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Old 02-15-2015, 02:22 PM
 
126 posts, read 86,930 times
Reputation: 121

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Hey forum,

Another "abusive" job situation post and looking for some advice. I'm working in a really dysfunctional work environment and it's done a lot of damage to me (from actions of others, and admittedly, my own boneheaded goals and actions). I have a little over 6 months of expenses saved up, past experience with some pretty good companies, etc. Cons are that my job skills have gotten stale by not keeping up with them, my health and habits are a mess from dealing poorly with the stress of this job, etc. Worked here for about 2 and a half years. Headquarters of a big national corporation.

I've been trying to follow the advice of "don't quit until you find a new job", but I'm so exhausted by this situation that it's been incredibly difficult to pull it off.

Here's the situation. It's pretty complex, so bear with me:

My manager is like some sort-of corporate "psychopath". When I first worked there she lied to me about who she was: presented herself as being really simpatico with my values, interests, ideas, etc. Now that I know her better I realize it was a complete fabrication of her personality. She's sexually harassed me, tried to get way too close to me ("we have everything in common, we're like the same person!"). I got really creeped out when she told me that, so I started distancing myself from her a little bit, which is what caused my problems here.

Apparently she likes to collect minions to do her bidding, which is basically being a source of attention for her (sexual for guys, clones for women). She also sends her minions to attack her enemies, like one of my colleagues who she led a campaign against: this colleague was slandered with gossip, rumors, scapegoating, public humiliation, etc., and it was really messed up to watch go down, like a pack of jackals ripping apart a gazelle or something. After a year of this treatment my colleague ended up having a nervous breakdown and quit. I was one of my manager's minions until I got wise to the fact that she was a pathological liar with serious mental issues.

Anywho, so I distanced myself from her a little bit and she led a campaign against me. Co-workers began to insult me to my face at my desk. They'd harass me as they'd walk by my cubicle. My manager would sabotage my work (and her changes were recorded on the system, which was a stupid thing to do ... stupid if there were any consequences for it, that is). She'd threaten to write me up for things that never happened. She attempted to create this alternate reality that I was incompetent at my job, and I had to fight really hard to demonstrate that her accusations were untrue since I'm one of the best people there.

Due to this campaign I'm isolated from all of my co-workers: every day I go in there I can't speak to a single soul because I have a black mark on me. If I attempt to talk to anyone I'll get **** from them. Backhanded insults, weird faces made at me, all sorts of weird crap. It's unnerving! There were friendly people to me, but each time someone was friendly to me, they'd come in one day looking really sick and miserable, and they wouldn't really talk to me anymore. I can only assume this clique got to them, because that's how I've witnessed things working here. Other co-workers noticed this clique thing going on, but now they won't really talk to me anymore. It's like some kind-of weird British horror movie where you begin to realize the town you're staying in is run by a cult.

But wait, there's more: the director of my department is just as bad as my manager. She sort-of sexually harasses me... I don't think she wants to have sex with me, but she's a really insecure woman, so she likes getting attention from me because I'm hypothesizing that it makes her feel valuable and powerful. Plays with her bra in front of me, shows off her legs in stockings, does sexy poses when she's talking to me. She put my cubicle right outside her office and she watches me like a hawk. If I show any single ounce of disinterest in her she starts bugging the hell out and it's just unnerving to be around.

My director can be incredibly cruel and manipulative and seems to really delight in insulting and humiliating me in meetings and in front of co-workers, and some of those people choose to treat me the way my director treats me because that's a part of human nature. I feel like there's a sort-of BDSM psychosexual thing going on here and it creeps me the hell out. It's a real great environment to be in.

Other things that happened:

I tried to report all the abuse my manager was engaged in to my director back when I believed my director's spiel that she was a sweet, cute, innocent woman, and my director told my manager about it, then my manager pulled me into a meeting and threatened my job about it. Boasted how she got my colleague to quit (the one mentioned above), and that she could do "much worse" to me than she was already doing, etc.

Anyway, my manager pulled out this massively huge stack of papers that she called "my file" (and it was total bullcrap because there's nothing I've done there that would justify a half-foot stack of papers to be a file) and said I could get fired if she filed them with HR. I reported back to my director about these threats, and my director covered up for my manager: she showed me the file, but instead of being a half-foot tall and it being all my own stuff, it was 1/4th the size it was "everyone's file". I pointed out the discrepancy and the director did some circumlocution and sent me on my way. My manager and director are working in concert here, and my co-workers are either part of this clique, avoid it like the plague because they're smart, or they've been beaten into submission by them. Good stuff. Other people have noticed this stuff, too, and we've shared notes on it, so it's not some figment of my imagination.

HR isn't much of a help. I tried reporting the issues to them, but the HR guy lied to me. He said he talked to one of my co-workers and my director about me being called a "***" at my desk, and I asked that co-worker if the meeting happened, and he said it didn't. And my director said it didn't happen, either. Then the HR dude was like, "don't tell anyone because it could hurt my reputation."

The HR guy also threatened me because I told my director the bullying problem at my job was like a "ticking timebomb" because four people had quit the month earlier, and other people were talking about quitting, so he said that it could be construed as me planning on bombing the company. "Well, you never know, huh?" Which is complete horse****, particularly since I was trying to help them deal with a serious problem.

My director and manager also partnered me with one of my manager's key minions who does her bidding (ignores me when I try to talk to her about projects, makes weird faces at me when I try to discuss a job with her ... yeah, for real!, she'll turn her back on me when I try to approach her about something). They won't let me team with someone else because I think that's the whole point of why they partnered me with her. Whenever I bring up issues about her behavior towards me, they tell me I'm imagining it all, and it's like ... I've had other jobs before where I got along fine with co-workers, as if I can't tell the difference between appropriate and inappropriate behavior. And my manager rewards my teammate whenever she does crap like that to me: her cubicle is filled with presents and all sorts of things given to her by my manager and my manager's minions. I don't think my teammate understands she's being used, because the same thing happened to me: when I unwittingly did my manager's bidding (say, attacking one of her enemies she'd slander, and I believed the slander and got mad about it), I'd get drinks bought for me at happy hours, new projects, etc. It's pretty twisted stuff.

There's too much more to list. Way too much. This isn't even the tip of the iceberg of the things I've seen and experienced here. It goes all the way to the top and throughout all departments. It's basically a hopeless situation other than leaving.

And scene.

So do I keep sticking it out? Every Sunday before I go back I get freaked the hell out about going back to that environment. It's like entering this dark alternate dimension where I'm this disgusting failure as a human being, ostracized, walking on eggshells, can't talk to anyone, and I'm completely powerless against the bizarre and obnoxious treatment by my co-workers. Whenever I stand up for myself things get better for about two weeks, then things get much, much worse.

I only have 2-3 hours of free time after I get home (generally get home at 7:00 pm, have to go to bed by 10:00 pm since I have to leave the house early due to a long commute). So in those 2-3 hours I have to cram in things like making dinner, personal responsibilities and chores, unwrapping my mind from the day's insanity, and applying for jobs (which I'm really behind on because I've let the stress of this situation take over my life over the past year and a half).

Am I a weak-willed Millennial who wants to be pampered because I'm having a hard time dealing with this? I've seen people run screaming from this place. Four people quit my department over the past two months. I watched one colleague get a smaller dose of this treatment and she had a friggin' nervous breakdown over it and quit on doctor's orders.

Advice would be great. Thanks!
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Old 02-15-2015, 02:34 PM
 
Location: Full time in the RV
2,687 posts, read 6,137,793 times
Reputation: 2051
How long were you at your last job?

Are there any positives about working there? What are they?

Do you interact with anyone at this job that is not one of the minions or otherwise part of the cult?
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Old 02-15-2015, 02:42 PM
 
126 posts, read 86,930 times
Reputation: 121
I was at my last job for a year. Before that I was in grad school, then the job before that I was at for about 3 years (Global Fortune 50 corporation, probably the best thing on my resume so far).

I had one person I could talk to, but she seems to be avoiding me now. Friday was my birthday but it was ignored by everyone (they usually do some silly sort-of celebration), and it was probably pretty obvious to everyone since I've been there for nearly three years. I remember during a birthday celebration me and this co-worker sat and talked to each other, then a week later she said people in the clique were snickering at her, so I wonder if she finally gave up trying to talk to me. She seems really miserable and depressed now. The whole environment is just really miserable to be in.

This co-worker was cool because she noticed the same dynamics I talked about here. She called the clique the "Pod People". It's been eerie watching people get indoctrinated into it.

Like, I'm sort-of afraid to even try to talk to anyone else because whenever someone's openly nice to me, they start acting really miserable, sick, and depressed. I have no idea if it has anything to do with me, but with everything that's gone on here I have to wonder if it's related, because they suddenly stop being nice to me, and start hanging out with the clique more, and it's hard to blame them if they have kids to feed. I have no idea what the truth is anymore, and it's a really crazy-making situation.
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Old 02-15-2015, 02:47 PM
 
Location: Subconscious Syncope, USA (Northeastern US)
2,367 posts, read 1,527,788 times
Reputation: 3814
Isnt everyone part of "the cult", when jobs are at stake these days? Sort of like, why risk mine, when I can risk yours??

Id stick it out. Unless, of course, you are secretly rich and really dont need a job. *winks*
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Old 02-15-2015, 02:51 PM
 
126 posts, read 86,930 times
Reputation: 121
Quote:
Originally Posted by ConeyGirl52 View Post
Isnt everyone part of "the cult", when jobs are at stake these days? Sort of like, why risk mine, when I can risk yours??

Id stick it out. Unless, of course, you are secretly rich and really dont need a job. *winks*
Not really, I've never once in my life seen anything like this. I've had jerky bosses before, obnoxious co-workers, etc., and I was able to handle that fine. This is like some entirely other dimension of craziness.
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Old 02-15-2015, 02:51 PM
 
Location: Full time in the RV
2,687 posts, read 6,137,793 times
Reputation: 2051
My first instinct to your post was that you have a persecution complex since EVERYONE seems to be against you.

After reading your second post and thinking more about it I think you are just stuck in a dysfunctional workplace that takes it to the extreme.

Advice? Get out. What other options are there?
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Old 02-15-2015, 03:00 PM
 
Location: Subconscious Syncope, USA (Northeastern US)
2,367 posts, read 1,527,788 times
Reputation: 3814
Quote:
Originally Posted by lookingforadvice20202 View Post
Not really, I've never once in my life seen anything like this. I've had jerky bosses before, obnoxious co-workers, etc., and I was able to handle that fine. This is like some entirely other dimension of craziness.
Read about something called, "Lean" as it relates to a system of management. Lean is established to make workplaces more functional at less expense. A common example is to not replace senior staff when they retire or to be happy they finally retired so you could replace then with a fresh college grad.

Sometimes people want to speed up that attrition process, and encourage people to quit, so you can hire cheaper labor to replace them - and, sometimes they replace them from their own circle of friends and family. Heck, sometimes the replacements, who are friends and family members, are actually hired for more money and higher titles even though increasing profit and reducing costs is supposed to be the prime objective, lol.

These are hard times. Be cool and sit tight until something better comes along.

EDIT: Oh and sometimes coworkers do lose their minds. Please familarize yourself with "How to handle single-shooter" videos, and instructions on dealing with the suicidal. Suicidal and homocidal ideatation is also a side effect of working under these conditions.
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Old 02-15-2015, 03:01 PM
 
126 posts, read 86,930 times
Reputation: 121
Quote:
Originally Posted by RMD3819 View Post
My first instinct to your post was that you have a persecution complex since EVERYONE seems to be against you.

After reading your second post and thinking more about it I think you are just stuck in a dysfunctional workplace that takes it to the extreme.

Advice? Get out. What other options are there?
I've worked a lot of jobs in my life because I enjoy working, and well, have to. I've been really lucky with my jobs, because at just about every single one of them people were by and large pretty cool with me. I could even share a laugh or two with my last boss who was a micromanaging control freak. Another boss I had in college seemed like he "had it" for me because he gave me a really hard time, and when I talked to him about it, he confessed he was having problems with his dad and he was taking it out on me, and after that we were cool with each other. Problem was solved by me confronting it and having a conversation with the guy. The key here was this guy wasn't bat**** insane, he was just going through a difficult period in his life and dealing with it poorly.

My problem is that I've been a pushover for abuse since my parents sucked ass, but at this job I had to learn how to stand up for myself really fast in order to keep my job and not end up sleeping in my car, so at least that's a positive outcome. Unfortunately it only made the weird abuse more subterranean, and it's only extended the grossness of the situation. It's also taught me to appreciate all the good jobs I've had in the past. I will never, ever take a good job situation for granted again!

I do have to get out. Every day I go into this place it's like I'm entering a portal to this hell dimension where reality is totally distorted and the rules of human relationships most people go by are perverted. I just have to figure out a plan of action.
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Old 02-15-2015, 03:13 PM
 
126 posts, read 86,930 times
Reputation: 121
Quote:
Originally Posted by ConeyGirl52 View Post
EDIT: Oh and sometimes coworkers do lose their minds. Please familarize yourself with "How to handle single-shooter" videos, and instructions on dealing with the suicidal. Suicidal and homocidal ideatation is also a side effect of working under these conditions.
I'm starting to have suicidal ideation. I spend 45-50 hours a week at this place, plus two hours commuting, and the stress has eaten away at me. I'm so deep in the hole here it's not even funny ... I have so much work to do to clean myself up, get my health together, redo my portfolio, send out resumes, buy new suit, reconnect with my network, etc.

I was an idiot because I let this situation take over my life, and a lot of it was because I had no clue what was even happening to me. I never thought things like this could even happen, perhaps I was too naive about people. I'm wiser now, though, I can tell you that.
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Old 02-15-2015, 03:21 PM
 
Location: Lawless Wild West
661 posts, read 702,326 times
Reputation: 984
Go higher up than manager and director, actually before that WRITE EVERYTHING DOWN AS IT HAPPENS. Sexually harassed? Note the date and time and reason, etc. Insulted? Date and time noted. Keep doing this for about a month.

Make two copies of that, give one copy to HR and say that this is all that's happened in the past month, can you do something about it? If you have a long list of grievances plus a note stating the employee laws, HR will have to be inclined to help you. If you're suddenly fired for this, this is termination based on retaliation. That would be illegal.

In that case, go to the CEO or the manager and director's boss give them a copy and say: " this is what happened for the past year, this past month is just a snapshot, these are the employee laws so I know that the laws are being violated, AND when I reported it to HR, I got terminated for retaliating, also against the law. Can you look into this? I would hate to sue".

If the CEO won't say or do anything, well you have the original document right? File a complaint with the Labor Board, ACLU, and/or EEOC and sue their pants off
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