WORK SCENE INVESTIGATION
My name is Emilia I’ve been working as the Executive Assistant for the President of the American Quilt Museum for four years. I know everything and everybody. My boss — he always praises me for working hard. He says the Museum couldn’t run nearly so smoothly without my diligent, consistent efforts. I’m not bragging but one time the Board of Directors sent me a note with a bouquet of pink roses. It said the Board members consider me “a treasure, part of the institutional wealth of the Museum.” This is my dream job. But six months ago, I got a new boss Matilda Campbell. The wife of a wealthy donor who got a patronage job as my middle manager. Matilda does nothing every day except put on an outfit, go in her office around 11am and turn everything on, call her friends and family then she goes to lunch, comes back and leaves by 4pm. She “manages” to give me all her work since I was doing it before she arrived anyway. After three months, Matilda gave me a horrible performance review. I changed nothing about how I work. And she warns me that if I don’t improve, “there will need to be change to staffing.” So I have three kinds I am raising as a single Mom — I can’t afford to lose my job. I go to lunch with one of my Board Members Todd Sorenstein. When he asks how things are going, I give him the lowdown. He swears me to secrecy but he tells me I’m being railroaded out of there. Everyone knows Matilda doesn’t want to work — she’s a do-nothing political hire. He says she doesn’t like how well-liked I am so is cooking up bad performance reviews to put her boot on my a**. After 4 years? I ask Todd, how much time I have left. He says, “Matilda’s going to fire you after lunch on Friday.”
I am Larry Tsang and I got a bad problem. I got out of UConn in three years and landed my first job for a children’s television Division President Anna Rogers. You know, the one who invented “Platypus Dance Team,” “Lions Story Time” and “Ring Around the Rainbow.” I know Hollywood types can be a little crazy and I figured I’d do my time and earn my bump up. But four years and no bump — no better job, no better salary, nothing. When I suggest shows I could go work on or next-level jobs I could take, Anna jokes, “But who would take care of me then? I couldn’t find anyone better than my Larry.” And she’s always hugging me which I can’t stand. But the final straw has come in the form of Anna’s beloved dachshund Twinkle. Anna flies often and likes to take Twinkle with her. The woman makes millions but insists that I magically get a free seat for Twinkle in first class. I don’t know what regulations changed but nowadays this free seat is impossible. I just told Anna and she just told me I’m fired. No recommendation, no bump, no job, no gratitude. Now I know what her ex-husbands felt like – a used tissue, a disposable razor, an emptied packet of low-sodium soy sauce. Done. Just like that. Now what?
Anyone who works has to deal with some amount of hierarchy. And, for managers, it’s a delicate balance to firmly tell your direct reports what to do while remaining respectful and kind. It’s one thing to be the boss and quite a different thing to intend to hide behind the title of boss to demean, exploit and harm with impunity. Firing someone unfairly is a war cry — it is declaring you and your employee as enemies. It happens so often because bosses plain ol’ get away with it.
But know this: it is a soul-clawing catastrophe to have to answer to a Psychopath Boss. Today’s miserable job market has made jobs scarce and worth holding onto despite harrowing abuse in the workplace. The most outrageous part is that while you’re finding out about your Psychopath Boss for the first time, their behavior has been like this for a long time. You are not their first victim. You’re not discovering fire, the wheel or America. Rest assured that their peers, managers, ex-employees and Human Resources know about it but continue to turn a blind eye.
Why does your Psychopath Boss hate you and hurt you? Unfortunately, miserable people will not be satisfied until you are as miserable as they are. Take heart in also knowing that haters don’t really hate you — they hate themselves because you’re a reflection of that they wish to be. Workplace bullying is the result. Refer to http://antibullyingcrusador.wordpress.com/2008/04/06/tactics-of-a-workplace-serial-bully-boss/
Since empathy, moral decency and human kindness play no role in any Psychopath’s decision-making process, it’s no surprise that your Psychopath Boss relishes her ability to use, con, deceive, manipulate, betray and ultimately destroy their employees. That’s what psychopaths do. They feed like ticks & tapeworms upon our lives. They live for the sick thrill of damaging happy, younger, attractive, productive and caring people. You’ll want to vomit your guts up when you stare into their crazy eyes & phony mask of concern as they twist the knife of insult and betrayal into your heart.
But also know, you are far from alone. Roughly 4% of the populace are psychopaths. A fraction of those are criminal — violent robbers, rapers and serial killers. Many of them are able to operate within the law so statistically speaking, there are decent chances that you have a psychopath in your family, school, social circle or work. And if your Psychopath Boss who makes work unbearable for her employees is the only one you encounter, count yourself lucky.
But when wrongful termination happens at the hands of a Psychopath Boss, you have three choices: you can let it define your career, you can let it destroy you or you can let it strenghthen your resolve to succeed.
For now, you need to defend yourself emotionally and psychologically from this Psychopath Boss who is undermining your wellbeing and work reputation.
- 1. Learn all you can about Psychopaths.
A basic knowledge of psychopathy can save you years of heartache at the hands of a boss you can never please, who never stops lying and cheating you and who keeps you dangling on the hook. It can give you the strength to move on from a job where your boss keeps everyone in terror by constantly promising the world but only giving you her a** to kiss.
- 2. Gather information.
You will discover you are neither imagining things nor alone. You may even find comrades. You may luck up and uncover information potentially damaging to your manager (cocaine addiction, exploiting illegal domestic workers, cheating on her husband, etc.) This could be helpful in negotiating a proper exit from the work relationship.
- 3. Develop rapport with those who understand your Boss is a Psychopath.
At the very least, you’ll need a job reference from someone who doesn’t hate you to pieces.
- 4. Try to get help from Human Resources.
Meh – you can try. But honestly, don’t be surprised if that department is a useless dead end that only brands you as a troublemaker. Especially if you litigate. There is no justice in their bland, corporate hallways. Their job is to get people out the door and save the company money. They don’t wanna know and they don’t wanna get involved. So spare your breath and effort.
Please read this juicy article about how HR investigations exonerate bully bosses: http://dorightatwork.wordpress.com/2010/05/04/why-internal-investigations-exonerate-bully-boss/
- 5. Get away from your Psychopathic Boss as soon as you safely can.
Move on. Trust me — it’s not going to get better. This Psychopath Boss is a disaster on two legs. And she will try to strip you of your dignity and mobility until she succeeds.