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#1 May 20

Guitaret
Member

Need advice on a recent work problem

Hello Guys,

In the last 3 weeks I have been facing a work problem resulting from my direct manager bad conduct. He used to have this ticks like once a month but that was OK but now this have been going on daily for a while now and this can be listed below:
- Meaningless long conversations/interrogation just to prove that I have made a mistake or I am involved in a problem resulting from a miscommunication.
- Mean messages left & right whenever we are conversing in an issue and sometimes some disrespectful words in between.
- Objecting on every attempt I do to solve clients problems; please advise that I work in development & support as well.
- Objecting and expressing feeling of bother whenever I receive a request from a client that he is not ccd in. (not my fault)
- Asking for a sudden timelines on tasks I am doing without giving me any time to assess.
- Sometimes reminding me rudely that this task has exceeded my timeline for it (even for the small half an hour task) even tough I don't have a priority task after it.
- Obvious and in-your-face no trust behavior appearing in a sudden request to know what is delaying the task (for no priority tasks as well) and asking me to show him my screen to validate my words.
- My manager is a pro but the Lebanese kind of one, showing up at work @ 1pm, having his own company inside the company... Some of you will know what I am talking about.

This has recently turned into a toxic working environment and you need to know that I am a senior employee in the company, one of the founders of our core software and I have been working with the owners for 9 years now and we have been through many ups & downs and we have went though them all as team. As much as I am bothered with this recent conduct I am shocked and surprised as well. For now I am biting the bullet and avoiding an angry reaction from my behalf that will turn things into worse. My relating with the CEO (the person who hired me) is good and I have not addressed him with this issue.
If this behavior is intended to let me resign without firing me and giving my rights, this sucks big time; my compensation is not cheap so you need to count in the financial element in your advise.
Please give me your intake on this and please withhold your comments if you are not experienced in this kind of problems as your comments are very important for me to know how will I address this once and for all.

Thank you

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#2 May 20

MrClass
Member

Re: Need advice on a recent work problem

Does the company have any HR personnel? Usually you can raise these issues there.

If not, who does this person report to? If it's the CEO, raise the issue with him/her.

Do you have any evidence of improper use of words during a conversation (say on whatsapp or email)?

Simply complain that you are getting disrespectful and destructive criticism from your senior manager.

A proper company should investigate the issue; if you don't receive support from your company, then it's a sign to leave.

One thing you should do is be confident and do not feel scared to face this person. Make sure you have a professional attitude during the discussion and be straight to the point.

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#3 May 20

sero
Member

Re: Need advice on a recent work problem

You should always get constructive feedback from your manager.
Before going to the HR or the CEO i would talk to my manager first. I would note down all things that are bothering me (with facts) and set a 30 min one-on-one meeting with him.

- The 1st meeting shouldn't be more than 30 min to avoid any escalations.
- It should be constructive. instead of telling him "you're disrespecting me", say you're not comfortable with the way he's communicating with you.
- Gather bothering points and present them with facts. This is very important. He will ask you for examples of when he was disrespectful or rudy, you should be ready to give an example (hence make it a fact)
- Prepare solutions for the issues. Present the problem constructively, provide examples and facts, the mention how you think the issue can be treated (your manager may ask you what do you think should be done instead).

If the one-on-one was a success, ask him if he's fine with setting a weekly 30 min one-on-one meeting to discuss any unpleasant points. keep those meetings rolling till everything is back to normal.

If the one-on-one wasn't good, then escalate to HR and/or the CEO

On the resignation point, we can't judge this. We have no idea on the financial status of your company or the status of your CEO. If you see this option is highly likable (that they want you to resign), only quit if you find another job or if they fired you. The 1on1 meeting should give you a better idea why he's behaving like this.

Last edited by sero (May 20)

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#4 May 20

Hybrid
Member

Re: Need advice on a recent work problem

Usually companies do that in order to make you resign, sometimes if your salary is high and they think they can replace you with someone with a lower salary. And they can't fire you because they will have to pay you so instead they make your life a living hell.

You can go with the flow, resign and find a new job, or you can annoy them back, message him before work and after work, ask him questions about tasks and no matter what they reply, reply back with another question. Keep doing this till they fire you.

My guess is if the manager is doing it because he/she wants you to leave, most probably the CEO knows about it, but try to talk to him/her first, see what they say.

Unfortunately, many managers don't care if you've been with them for 9 years or more, they don't have the mentality of "investing in employees", if they can save $500 a month, they will get rid of you in no time, and usually by making your life a living hell at work.

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#5 May 20

rolf
Member

Re: Need advice on a recent work problem

First thing to do is not take it personal and stay calm and in control, which you seem to be doing, so this is fine.

Even better if you can, try to stay relaxed and believe in yourself.

I think you are doing well to ask for advice and look for support.

Keep doing this, and keep rallying support around you. Ask for help (or advice), and take the help that you get.

I have been confronted to similar situations in the past, and if I were to go back in time I would give myself the advice to find another job ASAP. This and also encouraging myself and gathering allies and friends.

However in my situation I was just getting started in the company. There was no compensation package, on the opposite, getting fired was going to play against me psychologically and on my CV - which is what happened.

In your case if I can venture some constructive advice this could go both ways:
- The root of the problem leaves the company and you are back to good standing
- You have to leave, in which case, would it be possible for you to reach a consensual agreement where you would benefit from an informal (but written) compensation and leave from you own will, sparing yourself hardship and damage to your reputation (and they would be sparing themselves a lawsuit, potentially)?

As for trying to patch things up and trying to co-exist, I am not sure about that, because at the core of your problem there seems to be a lack of trust.

So either way, you are up for a challenge.

Last edited by rolf (May 20)

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#6 May 20

duke-of-bytes
Member

Re: Need advice on a recent work problem

Gather all the dirt you can have on him and go to his superior..let them fire his ass.

Ps : try to record a meeting with him first just to show that you " tried" solving issues with him.

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#7 May 21

NuclearVision
Member

Re: Need advice on a recent work problem

Honestly, just keep biting the bullet until they get sick of it, show derangement but without retaliation or disrespectfulness=keep calm as rolf said.
It's no good times to be jobless right now my friend.

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#8 May 22

Joe
Member

Re: Need advice on a recent work problem

One thing that helps me in these situations is to always assume the person doesn't have bad intent. It is very possible your manager doesn't realize what he's doing. It's also possible he does realize it and he's being a dick. Until you know for sure, assume they're just unaware that they're being annoying. Put it on the count of incompetence.

This helps keeping calm and constructive during confrontations, which I think you're going to need to have. Set a meeting with them, explain these things that bother you, expect them to be a bit defensive at first, but try to build something positive out of it.

If after this it really turns out it's a toxic company, then you decide to leave or stay. But at least you'd have tried the constructive option.

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#9 May 22

Joe
Member

Re: Need advice on a recent work problem

sero wrote:

If the one-on-one was a success, ask him if he's fine with setting a weekly 30 min one-on-one meeting to discuss any unpleasant points. keep those meetings rolling till everything is back to normal.

This is wonderful advice. I would argue keep these meetings rolling till forever. And no need for 30 mins, 5-10 minutes every week should do.

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#10 May 22

xterm
Moderator

Re: Need advice on a recent work problem

I'll play the devil's advocate here.

- Meaningless long conversations/interrogation just to prove that I have made a mistake or I am involved in a problem resulting from a miscommunication.

Given that we have no context, I'm going to assume that your manager knows more about the problem than you do. You have already conceded that he's a pro in the field and having only heard one side of the story, I'm assuming you could've made a better job communicating before the problem happened.

- Mean messages left & right whenever we are conversing in an issue and sometimes some disrespectful words in between.

Being in management myself, I can only say that honesty is sometimes miscontrued as mean. Your manager may just be honest with you and you're simply unable to accept it.

- Objecting on every attempt I do to solve clients problems; please advise that I work in development & support as well.

It may be possible that your solutions aren't up to par with his expectations. Since he objected on your solutions, then other solutions have been deployed, how did they fair against your original ones?

- Objecting and expressing feeling of bother whenever I receive a request from a client that he is not ccd in. (not my fault)

It's not your fault that you received the request, it's your fault that you didn't immediately forward it to him.

- Asking for a sudden timelines on tasks I am doing without giving me any time to assess.

Do you mean tasks you will be doing or tasks you are doing? Perhaps you should get into the habit of communicating better? As soon as you receive a tasks, clearly convey that you are taking X amount of hours to assess the approximate effort that is needed to complete the task, before starting on anything.

- Sometimes reminding me rudely that this task has exceeded my timeline for it (even for the small half an hour task) even tough I don't have a priority task after it.

Just because you don't have any task scheduled after the one you're doing now, does not mean that you're allowed to prolongue whatever you're currently doing.

- Obvious and in-your-face no trust behavior appearing in a sudden request to know what is delaying the task (for no priority tasks as well) and asking me to show him my screen to validate my words.

if you have a history of delaying tasks, then his actions may be justified.

- My manager is a pro but the Lebanese kind of one, showing up at work @ 1pm, having his own company inside the company... Some of you will know what I am talking about.

You're appealing to hypocrisy, it doesn't matter what he's doing, that's up to his manager to assess. You should just worry about your own issues.

-

By the time you read this line, you're fueled with anger, which is the original intent of my reply. You have to make sure that you're calm during your discussions with him, if anything i said has a shred of truth, I urge you to re-evaluate the points you plan on discussing with him as not to fall in any trap. It is quite possible that his own underperformance is backfiring on him from his manager and he's just lashing at you as a result.

Have an open and honest discussion with him, do not let his words get to you. If after your discussion with him, things do not change, then you can go over his head.

Know your rights, do not quit your job as you lose a whole lot of money doing so.
If you find another job, make sure the package gives you what you would've gotten had they fired you.
If you would like to more about this, send me a message.

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#11 May 22

rolf
Member

Re: Need advice on a recent work problem

xterm it doesn't matter if the manager's actions are justified.
In the end they are having a negative, counter-productive effect and it seems to be an unsustainable situation in the long term.
So there is a problem that needs to be addressed.

It is a good thing that he has right to a compensation. Sadly, it seems to be widespread (in my experience) to "address the problem" by firing the employee which is least senior (hence easiest to fire). In this case hopefully his seniority and compensation rights will effectively encourage management to deal with the problem in a constructive way.

Last edited by rolf (May 22)

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#12 May 22

xterm
Moderator

Re: Need advice on a recent work problem

rolf wrote:

So there is a problem that needs to be addressed.

I have not said otherwise, I have specifically mentioned that discussions are in order to resolve this problem. The intention of my message is to have Guitaret evaluate his/her own actions first before they engage into said discussions.

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#13 May 24

Guitaret
Member

Re: Need advice on a recent work problem

Hello Guys,

I am reading each new post thoroughly and I am grateful for your feedback. The opinions are mixed and rich, and some of you took the time to write a deep analysis of the problem; Thank you for that.
This problem is very related to one's expectation, some people work in in a far more toxic, and maybe dangerous work environment but they are grateful for being able to support their families. Funny enough that everything starts to feel better when you tune your hopes down because "hope is a dangerous thing".

So far I am not fan of the idea of opening up to him directly (as efficient as this may be) since I only do that to people I consider friends. I may soon go to the CEO and list all things that are bothering me and the things we can do to improve my performance but I am waiting for the right chance to do so as I am afraid I make things worse by overstating problems that most people suffer from (but I know it in my heart this is the right choice). Or, I may keep following the terms mentioned by @NuclearVision.

I will keep you posted and will reply on some of things you guys said as I hope this topic will help other people with same problem.

Cheers.

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#14 May 24

Tech Guru
Member

Re: Need advice on a recent work problem

Let me shed some light for you on my career:

I had similar & more aggressive experiences in my career in the private sector.

The  issues I faced:

Coercive Power & with it associated PDR - Performance Development & Review reports done on quarterly bases.They can be subjective to the personal relationship with line manager not core competences related to the job tasks.

Bureaucracy & Chain of Order

Long working hours without being appreciated for the effort - more monetary incentives.

Other colleagues jumping in the positions ladder due to Owner/GM/Board of Directors  nepotism.  Meanwhile,  you are older in years of career / experience within the firm,  and  doing a solid effort to get promoted.

Over 8 years  of my career  in the private sector , those issues made me feedup. I decided to shift to the public sector & to have an  entrepreneurial career orientation. I am in much better position now physiologically and monetary.

Last edited by Tech Guru (May 24)

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#15 May 24

rolf
Member

Re: Need advice on a recent work problem

Well on the positive side, you are getting negative feedback and you know there is a problem, so you can be better prepared.

Good luck!

Last edited by rolf (May 24)

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#16 May 24

Toufic
Member

Re: Need advice on a recent work problem

Went through something similar 5month ago then i burned out after 2 years of reporting issues with non persistent / non consistent support / solution relating to the issues i had to deal with.

What i learned from my own experience:
- In a work place, no one is your friend. As extreme as that may sound, the less you engage people on a personnel level in a professional setting the better. Stick to work related issues and do the minimum so that you integrate the team (have healthy relations) but don't get too close because some people are toxic and will take advantage of you or do you wrong if it's their neck on the line.

- Respect the hierarchy if you're in a company/organization that follows that to the bone. Meaning that if the bosses upstairs hold the bosses downstairs accountable and your work is really showing good in evaluation or performance check, it might help to report.
If they care less about productivity and hierarchy, meaning that relations between bosses/manager are always prioritized because they protect each other's back, they have common stature to the company (they belong to same subgroup) = >you're in a bad situation my friend.

- Last but not least, you're there for work. As long as you're not being abused and the place is not becoming toxic to the point where's it affecting your life outside of work, do the job and/or start applying elsewhere where you can get a fresh start.

Oh, and HR is there to help protect the company first. Anyone that tells you otherwise must be living in lalaland or doesn't have enough experience in terms of conflict resolution or situations similar to yours at work.

You haven't detailed much about the type of company you're in (private/public) or what kind of hierarchy you got nor the situation you're precisely in. None the less, avoiding the issue might do you good for a month or a year even, but at the next conflict things might escalate.
- Make sure you have enough evidence (email, texts, hell even voice notes) that could help your side of the story (bad reviews in your file can affect future employment)
- Do the best job possible (your performance is the game changer)
- Don't make enemies with people around because in case of an investigation, some people can do you bad.

Good luck and at the end, this will be a learning experience for you.
Cheers

Guitaret wrote:

Hello Guys,

I am reading each new post thoroughly and I am grateful for your feedback. The opinions are mixed and rich, and some of you took the time to write a deep analysis of the problem; Thank you for that.
This problem is very related to one's expectation, some people work in in a far more toxic, and maybe dangerous work environment but they are grateful for being able to support their families. Funny enough that everything starts to feel better when you tune your hopes down because "hope is a dangerous thing".

So far I am not fan of the idea of opening up to him directly (as efficient as this may be) since I only do that to people I consider friends. I may soon go to the CEO and list all things that are bothering me and the things we can do to improve my performance but I am waiting for the right chance to do so as I am afraid I make things worse by overstating problems that most people suffer from (but I know it in my heart this is the right choice). Or, I may keep following the terms mentioned by @NuclearVision.

I will keep you posted and will reply on some of things you guys said as I hope this topic will help other people with same problem.

Cheers.

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#17 May 25

eWizzard
Member

Re: Need advice on a recent work problem

Hi Guitaret. This is your manager. You're fired.

Jokes aside, Toufic offered some solid advice, especially this:

Toufic wrote:

Oh, and HR is there to help protect the company first.

I know someone who used to work in a prestigious hospital, and his boss was more or less like OP's, if not more ill-mannered. He decided to escalate the issue to the hospital's HR department, and the staff there acted all warm and fuzzy and concerned for him. A few days after he'd submitted his complaint form, he learned that HR were working on having him replaced.

The truth of the matter is that managers are, in the vast majority of companies, considered more valuable and are rarely replaced. When you have an employer's market (as is the case in Lebanon) all employees beneath manager level are expendable and easily replaced.

Concerning your case, here's what I think:
• Reading through your post, I'm left wondering: if you're a longtime senior employee with important achievements in the company and a favourable relationship with the CEO, then why aren't YOU the manager? This is something you have to think about yourself. Perhaps you might not be as valuable to them as you'd think. Try not think about it too loud though, because the CEO will take note and see it as a sign of bitterness. If you're on good terms, stay on good terms, even if you plan on leaving later.
• While reaching out to the CEO might be a good idea, chances are he's going to ask you if you discussed your problem with your manager. Then he's going to ask the manager, at which point you should expect all kinds of تمسيح جوخ to come out in full force and most likely not in your favour.
• You can win a battle against your manager, but unless you dig up something extraordinary against them, such as evidence of gross inefficiency, malpractice or squandering, then don't expect to win the war.
• If you feel like quitting because the situation is hopeless, then by all means do so AFTER you've secured another job.
• Last but not least, I don't know the company or you personally, and I can speculate endlessly about your history and how you ended up in your current situation. At the end of the day, I would say this: re-evaluate the company's culture. If it doesn't line up with your values, then perhaps it's the wrong company to be at for you.

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#18 May 25

eWizzard
Member

Re: Need advice on a recent work problem

One more thing: if you opt to discuss with the CEO, see if you can negotiate a transfer to another department into a position which could use your skills and expertise, even if partially.

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#19 May 25

rolf
Member

Re: Need advice on a recent work problem

eWizzard wrote:

The truth of the matter is that managers are, in the vast majority of companies, considered more valuable and are rarely replaced. When you have an employer's market (as is the case in Lebanon) all employees beneath manager level are expendable and easily replaced.

Managers are the point of contact of the upper management.
So as a general rule, If you get to talk to your CEO for 1/2 hour - I think your manager gets to interact with him for the rest of the day.
So their perspective will be skewed and different than yours.

Eventually if the CEO gets enough complaints about a manager, then things can conceivably change - unless the CEO has similarly bad ethics and desn't really care about any of the problems.

If an employee is under-performing or if an employee is unhappy, it reflects negatively on the manager.

Last edited by rolf (May 25)

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