I don't know if I should quit my job because a manager hates me
May 10, 2014 7:10 AM   Subscribe

Is it worth taking the issue to my big boss?

As some of you know I've started a new job and have been here for almost 5 months. I like my job and get along great with everyone, all except ONE person. She's like a thunder cloud when coming around. Always cranky, especially towards me. She is a manager I work with and treats me rudely. She talks a bit nicer to upper management of course.

Anyways if you read my last post you'll see that she's always kept tabs on me and reported me to my supervisor. I have since tried working on my relationship with her but it takes two to tango.

Yesterday she made "new" requests of things I should do. She got angry with me for bringing an applicant to her for an interview and said it wasn't on her schedule. I have proof she accepted the appointment!!

It's getting to the point where I'm starting to cry in my office because she treats me like I can't do anything. I feel like she tries to find something to pick on to try and report me. But the things she reports me on is out of my control. For example, complaining about an applicant not coming on time. I can't help it if they're late!! SHE BLAMES ME ALL THE TIME! No other manager I work with does this. I saw her yell and roll her eyes at her employee once because she got news she didn't like...

My supervisor asked if I felt I was picked on and I said yes. My supervisor knows this lady is "tricky" yet because that particular manager doesn't treat her as bad to my supervisor thinks that it's just "bad work chemistry". I disagree, I think she hates me and I don't know why. She asked if I wanted to take it to our HR director this issue.

I don't know if I should. This manager has power over me and seniority. They really really need her because she has a job that would be difficult to place and no one would really want her job. The HR director knows this a bit about our issue and just said to my supervisor "Well, let's try to just keep up with her requests to make her happy." Which sounds like there's no point in telling him because I'm replaceable. I'm just an entry level employee...

I don't know what to do. I get stressed and depressed over her and fear of losing my job because of her.
posted by Asian_Hunnie to Work & Money (15 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I'm assuming your supervisor is your "big boss" and your manager is not your supervisor, but has power over you and seniority as you mention.

Your supervisor already knows about the situation, I think I would ask for an opportunity (scheduled, sit-down) to talk to your supervisor about what is going on. I'd ask for reassignment to a group that doesn't include this manager.

If the supervisor can't make that happen, tell her that you feel like you're being undermined and that the manager treats you very inappropriately. Ask her what, in addition to documenting everything related to this situation (including this conversation) you should be doing? If she doesn't come up with a few suggestions, ask her if you can establish some boundaries about how she can treat you in the office, e.g. all communication needs to be via email (and you will both keep copies of it) and any concerns about your performance need to be conveyed either via email (with a cc to your supervisor) or in person, at a scheduled meeting which will also include your supervisor.

If she balks, yes, this is when you want to take it to the HR Director. Do your best to get your supervisor to come with you and treat her like an ally (which she SHOULD be) in fixing this situation.

Don't quit yet. Don't tell anyone you're considering quitting, especially Manager. Look for new jobs if that helps keep your morale up, but don't tell anyone at work you're job-hunting.
posted by arnicae at 7:17 AM on May 10, 2014 [5 favorites]

Start looking for another job. Don't quit until you find something BETTER. Not having that woman in new job is not enough to qualify it as better. Then you will be gaining something from this bad experience.
And when it comes time to quit, be honest as to why.

When I was at a job I hated, i stuck it out until the end of my contract. But those last few months when I knew I wasn't going to renew the contract but before telling my bosses, OMG did it feel good!!! I was motivated and empowered to face any bully or issue. Just let it roll right off my shoulders knowing that I was headed for something better and those butt heads trying to mess with me were just going to continue being their miserable little selves.

Good luck! I hope it works out for you as well as it has for me. :)
posted by Neekee at 7:45 AM on May 10, 2014 [9 favorites]

Start looking for a new job. It sounds like you have become so sensitive to this situation that, even if the manager tried to be nice, you would still bristle when she came into the room, which makes it a you problem and not a her problem. Do play nice with everyone in the meantime- you will need good references and, as soon as you feel like you have good leads, and are up for it, politely go to the manager and tell her that you are looking for something else because, although you respect her professionally, you don't feel like your personalities mesh, but, you do hope that she would give you a good reference if contacted. This puts the ball in her court. She may jump up and try to resolve things with you (it doesn't look good for her if people quit because of her) or she may not. Either way, you will have acted with integrity.

During your transition time, do try and realize that this manager only has power over you if you give it to her. So what if she gets you fired, you want a better working position anyway. She cannot come to your home and burn your curtains. She cannot and will not follow you through life like a bad parent, telling you all the ways that you have disappointed her. Keep your power.
posted by myselfasme at 7:47 AM on May 10, 2014 [2 favorites]

Just putting this out there: In a prior post, you mentioned this person's racist behavior -- not wanting to interview someone with an accent. It appears that you're Asian yourself. So it's possible her behavior toward you is racially motivated.

Document, document, document, and then yes, absolutely take it to your big boss. You have to stand up for yourself -- you can't be sure that you'll be able to get a job right away, and you shouldn't have to just suck it up. If you're crying in your office, this behavior rises to the level of harassment. You are not at fault here.
posted by Andrhia at 8:36 AM on May 10, 2014 [3 favorites]

From my reading, it sounds like this is not about you. You specifically cite an instance where Manager reacted negatively to someone else (I saw her yell and roll her eyes at her employee once because she got news she didn't like...).

Honestly, she sounds like your garden-variety Work Asshole. Work Assholes are everywhere, in most every company, and dealing with them is challenging. They suck away your motivation and optimism, and generally make your work life hellish. I've changed teams because of Work Assholes, and there's no shame in that.

For practical advice, I agree with the others suggesting that you start looking for a new job. If you're in a company where you could transition roles or teams and no longer work with Manager, that may be less intimidating than a full-on job switch.

Good luck. Remember, if you can, that Work Assholes are bad people who you don't owe a damn thing to.
posted by Dilligas at 9:55 AM on May 10, 2014 [4 favorites]

I don't know if you should quit, but looking for another job is always a decent thing to do if you feel the need. However, this jumped out at me:

She got angry with me for bringing an applicant to her for an interview and said it wasn't on her schedule. I have proof she accepted the appointment!!

So maybe you have some authority problems? Push back. "Should I call IT for you to have someone come down and re-teach you how to put things you accept on your calendar?" (if your IT does that kind of thing). Stand up for yourself, even if it's a boss. "Well, then why did you accept the appointment?"

If she's out of line, rope her back in, you'd be acting in the interests of the company and it sounds like she could learn herself some humility besides. I'm not saying you should be condescending or picking fights on every detail with her, but a sourpuss is going to devolve into a sourtiger if they have no boundaries at work because everybody is shying away from dealing with them.
posted by rhizome at 10:52 AM on May 10, 2014 [2 favorites]

Don't quit yet. Simultaneously job hunt AND push upper management / HR to do something about this person.

If she retaliates and things get worse, well, you're already job hunting and can leave as soon as you find something new.

If upper management / HR get her under control or fire her and you otherwise like your job, yay, you can stay.
posted by Jacqueline at 11:01 AM on May 10, 2014

I have no idea where you are, but, in the US, if you quit, you're not eligible for unemployment.
posted by HuronBob at 11:10 AM on May 10, 2014 [3 favorites]

My guess is that HR is going to paper your file to prep to fire you. You're a new employee who can't seem to fit in with a key client. There's already documentation that she complained about your work. She's giving you tasks and will document your performance. Then she's going to demand that someone else handle her HR and cite that you dismissed a qualified candidate (from your last question).

She's building the case to demand that you be fired. I don't see any of the metrics in your question that a recruitment person could use to defend her performance (recruitment, retention or new hire performance metrics). In high turnover industries, recruiting is essential. She's going to say that your weak performance is diminishing her ability to do her job.

Find another job.
posted by 26.2 at 11:58 AM on May 10, 2014 [1 favorite]

A boss that doesn't like you is poison for a job. Even if you can get reassigned or the boss quits or moves, she's been damaging your permanent record with bad reviews. HR are no help in this kind of situation, and almost always side with the boss unless there is something like blatant sexual harassment. Start looking for another job.
posted by w0mbat at 12:40 PM on May 10, 2014 [1 favorite]

Let me get this straight, she is NOT MY BOSS. She is a manager, one of the many managers of the departments we have. I'm okay with my supervisor and the big boss (her supervisor). I am in HR, so is my supervisor. But I agree, I feel like the director kind of know what's going on but because she's a big asset to the company, he'll side with her to make her happy.
posted by Asian_Hunnie at 1:50 PM on May 10, 2014 [1 favorite]

She is a client who's building a paper trail with your boss. Your boss's boss has already indicated he's on her side and not yours.

This game is already over. You're just playing mop up minutes.
posted by 26.2 at 1:58 PM on May 10, 2014

I am so sorry that you're dealing with this person. She sounds vicious and racist. Unfortunately even though it's unfair, there are many times that the people at the top who have hire/fire power simply believe what they want to believe. It does not sound like the people around you are supportive; it does sound like they're aware of her behavior and are okay with letting it continue.

You are not the first person to be driven to tears by being bullied by somebody at work; you're not the first and won't be the last. When you work with a bully like this, and you have evidence the people upstairs are aware of it and okay with letting it continue, the only thing that you can do is manage your own behavior and document everything, and then look for another job. I would suggest that you read about some of the famous workplace bullying cases, for instance the controversy at the Virginia Quarterly Review. People with far more experience under their belt can get caught up in these situations. The best thing is always to get another job. You shouldn't suffer but you also could be hurt even worse if you report it and you're not supported.

Frankly I would cut your losses, see what you can get out of the situation while you find a new place to work. I would return to advice in the previous question where it was suggested that you subtly bring some of these issues forward to your supervisor, and also change the way that you communicate some of this information. The best advice that you got was from the commentor who said that somebody young and straightforward and honest (you) appears to an incompetent bully as if you are broadcasting all of her mistakes. This woman has targeted you because she is deeply insecure. Pity this fool, and the morons upstairs that don't care what her behavior is doing to the company, get what you can out of your current position, look for a better one and take it as a lesson learned.
posted by mitschlag at 3:03 PM on May 10, 2014 [2 favorites]

Start looking for a new job. In the meantime, stand up for yourself. She's probably pushing you around because you let her.
posted by adamrice at 7:26 AM on May 11, 2014

Final update from the OP:
Hi, everyone. I don't know if I ever updated but last July I did end up leaving the company. I think many of you were right that she was building a case against me and they ended up laying me off. I was tearing up for an odd reason but super relieved and happy to finally let go.

It was hard finding another position but I ended up with a job as a recruiter 3-4 months later. It pays a lot more and I get along great with most my coworkers in the small office, of course there is that office a-hole, but not enough to make me cry at work, walk on eggshells, etc. It helped build my experience but I still need better. It's a toxic work environment I'm witnessing as many coworkers of mine are depressed because my boss sucks although he's not mean, he's just not very logical or bright lol. One year later I'm still a temp but had two raises, my coworker ended up taking over a job that's way above his pay scale and is also a temp. I still have work to do on finding a company I love and can grow with. But I take this any day over last job I had.

The crying, the anxiety, and fear was just horrible.
posted by LobsterMitten at 9:10 PM on October 13, 2015

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