Dealing with a Psycho Boss: When to leave a company

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Sometimes, to preserve our health and sanity we need to leave a job, even in this weak economy. We’ve all been there, agonizing over how to cope with a difficult boss.  If you haven’t then you have been very lucky or haven’t worked long enough to encounter one of these managers who challenge your very existence!


When you have an insecure boss, or a lazy one, or one who’d rather drink vodka martinis than work or a micro-manager that borders on psychotic, how do you survive within an organization?  The answer is that sometimes you don’t and you need to move on.


You’re not a failure if you end up leaving a company when your boss with whom you directly report to is not playing by the rules, and is abusive, exhausting or just plain crazy!  You’ve tried to look beyond their bad behavior by attempting to manage them, but when the mistreatment continues it’s time to start looking for another job.


While working in a sales position some years ago, my sales manager turned out to be certifiable with low self- esteem.  The owner of the company liked me and this threatened him. He was insecure about his place in the company and the possibility of losing his cushy job.


He was also a control freak that I could have worked around, yet his verbal abuse became unacceptable.  He would yell, hold sales meetings at 6pm for no reason but to control our lives and threaten to fire me even though I was his top producer.


I knew I needed to start looking for another job when my stomach dropped every time I walked in my office.  The final moment of conflict occurred when my boss came into my office late in the day when no one else was around as not to get caught in the act, and proceeded to scream at me with venom oozing from his mouth.  He was right in my face with his protruding nose pointing his finger in my face with dark, vacant eyes; a psycho. 


He finally got to me.  I couldn’t deal with the abuse any longer.  As I sat calmly in my chair for a moment, I yelled, “Get the hell out of my face and away from me.”  He’s lucky I didn’t hit him in the nose.  I knew then that I had to quit to save myself.  Surprised I struck back; my boss retreated and walked out of the room saying nothing.  I felt like I had just done battle with a pit bull.


I needed to move on to a healthier work environment and quit a few days later which I would not recommend.  What I would suggest is that before you get so angry that you walk out on a company, you start looking for another job before the abuse gets so out of control you can’t deal with it.


No one should ever have to tolerate harassment of any kind that threatens them and their ability to do their work.  Watch for the signs and make plans for your departure by saving money, stepping up your job search, checking around with your competitors for possible job openings, and reaching out to your network.  You need to know when it’s time to say goodbye to a company and get prepared for your departure.  Or you can punch the bastard in the nose and try to get unemployment!  It’s tempting, but not recommended.



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  • Amen to that... great example of not tolerating bad behavior.

  • Thanks for the comment, CharlieGirl. It's so imporant not to tolerate insane abuse from our bosses. Start planning to move on after any onset of abuse. TLR

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