your work, I am sure you would have tried writing down your work tasks etc. And it still isn't working. He still says you are wrong and worthless. There is another thing you need to do to make your steps work: KNOW that you are NOT wrong or worthless. Even if he screams it in your ears. You KNOW you will try your best, you KNOW he will react in a certain way. But you do not give up on yourself and change. Nor do you get worked up by him and try to change him.

You simply ask "Is true?".

For eg: He screams at you for not doing C, D and E.
You tell him "Oh, you needed that too. I was doing A, B,C which I noted  down in the morning"

You are NOT telling him this so that HE wont scream next time. You are telling him this to show him the light. Whether he chooses to still close his eyes is his call.

"You are useless Lerin!! Are you blaming me now? Are you saying it's MY fault?"

"No boss. I am saying that so that we can make sure I am working on what you need first"

"No!! you are just useless. you should know what's important without me having to tell you!! What am I paying you for if I tell you everything!!"

"I can try. The best I can do is to try verifying what I think with you. Shall I do that? Or do you have any better suggestions?" Say this openly and firmly. Make him part of the solution.

"No, you have to just know!!! By yourself!! I do not have the time to spoon feed you!"

"OK I will try" And then keep trying as you were. Do not let HIS problem become YOUR problem.

It's hard, but that is the only way to not make things even worse for YOURSELF.

Read my article for more directions on this:

- About burning bridges, that does not happen if you leave. It happens if you mess up your relationships with people who were WORTH better relationships, before leaving. Would you regret losing your boss' favour? If so, then you are just being needy. That's pleasing, not caring. Leave later or now. It wont make a difference anyway.

You cannot "make it work", or make him change. You can only make sure you are trying your best.

So make sure what you are hoping for, that its realistic, that its worth staying on, making sure to minimise the damage as much as possible - until you can leave. The rest is not within your control. You can still worry about it if you want. But it won't change anything :)


Dealing with Employees

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Vijayraj Kamat


I can help you in getting a different perspective on any workplace issue. Getting a neutral, balanced perspective helps when you yourself are too frustrated, stressed out or cynical to form a sound opinion of your own or to separate the issue from the person. I will give you an unbiased, practical, opinion supported by sound reasoning when it comes to: - Dealing with a difficult boss - Dealing with a difficult subordinate - Dealing with uncooperative/demotivated team members - Learning to project your work and not just completing it - Negotiating for timelines In short, any workplace related problem thats is not specific to a specific industry. I am your 'agony aunt' column for work place woes! :-) I CANNOT give solutions to precise 'technical' problems. There is a separate section for that! Go there!


I have been in the offshoring/consulting industry for about 9+ years. The intensely competitive business coupled with the extremely challenging environments makes my learning much more than the average level. Plus people management has been my interest since childhood and I have done plenty of it right since my school days. Have researched, experimented a lot in this area as well. And I always think knowledge that comes out of interest and experience is much more useful than a college degree.

Deloitte Consulting

- Bachelor in Computer Engineering - Certified Software Quality Analyst (CSQA)

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