Human Resources/New job nightmare

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Question
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.

Answer
Lerin,

That is a mess if it is as you describe.

So in 1990 I was offered a promotion to a great HR job; 3000 people, 13 plants, 3 countries.  The job reported to the Division General Manager.  It was my first multi-plant, multi-country job.  I was on the job two days when the GM called me into his office and told me he didn’t want me on the job.  That I was appointed to the position because a higher level executive told the GM he had to take me.  It was ugly, a two year war.  He was into public “performance reviews”, embarrassment, bullying, and humiliation, and not to just me.   I told myself that either you walk out and move to a new corporation (I had 15 years in and a great reputation) or stick it out knowing time has a way of changing everything.

I stuck it out and eventually moved on to bigger and better jobs in the same corporation.

As you know you can’t pick your boss or supervisor.

You have a couple of choices.

You can assemble a file on his behavior with good documentation and go over his head and try and get him removed.  Many at work have to know he’s a bad leader.  It is risky, could get you fired, or maybe you would be successful.

Or, with your good reputation you can demand to be moved out from under his supervision but you would still have to make your case as to why.

Or, can call the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and see if you can get covered under the law to fill a harassment or discrimination complaint against the supervisor / company

Lastly, you can stick it out, as bad as he is.  So you try and be the bright spot in his day, work hard, keep your sense of humor, partner well with others, be smart with your suggestions, build your reputation despite the situation.  If you stick it out you HAVE to stay positive as hard as that is … going negative is self-destructive.

Time changes everything!  Me…, I’d stick it out!

Good luck !!!!!

Mark  

Human Resources

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Mark Eichinger

Expertise

Any type of question related to domestic and international Human Resources work. My H.R. passions include Compensation design and systems in competitive markets, Health and Safety in Industrial Environments, Performance Management, Talent Management (Hiring, Selection, Employee Development, Compensation, Creating Space, etc.), Communications, Coaching, Counseling, Leadership, and Management. Questions I cannot answer: I am sure there are questions within these categories that I may not be able to answer but my experience below would suggest those would be few.

Experience

I own International Human Resources Coaching and Consulting, LLC. www.IHRCConline.com. Previously, I successfully held corporate executive and management leadership positions from 1979 to 2007 in two $9B+ multi-national corporations. Positions included: Vice President, Human Resources for the Asia Pacific Region, Eaton Corporation; I was based in Shanghai, China. Prior to that assignment, Vice President, Human Resources International and Operations, Eaton World Headquarters, Cleveland, Ohio with global responsibility for Eaton’s Human Resources practices, international assignee management, and Regional Human Resources Directors in Asia Pacific, Europe, and Central and South America. Specifically, my experience spans work at domestic and international locations at the operating plant, division, business unit, and corporate levels and most business scenarios to include startups, closedowns, restructurings, integrations, and ongoing operations. I am an Eaton Business Excellence Assessment Examiner (Malcolm Baldrige based system). I introduced processes and process mapping into the Human Resources environment. I have extensive experience with and working in domestic and international organization matrix structures. In the Asia Pacific region, my responsibilities included, leading the regions H.R. team and processes, managing the H.R. relationship with the corporation, creating and leading the professional and general manager development programs, China’s university relations program and managing the Asia Pacific key leader’s process. I have coached managers and leaders. I am a professional listener, my style open, direct, and focused on leader accountability and employee engagement. In Summary, my career responsibility included more than 60,000 employees, 60 union and union free operations, and 45 countries. I also lived in Korea for two years while in service with the USA’s armed forces.

Organizations
SCORE – Counselors to Americas Small Business; at various locations I have also belonged to Rotary, Lions, Kiwanis and the Chamber of Commerce. I have served on Boards of medical, community and institutional organizations.

Education/Credentials
Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, Youngstown State University. MBA work Youngstown State University, and University of Bridgeport. University of Tennessee, Lean Manufacturing Certified. Thunderbird School of Global Management, Management Certified.

Awards and Honors
Corporate level awards for compensation systems, communications campaigns.

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