Quitting a toxic work environment
September 2, 2010 7:38 PM Subscribe
How to quit a job when the company is small and the boss unstable?
posted by anonymous to work & money (41 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
A friend of a friend helped me get what seemed like a promising job at a small company. I've been working there one month. While the job is in my field, it isn't my dream job. Hiring/firing is at-will in my state.
Within a week of working there, each of the seven employees who work there came to me privately to tell me that I should get out now. One quit within two weeks of my hire date, and another is threatening. I learned that dozens - dozens! - of people have quit or been fired over the last three years. (The company has only been around for four.)
The problem is the boss - he's charming when you first meet him, but a terror to work for. Mean, bullying, sexist, condescending, and a terrible, intimidating manager who makes life hell for his employees. He's the President and CEO of the company and has private funds. He doesn't have to account to anyone. I've left each work day with knots in my stomach.
The issue is that since I'm new - and thus, a novelty for him - he hasn't been awful to me, but I'm told this is his pattern. I've seen him reduce the other employees to tears on a daily basis. Half of the work day is spent figuring out how to get him what he wants, which is ever-changing and confusing.
There is no HR. I know I want to quit, but I'm a bit of a delicate flower and I worry he'll blow up and be nasty to me if I tell him face-to-face (as he did with the employee who quit a few weeks ago). However, I've never cut and run for a job, or quit by e-mail or letter. He's a prominent person in the community, and a D-list national celebrity. Burning this bridge will burn a lot of others for me.
How do I proceed? My current plan is to go into work tomorrow and tell him face-to-face, and hope for the best. I tend to turn red and get tearful in confrontation. What's the best way to present the news, knowing his temperament? Should I give him the news another way since he's such a loose cannon? How do I extract myself from such an intimidating, stressful work situation with the most dignity and class?
Thanks for your help.