People Don’t Leave Companies, They Leave Managers

Ignoring an abusive boss is emotionally exhausting, making you less productive at work. / Credit: Angry boss image via Shutterstock

‘People don’t leave companies, they leave managers’

I just got reminded of this lesson recently.

I was doing work for a large corporation helping them out with their analytics. It was end of the day on a Friday and I was about to clock out for the weekend.

I felt the energy and excitement in my bones– with a huge smile, reaching ear to ear, for the upcoming weekend where I planned to go out to the lakes to relax.

Just as I was about to turn off my laptop, I got an urgent message from the manager telling me to call her ASAP.

I was like “Ooh Ooh, what did I do wrong this time?”

But then again I knew it didn’t take much to rattle her feathers being that she is a very detailed and micro manager type of boss.

The slightest error, like a missing comma in a sentence, can drive her up the wall.

If you have ever had those type of managers, you know how it feels like. You always triple or quadruple check your work to avoid conflict or being belittled to be anything less than perfect.

I reluctantly called her to see what’s going on. She picked up the phone and immediately I could tell from her tone of voice that she was not happy.

I’m hoping for the best but preparing for the worst.

She informed me on a mistake I made on my analysis in which I needed to fix.

I thought to myself ‘ No biggy, I can fix that in a few minutes’. To my surprise however, , she had already sent the final analysis to her bigger boss without reviewing it and giving the final approval.

This mistake is obviously embarrassing for her and for myself for not catching this error earlier. Taking full ownership on my part to the mistake, I apologized and told her “I will fix it now’.

All of sudden, with no warning , the conversation took a turn for the worst. Her responses came back something like:

“How could you make such a mistake” .

“You are incompetent to do this job”

“Why can’t you be as good as so and so…”

This was shocking and I was completely caught off guard. The relationship with this manager has always been of that of respect.It has never reached a point of verbal attack up until then.

However, I learned in life that when people come at you with over the top anger or confrontation, whether it be you cutting someone off in traffic or accidentally skipping the grocery line, a lot of times that anger has nothing to do with you but themselves.

Rather it is something in their own personal life that they are not happy with or angry about and you happen to be there to trigger it (at no fault of your own).

Its just like using a pressure cooker to cook hot broth. Your anger gets buildup for a while and eventually the pressure needs to escape.Unfortunately, I happen to be her escape valve.

We hanged up the phone but I was angry and disappointed to how it ended. My blood was boiling, while my heart was pounding so fast I felt it was going to jump out of my chest. I had never been treated like this in all my work history (okay, its just 6 years but still…).

I’m a very quiet and calm guy in nature (introverted type) and rarely react to most situations?But there is a line in any relationship that you should not cross? And it just got crossed.

What happened next, you might ask?

Well, I fixed the error, like I said I would and sent it back to her. I then sent a second email informing her of my IMMEDIATE resignation and explaining how I felt about the way she handled the call which was not correct.

In the past, I would have taken the verbal abuse from managers and just let them walk all over me. Where I felt inferior to their power status. But thankfully those days are over.

Now don’t get me wrong, I was scared about quitting the job and losing the money to pay my bills.But at the same time I know there are better opportunities out there and I don’t have to be a corporate slave if its not a respectful work environment.

Lesson

  • If ever you have a manager or anyone that’s put you down, you have a choice to stay in that type of relationship (environment) or leave.
  • You want to surround yourself with people who uplift you and not put you down .To be okay in accepting your imperfect self which I learned from reading Brene Brown’s book The Gifts of Imperfections.
  • Money is important but know your values and what’s important to you.For me, I value respect more than anything else.So my decision to leave was not difficult from that perspective.

Have you ever had a boss that treated you less then what you deserved? How did you handle it?

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