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Better than the Last One, Really?

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.