Boss Dislikes me

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about being passed up: Since addressing this matter with my Manager, he has been cold and yells at me any chance he gets

I have been in my entry-level position for 2.5 years now, and have been “passed up” for promotion on various occasions. Since addressing this matter with my Manager, he has been cold and yells at me any chance he gets, using me as his scapegoat. (ex. asked numerous times, written and verbal, for a new employee’s end date, question went unanswered, employee started her contract, her paperwork wasn’t ready, she asks him for it, he yells at me about my lunch hour. no real rhyme or reason).

I am down to tracking my tasks to the minute, including every email sent, bathroom breaks, etc. No one else in the office has to complete this task. When I inquired about the need for only me to track, he asked the contract employee to do the same. Before asserting myself, I was the only one tracking my tasks, only one with a specified lunch hour… He has since only imposed this on the contract employee (who got the position I should have been promoted to).

All this has made me lose the love for my work, even though this was but a stepping-stone for me. Initially, I was hired and promised growth. Since about April, nothing I do ever seems right. My colleagues all think my treatment is unfair and unethical; they have voluntarily approached me and stated their opinion on the matter – all employees with many years experience and of much higher job classification than mine. I am to the point of not staying late anymore to do extras, not coming in early to do extras, and have been sticking to my tasks.

My performance review went exceptionally well, in the sense that he had nothing negative to say about my work. I don’t know why he’s always “picking” on me, usually as a cover for his lack of responsibility and accountability. Our Employee Assistance Program strongly suggested I seek employment elsewhere, but in the meanwhile, is there anything I can do to get him off my case when he has no real reason to be upset with me in the first place? Others in the office appreciate my knowledge base and turnaround of requests. I don’t know where this foul mood comes from!!

Signed, Need Some Answers

Dear Need Some Answers:

If your company is large enough to have an Employees Assistance Program it has a Human Resources section or unit and your boss has at least one or two layers above him. You should take your concerns to those people. From a distance, this situation seems so obviously unfair and inappropriate that I can only think there is something else to it and that there is a bigger picture somewhere. Otherwise, your company has a completely outrageous manager in a position of authority. If that is the case, you can easily show the problems and perhaps those in authority will do something about it.

Apparently your manager has not felt good about you for the 2.5 years you have been there–your questioning him merely made him vocal. That may be based on reasonable concerns he has about your potential for a higher role. But, the situation of keeping a record of every action, including bathroom breaks, seems so ridiculous as to point to your manager being a bit unhinged. You don’t reason with someone like that, you have to stop them.

You don’t say if you have ever put a request to him in writing, to ask for an interview to talk about the ill feelings that seem to be present between the two of you. That might at least open the communications up. I get the impression neither of you are really communicating very much. For example, you say you asked for an employee’s end date and the question went unanswered. If it was necessary for you to have that date for a record, she shouldn’t have started until you had it, if that meant following him to the car at the end of the day.

Often people who are not communicating well rely on email or they leave a phone message and call it good. If you want to get an answer and you’re not getting it, it’s usually best to go to them personally. The worst that could have happened would have been his anger–which happened anyway. That leads me to also remind you to list witnesses to his yelling binges. That alone is an indication of a problem that needs to be solved.Where you stand now is that you have proof that you are being treated in an unreasonable way. You have coworkers who are willing to support you about it. Even if EAP says things are so bad you should quit.

So, why not take this higher in the organization or to HR and get it resolved? You won’t be fired for it—and in fact, it may give you some protections. The boss already openly dislikes you, so that won’t get much worse. And maybe, for a change, your boss will feel the heat.If you don’t want to do that, I think you’ll probably have to resign yourself to putting up with the current situation until you’re ready to move on. There are no quick and easy ways to change a hateful or weird person into someone effective. Your boss may have a completely different perspective about all of this. If you can find a way to talk to him to find that perspective, maybe things can change. But, to make him happy, it will probably involve YOU changing, not him.Best wishes as you deal with this. I hope you will get your information together and take this higher than your boss or to HR. Something is wrong about the whole situation and it would be worthwhile for you to either get it fixed or find out that it can’t be. Then, at least, you will be able to leave knowing you tried your best. If you have the time and wish to do so, let us know what happens.

Tina Lewis Rowe

Tina Lewis Rowe

Tina had a thirty-three year career in law enforcement, serving with the Denver Police Department from 1969-1994 and was the Presidential United States Marshal for Colorado from 1994-2002. She provides training to law enforcement organizations and private sector groups and does conference presentations related to leadership, workplace communications and customized topics. Her style is inspirational with humor.