I work in a horribly toxic workplace. We are not assessed according to what we do and whether what we do has a high quality. The only thing that matters is whether you belong to the circle headed by the boss and consisting of him and a few of his favorite employees.

Now, I'm not one of his favorites. As a result, he's been telling me everybody hates me and I'm awful plenty of times.

The problem is: I'm not. I reach my deliverables in time and do more than required. Objectively speaking, I've always been a very devoted employee. I find quality super important and take pride in being a solid employee. I'm also polite and have always tried to help whenever I can. Obviously, I can't control what other people say about me and I do believe some of them do hate me as they showed me that unequivocally. But since joining I tried to just be professional and not react to bullying.

Now I've heard again that I suck. I've been described as the worst employee my boss has worked with. I was told I absolutely didn't fulfill his expectations. (I asked about his expectations many times, trying to fit in better, but when he gives me contradictory tasks I'm just not able to perform them all).

Of course, I'm looking for a new job.

But my question is: In the recent time I coded some solutions that are quite great. They dramatically reduce the time needed to solve some recurrent problems or allow to work more effectively. I coded them on my own initiative, unrequested, and mainly for myself but after creating them I made them available to the whole team thinking they may benefit from them. Only two or three people use them but they praised them. My boss never acknowledged this additional work.

How bad will it be if I now make the tools unavailable to my team? As I say, this work hasn't been requested by anybody.

I know it would be totally passive aggressive and that it can be considered an asshole move, but honestly, I'm so sick of being bullied and described as an asshole that I don't mean turning into one anymore. Would it be illegal for me to retreat work that has never been requested from me in the first place?

  • @JoeStrazzere I'm not sure I'm trying to "help", i.e. solve the situation anymore. I just feel used. And my boss's opinion about me is so awful I don't see how it could get any worse. Also, if I'm the worst, why should I ever go the extra mile? – 4358843534 Sep 12 '18 at 22:44
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    "I know it would be totally passive aggressive and that it can be considered an asshole move" - I think you answered your own question here. The only question is whether you'd be happy with that result, and whether you're fine with risking getting fired. This might be a legal grey area (if you developed it during work hours, it belongs to the company, but you have some right to modify it, as an employee). – Dukeling Sep 12 '18 at 22:58
  • @Dukeling, I don't know what the result would be. The result of my good work so far was horrible - for me. I believe that if something is not working, it needs to be changed and we can't always predict the results of our actions. Maybe Bill (see below) is right and their behavior is the reaction to my work and "going the extra mile"? I can't know it before trying it out. Additionally, I'm not sure I can be fired for not doing work that has never been requested from me in the first place. – 4358843534 Sep 12 '18 at 23:03
  • @4358843534 If I give you a present, would it be reasonable for me to take it back if I feel you don't appreciate it? (Also, if you're "at will", they can fire you for whatever reason they want) – Dukeling Sep 12 '18 at 23:07
  • @Dukeling. tbh, I wouldn't mind if you decided to do so. Actually, I would probably suggest you take it if I didn't like it (and if it was culturally acceptable, which it's not). But I understand the answer depends on the personality and upbringing. However, taking the present back against the will of the person who received it would probably be illegal. – 4358843534 Sep 12 '18 at 23:11

How bad will it be if I now make the tools unavailable to my team?

The point is that there is no good for you in doing this.

Either way it will not help you overcome this "toxic" situation whatsoever. You are venting with your teammates for something that seems to be a problem with your (toxic?) boss. This will not make those teammates a friend of yours, and could worsen your situation.

If you really think it's a toxic place, you should be seeking for a new job that isn't so. Start job hunting ASAP, carry on with your great work and quality, and when you get an offer you like take it. It's better than removing the tools (which would look unprofessional, not to say childish) and perhaps burning bridges or piling up "bad" Work Karma.

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    Think about how you might answer an interview question like this: "Tell me of a situation where you went above and beyond, and it wasn't appreciated. How did you react?" How would you like to be able to respond? – Peter Sep 13 '18 at 4:04
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    @Peter, I see the point that you're trying to make - and I agree - but wow, is that an awful interview question :) – Roger Sep 13 '18 at 12:51

How bad will it be if I now make the tools unavailable to my team? As I say, this work hasn't been requested by anybody

In Polish we have this saying of "taking my toys and leaving the sandpit"

Changing your boss mentality or changing the boss in company may be a task that is very hard if not impossible. It's much easier to change your job. Both as a doable tasks and as a desired outcome (change toxic environment). You have to keep in mind that changing your boss don't mean you will change his circle mentality or other people, close to him, attitude towards you.
When you switch do different job that change is done with everything. And because you expect that change to happen your mentality is also different.

Now, for the "toys". In some contracts there is a statement that everything that employees done during working hours/on company machines is property of company. If your don't have this claim or you created your tools after hours on your own you can/should take them with you. Not out of pettiness but because this is your property no one paid for. You can use it in new job or sell it to old company if they will realise they need it. There is no thing as a free lunch and you should value your work.

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It's easy to reduce yourself to their level but truth is you're able to find a new job, while they have to continue working there because it's the best they can do. Just let it go and move on.

How bad will it be if I now make the tools unavailable to my team?

My thought on this is you shouldn't punish others who didn't do you wrong. The thing is these same people might dislike the work environment as well and looking for a new position. They may come into contact with you in the future, and may even be your boss.

It's best to leave on a positive note with everyone. So you can get references, and be able to have a person who "been there" and know your troubles. They can at the very least give a contractionary account of your work should your boss throw you under the bus when a employer calls.

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There is a lot of room for opionion here. So here it is. Do your job as required, and nothing more. You are not going to get anywhere with this company, not going to get a good review from this company, so don't give them anything in return.

I would most certainly remove the tools. If someone later asks, indicate those tools were beyond the scope of your job and the creation of those tools gave the wrong impression to some people (don't name names), so you decided to remove them.

The boss and his inner circle have created a certain way they like to run things and you apparently went counter to them, likely unintentionally. You probably made them look bad with your productivity and your little tools, hence the animosity. They likely value protecting their status quo over the success of the company or developing new talent, hence the harsh attitude.

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    No. OP did the right thing. It is not their fault that the bosses communicate badly what they want. The bosses might even surreptitiously use the new software without acknowledging OP. OP should not retract, sabotage, work to the letter or otherwise, compromise the quality of their work, but they should switch employer ASAP. – Captain Emacs Sep 13 '18 at 7:14
  • I put it this way because the reaction the boss is giving him is one of being threatened by someone. Sadly the company is going to lose here, and not just the OP. As long as this manager is in place this group is going to be dysfunctional. If this is a large organization I would mention the hostility in the exit interview as a reason for leaving. Keep it factual, but candid. – Bill Leeper Sep 13 '18 at 14:41
  • Like I said, lots of room for opinion here. Had a similar problem at my last job, not with my boss, but another team. Some people feel threatened, no matter how much you are just trying to do a better job or help the company. – Bill Leeper Sep 17 '18 at 16:32

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