I was facing yet another job turnover. This time the boss was a liar. They had said my work was bad in order to save their own reputation. The blame was passed down as it usually is in the workplace. As a result though, I was paying the price by not being given a promotion. Granted it wasn’t a promotion I had wanted or sought but one that had been promised. This seemed like a recurring bad dream or else I just had a knack for finding the sleaziest people ever to have the pleasure of working for. At least she was better at being a boss than the last one I had. This was the consoling I told myself as I endured 5 months of being under utilized and given the crap assignments at my job in punishment for what she lied about.
Prior to this job, I was working for an abuser. He would scream for over 45 minutes at a time without taking a breath. I would often worry he would die of a heart attack before he let it all out. It didn’t matter what he was mad about now and if you did it or not, you just happened to be on the phone with him at the time so you got it. During the time I worked for this crazy person I did my best to protect my staff from him. We were successful for the most part but as is the case in these situations it didn’t help with hiring people who wanted to stay long term. I kept telling myself he was a least better than the last one.
Before these two nut jobs was the boss who insisted everything be run through her down to approving our staff timesheets each week. It didn’t matter how large or small everything had to be through her if it was a decision, approval or presentation. This naturally created a bottleneck of everything that brought out constant late notices, warnings and concerns on my performance for timeliness. It was uncomfortable but the manager would not relinquish controls of seeing everything. I kept telling myself at least she was better than the last one.
The series of bad bosses in my career far outweighs the good ones. I wish I could tell you at some point it was even funny to think about this but perhaps I have not reached that point to appreciate it yet. I kept telling myself it would get better and this was just a fluke that turned into a small string of bad luck that turned into a rope that felt like it was wrapped around my neck. That part is actually comical because like a naïve person wearing rose colored glasses I kept telling myself it wouldn’t happen again. Until it did. I was like the cartoon character who keeps pressing the button and getting smacked by a punching glove yet I keep doing it over and over again.
Having been a staff manager myself I can tell you it is not an easy job and those of us who have had multiple bad bosses do our best not to do that to our own teams. I’m sure at times I have been a horrible boss myself though I am assured by many that’s not even remotely true of how I was as their manager. Yet, it begs the question why there are so many crappy managers and bosses out there. That question stuck with me for the longest time as I thought about why this was acceptable behavior. Why would a company risk losing good people to these bad managers? Turns out it was because they didn’t realize they had good employees because of how devious some of these managers actually are.
The other question though is what we are supposed to learn from this experience. It is said that we keep encountering the same life lesson over and over again until we learn from it. In my case the bad bosses, similar situations in my work that kept me going job to job was starting to really wear on my confidence and ability to find a good job. Yet was the problem really me? Was I over thinking something, too sensitive perhaps or just not as good at my job as I thought? These types of situations have a way of making you question yourself deeply. I dug deep into it and really sought the answer. Turns out it wasn’t me.
In looking back at my experiences with crappy managers it was never a question of me or what I did but rather of them. Their lack of integrity, honesty and work ethic that made them failures. That however wasn’t still the answer to this situation. It is easy to blame another as the cause but for ending the recurring life lessons we have to really go deeper than blame. While these jerks were at fault the lesson was I needed to take some action myself.
First, I needed to stop questioning myself. When we doubt ourselves we let the abusers win. Our confidence and self-esteem go out the window and we approach problems from a place of weakness and victim thinking. We settle in situations that are not healthy for us for the sake of surviving instead of thriving. There is no thriving in these situations either. They are unhealthy and they continue to fester in our lives if we continue to live in them.
The heart of the problem and why it kept occurring for me is that I would move from one bad boss to another out of desperation. I was in dire need of a change of circumstances to get away from one bad boss so I would take another job thinking it better. It often wasn’t because I didn’t do my homework. I wanted relief from pain and if something even looked better I jumped at it without looking back. That shortsightedness left me in a recurring situation with another jerk boss that in truth was as bad as the last one. There were differing degrees of bad but bottom line they were all bad.
There is a big difference when we move from a place of confidence or at least calmness rather than desperation. I was making desperate moves in my career out of necessity certainly because income is important but there was more underneath of that too. Yes, income is vital but it is not the only consideration. We have to acknowledge and keep at the forefront that just because we need an income does not mean we must sacrifice other things as a result. Our safety, mental wellness, physical well-being, respect and integrity matter as much as if not more so than our income. The old saying of selling your soul to the devil is wrong teaching many of us have continued to uphold in our careers. As a result we have over 70% people dissatisfied with their career and current job.
While I needed a new job I also wanted to break this cycle once and for all. I had other things in motion to end the necessary of needing to work in the corporate space but still needed an interim plan. That interim plan did include working in the corporate space unfortunately but I knew I had to change how that was shaped. In true important decision making style, I started by making a written list of what I needed in my next job. It included the typical things of salary, benefits and so on but it then went into the non-tangibles. The qualities and characteristics of the job described in what it felt like and what was acceptable and what was no longer.
Stop settling for the sake of a paycheck. Everything is negotiable including salary, benefits and conditions in which we perform our jobs.
Define your boundaries and mean them. List what is acceptable for you and what is not. Things like having lunch away from your desk every day or couple times a week, is it important to you?
Describe your ideal job. We may not get all of these things but have a list of what’s most important to you and seek that in your job or a new job.
Trust yourself. The gut instinct that tells you something doesn’t feel right about a manager or job is a red flag you should listen to. Stop justifying it as nonsense!
The good thing that came from COVID was the revolution of the workplace to make it more ideal for people to stand up what is important to them. Flexibility, autonomy, accommodation are all on the table as negotiable when discussing a job. If you cannot get the top things important to you at your current job then the other good news is the market is employee friendly these days.
Taking charge of our path instead of settling in them for the sake of perceived security and income changes how we see our life. We start to emerge as empowered consumers in all aspects where we are now in control. That shift is where we begin to live in our true skin and in a way that is most natural to us. It is where we thrive instead of setting for another bad boss too.
Are you ready to learn more? Join one of the upcoming discussion classes to explore what it means to live more naturally at dragonspitapothecary.com/book-online