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My boss is a control freak nut-job

Aries

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They created a new layer of supervisors last year. Now instead of 12 of us reporting to a program chief, we have 3 unit coordinators who report to the chief. And us lowly slobs report to our unit coordinators. For some reason they picked this woman to be a coordinator and she loves to find something to nag about.

Last month she kept complaining that I take long breaks. I sometimes take 70-75 minutes, but I always work work for 8 hours. I asked her if there was a rule about how long we can take and she finally found a memo from 1996 that said maximum break time was 90 minutes. So I'm sticking with 60-70 minute breaks. But she made me fill out a form about WHEN I take the break. I put down 12-1 but sometimes I start early at 11:45. She kept sending me nasty e-mails and finally forwarded one to the program chief and executive director. They finally told her to stop it.

But now she's doing it again. I took break from 1 -2 and when I came back she chewed me out, saying she had to look all over the building for me. She didn't. We have an in-out board where I put down that I was coming back at 2 pm. But she insists that I need permission to change my break time if it's not exactly 12-1.
 

bin_tenn

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Yikes. Micromanagement is a huge red flag for me, and it's a primary reason I left my last job. I don't really have any advice, other than going above her for help.
 

Aries

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Yikes. Micromanagement is a huge red flag for me, and it's a primary reason I left my last job. I don't really have any advice, other than going above her for help.
I'm just going to keep doing what I'm doing. Some days I get busy in the morning and can't take a break until 1 pm or so. Eventually she will do what she did before and e-mail the program chief and get told to cut it out. It's still annoying though. I can't believe thy made her a supervisor.
 

Don Piano

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She sounds like a narcissist from your description of her behaviour. My opinion is that it is fundamentally unacceptable to treat people like this.

I don't know what country you live in, nor what industry your work in so it is hard to even try to advise. The only thing that popped into my mind was to find out whether you could offer the same service that she is without unreasonable behaviour. Perhaps then offer it to management. You need to carefully think about this, don't just do it.
 

Aries

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It's unionized- but the union mainly protects the people who deserve to be fired. No one likes my boss. The program chief made that pretty clear to me. The new girl who started a couple of years ago told her one day that she didn't ave to talk to her and send an e-mail if she wanted to say something. That was funny. I saw the stunned look on her face and asked what happened. They had to pull her out of the organic chemistry section several years ago because she wouldn't stop feuding with the woman who ran that section. They even made them go through conflict resolution, but it didn't help. Toady I got busy and took my break 38 minutes late. She noticed that I can back 30 minutes late and sent me an e-mail saying that I needed permission for that.
 

Don Piano

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A strategy that some people deploy when they are dealing with people that they perceive to be difficult is to get others involved on their side. The aggressor probably treats other people the same way, if a group of people respond negatively to the aggressor consistently that person may reevaluate their behaviour because of cost-benefit.
 

Aries

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A strategy that some people deploy when they are dealing with people that they perceive to be difficult is to get others involved on their side. The aggressor probably treats other people the same way, if a group of people respond negatively to the aggressor consistently that person may reevaluate their behaviour because of cost-benefit.
The guy who used to be a program chief before he got demoted told me to write and e-mail to the current program chief complaining about a hostile work environment. He can't stand her either. I remember one day a few years back he went into the lab to get a piece of tape and she stated nagging him about wearing a lab coat. Everyone got a laugh when he yelled at her about not needing to wear a lab coat to just get a piece of tape. No one else has to tell their supervisor their exact break time. Everyone varies it depending on the workload. I could complain but I'm trying the passive aggressive approach first. That seems to work best. The other women I work with is an expert at it. If she gets a duty she doesn't want she puts it off and puts it off until it gets assigned to someone else. She's out sick now after heart surgery so she hasn't had to deal with the control freakishness yet.
 

Izthewiz

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Your sanity is worth more than all the money in the world.
I am self employed and if a client is in anyway abusive or a pain to deal with they're gone in a heart beat with no problems.
If you can I would find a solution to her contacting you all the time if that doesn't work maybe find a new job.
 

Aries

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I think she really missed you !
Nope. She just wants CONTROL. And she finally went over the exec's head to HR and got the answer she wanted. She called me into a meeting with her and the program chief and handed me a paper saying I had been taking inappropriate breaks for the past 3 months and that I was in violation of policy and would be punished if I continued. This really freaked me out because the program chief was on my side a few months ago. I complained about having a migraine and went home. I called the lawyer who helped me 10 years ago and he said he would represent me if they took action against me. He asked if the union would help me and I said no. He said he gets lots of clients who hire him after saying the union refused to help them. Then I went to bed and stayed there in a fetal position until morning.

Then they called me into another meeting to follow up and gave me another paper explaining more rules like how we code our time in 6 minute increments or 0.1 hours. If I am 6 minutes late I must report it. My understanding of the rules is that the executive director sets break and lunch period policy. They didn't tell me that she was even in the loop on this. I just told them that these rules don't make sense. We have all kinds of procedures that are posted but none on out breaks. They refuse to post them. I took my break 30 minutes early because the food they deliver to us arrived. I told he I ate it and she e-mailed back that I was in violation and would be punished. I requested 2 weeks off and got it. I don't know what happens next week when I return to work. I just spent 5 days in bed and finally got up and took a shower yesterday. I need to take my car to the shop tomorrow.
 

Aries

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I just found out I was suspended. They didn't even tell me. I just saw my pay advise online.
 

Vincent

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No one else has to tell their supervisor their exact break time. Everyone varies it depending on the workload.
Why the disparate treatment? Where I'm from, that would get HR's attention if an employee pointed it out. Unfortunately, though, not all HR departments have integrity. Some of them act according to what can be swept under the rug when it suits their desires.

If they're going to start asserting this policy from 1996, they should retrain the entire staff and enforce it across the board. Or they should write an updated policy and retrain the staff on it.
 

Aries

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Why the disparate treatment? Where I'm from, that would get HR's attention if an employee pointed it out. Unfortunately, though, not all HR departments have integrity. Some of them act according to what can be swept under the rug when it suits their desires.

If they're going to start asserting this policy from 1996, they should retrain the entire staff and enforce it across the board. Or they should write an updated policy and retrain the staff on it.
With 6 different unit coordinators we seem to have 6 different policies. That's not the way it's supposed to work as far as I can tell. I do know the rule-book says the executive director sets break policy, but our exec is asleep at the wheel. She's just filling in after the long time exec retired. And my boss has never been a supervisor before. And her boss has been a supervisor for 6 months. I was a supervisor in another area for 8 years so I know more about it than all 3 of my bosses combined. The place is a mess. People are dropping like flies. The customer service supervisor got demoted and then quit. The QA guy got suspended a week before our federal audit and then 4 months later found another job and quit. The head services clerk who know everything and was there for over 20 years retired. The place is imploding.
 

ding

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This is dark ages stuff. That woman supervisor - gotta be autistic (ties in with narcissm although there is a lot of disagreement since the second is not classed as a neurological disorder)

Its no coincidence that those kinda folk end up in management positions, zero empathy. Are you in the UK? In the US they'd of canned you outright. Irrelevant that you done nowt wrong.

The good news is that you only got suspended. This means you got grounds for unfair dismissal if it evet came to that and they know it. Mickey mouse companies like yours will always resort to bullying tactics hoping that you will quit. Go back to work after your suspension is over and carry on taking 70 minute breaks. And record all your dealings with management. If possible, let them know your doing it without actually saying so.

Well run companies have man management training and realize that treating employees well is linked to higher productivity. And why create further levels of management? Not efficient and creates more wasted time.

At least you can be confident its not your fault. This **** goes on in companies all over the world.

Hang on in there but look for a new job at the same time
 

Aries

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What are your prospects for finding another job?
Not great if I want a good job. I need to work where I am for 6 years before getting a decent pension. Not many people get pensions anymore so I really want to hang on. I saw a custodian job available in the organization for about 40% of the pay.

This is dark ages stuff. That woman supervisor - gotta be autistic (ties in with narcissm although there is a lot of disagreement since the second is not classed as a neurological disorder)

Its no coincidence that those kinda folk end up in management positions, zero empathy. Are you in the UK? In the US they'd of canned you outright. Irrelevant that you done nowt wrong.

The good news is that you only got suspended. This means you got grounds for unfair dismissal if it evet came to that and they know it. Mickey mouse companies like yours will always resort to bullying tactics hoping that you will quit. Go back to work after your suspension is over and carry on taking 70 minute breaks. And record all your dealings with management. If possible, let them know your doing it without actually saying so.

Well run companies have man management training and realize that treating employees well is linked to higher productivity. And why create further levels of management? Not efficient and creates more wasted time.

At least you can be confident its not your fault. This **** goes on in companies all over the world.

Hang on in there but look for a new job at the same time
Some kind of good news - I didn't really get suspended. I was upset when I put in for time off and didn't see that my boss said vacation started Wednesday. So I didn't show up Monday and Tuesday and no one freaking called me! I looked at the rules and they have no obligation to call but still - they know I live alnoe and could have been dying or something. It's very upsetting.

Then last week I got called into a zoom meeting with the exec, my boss AND her boss the chief. The exec started chewing me out and I got mad. I started telling her that my boss told me breaks were OK then turned the rule around 180 degrees. She said something about adjusting to different supervisory styles and I said I can adjust but not to backstabber style. She gave me a hard time about the days I missed and I asked if my boss showed her the e-mails I sent from home while I was out. Nope - she said nothing so I said my boss keeps putting knives in my back and the chief should be doing something about it. There's more. It was a huge rant and I'm sure people in other cubicles could hear me. I was waiting for the letter saying I was suspended for unprofessional conduct like at my last job. But it didn't come and I made it through the week.

Other good news - today in a meeting with the boss she apologized for making my job harder. She said she was only doing what she was told and I didn't argue. But she IS the one who made up an idiotic break rule and went all the way to HR in order to get her way. She's pretty unstable. I just said that with all the changes and the pandemic we are all struggling and things should get better soon. But I know it;s still going to be a struggle dealing with her moods.
 
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ding

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OK so your in the US.

Don't know exactly how you classify a good job but yours is not a good job if you gotta put up with so much hassle.

Staying in a crap job for a pension does not seem like a valid reason for staying
 

Aries

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OK so your in the US.

Don't know exactly how you classify a good job but yours is not a good job if you gotta put up with so much hassle.

Staying in a crap job for a pension does not seem like a valid reason for staying
It's a job as an analytical chemist. It's what I went to college for and it took me 20 years to actually get a job that used the degree. I get lots of vacation and sick time. If I get really sick I have over a year of sick time to take off with full pay. It was fine until the last year when I got a nutter boss and the pandemic hit. My last job was fine too running a cafe in a psych hospital but when I got a bad boss that also got bad. I got into it with my boss and the exec and they put me on paid administrative leave for 6 months and then cafe got shut down.
 

ding

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I am not from the US but have knowledge of how things work in a state penitentiary. It cannot possibly be a fun environment in which to work. Explains why its so badly run with unnecessary layers of management.

I thought custodians were well paid but obviously not.

Yeah its a tough one. I'm kinda new here so know nothing about you but I can't believe you could get suspended only because of a long lunch hour which is not against their rules.

If you are not already in therapy it may well be a good idea to have some. I think you need some objective advice here closer to home.

Good luck
 

Vincent

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Not great if I want a good job. I need to work where I am for 6 years before getting a decent pension. Not many people get pensions anymore so I really want to hang on. I saw a custodian job available in the organization for about 40% of the pay.
If you were to stay for the 6 years, would the pension calculation be worth it? I'd suggest checking into it. You might find out that you'd need to stay for substantially more years in order for the pension calculation to be worth it.
 

ding

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I ain't from USA but know that 20 years ago, if you lived in a small town rural area your employment opportunity was limited to US Post, US army and US prisons, all public sector with defined benefit pensions.

To stay in a job you hate and can't get on with co-workers sounds like torture to me
 
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