I have a new boss who is causing much stress, not just to me, but to everyone in the workplace. I can see it in everyone's face every day. The boss stays in the office and does not talk to us much. He makes random, sweeping changes to everything, from one week to the next. Half of the workplace has quit. Some are blaming new health problems on the stress. One has fallen very ill.

I am not in a position to leave, as I signed a contract before the new boss came on. Leaving would destroy my career. I am concerned the stress will lead to health issues.

How do I document this? Should I notify my boss every time I find something stressful, explaining why the situation causes stress (e.g. being punished for things out of my control), so they've had an opportunity to be informed of my concern? Or do I quietly document it in a log?

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    What were you planning to do with the log you created? – Erik May 11 '18 at 9:15
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    Telling your boss every time you are stressed is folly. – Neo May 11 '18 at 13:07
  • It's unclear from your statement exactly why you would log these stressors. It's very doubtful, "I feel stressed" is going to qualify with anything other than you being unmanageable. – Dan May 11 '18 at 16:45

Or do I quietly document it in a log?

This, so very much this. Hopefully you'll never get to a point where you need to use this directly but it's better to have it and not need it then the other way around!

Since you say you're not in a position to quit right now I think you are going to have to play the long game here. Make a private log of everything that you think you need to raise and next time you have a 1-to-1 or performance review with this manager you can try bringing up the issues you are facing (if there are no regularly scheduled meetings of this type you may need to request one yourself).

If you can I'd avoid going in to this conversation on a confrontational footing, try instead to frame it as suggesting ways things could work better rather than "this all sucks and here's the evidence". Use the log to provide yourself with talking points and if possible prepare some suggestions as to ways things could be done differently, e.g. you say he doesn't talk to you much so you could suggest scheduling regular catch-ups etc

If you get pushback or nothing improves then you probably need to consider escalating this. Depending upon your company's structure the appropriate person will be either your manager's boss or HR.

If your boss is the boss then this makes things much more difficult, and if talking with your boss doesn't get you anywhere then there's probably nothing much else you can do other than keep your head down and try and cope until such time as you can leave.

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  • It should always be noted that new bosses will change things. Depending on how he became the "new" boss, it may be that the company decided new management was needed there and he's changing it based on the direction the company expected him to go. Best to always schedule a 1-on-1 to get an idea where your boss is going so you're on the same page. – Dan May 11 '18 at 16:49

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