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Tips for Dealing with Unrealistic/Oblivious Boss(es)


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So, now to put the pay cut into perspective.

It doesn't really affect me. I mean, it feels like a kick in the teeth. But at this point, it's just a gesture. A big, "I Don't Appreciate You," from Simon to me. 

First, let's factor out that stupid carrot that they dangled in front of me, where I supposedly might be able to have my full salary restored in June. Let's just write that off as Not Happening.

This is week 8 of 2021. There are 44 weeks left in the year. If I slog through and complete the next 44+ weeks at this company, I will have taken the pay cut. 

But I don't plan to be here much longer. So that reduces the impact of the pay cut quite significantly. Ideally, I'll be out of here in 2 weeks. Maybe it will take more like a month or two months (please, god, no). But it's still not 44+ weeks.

And yes, I would definitely consider a lower salary when selecting my next job. But I don't put that in the same category as this one, somehow. 

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Finally got offer. It's better than I expected. I told them I'd let them know on Monday, but I'm 99.999% sure I'll laccept. Goin out to celebrate.... 🎉

I think you said the right thing. I would imagine you want them to expect quality work from you. And you are human, so you can only produce quality work when your workload is at or below a certain lev

Sorry you are going through this. I know how it feels to be with a company you care and work hard for but they ignore you every time you express or address your concerns/aspirations. I posted my work

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6 hours ago, Jibralta said:

I had a pretty sleepless night last night. It's funny, because at around 7PM, I felt exhausted. And after the day I'd just had, I wasn't surprised. I thought for sure I'd sleep like a rock. But my mind kept spinning, as often happens during times like this.

So, I got up and started posting around on here. When I was looking something up in my journal, I noticed this post from just over a week ago:

And it just drives home Arnold's point so much more. No wonder I've felt this way. Simon has truly been using my work ethic against me. Deliberately ignoring and minimizing the value of every extra effort, and every extra hour that I put in.

He's onto something there. Somebody like me always tries to solve problems. The harder the problem, the harder I try. I feel a great sense of satisfaction when I succeed--a solved problem is its own reward. I don't actually know what to do when I can't solve a problem...

As an adult, in a professional setting, I don't think I've ever been in a situation where I've been totally powerless to solve a problem. The feeling is not pleasant. It kicks me into a weird kind of overdrive. It makes me try harder and harder in this blind, desperate sort of way, like I have no brain, only reactions.

I bet that Simon thinks that I'm desperate for his approval. How bizarre. He truly does not respect me. 

I know that I do tend to want to overachieve, but it's not because I give half a fck about him or anybody else. It's because it's my hobby. I simply enjoy the feeling of success. If he thinks that he can cash in on my little compulsion, and lead me around by it as he would lead a bull by its nose, I'll just adjust my coping mechanism. I'm not a fcking bovine.

 

I know you're not Christian, but there's a Bible verse that literally warns not to, "cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them (the pearls) and then turn and tear you to pieces...."  With some people, I know it sounds awful, but they literally are not capable of appreciating something of value... like a pearl, or wise advice, or someone who works and solves things and is actually trying to help their company.  

When you cast your pearls before someone like that, a swine unfortunately as it's called, you're allowing them to harm you because you watch them trample your pearls under their feet (he doesn't care) and then they actually may turn and try to harm you.  When they demote your pay... that's turning everything around and harming you.

You responded perfectly to it.  Letting it go psychologically is basically the only way you can come out of this well and with more lessons learned I think.

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17 hours ago, Jibralta said:

Exactly. 

It's crazy, because I literally like all of the people who work there. The bosses just aren't accountable.

 

 

Yep, I was friends with everyone at my old job including my bosses. The ones that were playing office politics were people I've dined and drank with, met their families a handful of times (for four plus years). The bosses that listened to me but did nothing - I still like all these people. I just don't like their work style that have perpetuated a broken working culture.

This type of work culture is a constrained work environment. People who want to grow because they know they can perform better in other areas (me) or people who like to problem solve (like you) will never thrive in constrained work environments. That to me, has always been a top to bottom problem. I know people are going to say "Hmm that's everywhere you go." No it's not. That mentality people have is also why people stay in these sh8t places.

In the end, if you have crappy bosses who don't want to manage, bosses who don't want to hear any criticism, bosses who arent open to change, bosses who don't care about their employees' mental state, bosses who lack the foresight - the work culture will suffer and work isn't work any more. It's a toilet hole environment. 

I would just be happy your time there is coming to an end and just keep thinking about that and not focus on anything else.

 

 

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3 hours ago, maritalbliss86 said:

I know you're not Christian, but there's a Bible verse that literally warns not to, "cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them (the pearls) and then turn and tear you to pieces...."

Actually, I am Christian--I'm Greek Orthodox. But I'm not very devout. I love the beautiful churches, though, with their incense, candles, and chanting. My boyfriend is Jewish. But he's not very devout, either.

I've heard of this saying before. I always thought of it more as "don't waste your time because the person is incapable of appreciating what is before them." But now I see the more sinister side. Yeah, they harm.

 

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Today was quite an emotional roller coaster. After my morning meeting, I just felt deflated. Nothing bad happened, sht was just starting to sink in. 

My boyfriend came over and sat with me. He suggested I quit my job today and relax for a few weeks while I hunted for a new job. I considered quitting and felt instantly better! Then I decided not to quit because just thinking about it made me feel better.

I called my mom and told her about my pay cut. My mom can be a little weird. She never really took my side when I was a kid, and even though she's gotten so much better with age, I still half expect her to blame me.

But she didn't blame me. She was really angry at Simon and Kasey, and felt totally sympathetic towards me. It felt good to tell on my boss to my mom. My mom has really intense anger. I hope Simon felt it a little.

I told her that Arnold told me to quit today, and she said, "But you're not like that. You see things through to the end." I guess I was kind of hoping she would say, "That's a good idea."

I had to drive out to the satellite office because I thought I forgot my notebook there. I didn't want it to fall into the hands of Kasey or Simon. There isn't anything terrible in it, but I've definitely written "fck these people" in my notes during a couple morning meetings.... no need for them to see that lol. 

I packed up all of my personal belongings at the office yesterday and brought them home with me. Even though my notebook turned out not to be there, it was good to go back and scan the place for anything that I might have forgotten. 

The work backdrop of all of this was me waiting to get a revised grading plan so that I could begin working on it. So, for 3 hours, I had nothing to do. Which doesn't look good for me, even though it's actually Simon and Kasey's fault. Which means it's my fault lol.

I did email Simon and Kasey to see if there was anything else I could be doing, and I got one of Simon's maddening replies that somehow didn't let me off the hook for somebody else not having the drawings ready. But this is the backdrop that I have become accustomed to, so no big thing there.

I traded messages with Bill during the early part of the morning, basically about nothing, trying to nail him down to a time for a phone call. This was the real tension of the day. Finally, around noon, he gave me a time:

image.png.cef1d7af9007a00a3e79988f10b37a3e.png

I thought that the 2:15 time posed a problem, because I was supposed to host a technology meeting during that hour. But I decided I'd come up with some family emergency and excuse myself from the meeting when he called.

Then I realized the technology meeting wasn't until 3PM, which was a relief. Then my coworker who owed me the grading plan tried to schedule a meeting with me for 3PM--the funny thing was, almost everybody who was invited to the technology meeting was in the project meeting. I urged him not to hijack our technology meeting, but he didn't respond.

As 2:15 approached, my anticipation increased. I didn't think the call with Bill would last more than 45 minutes, but it could. Then 2:30 rolled around, and Bill didn't call. Then 2:45 rolled around and no Bill. I tried texting him. No response. I tried to check LinkedIN and the fricking site was down!!

I was really stressed now. Then I tried to print the grading plan and it wouldn't print. Then I started the technology meeting and nobody joined.* Then my coworker rescheduled his meeting for 3:45 - 4:45, so it would be another 2 hours before I could possibly talk to Bill.

But I did eventually talk to Bill. It was a really good conversation. But I still have to wait. 😭

-------------------------------

*They did eventually straggle in, but it felt really crappy on top of being stood up by Bill and not being able to print.

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Even though my conversation with Bill was reassuring, I've started applying for other jobs. I applied to two jobs this morning.

This stresses my boyfriend out. He's invested in me going to work for Bill. I explained to him that I have to have options, in case things don't work out with Bill. I can always say, "no," IF they offer me a job.

There is one job that I would really have to think about, though. It's with a company that I've been eyeing for ten years. I did a couple contract jobs for them. They offered me a job twice, and both times, I had to decline. 

I haven't applied to the job with this company yet because I want to get the cover letter right. I started it on Monday, and I'll probably finish it up and apply today. This is the one that my boyfriend is really worried about, because it could change my direction. 

I get it. But I think I still have to try.

It's now been about a month since I began the process of updating my resume. At that time, it was almost a subconscious effort, a way of self-soothing. 

I didn't realize how badly I wanted to leave this job until Bill contacted me, and I realized that I actually might be able to leave! I was ready to fly out the door.

That first week of waiting for him to offer me a job was agonizing. And learning that I'd have to wait even longer was sooooooooooooo disappointing. I don't want a repeat of that situation if this whole Bill-thing falls through.

I'm sure this whole experience has been good for me somehow, lol.

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4 hours ago, Jibralta said:

This is the one that my boyfriend is really worried about, because it could change my direction. 

Because you will be doing something relatively irrelevant to what you want?

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1 hour ago, dias said:

Because you will be doing something relatively irrelevant to what you want?

No, it's still in line with my goals. More in the construction sector, though. And I love construction. If I work for Bill, I'll receive mentorship in the architectural sector, which I also want. My boyfriend just feels that Bill is the safer bet where mentorship is concerned.

Mentorship is something that I asked for during my interviews at my last two jobs. Both times, I was assured that I would receive it. But both times, they didn't provide it. It was even in my work agreement this time, and they didn't provide it. 

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Just googled "toxic boss" in preparation for work today (lol), and found a really interesting article Harvard Business Review about the mentality of toxic bosses.

I think the article is right on target when it states that these people "care more about their social image than actually changing how they act." 

On some level, that's been obvious to me with Simon and Kasey. But it's good to see that this characteristic has been recognized by others. 

https://hbr.org/2021/01/stop-making-excuses-for-toxic-bosses

Quote

.....the offending bosses reported taking multiple steps to repair their social image. Specifically, they reported that they engaged in impression management behaviors, such as doing small favors for employees with the express purpose of getting employees to view them more favorably, while also engaging in self-promoting behaviors like highlighting how hard they work or showcasing past successes. However, these bosses did not admit to engaging in behaviors aimed at genuinely repairing the damage done by the prior-day abuse, such as offering a sincere apology.

On February 3, when Simon called me and yelled at me for a half an hour, his primary concern was that I was trying to make him "look bad" with my email about QC. And his secondary concern was that people were saying that he couldn't be reached. 

Instead of listening to literally anything I said, he "pulled rank" called me "inappropriate" and "put me in my place" (all of these are his actual words) as he shouted me down with truly absurd arguments that actually invalidated several of his prior arguments. It was fascinating, to be honest. I still sit in amazement when I think about it.

Simon's solution to the problems he denied having was to call a company-wide meeting to announce that he was in fact reachable, and that the company QC policy was appropriate. He didn't try to solve the problem; he just whitewashed it. He did the same thing over the summer, with the survey meeting. This is his way of "taking things seriously," as he indicated to me during our meeting this past Monday.

ANYway, back to the article....

The article that I read links to a few studies. Through one of these, I learned about the concept of "ego depletion." Ego depletion is based on the theory that self-control "draws upon a limited pool of mental resources that can be used up." In its explanation, Wikipedia compares self-control to a muscle, "which can become both strengthened and fatigued."

It is actually a very interesting concept, and I am going to continue looking into it. I think Simon is a good example of someone who is very susceptible to ego depletion. He has very limited mental resources and is tapped out after the slightest exertion. This explains his bizarre outburst on February 3.

I, on the other hand, am like the Arnold Schwarzenegger of self control. I have a very deep pool of mental resources that I can draw from. I am always able to dig down farther, no matter how painful. But maybe this isn't exactly a good thing. Maybe this makes me more prone to remaining in abusive situations? Or perhaps enduring them longer than I should?

I'm not sure. Looking back at my behavior, I do see that I tend to mobilize in the direction of exit before I start admitting to myself that I am unhappy. By the time I am outwardly identifying problems and complaining about them, I have already updated my resume and started browsing the job market. Some subconscious part of me is aware of the problem before I am consciously aware of it. 

Maybe I should start observing my own behavior and taking cues from it.

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As I often do during times of trial, I am absorbing as much information as I can about how to deal with the problems that I have.

I recently watched an interview between Oprah Winfrey and Tom Brady, on the Super Soul Sunday program (available on Youtube!).

I love the sorry of Tom Brady, because everybody doubted him in the beginning. He almost didn't get drafted into the NFL at all, because nobody saw potential in him. Twenty years later, he is arguable the greatest quarterback of all time.

In this interview, Oprah and Tom discussed the fact that you learn the most about yourself when you appear to fail, and when things don't go the way that you want them to go. Tom Brady said, "It's hard to be critical on yourself when you're winning."

I guess a lot of people might ask, why should you be critical of yourself?

Good question. I believe that you SHOULD be critical of yourself, but I haven't really questioned WHY I feel that way. 

I'm a competitive person but I think I have a good sense of perspective when it comes to winning and losing. I don't need to win at all costs. Actually, I don't WANT to win at all costs. It ruins the experience for me.

I like a fair fight. If I'm not beating a skilled opponent, I'm not really achieving anything. If I lose because someone is better than I am at something, it just makes me want to get better. Maybe I'll never be better than they are at something. But I like to try anyway.

Tom Brady says that when you lose, you think back on every decision that you made, every thought, every action, every step that you took. You weigh those out and you try not to repeat the bad/ineffective ones.

I think another benefit of losing is that you get the opportunity to see what your opponent is doing right, and you get to learn from that. 

Obviously, that's what's happening with me now, while I'm in this position with my job. 

With my job, it's not a competition. But there is an end goal. I want to realize my full potential. I don't want to scrape through my career as a pale shadow of what I could be. So, I set challenges for myself, and I push forward in the direction that I want to go.

I can't control the opportunities that present themselves to me. All I can do is be open to them. And that means that I have to treat my failures as opportunities. When I suffer unfairly under bad leadership, I don't get to learn from what my bosses are doing right. But I do have an opportunity to learn from my bosses' mistakes. I also (aggravatingly) get to learn about my own capacity for strength, endurance, and resilience.

I guess it's better than nothing!

The major challenge I face here is that I have to separate myself from bad leadership, and the effects of bad leadership. It's surprisingly difficult to do so.

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Here's an excerpt from a letter that Tom Brady read during the interview:

"If you’re lucky, you may get picked last, you may ride the bench, and many times the team may move on without you, and you come to recognize that, in return, you are given the chance to earn the greatest edge of all and one that can never be taken away:

"WILL.

"HEART.

"To anyone who feels left out or is afraid of trying their best for fear of failure, you are not alone. The magic you’re looking for is in the WILL of trying and not giving up. The love of your dream is in your HEART. 

"One day, you will look back on your life and appreciate the struggle and have nothing but gratitude for everything that happened along the way. 

"To anyone who is struggling early in the morning or late at night in pursuit of your dream, struggles that many will never see, and to any leaders out there who believe in someone who doesn’t yet believe in themselves…

"Keep going.

"Keep going.

"Because WILL always finds a way."

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3 minutes ago, Jibralta said:

Good question. I believe that you SHOULD be critical of yourself, but I haven't really questioned WHY I feel that way. 

 

Just my opinion... being critical of yourself is good because it helps you correct things you may be doing wrong.  It stops self-destructive behaviors... it means you're open to other people seeing flaws and reasonably correcting them yourself.

Even bad criticism sometimes has an element of truth in it.  In general, looking at yourself critically or listening to good criticism, finding the truth in the bad/unhelpful criticism, all of that leads to a person becoming a better person overall. 

It leads to growth and growth is good and positive... it matures you and helps you handle things differently the next time.

Too much criticism can be destructive and harmful obviously, but most people know how to reject criticism that isn't founded in truth (unless it was part of their upbringing and they internalized it AS their truth!).

 

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That last post you did reminds me of the value of being underestimated :D There is a lot of positive stuff that can come from people underestimating you.

I know it can be painful... and unfair... and all the negative things.  But it also has this potential to really bring forth positive outcomes as well.

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Yes, I agree. I have to admit, I favor a struggle. But it does get really, really hard sometimes. Like right now, I just want to scream. There is just so much tension in me. I wish I could press a button or flip a switch and stop caring.

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25 minutes ago, Jibralta said:

Like right now, I just want to scream. There is just so much tension in me. 

Well, take a quick drive somewhere in the countryside and scream, let it out. Or smash some plates like a true Greek! It does help, I am not kidding. Be careful not to be the expensive crockery though. 

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Posted (edited)

I got a call back on Friday for one of the jobs I put in for. I missed the call, but returned it and left a message. She called me back today and scheduled a 'phone screening' for later today.

My boyfriend was stressed out when I told him that I started applying to other jobs. It actually became a little bit of an argument. He thinks I should wait for Bill.

I told him I am waiting for Bill, but I need to start getting some irons in the fire in case the thing with Bill falls through.

I applied for a couple more jobs today, including the really enticing one. I think I have five applications out now. 

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Bill sent me this around noon today:

image.png.68b145e374250fe853b075ff89f5d6b3.png

It's basically a screen shot (within a screenshot!) of his potential client saying that they've been very busy, but will reach out this afternoon. I appreciate that he updated me. I was trying not to worry about not hearing from him in almost a week. I noticed he says "two larger projects" in his message.... I thought he'd said there was only one still outstanding?

Anyway, I had the 'screening call' at 1:30 for the other potential employer. It went well, and now I have an interview on Thursday at 4PM. This sounds like an interesting job. It's mostly infrastructure, which I really like. The construction is massive, and I could make great contacts. It's a fairly large company, too, with good benefits. 

The lady doing the phone screening asked me if I'd applied to any other places, and if I'd had offers. I told her yes, and that I was waiting for offers to come in. She asked me if there were any offers that I was ready to jump on, should they come in, and I said that I didn't know. "I really have to think about it," I said.

Even though Arnold is stressed out about me taking a different job, he was still excited that I had an interview of sorts, and listened to the conversation. His only concern is that I'll end up somewhere that makes me miserable again. He thinks I'll be happy working for Bill. But who knows?

Dinah and I worked through the whole of this past weekend because Kasey said they absolutely needed the drawings by Monday, Simon absolutely couldn't cancel his meeting for Monday. Then lo and behold, Monday rolls around. We get Simon and Kasey the drawings. And Simon cancels the meeting. Not a word to us about it until the actual meeting time. They knew we were working over the weekend, too.

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Posted (edited)

When I took Algebra II in high school, I learned about asymptotes. The google definition of an asymptote is "a line that continually approaches a given curve but does not meet it at any finite distance." That's a great definition, but an illustration may define the concept more clearly for some:

image.png.f0d66dc26f256db8b5209fc36f1392c9.png

I think the term "asymptotic" describes my career arc at the moment.

Here's how: The red curve represents my current trajectory, and "progress" is defined as the red curve crossing the x or y axis at any point.

Examples of "crossing over" include being offered the job that I'm interviewing for tomorrow, Bill offering me a job, or another potential employer offering me a job. And, of course, me actually taking the job (and blissfully blissfully resigning from my current position).

I am growing ever closer to progress, but never quite making progress. It's like running a race in slow motion. 

image.png.b248d052c3ae46a5e338b1111446df22.png

It's interesting to see the parallels between Bill's situation and my own. He's pestering the potential client. I'm pestering him. The irony is not lost on me.

Also, he's full of sht a little.... never did he indicate that he was "a little concerned" earlier. I do understand his position, though. You have to keep people on the hook sometimes.

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I know it sounds crazy, but I loved learning about asymptotes in college!!!  I loved how they could get closer and closer to an axis (something that is authentic), and yet never actually touch it!  Sooo close, and yet never able to pin it down! 

The infinity and eternal properties of it fascinated me, especially in regard to spirituality.  Math is so beautiful and profound!

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