Was I Right To Quit?

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about quitting because of boss abuse:

I recently quit my job as an Accounting Clerk because I felt that my boss was emotionally abusing me in a way that I had heard some men do to their wives. I was ignorant to it at first but little by little I put the pieces together and realized that I was very unhappy there and needed to quit. However, when I try to explain to people why I quit, they all look at me like I’m crazy and that I left a perfectly good job for no reason. This leaves me doubting myself and wondering if I was just being too sensitive. We were friends before we worked together but are no longer friends. Some of the things that happened are: He would invite me into his office and tell me how all the males in my department hated me and that all the girls in the company, particularly HR, would “turn on [me] in a second” and that I couldn’t trust them. If I went to lunch with someone other than him he would bug me about “Oh, I guess xxxxx is your BFF now.”; He would make comments to me in front of the entire department about how if I didn’t provide candy bars, get him drinks, etc. it would show up in my annual review. He would carry on with this even after I told him that it wasn’t funny and that I would not be providing those “services” for him; He told me that we would not allow me to be promoted under any circumstances because he needed me in his department (I had absorbed another employee’s duties and was doing the work of two people).

This claim was later substantiated when he got mad at another employee, who he had recommended instead of me for promotion, when this employee continued to make mistakes; When he was bored and didn’t have any work to do he would send me IM’s complaining that I was being mean because I wouldn’t go into his office and talk to him because I had work to do.

When I told him I would no longer go to lunch with him ever again, he began sending me IM’s about making sure that I clock out for my lunch (which I did and a quick check in the system would have told him that); About two weeks after I told him I would no longer go to lunch with him he called me into his office to tell me that I had been “bitchy” and that he needs to see my attitude change; He would tell me that something was a rule and that I needed to enforce it, and when I did and other co-workers would get upset and talk to him about it, he would tell them that he had no idea what I was talking about and that it was just another one of the unreasonable hoops I made people go through, although, often, the procedures were documented online with dates long before I was employed there. These are not all of the things that happened or that concerned me, but just a handful that I feel comfortable telling people. But based on this information, am I nuts? Even the HR Manager didn’t seem to think it was that big a deal, although she conceded that he was a little moody.

Signed, Glad I Quit

Dear Glad I Quit:

It certainly sounds as though you had plenty of reasons to quit! However, I don’t see that this was similar to a man abusing his wife. To me it sounds simply like an egotistical and rude person who was a disloyal friend.  Apparently your friendship seemed more personal than businesslike to him and he wanted to keep it that way in some aspects but not in others.  It would seem that no good will come of talking about any of it to your coworkers unless you want to file a formal complaint about it. Since you have quit you no longer can do that. So, I think it is likely that this is just one of those times when you do what you feel you need to do and accept that others won’t understand–and don’t need to know your reasoning anyway. You may just want to say you felt you needed to gain new perspectives in another work environment. Best wishes in your new job, which is bound to be better than this one!

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.