Boss Cursed Me

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about boss who curses and threatens:

I am a 35-year-old black female. I was called back to this company off of another job I was working. I have done great things at this job and got a lot of the previous money due back for the owner. I have been here since 7/9/07; I got a raise my 1st 90 days of $1.00. Well the next time it came time for a raise, I was told to get more money. Then I was told things are bad and we can’t afford raises, but we want you to do self-evaluation to get a raise. We did that, nothing. So I waited patiently because I was told things are bad and we don’t have money for raises.

I asked for my evaluation so that I could see if I needed to make improvements to my position. I never got one. Then he tells me he will give me money under the table $100 cash, but he doesn’t want the office manager to know. I told him that I did not feel comfortable about this and I wanted the money in my check. He threw $100 on my desk and told me not to tell anyone.That started bothering me, in the meantime another employee told me that they got $1.00 raise. The boss comes to me and said that he will give me .50 cents raise and retro it from my last paycheck. So I went to the office manager so I could have this put in my check.

Then he came to my office today and said that I better not ask him for another fu— thing. I had no right talking to anybody. Why would I do that? He said I can’t trust nobody. I said that I did not think it was wrong to talk to her because she is the one that does payroll. He told me if I say another f— word I can pack my stuff and leave. What should I do? I have documentation regarding a physician that works here making racial remarks to me that I went to the boss about and he did nothing. I feel I am being mistreated cause I will not be dishonest.

Signed, Cursed

Dear Cursed:

From what you say, you must not work in a very big organization. If you were employed in a workplace that is large enough for a Human Resources or a Personnel Department, I can’t imagine a boss throwing down $100 on you desk and telling you not to talk to anyone about that. So the issue is what can you do, if anything, to transform what has become a serious conflict to a reasonably respectful working relationship?

I’m not sure you can, but apparently it is worth a try because you did add value to the company during your first year of employment and you must have some special expertise. It seems to me that you need to take “time out” to list what you have contributed and what you can do now. That’s what self-evaluation should mean. List specific tasks accomplished. While you are doing this, also describe the kind of atmosphere that your presence helps create. In short are you pleasant to be around? Are you a cheerleader? Or are you seen as a complainer and troublemaker? Do you make others’ jobs easier? Or difficult? What have you done to make your boss look good or what have you done that provokes him to feel like an adversary?

Your first sentence states you are black and at the end your question you mention that you reported that a physician made a racial remark to you and that you reported that and nothing was done. Apparently, you harbor the feeling that you are different, possibly you feel you are in a minority role and that at least in one instance was racially demeaned. One such an incident doesn’t constitute a pattern of discrimination; however, since you harbor the feeling I think this also is a topic that might merit a discussion with your boss.

Depending on the strength of your list, it is now time to schedule a meeting with your boss. In such a session you need to learn if you two can come to an understanding that is mutually acceptable regarding:
· Job description ·
Pay
· How you do and don’t want to be managed
· How he wants to and doesn’t want to manage
· The dos and don’ts of how you speak to one another and about one another.
· Minority status

Unless you can come to a reasonable agreement on these topics, the odds are that you and he will not be happy. Life is too short and work is too hard to hate to come to work and to be cussed out by a hothead boss. When things reach a boiling point, it is time to take the teakettle off the stove. At least it is worth a try and it might take more than one session to hammer out an understanding that suits you both. Obviously money is important to you, and also it is especially important for you to feel that things are not dishonest. The big issue for you is do you find you work meaningful and for your employer it is can you make a real contribution?

Possibly, you and your boss might decide that you need to bring someone in to facilitate such a meeting or meetings. How you approach this whole matter will test your maturity and that of your boss. Can you prevent what has gone on already from not burning either of you more? Can you each help each other to save face? Working together with hands, head, and heart takes and makes big WEGOS, and it is obvious that egos are at risk now in your workplace. Can you protect each others’ egos and make them bigger by interdependent-mindedness? The fact that you were cursed is not the biggest issue, and although no boss should cuss an employee, I’m sure that you know that you can make that point.

William Gorden