Bullying by my new boss? Please advise how I should deal with this

(10 Posts)
LifeHope11 Sun 03-Feb-13 20:15:05

I joined my current company last summer, within a couple of weeks both my manager and my manager's manager (the 2 managers involved in hiring me) left without working notice. Whether voluntarily or pushed is not known.

At the time I took the role it was explained to me by them that although ostensibly an admin role, I would in reality be involved in all aspects of the department's work so would be a great opportunity to step in my chosen profession. I already have the necessary professional qualification.

The next few months were chaotic but rewarding as I had to take on much of the manager's work as well as my own so got lots of valuable experience. I passed my probation and made clear to the director, who has also since left, that I had taken on the role for the professional opportunity it offered.

At the end of last year the new dept manager was recruited, and I am fast becoming extremely unhappy. All the work I am getting to do is of an admin nature - booking appointments, arranging meetings etc. not that I object to doing this - of course it is necessary - but don't want the job to consist just of this now. I should be having a work review but this has been delayed week on week.

I am also unhappy about the way new mngr is communicating with me. She is picking apart things like the way I am wording meeting invitations which is not to her liking, the fact that I am emailing her queries instead of discussing them in person. Worse, she is doing this in front of my colleagues and other team member, eg critiquing everything I am doing at team meetings.

The other day she stormed into the office in front of other colleagues, and accused me of 'making her look unprofessional' because a person she had asked me to call back for her, had called her again before I had been able to do so. This all in front of said colleagues, who are not spoken to in the same way, which is upsetting for me as it is embarrassing and humiliating for me that it is done in public - I feel that if there is anything I am doing that she wants done differently it should be discussed with me in private.

I have been fretting about this all weekend, not sure if it is bullying or not but I certainly feel bullied. I feel that in the first instance I need to address this with her but would really appreciate some advice as to how to approach this.

queenofthepirates Sun 03-Feb-13 22:34:07

I would suggest nipping this in the bud as quickly and painlessly as possible. If you feel you can be, raise yourself up to your full height and assertively tell her to behave herself. Well almost. I think you need to challenge her behaviour, ideally in front of colleagues and perhaps ask her to explain exactly how you want whatever job it is done.

People like this, in my experience, thrive on your public humiliation so don't give it to her. If she catches you off guard, say something like 'I beg your pardon' to show you won't be spoken to in that kind of tone.

Give it a few weeks then if she continues, quit before she shreds your confidence and self esteem. Please don't stay, you are worth more.

LifeHope11 Sun 03-Feb-13 23:10:45

Thanks for that queen. I was intending to talk to her tomorrow about this. I am worried that I am being over sensitive but I do want to insist on her not communicating in this way in future. I may be burning my bridges/insisting my way out of a job however

I was planning to keep a diary of dates/incidents and also contacting my union (it is not a unionised workplace but I am a member). I am conscious that I probably have little redress as I have not worked there long enough to claim unfair dismissal. You are right that I probably have no option to leave & am already jobhunting....just want it to be bearable while I have to stay there, can't afford to just walk out.

queenofthepirates Mon 04-Feb-13 18:00:57

Drop me a line and tell me how it goes. I've been in your shoes twice. The first time I was horribly trodden on for three years. It was awful and damaged my self confidence. The second time, I did exactly what I've advised you to do and rose up, faced my manager and asked him (in front of colleagues) to explain exactly what his problem was. It did the trick. He still niggled me a bit but not half as much as I saw him doing to other people.

CarrotsAreNotTheOnlyVegetables Tue 05-Feb-13 10:43:27

The bit about trying to stop you emailing queries and only doing it verbally is worrying. I would suspect that your manager is trying to set you up in some way as she is trying to avoid written evidence of queries from you and instructions from her. Do not let her do this. Keep emailing all requests for information and queries, and keep insisting that she emails replies. If she objects, stand your ground and insist you need this to avoid any misunderstandings. I have known of managers who have done this to specifically accuse employees of criminal wrongdoing in order to get rid of them.

Don't let this happen to you. Sorry to say, but there really is no alternative to looking for another job and fast. Unfortunately, you have absolutely no legal protection because you have been in the job for just a short time.

LifeHope11 Tue 05-Feb-13 19:44:25

Hallo Carrots, thanks that is very good advice. Yes I really am anxious to find something else asap, unfortunately good jobs are hard to come by. I do not trust her one bit, it is a gut feeling I have. I seem to be the only one who feels like this, everyone else has been singing her praises.

Ultimately I just do not trust that she is acting in good faith. I have worked for tough bosses before without doubting their integrity, this is just different. Not to brag but I have years of experience and a senior professional qualification, find it just demeaning to be asked to 'give a breakdown of all the tasks I am dealing with, how long they take you and how you structure your day' ie to have to account for every working minute. Then there is the body language, eye rolling/lack of eye contact etc. But it is all subtle and can be explained plausibly so nothing specific I could complain about.

I am worried that any potential attempt to accuse me of criminal wrongdoing/gross misconduct might happen & affect my professional standing. It is also sheer misery to be at work at the moment. So I don't know whether I should just walk out as the lesser of evils.

MyPreciousRing Tue 05-Feb-13 22:21:10

Don't leave! Why should you? Continue to email and record absolutely everything. Challenge her in front of others if she challenges you. I have worked with many bullies like this; they will move onto an easier target when you show that you will stand up for yourself. Good luck OP

doodledoodoo Tue 05-Feb-13 23:18:39

Yes, smacks of bullying.

You need to get assertive and stand up to her in front of an audience in a calm and controlled manner. It's tough but it's the only way because she will walk all over you otherwise.

She won't change. You need to decide whether you can put up with this long term. I'd be looking for another job personally.

CarrotsAreNotTheOnlyVegetables Wed 06-Feb-13 10:09:20

Trust your gut and don't trust this woman. Expect the worst from her and make sure you keep lots of written evidence of everything you do and every instruction you receive from her. Keep copies at home as, if she pulls a fast one you might find yourself barred from office files and email without notice.

And most importantly, make maximum efforts to find another job. I know things are difficult at the moment, but opportunities do come up.

PrincessUnderpaid Wed 06-Feb-13 22:12:51

1st post - be kind!

As someone who has had the pleasure of working beneath a one woman wrecking ball,my advice would be just to step up your role as best you can, be as helpful as you can (vocally especially in front of other management). Establish your own position pleasantly, it's the niceness that unnerves them in the end. Go for it, freak her out.

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