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Condescending Treatment

Here are the questions filed under this category. To read Ken's advice on any item, click on the link "Read Ken's Answer."


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My computer crashed again, and now I have to call down to the IT specialist to come to my office and bring it back to life. I don't like dealing with him because he is surly and condescending. It's like he takes pride in making all of us feel like fools. What should we do?
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Among other responsibilities, I am supposed to bring coffee to my boss every morning, and serve coffee during his meetings. I like my work, and I wouldn't mind helping out and bringing coffee once in a while, but I resent having this as part of my job. Is this a common problem?
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Whenever I talk with our manager, he makes me feel stupid, even though my work is just fine. He uses belittling language, and his whole demeanor is condescending. We all know that he is smart, but he seems to take pride in putting the rest of us down. Do you have any suggestions on how to deal with him?
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Our new manager is very strict, and he said that prompt attendance at his staff meetings is essential. Then he added that if we are late, he will lock the door. We thought he was kidding, but when I arrived a few minutes late because I was on a business phone call, I was locked out. The only message from the manager was for me to get to the next meeting on time. How does this sound to you?
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The president and senior officers of our company occasionally visit our center, but when they enter the building, they walk by all of us as if we are furniture. They go right into the conference room, have a closed-door meeting, and then rush out. I guess there's not much that can be done about this, but I thought I'd ask.
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My new manager was in my office and needed to use a calculator, but he did not have his. When I gave him mine, he looked at it and laughed. It's a very basic model, but it's all I need because I mainly use a spreadsheet program. This manager said he now sees me in a different light. He's already told several people, even though he was able to do the calculations he needed on my calculator. What do I say in this situation?
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One of my employees gives me suggestions on how to do my job, but the problem is that he only does this during meetings with my manager. I don't like this, but I don't know how to get it to stop without creating more problems. What do you suggest?
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I work in the corporate office of a family business, and the president's teenage son was just hired to help us out during the summer. He is a spoiled and inconsiderate person who keeps his own hours, makes endless personal calls, and boasts that he does not have to work at all. We don't want to insult the president, but we are already at our wit's end. What should we do?
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I have a friend at work who corrects my speech in front of others. I have told her that I don't appreciate it, but she keeps doing it. Yesterday, when I said, "Between you and I," she said it's, "Between you and me." I don't even think she's right about that, but it was embarrassing. What should I say to her?
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I am in sales, and our company just implemented a new system that requires us to complete a huge amount of paperwork. We don't see the value of most of it, but our manager tells us that it will improve our efficiency. When we complained, he made it very clear that the paperwork has to be completed. How does this sound to you?
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There is a support staff member who is supposed to provide me with assistance as needed. She is very wealthy and is working to alleviate her boredom. She is disliked by most of the staff. She is uncooperative, discourteous, ignores me, shows anger toward me, refuses assignments, and performs personal items at work. She has been "sat down" with management, but to little avail. The general manager values her because she collects rent from tenants with some success. What can I do to better the situation?
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I have an employee who keeps telling me how to manage, and he likes to use management vocabulary, such as by saying that I need to have more employee empowerment. Then he offers "suggestions" about priorities, assignments, and how to do my job. How do I get him to back off?
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There is one person we work with who does practically no work at all. She's often absent, and when she's here, she's either on the phone or wandering around doing nothing. We have talked to her, but she ignores us. We discussed this with our manager, but he hasn't done a thing about it. What else can you suggest?
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My manager has a hard time pronouncing my name, which is a popular name in my country of birth, but not here. My manager decided to give me a nickname rather than struggle with it anymore. I cannot stand being nicknamed, and I cringe when he addresses me, but I am concerned about discussing this with him. What can I do?
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My manager sent me a written critique of a report that I wrote, and the tone of his comments was arrogant and somewhat mean. My report was not all that bad, and his review threw me off. Should I let this go or should I say something?
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Our manager told us that he heard that employees today seek recognition more than anything else at work, including money. He said we need to keep this in mind when supervising in our areas. I think this is an oversimplification, but when I said this to him, he said I was flat-out wrong. Am I?
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I manage two people, and when I walk into their offices, they ignore me. If they are on a phone call or talking with someone, they don't even acknowledge I have entered. I don't expect them to jump up, but a little acknowledgement would be nice. What do you suggest?
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I have a co-worker who has a chronically negative attitude. She takes little digs at me and treats me like a fool. She's fond of "beating a dead horse" by dwelling continuously on the negative aspect of things. Her attitude bothers me, but so far I've managed to keep a lid on my temper. I'm afraid one day I'm going to let her have it. I nearly emailed my manager, the CEO, but I'm not sure if I should.
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Our boss emails us about everything and never communicates in person. Her office is across the hall from me. She will walk into my office, see that I am working on a project for her, and then return to her office and send me an email to start working on it. Her emails are often accusing in nature. I have talked to her about this, and she laughs and says, "Whatever." What should I do?
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My manager criticizes just about everything I do. If I make a comment at a meeting, he either ignores it or insults me. If someone else makes a similar comment, he is all ears. I don't know why he is so upset with me, and he refuses to meet with me. What do you suggest?
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There is one person in our company who rarely responds to email sent to him. We all use email all the time here, and it is very frustrating when he does this. What is the best way to deal with him?
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Management in this company is always saying they want to hear the employees' ideas. I was at a meeting with several top managers and made a suggestion. My manager instantly said it was a ridiculous idea and not to waste the group's time with these types of comments. None of the other managers seemed bothered by my comments. I felt humiliated and am unsure about what to do next.
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I am not in marketing, but I came up with an idea that could help market our company's products. When I mentioned it at the end of a department meeting, my manager said I should worry about my own work and stay out of the business of other departments. How do you deal with this type of management style?
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My manager is slowing taking away the most important and creative parts of my job and reassigning them to other people or to himself. I have told him that I can handle these responsibilities, but he takes them away anyhow. My job is getting awful and I am wondering what you suggest.
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I was at a department meeting, and I was listening and doodling while my manager spoke. I nook a few notes, but that was all I needed. After the meeting, my manager said he saw what I was doing and said I should write down what is said in these meetings. I told him I didn't need to, but he was not pleased. What do you think of his comments?
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I conducted a one-hour training session for my employees, and I thought it went very well. Everybody participated, and their comments seemed to show that they were learning and building their skills. After the session, I was speaking with one of the supervisors who attended, and she said the session was a "big bore." I was surprised and a little insulted, but I took the comment in stride and did not challenge her. I am puzzled over what to do with a comment like hers.
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I am a new manager here, and I was just informed that I am supposed to meet with my employees to discuss the goals that they have set for themselves for the coming year. I do not believe in this process. I am the one who sets goals for my employees because I know what is best for the company, while the employees are out for themselves. How can I get this point across?
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I travel about half of the time, and my manager occasionally accompanies me. When he does, he expects me to carry some of his bags. I have my belongings plus samples, and I do not appreciate having to carry his things too. How can I put a stop to this without upsetting him?
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I asked my manager a question during a meeting, and she said I should know the answer to something as simple as that. I didn't think it was a simple question, and I did not like being put down in front of everyone. I still feel embarrassed and angry. If I go to her, I think she'll give me an even harder time, so how do I deal with this?
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I was put on a task force with four other people, and we are supposed to look at benefit programs. There is one person in the group who comes late to the meetings, hardly does any work, and is quick to make snide comments. We spoke with our manager, but he feels this individual is important for the group. How do we get anything done?
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I presented an analysis at a recent meeting, and one of my associates said that I did a good job for a person who went to a state university. He went to a big-name school and is always reminding everyone about this. I stared at him in shock and did not say anything. I completed my summary and sat down. I think I handled this right, but is it worth saying something to him?
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We have a new employee in our professional group who is always citing or quoting some study or person. There is rarely a need for this in most of our discussions. How do we tell him?
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I was at a holiday lunch with several people in our department, including our manager, when one person in the group made a very insulting comment about my intelligence. Everyone suddenly became quiet, but I let it go. Now I am really upset. Should I have said something to him at the time, and what do I do now?
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I came up with a good idea and mentioned it to my manager. She suggested I put it in writing. After a couple of weeks, she wrote a letter back to me saying the idea was useless and left her cold. I am annoyed and wonder if I should say something.
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We were having a staff meeting and I asked a basic question. After the meeting, my manager told me that he didn't want to embarrass me in front of the others, but my question was stupid. He feels he's a hero because he reprimanded me in private, but I'm annoyed over the criticism itself. What do you think?
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In my performance review, my manager said I am the weakest link in the chain and that I need to show more energy and motivation. I do not want to be terminated, but I am not sure of what to do now. What do you think?
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How do you deal with an employee who phrases almost every comment in a critical and condescending tone? He reports to me, but he somehow thinks that he can lecture me in department meetings and directly attack my ideas and suggestions. I have tried to work with his comments, but he seems to be getting more and more impossible to handle. Why would he be acting this way and what do you suggest?
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I have an employee who does her job well and is competent technically. The problem is that she is arrogant and condescending when dealing with people, and her job requires people contact. Many employees feel put off by her. I have tried to give her feedback, but she does not improve. What do you suggest?
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We have an employee who is very competent but very arrogant. He does a good job in outside sales, but he has alienated just about everyone who works here. What is the best way to handle this situation?
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I have an employee who reports to me, and she can be very condescending and arrogant when I raise questions or issues during meetings with her, especially when people from other departments are present. I have not called her on this during the meetings, and by the time the meeting ends, I figure that it is old news already. How should I deal with this?
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I work with an individual who has a chip on his shoulder. He can go all day and not talk to the four of us who share an office with him. If he does speak to us, it is with an arrogant tone. Is there anything we should say, or just keep ignoring him?
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One of the people I work with fashions herself as some sort of amateur psychologist. She is constantly applying psychological labels to everything I do. Our work forces us to have frequent contact, and this is really getting in the way. What's the best way to deal with her?
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How do you deal with a co-worker who always uses vocabulary words that most of us don't understand? He quizzes us about their meaning, usually in front of other people, and he then gives the definition.
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I am a manager and have four people reporting to me. The other day, my manager said I have been taking too much time at lunch. I resent this comment, and since I am on salary, I can take as long a lunch as I want. That is my prerogative as a salaried person. What should I tell him?
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I just lost a great opportunity at work because the company changed a program that would have been assigned to me. When I mentioned my disappointment to my manager, he ignored me and started talking about a great new project that opened up for him. I got very quiet, and he said he was disappointed I wasn't excited for him. What do I say?
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My supervisor enjoys kidding me, and he keeps saying that his remarks are all in fun. I do not like hearing his degrading comments, his repetition of the same annoying lines, and the so-called funny stories that he makes up about me. I was thinking about making some similar comments back to him and see how he likes them. What do you think?
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We report to an individual who gives the most simplistic instructions on every project. All of us have to listen to his explanation of every detail, and once he starts talking, he stops listening. We are a sharp group of employees, but he just doesn't get it. How can we get this to change?
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I am managing several projects that impact other departments. I get very annoyed when I get email from certain managers asking me if I have any news for them. I don't appreciate terse emails that read, "Anything yet???" When I have news, I give it to them. What should I do?
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I have an employee who handles the technical side of her job very well, but her people skills leave something to be desired. Her job requires interaction with employees from other departments, and she is often condescending, impatient, and acts like a know-it-all. I have received complaints about her, and I am not sure how to correct the problem.
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We have a break room, and every time I take a break, there is a group of five employees from another department who always sit at the same table and they are so loud that I can hardly hear my friends who sit with me. One of the employees in the other group is a supervisor, and I politely asked him to talk a little quieter. He said he is on a break and can be as loud as he likes. What should I do?
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My manager gave me a brief assignment and I completed it on time and correctly, but he tore into me and criticized the work up and down. I showed him in black and white that he was wrong, and then he said he did not care. He has not talked to me since and it's been a few days. What do I do now?
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I am a legal secretary, and my boss is often moody, rude, abrupt, impatient, and unfriendly, and gets very defensive if I even hint about any of this. He said he does not have to apologize to me because I am not his wife. I am doing a good job, and it is hard to find another job. Any advice?
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I am an administrative assistant, and my boss was starting a meeting and he asked me to go down the hall and tell another manager who was supposed to attend that the meeting is about to begin. I stuck my head in the manager's office and he yelled at me and said he knows the meeting is starting and he'll be there when he can. I left and simply told my manager what he said. Should I tell my manager about the screaming?
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My manager has a packet on our health insurance that is supposed to be given to all of us. When I asked for mine, he came by my desk later and literally threw it at me and then walked away. I don't want to make a big deal out of nothing, but what should I do about this?
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We hired a new employee, and on her third day she copied a personal hundred page document on our copier. When I asked her about it, she said it is a book she is writing, and her previous employer did not mind if employees use the copiers for personal business. When I told her it is not permitted here, she said she will follow the rule, but it is ridiculous. She has some valuable skills, and I'm wondering how to deal with her.
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I am on a committee with three other managers, and we are analyzing customer service systems. In order to update the vice president of operations on our progress, we agreed that one of us would write a summary that would include comments from all of us. I had some important points that conflicted with those of the individual writing the summary, so he eliminated them and then emailed it. I am furious. What should I do?
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One of my employees is very skilled in her work, but recently she been giving me orders, insulting me in front of others, and taking credit for my accomplishments. I do not want to lose her because she is very skilled, and I am unsure how to deal with her in light of this.
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I put together a summary of information that my manager requested, and I thought I did a good job. His response to me was a question mark, and nothing more. When I responded that I am not sure what he means, he emailed back and said, “figure it out.” What am I missing?
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Our manager has nicknames for many of us, and all of these names are different animals. We all find this to be childish and degrading, but we are reluctant to say something because he can get very upset. Should we just live with this, or can you suggest something different?
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Our company brought in an outside trainer, and during the session I thought he made a technical mistake, and not on a minor issue. When I politely asked him about it, he turned my question into a joke and got a big laugh from everyone in the room. Afterwards, I did some checking and found out I was right and the trainer was wrong on the issue. Should I say something or just forget it?
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I am cannot stand my manager who happens to be an owner of the company. He can be friendly, but he can instantly become mean and insulting especially in front of others. Whenever I see his name on an email to me, or whenever he wants to see me, I feel nauseous. I have tried to talk to him, but I’m never comfortable. How do you deal with someone like this?
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Our company is introducing several changes in assignments and responsibilities, along with a revised overall structure. As planned, I discussed the changes with another manager. He then met with my manager and totally misquoted me. My manager then tore into me. What should I do?
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My boss gave me a fairly basic project which I recently completed. I was at lunch with her and three of my fellow employees, and I happened to bring up this project, and she snidely said it was insignificant, meaningless, and not even worth looking at. I was embarrassed, but I did not lash back, even though I wanted to. How do you deal with a boss like this?
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I work at a small organization and have a manager who frequently shows up late, skips or misses appointments, and leaves early. Because he is the founder and president of the organization, it is hard for anyone to hold him accountable. It embarrasses me to cover for him. What can I do?
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Whenever we have a department meeting, our manager puts me on the spot. If I make a presentation, he challenges me with impossible questions. If there is a discussion, he calls on me in the middle and asks a tough question. This is embarrassing and annoying, but I don’t know how to get him to stop. What can you suggest?
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We are supposed to make presentations at our department meetings, and there is one person who leaves me out of everything. When he hands out documents, he never has one for me, and he overlooks me if I have questions or want to make comments. I have not seen him do this to anyone else. What should I do?
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My work requires that I communicate with several other employees, but I have a problem with one person. Because her phone allows her to see who is calling, she knows when a call is from me, and she ignores it most of the time. How should I deal with her?
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I walked into the office of one of my employees, and she was on the phone. She was talking business on an issue that directly involves me, and I gestured that I wanted to know what she was talking about. She abruptly turned to me and said, “This doesn’t concern you.” She then turned away and continued her conversation, and I walked out. What should I say to her?
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I am the only woman on a four-person educator team. I am a clinical social worker, and I get along well with all of the other team members, except one, the school principal. He tells people not to listen to what I say, he shared information inappropriately, and he provokes the children. I have called him on this behavior, ignored his arrogance, told my supervisor, and hired men because women cannot stand working with him. My boss thinks I am overreacting. What do you think?
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My daughter is having a problem with a co-worker. My daughter is overweight and was eating a lunch her boyfriend made for her. The co-worker commented that the cookie my daughter had was "certainly not low fat," and she made a similar comment today. How should my daughter approach this?
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This individual constantly talks bad about everyone in the company when they are not there. He has condescending nicknames for everyone and looks for problems, mistakes or anything and blows them out of proportion to be the one who found it or to destroy their reputation. He has been sent to HR for multiple issues but come out unscathed. He is in middle management and everyone just accepts his behavior. Upper management spends more time curbing his behavior than developing his peers. Cursing and tantrums follow any confrontation and physical intimidation comes into play (getting in your face)when someone talks back or stands up to his antics. Management has found themselves "eating crow" when they investigate I individuals that he has made derogatory claims about. He was taken to hr for referring to middle easterner as "the terrorist" but came out clean and acts the same way. Very unprofessional, hypocritical but never has a problem and is accepted as that is the way he is.
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A very rude and scheming co-worker was recently promoted over me by our senseless boss. She is switching to a more subtle rudeness after the boss kind of told her to "cut it out" (but without any firmness). What she now does is make statements to me that just cross the line between normal instructions and condescending, harsh reprimands. Her speech and emails carry a tone that implies that I do not pull my weight which is far from the truth. She enlists the help of other employees in mobbing me in this way. Management does not understand the subtleties of communication and I fear that if I cannot assert myself properly against this continuous onslaught, my anger will build to explosiveness (the bullies' goal). I am afraid that she will get huffy and take a complaint to management that I am unable to take instructions or criticism and that they will review the facts and side with her. They might say that I am "taking it the wrong way" or "reading into things incorrectly" and blame me. This is something that is happening after the bully has made a pattern of treating me with great rudeness and disrespect. She is a jealous, insecure baby but has been with the company for 7 years where I have only been there 2-1/2 years. They love the little ass-kissing fool. Any advise on how to handle this?
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My boss has recently put me on an action plan to assist me in sales improvement. When I don't make sakes, she calls me into her office at odd times (esp. when I'm very busy), then puts hard pressure in me by saying that I'm on the "chopping block." She recently told me that I need a "fire under my ass." Today she told me that everywhere I go there is drama and blamed me for the internet malfunction when it was CLEARLY NOT my fault. Then she told me to go and pick up food for our entire office with her credit card and never offered me any food but expected me to drive and pick it up. She wrote me up for tailgating someone out of the garage saying she's "never had an employee like this." She told me that I can't fax documents any longer because of the internet, and one of my favorites is that she doesn't allow me to have my office door closed at all--- not even when I'm on a conference call. Oh yeah... She also told me that another employee has had complaints about her and that's she's "crazy or probably going through menopause." I want to notify HR, but I'm so afraid. She warned me that if I don't back her up or go against her I will regret it. What should I do?
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I'm in the processing of a job application with my main point of contact being a recruiter that the company hired. He was supposed to have contacted me earlier this week with a scheduled interview in which I thought would be an appropriate time to express my concerns and asked questions, but haven't. So I emailed him with concerns regarding my pay and benefits that we discussed over the phone previously, and he responded to me well, but he also wrote in his responses a line that included "think of this as an opportunity to work hard and impress," in which he underlined the word "opportunity." Am I being overly sensitive or does this seem like an arrogant attitude from his part that is telling me something like "you shouldn't be asking too much, you should be grateful we're already considering you?" Nevertheless I replied to him saying, "I apologize if I came across as expecting too much for someone of my inexperience. It is indeed an amazing opportunity and I will take your advice to heart." Do you think I handled it alright?
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During my mid-year review, I took the opportunity to bring forward my concerns and frustrations since being hired, and my boss stood up, got belligerent and yelled: “I can’t take this any more. This is a job! There are lots of jobs out there, maybe you should take a look around and go get one where you can sit in a corner and do projects all day. I have a lot of people I need to take care of, not just you. You obviously are not happy but I cannot make you happy. You need to decide if you are happy--and I’d like to know soon--because we are hiring.” She then stormed out of the room and returned to our department, got her coat, etc. and said to the team coordinator: “I need to get out of here NOW. I need a cocktail, badly.” [or something to that effect] and left enraged. It was said loud enough that others could hear and were alarmed. I was later texted by co-workers asking, “what happened? …are you ok?” The Assistant Manager was in the room with me during the yelling. He texted me later saying, "If you want to take a sick day that is fine and if you want to you talk with HR, they will be around next week." Is this acceptable behavior from my boss and should I discuss with HR? I have heard that HR is not helpful with employees, they tend towards blaming the employee and backing management…. Thank you.
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