Dress down - Character Assassination

(96 Posts)
GruffyLove Sun 15-Sep-19 14:49:34

So last week my boss who works remote to me came to my local office.

We get on really well on a personal level. I work in Sales and I'm pretty new to the business and joined in January. I'm above target, performing well sales wise and there is a pipeline.

However I work remotely to my team.

He basically came to the office and performed a complete character assassination - or breakdown of me as a person. Describing me as lacking self worth, self confidence, how I constantly seek approval and need to be noticed. The words, descriptions and examples he gave came out of no where - he was ready with the tissues and he knew it would come from no where to me - his words. I don't want to go into detail on the examples but I did to my family and friends - and they said that I have no malice and couldn't see the 'neediness' in the examples provided.

He said I can do the job really well I just need to come in quietly and do it and go home. My concern is I've only ever downloaded on missing my kids to my PA and my boss brought up me being a successful part time mother but that people know that and I don't need to bring that up at work. All I said to my PA was that I miss my kids when I'm at work.

Advice I have received from family range from a close family member saying to me that in a corporate environment or in this particular organisation that for me to get on I'll need to change my ways.

I haven't gone into lots of details - but examples include me helping a colleague with something and then the incident came up in a conversation and I said I had helped my colleague - my boss said I didn't need to seek further approval by telling everyone that I had helped - people could see for themselves I had helped.

He called me desperate - said I needed to be more chilled and self assured.

He said that for me to get to the next stage to look towards promotion that I needed to change.

So I've taken away from this is that I'm needy, I lack self esteem and seek approval.

The words and examples used were not the kindest and I was a blubbering wreck.

I don't feel in a position to talk to him.

Other people/ old colleagues / friends have said I can't change who I am and perhaps culturally this isn't the right business for me.

I'm at a loss really. In my head I want to go in and change and make a go of it but I feel like I can't fundamentally change myself. I'm concerned I won't fit anywhere moving forward.

I feel like any self worth I have has been knocked.

I get the message and I know what he means but I'm afraid I can't change then I would have to leave - although that's the last thing he wants.

Thoughts please on how I can make this work and how I go back to him as it was literally left with me balling my eyes out and he had to get back to his office.

OP’s posts: |
PETRONELLAS Sun 15-Sep-19 14:54:33

Leave. Soon.
Think about it rationally - you are doing a great job. They don’t like your style. It’s hard to change being an over sharer if that’s how they see you and they’ll all be pouncing on every thing you say.
In your future interviews if it comes up explain the old place felt disconnected, it was isolating as they didn’t want to build any team work.

GruffyLove Sun 15-Sep-19 14:58:52

@PETRONELLAS yes I mean I don't even over share that much. I touched on it with a couple of members of my local team and they were totally aghast. They couldn't believe where it came from.

My team are at a different location and we don't see each other often - I am lively and open - I am heart of sleeve. The last two organisations I worked at are direct competitors and didn't pick this up with me.

I tried to break down with him where this feedback came from and I feel like most of it was his interpretation - I don't think his intention was for it all to come out the way he did - I've made myself ill over the last few days.

The saddest thing is that financially I'm making such a success of it - and from the outside it should all be amazing - this came from no where to me.

OP’s posts: |
GruffyLove Sun 15-Sep-19 15:09:58

PS it's not oversharing as such - as I don't do that. But more he said for example I won a project and I sent a rather excited email about it as I needed the team to share the project amongst some of their connections (this is done regularly the sharing) however my boss said the tone of the email and my over excited ness came across as that I was better than everyone else and seeking approval/recognition - whereas yes it's a great deal - but others have done these deals in the past too and with my experience this should be a walk in the park.

My style doesn't suit the business I don't think.

OP’s posts: |
Pinkbonbon Sun 15-Sep-19 15:16:03

He's some sort of sadist, that's the shit they do. He wanted to upset you for the power trip. They get in your head by picking apart your life and criticising you and then after all that say shit lol 'but despite all of that I still like you' ect... All of it is under the guise of 'I only want to help you' when really its a character assasination.

Unfortunately they can be so mind screwy that going to hr to explain what they've done us difficult. Best to change jobs, fast. He is a psychopath/narcissist and is targeting you.

Sarcelle Sun 15-Sep-19 15:18:11

I would go the other way, my self worth would not be knocked. I would be angry instead,cold stone angry. He sounds like a pillock. Perhaps concentrate on getting a new job and give him some feedback when you leave.

GruffyLove Sun 15-Sep-19 15:24:24

My partner and my old colleagues have said he is a narcissist - also on a power trip - he's left me a wreck - I don't know what to do as I'm so disappointed and hurt it could have all gone so well.

Some other examples may be quite outy - but I don't want to disengage - I need to find a way out

OP’s posts: |
TheCatsACunt Sun 15-Sep-19 15:34:51

If neither of you work in that office, what was the purpose of you both being there?

Was it a planned annual performance appraisal, a probation discussion, or did he ask for a meeting with you?

GruffyLove Sun 15-Sep-19 15:42:01

Sorry if not explained - I work for his team.

His team is in another city.

Due to my geography I work in the company's office in my local city - therefore I am a remote worker (to his team/my team).

Entirely unplanned - he emailed the day before to ask if I was working in my local city office the next day - i said yes and then the following day - in the afternoon asked for a 'chat' and then it all started.

OP’s posts: |
gavisconismyfriend Sun 15-Sep-19 15:44:25

It sounds as if perhaps he feels threatened by you. If you are doing a really good job and are popular with your team, then he may be viewing your success as a direct threat to him/his ego may be objecting to others making positive comments about you. It sound like he deliberately set out to "take you down a peg or two" and upset you - hence the tissues - which speaks volumes for his own insecurities. He wanted to take you feel insecure and he has succeeded, at least for now. Moving forward, I would be inclined to take it all with a big pinch of salt, note down all the details of the things he said so that you have them on record and then only meet with him again if there is someone from HR present. If you are a member of a union, I would talk to them too, so that again there is a record of what he said. If he has lots of power and can truly influence your future in the company, then seeking a job elsewhere may be less stressful than staying long term. Sorry you're dealing with this OP, he sounds like he has a fragile ego and narcissistic tendencies.

Echobelly Sun 15-Sep-19 15:46:02

Yes, I'd get out. My husband has found that if an employer doesn't like your 'behaviours' even if they've been fine elsewhere, there's nothing you can do to improve their view of you because confirmation bias starts creeping in and they'll find examples of that behaviour whatever you do unfortunately.

It all sounds really unfair and power-trippy of your boss.

GruffyLove Sun 15-Sep-19 15:50:11

He has absolute authority in the organisation tantamount to CEO. He is directly able to make or break me.

I have made a record but I know I won't be backed.

I really don't want to leave but I don't know how I can change. I'm so bloody good at my job but rightly or wrongly my behaviours don't suit and I think I'll be second guessing myself constantly.

Devastating having to look for another job sad

But I've had headaches and nausea since it happened I don't want to face him on Monday.

OP’s posts: |
thewinkingprawn Sun 15-Sep-19 16:03:59

Regardless of whether you believe it to be true or not, this hasn’t come out of nowhere for your boss and if he’s not in the office much then I imagine it is not just coming from him. Friends and family are notoriously never honest about this kind of thing either. I’d look for another job since it sounds like you don’t fit very well. First i’d just have a long think about whether some of the stuff you do could be interpreted in this way even if you don’t intend for it to be. These things rarely come out of nowhere and most bosses are not usually total a holes who just want to upset an over performing sales person.

Breathlessness Sun 15-Sep-19 16:12:14

‘I just need to come in quietly and do it and go home’

That doesn’t sound like any sales environment I’ve ever known. ‘Blow your own trumpet’ is pretty much the definition of sales. Have you overshadowed him or others on his team?

CatteStreet Sun 15-Sep-19 16:13:15

Good post from gaviscon.

I too think he set out to upset you, hence coming armed with tissues, and disappearing back to his office leaving you in a state.

If he had any criticisms to make, all of it could have been done in such a way as not to leave you like that. It sounds like he really went to town on the 'seeking approval' thing. And as if it could be gaslighting at its best - telling you you lack self-esteem, so you are left feeling you do.

And tbh I am not sure I'd want to stick around long-term in an organisation where power is so concentrated in the hands of particular individuals (you say he's 'tantamount to', not the actual CEO).

Ginfordinner Sun 15-Sep-19 16:24:28

He sounds like a nasty bully who is jealous of your success. I agree that it sounds like he feels threatened by you. I had a boss like that once, and he made me utterly miserable. However, I was determined to not let him get the better of me. In the end I earned a grudging respect from him and he promoted me to manager.

And if he was a decent boss the criticism would have been constructive, not destructive. This is all about him not you. I don’t agree with thewinkingprawn. I think he deliberately made it personal because he feels undermined.

Fleetheart Sun 15-Sep-19 16:28:58

To me he sounds like a bully as well. Why would he want to make you cry? If your sales figures are good and it’s a sales job, I have never ever heard of a situation where you are told to keep quiet about them.

I would leave. You are obviously more than capable of succeeding elsewhere!

Ginfordinner Sun 15-Sep-19 16:31:09

Wouldn't it be satisfying if you could get a position with a competitor grin

GruffyLove Sun 15-Sep-19 16:39:24

I know I could take away points from what he said - I say that in hindsight as he did leave me a wreck. His communication isn't the best.

He wrote it all down - typed it up - but the written bit ended pretty soon.

It then just went round in circles with me sobbing - me not understanding - then sobbing more. I've been through some bloody shit in my life and I can be fragile. But overall I'm really really strong - I'm passionate, loyal - it shook me to the core.

The last thing he would want is for me to leave - he sees me as an integral part of the future but I can't let go of the words.

He in a way said it was his interpretation and that people talk - but yes I've come from other sales environments where my behaviour was the culture of the organisation in fact I was tame!!!

I'm questioning myself as a person. Trying to work out how I can change but I don't think I can without it adversely affecting my mental health.

I'm not a gossip - I'm a good coach/manager (I don't manage now but have done previously) I'm not oblivious to the gaps in my personality/ but my profiling is suited to sales.

OP’s posts: |
GruffyLove Sun 15-Sep-19 16:40:51

He wants me to keep quiet and get on with it - success is celebrated when they choose to and also whose success to celebrate.

It's exhausting I'm already anxious about tomorrow and I'm in a poor place mentally now - I wish I didn't have to go in - I won't sleep tonight.

OP’s posts: |
BogglesGoggles Sun 15-Sep-19 16:46:49

Just ignore it.

Ginfordinner Sun 15-Sep-19 16:47:41

Sending you good vibes for tomorrow flowers

DuchessDumbarton Sun 15-Sep-19 16:51:40

Oh no honey, you don't need to be stressed.
You need to be angry.
If what you've described is accurate, then this is the work of a bully, who has set out to knock you back.

This in particular stands out to me....
"success is celebrated when they choose to and also whose success to celebrate".
Your success will never be celebrated.
In fact I would put money on you always being the runner-up.....just about good enough but needs to try a bit harder.
This guy will bleed you dry.

Start looking for somewhere that will appreciate your talents.

Ohdeariedear Sun 15-Sep-19 16:52:52

Listen, you sound like you are really good at your job and he, for whatever reason, doesn’t like your behaviours. As someone who has experienced similar, my advice is to move jobs pronto. I don’t think you can have any sort of positive working relationship with this person so get out of there asap before he damages your psyche even further.

There will be people (and you may think this yourself) who say that you should dig in and show him that you are not the kind of person he says. You can try that but at what cost to your mental health? He’s made it clear he doesn’t rate you, get out now before it escalates.

I personally stayed to long to try and prove myself and it about broke me. It’s sometimes braver to make a positive choice and say ‘nope, this isn’t for me’ . Good luck.

DuchessDumbarton Sun 15-Sep-19 16:54:34

I'm not done.

"Thoughts please on how I can make this work and how I go back to him as it was literally left with me balling my eyes out and he had to get back to his office."
No decent manager would do that.
Can you imagine doing that to one of your reports?

I would email him on Monday, friendly but professional.
Ask him to clarify the points made- and ask for 3 pointers for "improvement".
Then head down and nose to the grindstone while you update and send out your CV.

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