Re: I Can Really Pick 'Em, Can't I?

Subject: Re: I Can Really Pick 'Em, Can't I?
From: Bill Swallow <techcommdood -at- gmail -dot- com>
To: Cathy MacDonald <camacdonald -at- core -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 15 Feb 2006 12:46:41 -0500

> I work for a company mired in the Stone Age, but that's not really the
> problem. It's that the boss is an argumentative, rude, vulgar despot (but
> close to retirement) who, if HR policies were actually enforced, would be
> sent packing to Sexual Harassment Court, Miss Manners, and the Decency
> Police. Unceasing torrents of obscenities rain down on everyone at work,
> including his wife, his boss, and people that don't even work for him...on
> speaker phone at unbelievable decibels. If an engineer misspells a word in
> an e-mail, he'll give him a public tongue-lashing, and then bellow, "What
> kind of %&# -at- ! idiot can't spell <fill in word>". He's rather fond of young,
> passive, female underlings because they don't have the nerve to shout back
> when he gets going on his daily eight-hour rant about how stupid everyone
> else is.

There is such a thing as an abusive work environment. If HR won't
handle it on their own, then a well-placed a lawyer will ensure that
they will. No one should put up with this kind of treatment, whether
it be from a near-retirement manager or a neophyte employee. The neo
would be tossed out quicker than the doors could open. There shouldn't
be an exception for the near-retirement person. I certainly hope HR
and this person's manager and employees are documenting these
incidents. If not, why the heck not???

> When he
> starts to spout the most ludicrously misguided lunacy, two inches from my
> face, I don't know whether to laugh or cry, since he will eventually shout
> me down until I just walk away in disgust. Again, this happens to nearly
> everyone there except the most vulnerable, who would melt into a puddle if
> he looked at them sideways.

Why do you wait before walking away? I certainly wouldn't stand for
such treatment.

> Okay, long story short...the boss has now put me in the middle of a turf war
> between two departments; one is the one Dear Boss and I work in, the other
> is a rival department. Dear Boss is afraid of the rival department's boss
> (a woman who to me is friendly, intelligent, effective, and assertive in a
> good way) and he therefore forces me to do his dirty work. He frequently
> tells me to call this woman (a manager) and ask questions he's too spineless
> to ask. He tells me to make suggestions to her about how to run her
> department; for example, he wants ME, a tech writer, to implement barcoding
> on the production line. Then, when I haven't delivered enough intel to him
> (those questions no one would think to ask), he makes me go to the rival
> department again...and again with new questions. And we're separated by 15
> miles. I can imagine that this is beginning to ruin my relationship with the
> rival boss, who's showing some signs of exasperation. Rival boss has told me
> to ignore him, but that's easier said than done when someone's shouting in
> your face. Besides the HR person (completely spine-free, as well), she is
> the only woman in the company with the title "manager." Greetings from
> 1947!

Dont' allow yourself to be put in that place. If all else fails,
salvage your relationship with the Good Manager and work out a "plea"
for you to deliver to your boss, and if/when he balks, immediately
escalate to his boss. Provided, of course, his boss isn't his golfing
buddy or father-in-law. ;-) You did mention 1947. ;-)

> I was hired as a tech writer 6 months ago, yet I have not written one word
> since I arrived. Needless to say, I'm looking for a new job. I really like
> my co-workers (except for you-know-who), the pay is average, I have a short
> commute to an area of town that is rife with crime, but I don't know how
> long I can stand the boss's demotivating, demoralizing badgering. I've done
> contract writing for many, many companies, but never once have I worked for
> a company that would allow this kind of stuff to go on.

Might be good to leave, then. But, demand an exit interview with HR
and your boss's boss. And, it helps to have had a conversation with
the Good Manager and with your boss as I detailed above before going
through with the exit interview.

> My friends, in a not-so-hot job market, what would you do if you had to
> endure this stuff for up to a year more?

I'd put my foot down, call a duck a duck, explain how you're not
performing as per the job description you were hired under, that you
WANT to do that type of work, work out excellent professional
relationships with the good people there, be in constant contact with
HR, and follow an escalation path if you see no improvement. Oh, and
all the while, do have your resume polished and ready.

> Even if you don't have a solution for my diurnal nightmare, thanks for
> listening.

Any time. :-)

Bill Swallow
HATT List Owner
WWP-Users List Owner
I support Char James-Tanny for STC Secretary.

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I Can Really Pick 'Em, Can't I?: From: Cathy MacDonald

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