We really can change

In this job I had an amazing fabulous boss. Who quit in 6 months of my arrival to go to Chicago where her husband found a new job. The second boss wasn’t as good but I liked her a lot and we did well together. After a year SHE quit. And they hired her husband who wanted to make a career change. No one wanted him but sadly he was the best candidate.

I’ve been pretty unhappy working with him. He’s a micro manager. He’s incredibly tight. He always seems terrified. He never listens. I have to tell him the same things over and over and over. And then he goes and gets a second opinion. He started giving me crap every Tuesday when I came in for our enewsletter. It was a draft. A content dump with coding is done on Monday. Tweeking, edits, and formatting is done on Tuesday. And every Tuesday I would come in with his comments on the formatting and how many mistakes I made. Which was technically none since it wasn’t due until Tuesday noon. We were not doing well.

In my previous job I had a very abusive boss. So abusive that when I quit and filed an unemployment claim based on a voluntary quit due to a hostile work environment, they approved it upon first review. That never happens. I was so beaten down that I couldn’t even interview well and had to quit knowing it was the only way I could relax enough to find another job. So I am sensitive to abuse. I’ve had a lot of problems with abusive authority figures in my life, it’s one of my lessons this time around.

Last week we sent out a php email form to our alumni. This was a new form developed by my assistant and tweaked by me. I am a newbie with php (sad but true). I am not comfortable with it. I told my boss that there were other ways to send this kind of email, like the list serv. He wanted the form. NOW. I told him that there was no way I could test it except to simply send it. Was he sure. Yes.

It went to the wrong list of people, pulled from the wrong database table. Embarrassing. eeeewwww *sigh* but not the end of a the world right? Wrong…

He comes into my office, shuts the door and starts gesturing very angrily yelling FUCK SHIT and so on. He then sits in my customer chair and proceeds to tell me that my mistake is going to cost him his job. He’s totally freaking out. Making me count lines of code etc… I finally say Look. I have admitted three times that it was my mistake. I’ve apologized. This is not productive. We know what the problem is, can we just move on to the solution? He refused to let me take responsibility and sends out an email to the list saying it was his mistake. It was at that time that I wrote his boss and told her that it was my mistake.

I called in sick the next day, which was Friday. I thought about this for days and couldn’t sleep at night. What was I to do. I really didn’t want to talk to him. I needed advice.

On Monday i went to the office adminstrator who handles HR stuff for us. I told him what had happened. He was totally pissed at my boss. Said he would tear him apart for that kind of behavior, especially the use of the F word towards another employee. Colorful language was one thing, rageful swearing another entirely. After much discussion I decided that I would talk to my boss, that I have to work with the guy as much as I’d love it if he got fired. But that is not an easy matter in a state institution.

Tuesday we get the enews out. Afternoon rolls around and boss stops by my office and sits down. I ask him to close my door. The conversation, edited for brevity, follows:

Me: I’m still upset about last Thursday

Him: Me too (he’s still visibly shaking and red in the face! OMG!)

Me: What exactly are you upset about?

H: Well, that we sent an email to the affiliates instead of the alumni. You said no problem.

M: Hmmm. I said I couldn’t test it. I wasn’t comfortable. I would never had said no problem. I would have said, uh, Problem, can’t test.

M: I’m upset at your behavior in my office. Mistakes happen and the email issue is long over. I am very uncomfortable that you felt you could fly into a rage and start swearing at me. That you would hold me responsible for your job security.

H: I am a moody person, I get angry, I yell.

M: Then you will need to do it before we have any conversations. In your office. Privately.

That was it. No apology. No personal responsibility for his illegal behavior. Nothing. I am what I am, deal with it. Uh… no.

I am so frikking proud of myself. I stayed steady. I stuck to my principles. I reported the event and got support from the main office. I reported the subsequent conversation. He is being watched. And I told an angry authority figure that his behavior wasn’t acceptable that he would have to stop behaving like that.

The next day he was kissing my ass. No apology but suddenly very meek. I think he told his wife and she slapped him around for being a total dumbass.

I think I get to move on to another lesson now. Yay! Or is that yay…

1 thought on “We really can change

  1. Way to go, Lady! You should feel really good about yourself. I was never very good at standing up to my bosses. I would just clam up and take it. I guess I should be fortunate that I didn’t have to deal with that thing very often. Maybe now you won’t either!

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