Is my boss setting me up to fail?
November 8, 2010 6:36 AM Subscribe
I’m at a fairly new year-long internship for child therapy at an elementary school and my bitchy supervisor is driving me up the wall. Please give me some suggestions for dealing with her!
posted by pineappleheart to Work & Money (22 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
My supervisor at my new job seemed wonderful at first, but after a few weeks of working with her, I noticed that she had something snide to say about how inept all of her coworkers and higher-ups are. She frequently undermines her boss behind her back; for instance, last week, her boss asked her to give a presentation to the pre-K teachers on why rewarding some children and not others with stickers was developmentally inappropriate. My supervisor agreed and quoted a bunch of research at the pre-school teachers to back up her boss’s claims. Later, when the boss left and the teachers were up in arms about having to give up stickers as a management tool, my supervisor told everybody that she’d made the research up because her boss forced her to do a presentation on such short notice and that her own boss had no foundation for any of her assertions, and wasn’t it just terrible that everyone had to give up stickers. Watching her play both sides of this petty argument made me very wary of her.
Now she’s turning her bizarre underminer behavior on me. The other week, she advised me to begin using Cognitive Behavioral interventions with a client who wasn’t really ready for it. I told her that I was nervous, but she assured me that the client and I were ready and that I needed to begin CBT. I explained to her what my planned intervention with this client would be, and she approved it. Later that week, when we went over my recordings for the most recent session with that client, she asked me why I’d started CBT when the client clearly wasn’t ready, and what had I been thinking, and did I even realize how poorly it had been going, etc. I tried to lightly remind her that we had discussed this intervention the week before, she gave me a cold stare until I realized that my only option was to meekly apologize and tell her that I wouldn’t start CBT without her permission again.
Now she’s reaming me out for not letting a child win a board game against me when she told me to stop letting children win board games all the time. She wants to know exactly why I felt that it was so important for me to win Othello against a seven-year-old, and did I think it said something about my character. I don’t know how to handle this one. Her remarks are getting cruel and personal, and I’d rather not endure them, but I feel as though she’ll react poorly if I point out that I’m following her instructions. I don’t want an antagonistic relationship with her. What should I do? I’ve got a bad feeling that she’s out to find fault with whatever I do since I’m seeing a pattern of undermining behavior from her with several other people. Is there any way I can discuss this with her without making her bristle, or should I just keep my head down and take it until the end of the year? I’d love any suggestions on how to deal with passive-aggressive bosses!
Possibly pertinent details: She’s in her late 40s and has been doing this for eighteen years or so. I’m twenty-nine, female, and have zero experience with child therapy, though I'm trying my best.