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I am overly sensitive to a new manager and his team


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Bad clients suck. If he is just one bad apple in an otherwise good raft of client feedback then I guess you can just be thankful he is paying you, no matter how much he thinks you're not doing a good job, and look forward to the day you don't have to deal with him any more.

If you have to deal with him much longer term then I can't offer much help but you should seek all the emotional support you can. I'm sorry.

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8 minutes ago, Carnatic said:

Bad clients suck. If he is just one bad apple in an otherwise good raft of client feedback then I guess you can just be thankful he is paying you, no matter how much he thinks you're not doing a good job, and look forward to the day you don't have to deal with him any more.

If you have to deal with him much longer term then I can't offer much help but you should seek all the emotional support you can. I'm sorry.

I think he's a coworker, not a client.

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Hello everyone,

I woke up today after being sad for the days and cried again.. except this time, I'm realising why I'm sad.

The manager's coldness and his team's reminds me of my mom who gave up on me and told me (briefly) I couldn't make it in life when I was 18.

When people come off as very cold, I blame myself and think that these people, more than others, don't believe in me and will treat me badly like my mom did as a punishment. That I'll never be enough and they'll make fun of me/give up on me too.

I have a long way to heal my trauma, but it'll be worth it.

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Are your parents alive? If your mother isn't completely unreachable, you might consider making peace if that's an option later down the line. It sounds like some pain to unearth at the moment so it's good to take things out and deal with them now. It can be freeing later and feel a lot lighter. 

 

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@Rose Mosse oh yes, well alive. They're the main topic in my therapy.

They are toxic and all I can do is see them as humans and agree to disagree with them. When I talk to my mom specially, I'm often reminded by her that I'm a failure and that she always wants me to be something else- even if I say that I'm happy with how things are and that I appreciate her concerns.

Regardless of that, talking with her reminds me of my trauma and reinforces it. So, I'm learning to deal with it slowly and see it for what it is. I'll never be enough for them, but I'll be enough for me.

Our contact is limited for very much the above reasons.

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I agree with limiting contact if that's the case. You don't need someone deriding you or putting you down constantly especially if you don't see eye to eye. I usually pause and think about what's going on on the other side to cause the person to say those things or pass that judgment especially in areas that don't concern them. It says more about her and the burdens she's carrying that it does about you or where you're headed. 

 

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42 minutes ago, DarkCh0c0 said:

@Rose Mosse oh yes, well alive. They're the main topic in my therapy.

They are toxic and all I can do is see them as humans and agree to disagree with them. When I talk to my mom specially, I'm often reminded by her that I'm a failure and that she always wants me to be something else- even if I say that I'm happy with how things are and that I appreciate her concerns.

Regardless of that, talking with her reminds me of my trauma and reinforces it. So, I'm learning to deal with it slowly and see it for what it is. I'll never be enough for them, but I'll be enough for me.

Our contact is limited for very much the above reasons.

Dealing with a toxic family is incredibly difficult. I am sorry you are dealing with that. I have a difficult past with my family, too. No doubt, that past has shaped many of my behaviors and interactions with other people. Only in the last few years has my family life become non-toxic, and actually, loving. But it took me many years to get there. 

It seems like you might have a gimmick (essentially, a socially exploitable need) to be enough that requires you to "keep the peace" or explain yourself in your interactions with your parents, and therefore, the people who act coolly around you. That need gives the other person, in this case your mother, control over you. One example of this is that you tell your mother that you "appreciate her concerns" after she lambastes you with criticisms. You politely and in quite a friendly way respond, allowing her to act that way unfettered. 

You do not appreciate those concerns, so you should not say that you do. Maybe, the next time you have to interact and she makes you feel like a failure, the opposite approach: telling her you do not appreciate her words, enough is enough, and she is not being a good mother to you when she acts like that- would be better. Or, maybe then leaving/ending the interaction/working in some other social consequence would work too. That might help you break the gimmick/game cycle in which you seem to be caught. 

Of course, my advice could be totally off, but I am hoping this advice and the video linked therein do help in some significant way. 

Edited by Pleasedonot5
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I was going to make a longer post sharing a similar story..but I think it comes down to how you feel in the long-term. Nobody should feel they are walking on egg shells around a person at work. I'd just try and focus on doing a great job and if it continues take next steps.

 

 

Edited by mical
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@Pleasedonot5 thank you for sharing. That was insightful.

I have put my foot down on some things my parents have done recently, but it's difficult/exhausting for me to always put my foot down. So, I agree to disagree with them. Even when I put my foot down, they don't understand where I am coming from.

@mical do share 🙂

 

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1 hour ago, DarkCh0c0 said:

 

@mical do share 🙂

 

 

Ok 🙂

First of all, I think people should be treated with respect and dignity in the workplace and a boss etc should be there more to support, coach, develop and help you to grow and not berate, bully, micromanage, criticize sharply all the time, especially in front of others.

I was a boss in my previous role and never once would raise my voice or shout, if I noticed there was a mistake or error someone did, just a simple - "Hi 🙂 Noticed xyz wasn't done / added, so if you could please add that would be greatly appreciated. Really helps us with xyz. Thank you :)" and definitely not in front of others. I think you have to have an emotional intelligence of 70 or so to not realize nobody feels comfortable being sharply criticized in front of others.

Anyway, so recently I had some very unpleasant experiences and here's what I did that helped.

Last year I was working for this very 'special' person you could say. He was absolute genius (I wouldn't be surprised if his IQ was 160 or more), but there was just one rather large issue - he lacked empathy. He was that 2% of the population you are warned about. The only emotions he expressed were - 1) dead silence and emotionless expression 2) anger and fits of rage 3) an evil sounding laugh...on a daily basis.

He would hide in the back office and leave the light on even while sneaking out because he thought all us workers would slack off. When I fist met him I introduced myself, remember this sharp long dead stare, he immediately went off doing something else. Later on that day he came out shouting at somebody and one of the colleagues said - 'looks like the lion is out of the cage again'

Anyway, so there would be constant berating, taking any chance possible to humiliate others, in front of people on slack or in person. One of the older guys has high blood pressure and the CEO must have been reading a private slack conversation between us, because as soon as he privately messaged me he didn't how to log into this platform, the boss started berating him in front of 300 people in slack for not knowing how to do his job. His BP elevated to such level he had to take few days off (and we switched to private whatsapp communication as it was clear our private slack conversations were being monitored).

I would get messages at 3:00 am during the week and even 11:30 pm on Sundays with shouting. EVERY message to everyone would end with "?!?!?" just to enhance the sharpness. "What is this?!?! Where are we ?!?!?! I need this fixed. NOW!!!" and often for nothing or just some paranoia there was a 'bug' in this system. Learned the hard way never to say the "B" word because that resulted in swearing, and a slam on the phone :D during all hands meeting.

My coworker: Oh, yeah I think there was a tiny little bug, but all fixed now

CEO:

Bug??!!!!

What Bug?!!!??

There can't possibly be a bug!! Can't believe what you did!!

!@#!@#

(phone slammed)

Anyways, the constant shouting was getting too much. He was the CEO afteral, so complaining to HR wouldn't and didn't do much. I regretted going to work each day for this very reason alone. I quit, they wanted me to stay and promised to change, it never happened, so I quit again. The final straw was when I went to visit my father who was diagnosed with cancer and the CEO wanted me to work and solve another 'never ending issue' that came with the job. He said something along the lines of "I know your father is ill, but I don't care and need this fixed. I EXPECT this solved by tomorrow, no excuses!! (father is now fine so all is good 🙂

That was the last straw. I found a better job and the weight was removed from my shoulders. I even changed industries, finally showing up to work with a smile on my face. No more in the middle of the night shouting. Even though it was great professional experience in the field, it just wasn't worth it. A life of peace at the workplace was far more important. The stress was getting too much and starting to affect my personal life, which I regret, I wasn't the happy positive person I was before.

***I also came across an interesting video from this psychology professor saying if you stay in a miserable job, after 5 years you will become bitter and age twice as fast, instead of looking 2-3 years older, you will look 10 - so that was some motivation right there! :D

Fast forward, loving the new job, but there is another similar type of person, only she is not my boss and does not have any authority over me, so this makes things WAY easier to maneuver. Even though this person goes through our work, looking for the tiniest mistake, even reporting me to our boss and writing in our group channel I was late 7 minutes :D (there was a reason, but I didn't feel the need to have to justify myself and give her that sense of power, especially since she is not my boss).

In order to out-maneuver this person who was actually trying to attack me (making up false rumors, spreading gossip, trying to damage my reputation, shouting, swearing, violently slamming fist on table), basically trying to show her dominance and have everyone fear her and report to her even though she is not a boss. She would love to be, but wasn't promoted 😉

Anyway, the way I managed to kind of out-maneuver this person was a bit complex, but mostly I was very lucky and met this amazing coworker from the UK who I am very grateful for. He is one of the most senior in the company and when he found out what was going on, he stuck up for me, defended me, reported on that person, and said he believed in my work and said I was industrious. It almost felt like a real life angel. In hindsight, I think this person attacking me was just a defense mechanism (malignant narcissism - there are some you-tube videos about it).

So, having a great relationship with another person who is senior in the company was CRUCIAL. This changed everything. Also, I did try to have a meeting with that girl, but she said "We're not friends, I'll never have a meeting" so I reported to my boss right after. I later found out another super nice guy heard the way she was talking to me and reported her.

What it was I think is that I came to work with confidence. The day before I started I did have some large responsibilities and was a boss myself. I think she sensed this and it irked her. She would say, "Any questions?" and any time I said "Im fine for now thanks, but I'll let you know" and her response was "Oh so you think you know everything don't you! " with a mean look and had a target on my back from day 1.

I was given great advice to document every negative interaction, while keeping calm and professional. If it is something that happens more than twice a week, it could be an indication of a problem, otherwise just an angry statement here and there, shouldn't be mandatory to report about, as we all make mistakes and have our bad days.

Anyways, after 4 months or so, and careful planning, documenting, having the right relationships, this person is no longer an issue to me. So far, the battle has been won. Also had some great tips from this community on how to deal with such a person so I am also thankful for that and it helped 🙂

So that's my story. Maybe just summary of points are

- If it is just a one-off issue, might be best to ignore as we all have bad days

- if it is multiple times a week, start documenting, there could be a problem

- try and make a relationship with a trusted colleague, ideally who has some authority or seniority, you will get a lot of great advice, this person can give honest opinion of your work, and also help you grow, AND if there is a problem in the future, stick up for you

- in the meantime, being calm and professional, a simple neutral "ok thanks for the input, got it" is better than responding with any emotions (and saying what you are truly feeling, which I would have gotten fired if I had done so :D)

 

 

 

 

 Hope it all gets better with your work! 🙂

 

 

 

Edited by mical
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4 hours ago, mical said:

I was going to make a longer post sharing a similar story..but I think it comes down to how you feel in the long-term. Nobody should feel they are walking on egg shells around a person at work. I'd just try and focus on doing a great job and if it continues take next steps.

 

 

You know I've had different experiences - I expect to walk on eggshells in certain situations and with certain people or supervisors -because, it's work.  Not play, not social, not my friends.  To me toxic is overused and no one should ever be abused at work in any way of course!  But I've definitely agonized over how to word an email, whether to call or email and the timing because I am concerned about making a specific impression professionally and with respect to my skills and knowledge.  Not because I'm afraid of abuse or being screamed at (and yes I've been yelled at at times -not at this job, other jobs -and, I don't know - unless it's pervasive it's still "work"). Yes, I've agonized over work product being given to a particular person where I felt more intimidated/insecure and that person's style was far more abrupt, blunt, demanding - and yes sometimes mean (again not abusive just not pleasant).

To me it's part of work life and particularly part of a work life in a high pressure, competitive, intense atmosphere with deadlines that you don't miss.  26 years ago this week I attended orientation at my brand new job out of grad school.  The director addressed us -probably 20-30 newbies.  She said "what do you do if you miss a deadline?" She gave us the answer "you don't."  And I didn't even when it meant working all night -at an office given no external internet. 

Certainly this job was not for everyone - no one held a gun to my head.  I chose it for my own personal reasons and it paid off not only financially but professionally and I worked in those sorts of environments for 15 of the 30 plus years I've been working.  

For the OP -there is nothing wrong with not wanting to work in the environment you describe -weigh the pros and cons - I did that a number of times over that 15 years - and when I returned to outside work after being my son's full time parent for 7 years I specifically shied away from those types of environments.  Huge paycut, no benefits, no room for advancement and..... perfect for me at age 50 (now I'm 55, same job, love it, rarely walk on eggshells) given my family and childcare responsibilities. 

But one reason I could be so picky was because of what I brought to the table from my past walking on eggshells and worse work experience.  But please don't think you have to work through issues of working with the type of supervisor you described if on balance it's not worth it.  Work comes in so many different forms and particularly if you're willing to sacrifice $$ and professional growth/advancement you might be able to find more compatible working environments.  Doesn't sound like you are at the moment just something to consider.  Good luck.

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On 8/25/2021 at 4:55 PM, LaHermes said:

Civilized people are able to tell others (underlings) how they want something done without demeaning them and leaving them in tears. I simply don't understand this (corporate or not).  Is corporate some sort of jungle or what!!!

I agree. Some people aren't effective leaders, and in an ideal world wouldn't be in that position. Plato discusses this (through Socrates) in his Republic. The best leaders possess wisdom, and (ironically, due to their nature) they rarely seek positions of power. Alas, we do not live in an ideal world and are stuck dealing with the imperfect. 

I've dealt with fantastic leaders and absolutely terrible leaders in my career. There are many things that make a leader terrible. Sometimes it's an insensitivity and inability to effectively deal with human beings, sometimes it's incompetence, sometimes it's narcissism (and when it's narcissism, it's inevitably also incompetence lol)....

Eight years ago, I had my first encounter with truly bad leadership. It was the beginning of my new career, and I turned to my boyfriend's brother in law for advice. The brother in law had been in the industry for 19 years, and I was stunned when he gave me what I think is the worst advice I've ever gotten in my life lol. He said, "You have to do what your boss tells you." 

I still bring it up to my boyfriend and laugh about it. Obedience to authority: the solution to nothing in the long term, save warfare and greed lol. In my opinion, the best leaders want to be challenged by the people who work for them because they are problem solvers. They don't simply quip, "well, you need to do it asap." They troubleshoot. They scrutinize workflow, take inventory, make adjustments, add or remove manpower, etc. Like skilled farmers, they understand that robust, healthy relationships are the soil for healthy profit margins. 

One thing I can say for sure is "fish begins to stink at the head, not the tail." If you're dealing with bad boss, chances are the ownership sucks at leadership. They could be making money hand over fist, but the business structure is unstable and the quality of life for people who work under such leadership will always decline and be less than it is under good leadership. Some people are comfortable with that level of existence; I have learned that I am not. Perhaps you are not comfortable with it, either. Maybe the best thing is for you to keep searching until you find the right leadership situation.

Edited by Jibralta
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6 minutes ago, Jibralta said:

"fish begins to stink at the head, not the tail."

I love this and will steal borrow it and use it!

I just got a link to an exit survey (a year after I quit!) from my previous company.  I ripped into them because I do not plan to ever go back.  This company is huge and insanely profitable, so profitable that they have literally sacrificed workers to make a buck.  So I told them that.  I told them their workplace is unsafe and incompatible with my basic values.

While I was there I practiced polite disagreement.  If they asked me to do something that was basically wrong I explained that I do not manage that way and I would do X instead.  I never violated policy and I never said "no, I won't do it", I just offered a plausible alternative that got the task done in a better way.

However, in your case a simple "I understand, I will get it done" would probably work better.  It's hard to argue with someone who's agreeing to do what you ask, after all.

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Congrats on your self awareness, DC. I have no doubt that you will turn this 'problem' into an advantage for yourself going forward.

One of the pearls of remote work is that it affords the privacy to cry and work things through.

I don't view crying as a 'bad' thing. When we reach a point of tears, it's our signal that we have cleared the decks to focus and address our Highest Self with our low point.

It makes important room for accomplishing deep work.

So when your cry, lean IN to the cry, and comfort yourself with the best self-talk you can reach for at that time.

For instance, you noticed in your cry WHY this man and his team trigger you. THAT is great work!

You're also doing the work to realize that it's your sensitivity that's causing you distress rather than this man's words.

Remind yourself that some people just have a lousy personality. That's HIS 'disability'. His limits.

Prompt yourself with self-confidence that you CAN learn to manage your own discomfort with harsh personality types.

Also, when in meetings, do NOT scramble to overcome what you regard as an objection or criticism of your work, but rather look alert, point your pen to the person speaking and then begin jotting. Your only reply need be, "Thanks, I've made a note of that." or, "Thanks, that's in progress and I'll have status for you by end of week..." or something like that. 

No need to turn such meetings into a work process--you don't need to voice details, just an acknowledgement that a point is well taken.

Head high, and write more if it helps!

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47 minutes ago, Jibralta said:

Sometimes it's an insensitivity and inability to effectively deal with human beings, sometimes it's incompetence, sometimes it's narcissism (and when it's narcissism, it's inevitably also incompetence lol)....

 

48 minutes ago, Jibralta said:

he best leaders want to be challenged by the people who work for them because they are problem solvers. They don't simply quip, "well, you need to do it asap." They troubleshoot. They scrutinize workflow, take inventory, make adjustments, add or remove manpower, etc. Like skilled farmers, they understand that robust, healthy relationships are the soil for healthy profit margins. 

Fully agree Jib.

Not having ever worked in that sort of ambience, but one does hear of the constant attempts at one-upmanship among management, due usually to personal insecurity, or taking it out on the underlings when at home the said "boss" is maybe treated like an underling. 

 

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