Is my relationship with my boss beyond salvage?
August 20, 2007 1:16 PM Subscribe
How to handle a relationship with my boss that has deteriorated beyond salvage?
posted by LN to work & money (17 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Apologies for the length of this in advance. This is my first post to Ask-me. If mods feel it is treading on already-ploughed ground, please feel free to delete.
I need advice on dealing with my manager, my relationship with whom has deteriorated beyond what I believe is salvageable.
My boss is a micromanager, is obsessively detail oriented, edits absolutely everything I do in the office, including my email and my phone conversations. Small mistakes on my part are blown out of all proportion (such as neglecting to make a correction to a text; said correction was indicated by a question mark pencilled in the margin), mentioned on my most recent performance review, then held up as the reason why my requests for more challenging work, new projects, and opportunities for on-the-job training are turned down. Although she hasn't said as much, the implication is clear: since I am so clearly prone to making mistakes, I can't be trusted with anything, ever again.
Speaking with her boss (asking for opportunities for new assignments, not complaining or mentioning my problems with my boss) netted me the impression that I was speaking out of turn, that to "want more" than what I had already was somehow going beyond the pale.
She didn't compete for the job she has, she was brought in by her boss' boss. She sucks up big-time to her boss and boss' boss, and claims that the only thing she is concerned with is making them look good. I get the impression she is terrified that they will be unhappy with her work and she will somehow lose favour with them or something. Her boss is terrified to say anything to her, because the boss' boss brought her in. The boss' boss thinks she's wonderful because of her detail-orientatedness, and presumably does not see how she treats others in the group.
She is highly emotional, which colours her interactions with people in the office. In a good mood, she is a mellowed-out version of "OMGIloveyourshoes,letsbeBFF"! In a bad mood, she feels free to yell at and make accusations to anyone (of a lower rank than herself) within earshot.
She appears to have the attitude that she has earned the right to be treated with respect no matter what, and often treats subordinates (even those that don't report to her) like crap, snapping her fingers at them like they were a pet dog being called to heel. She has a poor reputation among other employees in the group, as she is perceived as incompetent in all but a writing/editing capacity, but no-one is willing to say anything because of the fact that she and the boss' boss are good friends.
I've really tried to keep an open mind about this, reminding myself that she is basically a nice but insecure person, and that we all have our moments where we are not at our best and treat others badly. But I have had it - once she started making humiliating remarks about me in front of clients, I went way past the stage of "sucking it up", smiling or making nice. Emotionally and psychologically, I roll up like a hedgehog whenever she's around, protecting myself from her psychological assaults and presenting nothing but bristles. I do this as a knee-jerk reaction; which I am trying to keep a lid on. At best, I deal with her civilly but coolly, and I keep my distance as much as possible.
Her rapid-fire mood swings (and resulting behaviour changes) have reduced me to a squishy mass of nervous twitches. I have started putting the feelers out, looking for other work in the same organization, but in the meantime, I somehow have to deal with this lady! Help!