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Bullying culture at work - should I fight it or get the hell out?

(25 Posts)
carlywurly Wed 31-Jul-13 21:56:20

So hacked off - after 2 years of really good appraisals and positive feedback at work, I suddenly seem to have caught the attention of the two senior female managers, who are alpha females and, unfortunately, bullies. This has come after I expressed passing interest in going for a promotion that I am experienced and skilled enough for, but they clearly don't want me to get. Apparently my management experience elsewhere does not count for anything. They have pretty much told me this, and regularly make digs about the graduate program I started out on. It's very odd. I previously got on ok with them.

Suddenly I've been pulled into a room and given a keeping in touch meeting where a list of my recent mistakes has been produced (on the lines of having accidentally photocopied a post it note along with a batch of minor internal documents) I had to sign the paper to document the meeting but am starting to worry about them accumulating evidence on me. Another example was me doing reports too quickly for other managers - apparently I should have made them wait 3 weeks to demonstrate how busy we are confused

Today I came back from lunch and was confronted in the main office about something I'd done to try and improve a process (which it did!) on the recommendation of another manager. Apparently I shouldn't have listened to them...

In the face of such absence of logic I'm a bit scared. Fortunately my salary is so shit I could probably leave if I needed to but I like my colleagues and don't want to be forced out. This happened to my predecessor..

The two women in charge have removed hr and imposed a behaviours culture to control everyone so there isn't really anywhere to go, except the directors, which seems a bit extreme.

Is there any point taking on managers like this or should I cut my losses?

carlywurly Wed 31-Jul-13 21:56:38

That was long, sorry!

Earlybird Wed 31-Jul-13 22:02:00

Who, exactly, has given you the good appraisals and positive feedback for 2 previous years?

Can you elaborate on 'the two women in charge have removed hr'? Don't understand.

As someone who persevered in a bullying culture at work, I would say to get out and go where you'll be appreciated and valued before the current situation begins to gnaw at your self esteem, confidence and feeling of competence. Life is too short to work under those conditions - if you have options. IMO.

carlywurly Wed 31-Jul-13 22:19:56

Appraisals were from previous line manager, and one of the women involved here who line managed me previously before she was promoted into her new role. Have had 4 formal ones so far at the company, all with high ratings.

Our company isn't huge (90 or so employees) and hr has been outsourced so that we use an hr manager from a local accountancy when we need specialist advice. This is done through the senior of the two managers. Everything else is done through my team in house - recruitment, hols, pensions etc.

All this means there is nowhere to go with internal grievances if they concern your line manager, and her line manager hmm

crazyhead Wed 31-Jul-13 22:43:11

Your managers sound like pedantic freaks. I'd leave if you have good options and if there isn't a way around this (eg a parallel manager). Is there anything apart from your colleagues that makes this place special to you?

I worked once in a place where the senior managers were awful and it was so nice for everyone I knew who left and went somewhere fair afterwards, where they could energetically do their job without the fear of a blame culture.

Sure, you could pile your energy into fighting it, but it'd be nicer to pile your energy into valuable contributions you are actually recognised for and frankly into your private life.

Altinkum Wed 31-Jul-13 22:48:11

I'd go to the directors, if that doesn't work, leave, you're in effect " nt losing out" as you'd be leaving if things didn't improve.

carlywurly Wed 31-Jul-13 22:49:25

Funny you say that, a colleague who recently left described them as freaks when I met up with him for a drink.

Jobs aren't plentiful in our area, it's isolated and rural and this is one of the larger employers. I could waitress or work in a shop but it would be a shame not to use any of my office skills.

I also have good hours and the office is well located. That's pretty much it.

crazyhead Wed 31-Jul-13 22:56:06

Hmm....in which case, I'd look around at rival big firms, talk to some job agencies, at least get my ducks in order so I knew where I stood if things didn't improve quite soon and if it felt like a situation where I couldn't win.

It would be a massive shame not to use your office skills but there might well be other great options out there, even if there aren't lots of them.

theMovedStone Wed 31-Jul-13 23:03:18

Carly
Just do not let them to get you down

I absolutelly hate bullies
I can imagine how badly it can affect your life

Write down in diary everything what s happening
It is so important
Contact somebody from head office
if its possible

My friend long time ago had been bullied
When she finally got the currage to ask for meeting in head office they asked her for facts dates
So at that time the bullies win
When she met accidently one them two years later
she culdnt stop shaking even if she is really tough women now
IMO it is not possible to win with bullies but I would love to be wrong

MysteriousHamster Wed 31-Jul-13 23:03:38

I would speak to the directors, outline things plainly and without emotion, and make it clear you will leave if the situation does not improve. How they react will be your answer.

flatmum Wed 31-Jul-13 23:11:46

I have also been in a similar situation and persevered because it was "right" and I also advise don't, get out, go somewhere where your skills are appreciated before they damage your confidence and self esteem.

having been through a similar experience and seen a few others i firmly believe that unless you are hanging around fo a financial payout then you should move on. these kind of workplace bullies won't change and once your I. their sights they won't stop the sport. best case scenario is you will be given a compromise agreement and payout (you will never turn around opinion about you even if its lies as they will be bending the ear of people higher up the food chain than you without your control). it will be very stressful to wait it out though. I think you need to look at what is net do you and your family.

whitesugar Wed 31-Jul-13 23:52:14

I am in that situation with a boss who is a complete bully. Unless you agree with him, flirt with him and laugh at his jokes you are a target. He is utterly vile and a devious liar. Sadly I live in area with very few jobs so can't leave. I have to constantly work hard not to let him affect my life. I would recommend you look for other jobs whilst you are in your current post. It is not worth the energy putting up with crap when you can't change it and you have other options.

carlywurly Thu 01-Aug-13 18:32:42

Thanks everyone. We are the head office and there are only 2 directors plus a lot of external ones (can't go into more detail without outing myself and I need to be careful) so my options are very limited. Spoke to another team leader today and she advised me I was in a strong position to stand up to them as I can leave if I need to. It's not a wealthy area and many others are totally stuck.

Only a handful of managers and the one I have issues with is the most senior with tonnes of influence. The only way is to whistle blow, maybe anonymously to an external director or the chairman but I need to be ready to leave if that happens.

I fucking hate workplace bullies. Basically, a couple of women are making life hell for most of the company. Virtually everyone else is lovely.

arsenaltilidie Thu 01-Aug-13 18:54:40

Biggest mistake you made was not speaking up at the time of appraisal.
"I respect you, but making an issue out photocopying the post it note is ridiculous"
Speak up when they say things like you should've waited for 3 weeks to do a report.
The point of speaking up is to them respect you and think twice before messing with you.

As for the promotion, start to speak to other people and get yourself known, you may need to seek pastures new.
Tell them you think you can do the job and never let them or anyone undermine your achievements.

JustinBsMum Thu 01-Aug-13 18:55:27

Seems odd that you are left with no one to go to except the managers themselves. Is this legal? Anyone know?

toomanyfionas Fri 02-Aug-13 00:49:05

They are absolute arses but tbh the energy required to fight and for what, I mean they won't ever back down or forgive you, is just not worth it. Put your energy instead into getting a better job. Way better. Fuck 'em.

NapaCab Fri 02-Aug-13 04:54:14

There's no way you can stay and fight for a better job. I know you're probably hoping it'll get better somehow but these two sound like a pair of witches who have everything sewn up to suit themselves.

When you're in a badly run company like that then you need to get out so these people don't destroy your career and self-confidence. The aim of their criticism and bullying is probably to get you to leave anyway.

You might as well save them the pleasure of bullying you and just move on to better opportunities. Could you commute to a better job elsewhere?

Cerisier Fri 02-Aug-13 05:01:27

Having seen how a horrendous line manager reduced a friend of mine to a wreck with poor health and shattered self esteem I would say get out ASAP. This book offers some strategies for trying to deal with difficult women at work and is definitely worth a read.

glastocat Fri 02-Aug-13 05:09:46

Leave, honestly, don't stay there unless you have absolutely no choice. This happened to me, I tried to stay and fight and ended up very ill with it all, I wish to god I had cut and run as it really knocked my confidence.

flatmum Fri 02-Aug-13 07:33:07

me too. Left earlier this year with vol redundancy and it was the best thing I ever did, seriously.

Lazyjaney Fri 02-Aug-13 09:02:11

You can't win this sort of thing, mgmnt will back these 2 up - time to start looking around. Go sooner while you still have strong ratings. In the meantime try and work out what is causing these 2 to be like this?

carlywurly Fri 02-Aug-13 20:43:20

So today, totally out of the blue, it was announced that a new team leader will be brought over to manage my team, and it's the highly reasonable, competent bloke I was managed by last year. Thank god. I can work with him. Even better, he's bringing with him the lovely guy I sat next to in my previous team. smilesmilesmile

So this provides a bit of protection & light relief from the evil twosome, who pick on everyone tbh, it's not just me.
I'm still going to start looking around, it's just not the crisis it felt earlier this week.

I'm so sorry for everyone else who has gone through this, it's utterly miserable.

EBearhug Fri 02-Aug-13 21:29:01

Excellent news!

ethelb Fri 02-Aug-13 22:11:31

Sorry but this describes exactly what happened to me 18 months ago. I would get the hell out before disciplinary starts.

ethelb Fri 02-Aug-13 22:12:33

Ahh, sorry. Just saw your latest post. Congratulations and very well done. Anyway you can start processes to get rid if them?

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