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Was I wrong to complain about my boss?

(24 Posts)
DaftCat Tue 03-Dec-19 06:55:45

I recently left my job. The main reason I left was my manager. He is, I thought at least, a decent bloke, but he’s a terrible manager. Doesn’t want to ‘manage’. He’ll tell everyone what he thinks they want to hear but won’t actually do anything.
There are about 40 employees. Working shifts. Mostly days, rotating lates and nights. Not everyone does the shifts.
Far too many things to go into as to why he’s a terrible manager, but a few are, we haven’t had a staff meeting for over 3 years. He’s paranoid that people are talking and will do everything he can to keep different grades apart, he never acts on complaints, just says he will, basically he’s terrible.
So. I came back to work in the summer after a long period of sick, it became obvious after a few days that the boss was having an affair with one of the employees. They were being very furtive, shutting themselves in his office, turning up together, leaving together, they were seen kissing in the car park, seen together on days they were both supposed to be off sick etc. In addition there were the ‘looks’, the ‘secret’ touches, the ‘accidental’ glances and brushing past each other etc.
Both parties are married.
It caused a lot of problems, people felt unsafe to speak about the boss because it was obvious that info was being relayed back to him. The atmosphere at work was terrible.
So, I started looking for another post. And found one.
The boss didn’t even bother forwarding my reference request to HR -literally all he had to do was forward an email- for about 2 weeks, he stalled and stalled, made everything difficult. By this point I was finding it hard to even speak to him.
My leaving date finally came around, after a ridiculously long notice period, and I had an exit interview with the ‘big boss’ my boss’s manager.
So I was truthful, I told him about how awful a manager my boss is. About the affair, about how it made us all feel and how damaging it is.
But. Here’s the thing. About 3 weeks before I left, my boss’s wife became very ill, and about a week later, very sadly died. So by the time
I had my interview I was really in two minds whether to say anything. But I did, because I was taking about the past, not the present.
I kept saying that obviously if the big boss was going to do anything he’d have to be very tactful and maybe leave it a while.
Somehow the woman the boss is having the affair with found out I’d been to see the big boss, and instantly told him.
My last week was last week, I only saw my manager on one day but he was vile to me, gave me the most filthy glare for ages in the canteen, avoided me all day and then when I was going home, barged me out of the way and called me a ‘fat cunt’. No witnesses to that so I didn’t respond or report it.
The woman has done this before, a few years ago she was ‘accused’ of having an affair with another member of staff, again, seen kissing etc, but he was a lower grade and couldn’t influence work matters.
He later left.
So, my ex manager thinks I’m an utter arsehole, most of the staff think I did the right thing but of course the timing is terrible.
So. Did I do the right thing? What do you think?

Singlebutmarried Tue 03-Dec-19 07:05:58

Hang on I’m confused with the time line.

The wife died before your exit interview?

DaftCat Tue 03-Dec-19 07:12:27

Yes. Just before. It was booked before she fell ill. Well, ill-er, she was ill for years before but actually died from something completely unrelated to her long term condition.
Does that make me awful? To complain about him just after his wife died? I had no other time to do it. I’ve left now.

GiveHerHellFromUs Tue 03-Dec-19 07:13:16

Part of the reason you left was because you felt uncomfortable with a situation. Whether his wife died is irrelevant (although obviously sad) because that didn't impact your reasoning for leaving.

You weren't unreasonable - you were asked a question and answered it honestly.

Obligatorync Tue 03-Dec-19 07:25:48

I think you did the right thing. I imagine most of us have left a job because of a terrible manager. I actually resigned the day I found out who my new manager would be. I'd always felt I could never work for him.
If people aren't honest, there is no chance of change.

Singlebutmarried Tue 03-Dec-19 07:37:04

You did the right thing.

His wife passing whilst sad has nothing to do with the fact he’s been consistently crap. Saying that. His bosses should have picked up on his crapness pre the affair anyway.

ScreamingValenta Tue 03-Dec-19 07:41:46

The death of his wife is very sad, but in his shoes I would feel too guilty about my ongoing affair to be worried about what a leaving employee had said about me.

DaftCat Tue 03-Dec-19 07:55:05

This is what I’m thinking - surely he feels guilt re the affair. I assume he’s taking that out on me too. Fine. Let him, I don’t have to see him again and we both know the real story.
Yes, his bosses should have picked up how awful he is, but it’s a weird workplace . He would have assured them that everything was ok and they would have accepted that.
But it wasn’t ok. The actual team of workers kept the place going, despite ridiculous rotas, mad shifts, lack of staff etc, most of us kept going and kept the place afloat, carrying the idiots who do a terrible job and who the boss refused to do anything about. The boss hated the fact that a core of us were friends and helped each other out all the time. I truly believe he’s prefer it if we never spoke to each other. But that’s not how it is.

Fcukthisshit Tue 03-Dec-19 08:08:39

You did the right thing. He is 100% in the wrong and cheating on his dying wife is unforgivable. My guess is he will be pissed off as everyone will now know exactly what kind of vile creature he is. Good luck in your new job x

Pancakeflipper Tue 03-Dec-19 08:12:16

Someone else may put in a complaint about him, and because you have already done that the picture of what he's like and his management (lack of) skills will hopefully make the higher management take action

misspiggy19 Tue 03-Dec-19 08:17:02

You did the right thing. The big boss needed to know.

DaftCat Tue 03-Dec-19 08:34:54

I suppose I should add. Both of them have been spoken to about the “affair” and both deny it. When I spoke to the woman, a while ago, we actually got on ok before all this, she just flatly denied it. I said “but you were seen in - place they were seen that they had no reason to be -“ she said “no we weren’t”.
Well you were. But she just kept parroting “we’re friends, we go to coffee together”.
He was spoken to by one of the members of staff, he just said “thank you for telling me” but wouldn’t say if it was true.
So in his eyes, I suppose I’m “spreading untrue rumours”. But it’s bloody OBVIOUS what is/was going on. Everyone knew. Our dept, other departments, the whole bloody building. They weren’t exactly subtle!

DaftCat Tue 03-Dec-19 08:36:49

AND! the big boss said he’d heard rumours and that he’d seen them sitting together alone, seeming very close. Plus, another member of staff from my dept has been to see him re the terrible management the week before when the wife died. As terrible as it seems, they’re using the wife as an excuse and reason to step in an try to get the place sorted. So everything I said only added flesh to the bones.

Beveren Tue 03-Dec-19 08:38:34

I don't get why you say the girlfriend "found out" that you'd seen the big boss. Isn't an exit interview standard in the company?

I wouldn't feel in the least guilty about it in your shoes. The fact that he was unfaithful to his wife means that he can hardly take the moral high ground about your timing, and the business managers needed to know what was going on.

EBearhug Tue 03-Dec-19 08:44:53

The timing of his wife dieing is unfortunate but irrelevant - it may affect how/when the big boss speaks to him, but that's all.

A decent manager will appreciate constructive criticism - the fact that this man reacted the way he has just emphasises that you were right to raise your points. He doesn't sound like a decent bloke at all, just a git.

Hope your new job goes well and you have an effective manager!

DaftCat Tue 03-Dec-19 08:45:07

She hound out what I’d said. Because I stupidly told people I was going & they’d asked me to bring stuff up. So one of them must’ve told her.
Exit interviews are usually done over the phone by an external company, they’re anonymous, my first one was. I requested this second one because I wanted to actually speak to the man in charge. I booked it just as the wife became ill.

AnuvvaMuvva Tue 03-Dec-19 08:53:27

If you've left now, put this behind you. Right or wrong, it's over. It really doesn't matter what any of us think. And it's a really confusing situation!

Good luck in your new job. 👍🏻

SympatheticSwan Tue 03-Dec-19 09:19:03

What was the problem with the suspected affair? Was there favouritism involved? You mention only that you were unable to discuss him behind his back (which is hardly an employment right).

DaftCat Tue 03-Dec-19 10:25:24

Relationships between bosses and ‘subordinates’ are forbidden, or certainly very much frowned upon in our organisation. Also, favouritism was very much a problem, as was lack of privacy, the feeling that anything that happened was immediately relayed back to the boss, with a definite spin on things. Intermediate managers felt unable to tell the woman that she had made mistakes etc because they would then be ‘told off’ by the boss.
Also, they are both married. Several of us, including me, know the boss’s wife, not well, but I knew her, more people know the woman’s husband.
The general feeling was that they shouldn’t be a) having the affair in the first place and b) almost flaunting it and making us feel uncomfortable.

StillCoughingandLaughing Tue 03-Dec-19 12:17:47

Also, they are both married. Several of us, including me, know the boss’s wife, not well, but I knew her, more people know the woman’s husband. The general feeling was that they shouldn’t be a) having the affair in the first place and b) almost flaunting it and making us feel uncomfortable.

Whilst I think you did the right thing telling the truth at your exit interview, you lost me a bit here. This is not relevant to his work or his role as your manager. The issue is that he was having an affair with a subordinate and she was potentially receiving favourable treatment because of it. If that’s why you’ve reported it, good for you. If it’s because you don’t like their behaviour, YABU. Cheating on a dying woman makes him a shit - but it doesn’t make him a bad boss. Keep moralising out of it.

DaftCat Tue 03-Dec-19 16:22:23

I totally get what you’re saying. I primarily reported his bad management. His complete lack of management, his affair is definitely a part of that.
I didn’t speak to the big boss about how it made me feel, just reported that people felt uncomfortable about it and about the favouritism.
My personal views are that they are both complete arseholes for cheating on their spouses. But I’m satisfied that I kept that opinion out of the exit interview.
Like previous posters have said, I’ve left there now. Some people at my new post know them, I don’t know if they know about the affair and I don’t intend to be the one to tell them.
It’s time to move on. Thank you to everyone who took the time to reply

DeathStare Tue 03-Dec-19 17:30:31

Cheating on a dying woman makes him a shit - but it doesn’t make him a bad boss. Keep moralising out of it

I don't think that is moralising. If he cheated on his wife out of work and made sure nobody in work ever found out, then you'd have a point.

Cheating on his wife (dying or not) and doing it in a way that makes working life uncomfortable for the people he manages DOES make him a bad boss.

PixieDustt Tue 03-Dec-19 17:35:23

YANBU.
Sounds like he was a shit manager and I've had to deal with a few.
If something made you feel uncomfortable why should you report it. Don't feel bad.
Him calling you a fat cunt is way out of order.

Ifeelinclined Tue 03-Dec-19 19:13:54

Good for you for reporting him. You were in the best position to report him since you were leaving. Your former coworkers will definitely appreciate it.

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