Everyone has had, or will experience, that one boss who, even after you’ve left the company, will succeed in haunting your existence for many years.
I experienced that boss early on in my career.
She was the second boss I had out of college, and I put up with her bullsh*t for a long, torturous 12 months, until I just couldn’t take it anymore.
In her eyes, she was a godsend. She knew everything there was to know; everyone she managed was beneath her and incapable.
She viewed us as incompetent minions who catered to her needs, while she desperately strived for success.
In fact, she was so nasty, most people who knew her loathed her.
While I was there, she hired and ultimately fired four people in a matter of six months.
She placed the blame on them being incapable of doing their jobs, but the actual problem was her management style.
Everyone, including people outside of our team, could see it.
I remember after the third or fourth person was sent packing, a coworker came to our area, ducked down low and joked, “It’s like walking around in Afghanistan over here; you never know when you’re going to get sniped.”
Somehow, I survived the cut, but it wasn’t without a serious struggle.
I never once stood up for myself or expressed my thoughts because I was scared I would be let go.
I’ve learned no one — no matter how great your job is or how much you love a company — should ever be disrespected or treated the way I was.
There is no job on the face of this earth that’s worth it.
And for that, I’m finally taking the opportunity to tell my old boss how I really feel about her.
I didn’t have the courage to do so while I was there, but I should have.
I bit my tongue all those months out of respect, and looking back, that respect was entirely undeserved all along.
So, here it is -- an unfiltered reflection of the real-life version of hell I was put through and what I’ve taken away from it:
When my boss wanted something and I disagreed with her approach, I heard this response over and over again: “Well, I am your boss.” Spoken like a true professional.
She never tried to hide her pathetic attempts of abusing her power. As least I can credit her a few points for honesty.
In her eyes, she was above me, and that was the lever she repeatedly pulled to show authority.
But, what I’ve come to realize is she was never the boss of me. She was my manager, and at that, she failed miserably.
A real “boss” is there alongside his or her team to help guide, provide support and pick them up, not bring them down.
A real boss would never throw it in your face that you’re below him or her because he or she wouldn’t feel that way in the first place.
I would have to use both my hands and feet to count the number of times my boss shushed me or one of my coworkers.
I never witnessed it with anyone outside of our team, but I would place bets without an ounce of hesitation that it happened.
However, when it came to our team, my boss would raise her finger up across her lips and yell, “Shhhh,” mid-conversation to one of us, and it was just another day at the office.
After a while, she did it so often, I would be lying if I said there wasn’t a little part of me that wanted to pounce myself across the table, throw her to the ground and, well, threaten her life if she did it again.
When it came to sending emails, she had to be copied — on every single one.
If you failed to do so, like clockwork, she would be at your desk, hovering over you with a fake smirk on her face while she asked in some version of her pathetically pompous tone, “Why wasn’t I CC-ed on that email?”
Maybe I would have continued to comply with your micromanaging requests if you weren’t so f*cking awful.
I was hired for a reason, and requesting to be copied on every email is not only a waste of time, but it also gets in the way of giving me the freedom to do my job.
Arguably, the 30 minutes of face-to-face time with my boss each week was something I dreaded more than my annual visit to the gynecologist.
After I realized how forceful, intimidating and belittling her tone of voice and approach as a manager was, I tried to find an excuse to get out of the meetings.
But, according to her, and unfortunately for me, she deemed them necessary.
Week after week, I entered those meetings extremely intense and anxiety ridden, afraid of what she would say or how she would make me feel.
There were many times she was so condescending, I left the meeting in tears.
Looking back, I’m not mad at myself for crying in front of her. The only thing I regret is allowing her to get the best of me.
I could go on and on about everything she put me through, but what’s most important is learning when to walk away from a bad situation, and to never, ever let anyone use his or her power as an excuse to disrespect you in the workplace.
It may have taken me 12 months to realize, but from now on, I know I deserve the utmost respect of anyone I work with -- even my boss.
I can only hope anyone who has ever been or will be a “boss” will strive to be a person for whom he or she would want to work.
In the words of Mr. Chow from "The Hangover," “You wanna f*ck on me?” I’m walking away with my middle finger held high.