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Dear STC: My Boss Tore Down My Whole Being.

December 20, 2009
Dear Bradley,

I am writing to you because I feel stupid all the time, well since my bitch office manger let me go after working with her for 7 years. She said I always made mistakes, maybe so, but so didn’t everyone else in the office. She always yelled and screamed at me and made me feel that I couldn’t do anything right. I will admit that I am not perfect but she is certainly not. She also would talk about other employees in the office.

Do I sound angry? I am because I have been out of work for 9 months and can not find a job in this economy. I feel that I will not be able to work in a job again. She tore down my whole being. I am a married female with two children and at 43 years of my life I have never felt this way before. How can a person do that to another human being? People in the work force should not put each other down but help one another. What is wrong with people in this world?

Everybody is to out shine one another. God I hate that. I sure do hate life right know.

P.S

What is wrong with people?  Life is not about hurting other people.

———————————- 

Dear What is Wrong with People,

Thanks for writing me, you brave soul!

No one should bear a situation where their boss yells and screams at them all the time… that is just not right! I do not blame you for your anger. Let it out!

And you got right to the heart of every problem that exists today in the workforce: People putting each other down rather than helping each other. If only this letter of yours could go out to every single manager and supervisor in America, to remind them that even at work, we are still just people with hearts and souls, who need to be acknowledged and encouraged. It’s a position not to be taken lightly.

But here’s the thing: you are NOT stupid! You may have been in the wrong position, or working for the wrong person – these things happen to everyone. But the best you can do now is learn from it, and not generalize it to your entire life’s future. Make sure you surround yourself with some encouraging friends to remind you of all the strengths you have. But also be sure to take a careful and realistic look at your weaknesses too so that you can try to improve on those going forward.

I wish you all the best and will say a prayer for you.

Things will improve, before long! You’ll see.

God bless you,

Bradley

This is one of many letters – well, emails really – that I have received from readers who responded to my posts, “It’s Okay To Feel Stupid Sometimes” and “Are You Feeling Stupid At Work? I’m Here To Help.” It’s also a chance for you to comment with better advice than what I gave. I mean, what do I know?

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8 Comments leave one →
  1. December 20, 2009 9:15 pm

    Few bosses understand the impact they can have on their people. In almost four decades of working, I can count the number of good bosses I’ve had on three fingers. And you’re right — you have to learn from it — learn what not to do — and get on with life. Otherwise, the rotten boss continues to define who you are.

  2. December 20, 2009 10:02 pm

    she’s right.
    life should not be about hurting others.

    i know when anyone is already down, it is hard to see any good in life. it is a time when all the things that are wrong in the world tend to come into focus.

    i pray that people come into your life that speak words of life and love in a positive way. and that you keep your heart open even though it can be painful.

    i know that it can be hard to give what children need at this time, but, i hope that you will recieve patience and love enough to give to them while you go through this difficult time.

    you are loved, and you are worth more than you know.

  3. December 20, 2009 10:18 pm

    To hold a job for seven years and then be told the reason for dismissal is “mistakes”? Shame on that manager, that manager’s manager, and HR. A good manager always will aim to help each employee perform at optimum, to do a job at a more than acceptable level, and help overcome problems when issues arise.

    A person who screams at employees is not in the right job either.

    I agree that this employee best serves herself by acknowledging her own role in her dismissal (there is never just one side on which can be heaped all the blame), seek help if necessary to deal with the anger, and move on. Continuing to carry that anger – and it will come out in an interview – will not be helpful in locating a new job.

  4. December 21, 2009 6:33 am

    You guys are helping with some great advice and encouragement… Thanks!

  5. December 21, 2009 12:35 pm

    Dear What is Wrong with People,

    I too believe your angry and hurt feelings are valid, as well as your fear about never being able to work again. I am praying for you. Pray for me too, I am having trouble getting back into the workforce after bad experiences too. It indeed is scary, but I feel like it can be done with God’s help, leading and kind encouraging people- of which I have very few right now. So, pray for me too.

    Al

  6. December 22, 2009 12:00 am

    STC: Thanks for the prayers and kind words.

  7. December 22, 2009 5:05 pm

    I’d like to comment a bit more, if I may, on the topic of dealing with anger and hurt feelings in the workplace.

    When I was a manager and an issue arose among co-workers or an employee and another manager with whom I worked, I would ask the parties to sit down together, one side talking first, the other listening and mirroring back and then switching until all was out in the open. I would ask questions to bring out the issue and make sure each side was really hearing what was being said. I can’t think of an instance where using the technique did not result in defusing the issue and both parties going away feeling they’d had their 15 minutes and were acknowledged and heard. Anger might have remained for a bit after but eventually dissolved as both sides could see how they contributed to the problem.

    We all take into the workplace so many issues that have nothing to do with the work we have to get done or how we perform it. We all need to feel what we do counts, and recognition and acknowledgment from higher up go a long way to help us feel that way.

    There are no “wrong” feelings. That said, it is important that a person learn to separate what is said about work and performance from his or her own sense of personhood. A good manager would be remiss in not pointing out errors and helping find a way for performance to improve. That manager is not saying the employee is a bad person, nor is that manager out to “hurt” the employee (though I’m sure we all have stories of managers to the contrary), any more than a parent correcting a child is saying the child is bad and therefore undeserving of the parent’s love. Work still needs to get done. An employee who takes everything said about his or her work as a criticism of his or her person ends up a very angry and sad employee.

    We have all have had “bad” experiences in the workplace. To continue to function optimally in a place we give 8-10 hours of our time each day, or do what’s needed to get that next job, we’ve all also had to find a means to deal with those bad experiences. Sometimes that requires getting help from an EAP or outside counselor, talking to a reemployment specialist, or finding someone to mentor us through the next job search.
    Anger and hurt are valid. Acknowledge them. Deal with them. Move on. Just don’t allow those corrosive feelings to get in your way of showing what you CAN do when you know you are doing your very best in the job that’s right for you.

    There is a lot of literature on the topic of angry employees and angry managers. It might be helpful to read the pointers for dealing with the feelings.

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