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To say this to boss?

(21 Posts)
WobbleHead Fri 22-Feb-19 09:00:30

I work in a professional services company. On a night out with clients in 2017 in talking about #metoo, one male client in his 50s got verbally aggressive with me, saying things like - women who are raped were probably asking for it/were lying etc. We had a big argument and it was awful.

I was raped over 10 years ago and his attitude and hostility were very distressing and triggering. He’s an important client however so my boss told me to let it pass and carry on working with the client, which I have. I also started seeing a psychotherapist after that incident but stopped in mid 2018 because it was too traumatic to keep going over stuff.

I try to limit contact with this client and arrange meetings with plenty of notice so I can mentally prepare. He’s generally aggressive and combative in his demeanour with us, so I tend to go in after having visualised several scenarios and how I would deal with them.

Yesterday he came to our office unannounced and wanted a meeting, he was deliberately baiting me about the quality of some work I had done. I got through the meeting and the rest of the day but was up much of the night crying. It surfaces a lot of stuff from the past - his aggression and my memories of being attacked seem somehow to be linked now.

I sent a message to my boss saying I can’t work with this client any more. Boss says it would cause massive resource issues and can I push on through for the good of the business.

I don’t know if I’m being unreasonable to hold my ground. I can’t deal with the constant threat of reliving everything every time this client is an arsehole.

Weenurse Fri 22-Feb-19 09:07:45

It is not worth your mental health.
Can you refuse to work with certain clients? If so then step away from this one.
Good luck 💐

mynameiscalypso Fri 22-Feb-19 09:10:26

I work for a professional services company (and was also raped 10 years ago) and I am absolutely shocked at your boss' reaction. I think you're absolutely right to say that you can't work with him. It's not your problem that there are resourcing issues and there will be another solution. If you went off sick (which is what eventually happened to me because the PTSD got so bad), they'd cope. I'm so sorry that you're having to deal with this as well as having to deal with the trauma of what you've been through. It makes me so angry. So yes, YANBU in my opinion thanks

Apple103 Fri 22-Feb-19 09:12:03

It would depend on your boss though, he however seems like he wants you to put your personal issues aside and keep this professional. This client had an issue about something work related so it's not like it was personal? Im not sure if you could challenge that. Maybe check with your HR about your options before speaking to your boss.

BlingLoving Fri 22-Feb-19 09:14:54

What I find particularly odd about this situation is that the client and your boss WANT you to continue working on this clients account. If I had had a huge stand up fight with a client, where clearly everyone overstepped professional lines, i think it would be generally accepted that I should be quietly r removed from the account.

So the fact that the client wants you on the account is extremely disturbing and suggests some.seriously sick power plays in which he wants you to be there and uncomfortable.

As for.your boss, he is being ridiculous and you should absolutely make it clear you cannot work for thus man anymore. I would position it as you cannot be professional ant longer and your personal feelings for are impacting the work and that he needs to find someone else to take on this client.

WobbleHead Fri 22-Feb-19 09:26:56

Bling I do have specialist knowledge on a part of the client’s business that nobody else on our team has. And yes he does play power games and can be pretty sadistic in how he treats members of his own team as well.

My main worry is that yes I don’t really have a leg to stand on because I was unprofessional in rising to the bait in our fight.

BlingLoving Fri 22-Feb-19 09:38:44

Wobblehead turn that around - HE was also pretty unprofessional getting into a fight with someone who is, in effect, a subordinate.

Could you and your boss agree that you do some of the work and/or transfer the skills but you don't have face time with him anymore? I think the mental health issue is almost a bit of red herring here - your professional relationship has really broken down and neither of you should be continuing it.

VeraWangTwang Fri 22-Feb-19 09:41:05

For fucks sake wobblehead do not put yourself through this. Being a client does not give him a licence to be abusive. Your boss needs to get someone else trained up and not rely solely on you
Look after yourself, no job is worth your health

mentallyfacked Fri 22-Feb-19 10:44:43

Maybe as another posted said offer to work at a distance from this man, he sounds awful. No job is worth your mental health OP.

Hopefully you can come to an agreement with your company so you can fulfil your job, without having to worry about this man throwing his power around

Nanny0gg Fri 22-Feb-19 10:53:33

How screwed would your boss be if you resigned? Wouldn't it make more sense for him to come up with better options before that stage?

And how important is your firm to the client?

LostInShoebiz Fri 22-Feb-19 11:26:20

This is why my company has guidelines as to what is discussed when socialising with clients and suppliers, as much to protect business relationships as to protect staff.

Sparkletastic Fri 22-Feb-19 11:32:48

Tell your boss you are prepared to advise on the account behind the scenes but you must not be asked to meet the client again under any circumstances. I'm so sorry you are having to put up with this.

WobbleHead Fri 22-Feb-19 11:40:14

Nanny I’m definitely of the view that no one is irreplaceable so there would be disruption but I’m sure nobody would die. This client threatens to pull their business fairly regularly - they are more important to my organisation than we are to them.

Plus if I resign now then I’d need to build up another 2 years at a different company before I’d get a decent maternity package again, and I feel that by leaving I would screw myself and my husband over more than anything else, because we want to start a family in the next year and his job is not secure.

mynameiscalypso Fri 22-Feb-19 12:12:52

Can you get a referral to OH? One of the conditions they placed on me for a while was not to do direct client facing work (so I did stuff in the background but other people attended meetings/calls etc). It wasn't binding but HR were very supportive in helping to implement it.

WobbleHead Fri 22-Feb-19 12:46:16

Does OH mean occupational health? Does every company have a team like that in HR?

mynameiscalypso Fri 22-Feb-19 13:58:34

It does, sorry! Ours is an external service provided by a third party but you can access them through HR.

Chloemol Fri 22-Feb-19 14:33:54

Just. Advise your boss that your health can’t take dealing with him direct but you are happy to support whoever if the front facing member of staff on the bits you have the knowledge on. I dont. know if you feel up to telling your boss any of your history, that’s up to you, but by offering to help whoever takes over with your specialist knowledge you are also upskilling that person, so surely better for the company?

user1493413286 Fri 22-Feb-19 14:40:23

Hold your ground; it’s not worth the effect on your mental health and make sure your boss appreciates that. Have you told your boss why you can’t work with him? You don’t have to give the details but you can say he triggers a traumatic event for you.
I had a colleague who was a lot like my abusive ex in how he spoke, his mannerisms etc and I couldn’t do anything as he’d literally done nothing wrong to me but I was so relieved when he left as the way he triggered things for me was so difficult.

WobbleHead Fri 22-Feb-19 18:09:18

Spoke to boss. Totally mortifying but we put a plan in place to transition me off the account.

Weenurse Fri 22-Feb-19 23:22:35

Well done

babysharkah Fri 22-Feb-19 23:28:39

Good. You did the right thing.

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