My Boss Has a Beef With Me
'My boss has a beef with me' is a true story.
Recently, I spoke to my very good friend who lost her casual job position in administration. She told me her story from the day she started till now. Must say I couldn't hide my frustration and anger towards this injustice as well. It's hurtful when you put 150% of your energy and devotion into your work and you are never being recognized from your manager or the owner of the company. Especially people who are on casual positions suffer the most, because they have no guarantee they will keep their job the next day. It's an emotional struggle from day to day and can affect many factors, from your financial state, mental state and health in general.
To go back to my friend Alisha. I know her since childhood and she was never in trouble. Never had conflicts with people, always solving any issues in a calm and respectful way. Even we never had a serious conflict, which is a miracle because I can easily get frustrated and I can't hide it. She is just the sweetest person you'll ever meet, extremely hardworking and she always puts work and other people first, which is her number one mistake from the get-go. Secondly, because she was a casual, she didn't stand up for herself when her boss became a bully. She knew she can be out any second if she would fight back. The boss slowly started cutting her hours, she constantly bullied her and blamed her for all the mistakes that happened at the workplace, even the ones that the crazy lady did herself. Other colleagues noticed the negative energy that was always in the air whenever the boss came to work and affected them too.
She was a big bully and a very miserable person, so she wanted to treat her own frustrations on others and Alisha was a perfect candidate. Behind Alisha's back, she already found replacement. But Alisha knew everything, because the boss was so sloppy that all the secret replacement emails came to Alisha's emails too. She waited until the boss would say something or at least say thank you and goodbye. In reality, she got rid of her without any notice, through a phone text in the next few days. How nasty.
The reason why I am writing this blog is to tell people they are not alone. There are billions of people in the world who hate their jobs, don't feel appreciated or recognized by their bosses and going to work is an everyday mental battle. The frustration is real, but the only real motivation is money so you can pay your bills. Now imagine losing your income over night, how bad is that. I feel for all those people. It's hard and sometimes it's not worth fighting for. Fuck it, life is too short and those days when our grandparents worked for the same employer for the whole 40 years are over! You have to find work that makes you happy. It's not just work, it's your whole life!
It can be tricky to figure out whether your boss has legitimate beef with your work or just a beef with you. Now in Alisha’s case, the boss HAD a beef with her PERSONALLY, because she totally disrespected her. Here are seven revealing signs that your boss just isn’t that into you and what to do about it.
- You’re Being Micromanaged.
She’s checking up on your work before it’s due, dictating details that she should trust you to figure out, and generally displaying a lack of confidence that you’ll do your job well.
What To Do?
First, make sure your boss doesn’t treat everyone else this way, too. While that would still be a problem (because micromanagement is unpleasant to experience and will generally make you less productive), that would indicate it’s not about you at all, but just an example of poor management skills.
If the behaviour seems isolated to her relationship with you, ask yourself whether you’ve done anything to warrant the lack of confidence. Have you been dropping the ball on tasks or making significant errors? If so, then realize that a good manager should get more closely involved - because ultimately her job is to ensure that the work is done well, and you’ve given her reason not to take that on faith. If not, then it’s time to ask her if there’s anything you’re doing that makes her feel she can’t trust you and how you can work with more autonomy.
Try suggesting other ways to keep her in the loop, such as weekly reports or weekly meetings, so that she doesn’t feel she needs to check in as much. And if she’s resistant to that, ask if she’d be willing to experiment with giving you more autonomy on one specific project to see how it goes.
- You Never Get Feedback
Some managers are just bad at giving positive feedback, but if she praises others and leaves you unrecognized, that’s a sign that it reflects something about her assessment of you.
What To Do?
Try asking for feedback directly, saying something like, “I’d love to hear about what you think is going well and where I could focus on doing better.” Or, if that feels too daunting, try asking for feedback on a smaller scale; for instance, ask to debrief a recent project, share your assessment of what went well and what could have gone better, and ask for your manager’s thoughts. Then, listen to what she says. Her response will give you more insight on how she sees you - which is helpful information for you to have, whether you agree with her assessment or not.
- You Get Turned Down for a Raise Without Much Explanation
Turning down your raise request isn’t the sign of a problem on its own, since there can be reasons that have nothing to do with you, like budget constraints. But if your manager values you, she’ll explain why she can’t grant the raise, and often explain when you can expect an increase in the future or how to earn one.
What to do?
Ask something like, “What would it take for me to earn a raise in the future?” A manager who’s invested in retaining you and who believes in your value should be willing to talk with you specifically about what you’d need to do to hear “yes” next time. If that doesn’t happen, then as with some other flags on this list, this is a data point for you to factor into your overall thinking about whether you should stay in this job.
- You Can’t get Your Manager’s Attention
She regularly cancels your meetings, forgets to return your calls and emails, and generally doesn’t seem to have you anywhere on her priority list.
What to do?
Does she treat everyone like this or primarily you? If it’s the former, she may just be flighty (or overwhelmed). But if you’re a particularly low priority, talk to her. Tell her that getting a chance to talk at least once a week is important to you and ask if there’s a way to have the meetings happen more reliably.
- You’re Left Out of Important Meetings
Does your manager meet with your colleagues to discuss key updates or projects that you’re a part of when you’re not there? Do you hear after the fact about decisions that were made that you should have had input on?
What to do?
Approach your manager directly to address the problem. But don’t be accusatory; you’ll get better results if you work from the assumption that it was an oversight to be corrected, rather than an intentional exclusion. For example, you could say, “I would have liked to have been included in the meeting this morning on the Smith account, since I’m working closely with them. I noticed I haven’t been included in several account meetings recently. What can I do to ensure that I’m part of those discussions in the future?”
- Your Boss Continuously Criticizes Your Work
Everyone hears criticism sometimes. But if your manager regularly and harshly takes issue with your work and nothing you do seems to please her, that’s a big red flag for the relationship.
What to do?
In the short-term, you might try putting extra energy into getting aligned about expectations at the start of a project. Try talking through exactly what a successful outcome would look like, and afterwards email her a summary of what you both agreed to with a note like, “Just want to make sure we're on the same page.” That type of upfront alignment can boost your chances of a project going smoothly.
But in the long-term, if your boss truly dislikes you or your work, you’re probably better off going somewhere where you’re valued.
- Your Boss Doesn’t Seem to Care if You Leave
Smart bosses will go to great lengths to keep an employee they really value—but they won’t object when an employee they don’t much care for considers leaving.
What to do?
If your boss doesn’t value you much, you’re less likely to get the kinds of mentoring, raises, professional development opportunities, and high-profile or interesting projects that a boss who is firmly in your corner might offer. It can also make you more likely to end up at the top of the list if your company has layoffs. However, it manifests, working for a boss who doesn’t care if you stay or go isn’t great for your career, so factor it into your thinking as you consider your timeline for your next career move.
As our old mate Richard Branson says: »Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough so they don't want to. Take care of your employees and they will take care of your business. It's as simple as that.«
Here are some links that can help you with legal knowledge, if you are being bullied at work: