Sunday, August 09, 2009

An update on "I hate my supervisor"

Towards the end of last year, I wrote a post, "I hate my supervisor" about Alyssa who was having difficulties with her supervisor. She had asked:

Two years ago I was promoted to a different department within my company. I love what I do and have been performing very well. The problem is my supervisor; I hate her and she hates me. She inherited me as a subordinate when my department merged with hers last January. Things got pretty bad earlier this year, forcing me to file a harassment suit against her. HR performed an investigation and determined no harassment had occurred. They did, however, send her to an all day training seminar. Since then, we both go out of our way to avoid each other, but I am constantly on edge thinking she is plotting to get rid of me. My old department has sought me out and offered me my old job back. I hate the idea of giving up my current position, and salary, yet the thought of working for this woman another minute literally makes me ill. What should I do?

What subsequently occurred?

In February, Alyssa resigned from this position and went back to her old job in her former department. She was able to negotiate, a higher salary than what she had been making before (though still a pay cut from her promotion) and better hours. She is a little bored in this position, but is happy to have a job and to be rid of her toxic supervisor.

Her former supervisor
Her supervisor’s job was eliminated effective June 30th. She was told on a Friday, and escorted out the door.

Her former co-workers
The co-workers Alyssa left behind when she returned to her former department have also lost their jobs. Their department has been revamped and all of their positions eliminated. They have been given three options:

1. Leave the company; there is a severance package.
2. Apply for a scaled down version of their job, for less pay.
3. Find another job in the company; i.e. move to Alyssa’s department. They have been offered the same flexible schedule and salary that Alyssa received. (Three of the eight have gone this route).

Bottom Line
It has been my experience that bad managers are eventually weeded out, but it seems to take upper management close to two years to discover and be rid of a problem manager while the lowly ranks who work for them recognize the problems and shortcomings of their new manager within a couple of months. In the meantime, everyone including the company as a whole suffer.

For a good book on dealing with jerks in the workplace, check out Robert Sutton's The No Asshole Rule: Building a Civilized Workplace and Surviving One That Isn't.


  1. I am working in an environment that is becoming detrimental to my mental health. Although the overall atmosphere is very negative, I have a few close friends on my team. If it were not for them, I would have quit long ago. Having allies can make a world of difference when it comes to trying to rise above the toxic energy. Thanks for this post which really hit close to home!

  2. Hustler,
    You are so right about having allies at work. Your comment reminds me of an old post written by Penelope Trunk: “Do you have a good job? Take the test.”

    One of the test attributes gave three points if you had two co-workers you're close friends with. Penelope then writes if you have two good friends at work, you are almost guaranteed to like your job, according to Tom Rath, the author of Vital Friends. This is, in part, because you can process the bad parts of a job more productively with friends by your side to help you.

    You can read Penelope’s entire post here: