5

Joined a company as it was starting up in my city. They didn't have a HR department, there were no supervisors, the training environment was still being built. Everything was completely fresh and it was a fantastic challenge.

Initially, I would extend myself far beyond my job duties. There were a few months where our department was staffed by less than 40 employees, we didn't have the proper equipment and the seniors were unable to keep up with the pace. Our original department manager would visit frequently and chatter about plans to close this department, stating we would all be let go. I voluntarily picked up the workload and worked 12-15 hour days so we could keep our jobs. This effort was recognized by the original CEO and he allowed me to sit in on future meetings (I would later give input during these meetings and they were implemented into the system).

A few months after that I was placed on multiple projects (building articles and setting up computer systems) and asked to give feedback on the new QA department. They had a few different programs to install and I had to test them out and determine which one would be best for our system. It was exhausting honestly, but I was able to complete this task and they later added the passable program into the QA system we currently have.

And then enters our new department manager. He wrote me off, immediately. He assumed because my metrics were different I was not doing any work. He didn't believe that I didn't have any role in any of the systems or current programs. My supervisor and teammates, trainers, and upper management corrected him. He avoided me for a while, then began assigning me small tasks and mispronounced my name for about 2 years. I continued to attend meetings and complete projects.

COVID shifted us to WFH. I had a very painful back surgery and tried to work through it, as a result my work suffered. The department manager knew about the surgery, it was discussed in depth several times while we were at the office. During a meeting he remarked that my performance, while I was recovering, wasn't great. He had a separate private meeting and was extremely condescending towards me. At that point, I honestly stopped caring about the job. Then I started doing the absolute bare minimum according to the job description to the disappointment of my supervisor and peers. A few quit because of the workload. Currently, there are two group chats and everyone has been exchanging job opportunities and complaining.

My question is how do I get back into the groove of things? I like this job, its stable and it feels like family. Or from an outside perspective am I just a problematic employee and its time to go?

9
  • 5
    You don’t sound happy, in fact, you seem pretty miserable. Are you sure, you shouldn’t be finding a healthier work environment?
    – Donald
    Apr 28 at 0:14
  • 4
    > worked 12-15 hour days > Never, ever - ever - work more than 8.0 hours per day.
    – Fattie
    Apr 28 at 2:46
  • 2
    @Fattie the pronunciation thing sounds like another aspect of bullying to me...
    – Moo
    Apr 28 at 3:14
  • 1
    Hi Donald, I'm looking for a new job. I've been at this one for a while so I was a little overly attached to it.
    – Baconmac
    Apr 28 at 4:23
  • 2
    Next time, don't permit anyone to willfully mispronounce your name for longer than a month. Frankly, depending on how difficult a name could be objectively pronounced, I would complain to the person's supervisor, and make sure that in meetings my name was correctly enunciated, even if it means interrupting the speaker/manager. The company will miss your hard work, soon heads will roll, as other valuable staff is lost. P.S Not all employers are jerks like yours.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Apr 28 at 8:53
18

I like this job, its stable and it feels like family

From what you have described, it doesn't sound like the current situation is either stable or like a family, unless stability in your life is constantly being put upon and threatened and family in your life means constant harassment and bullying.

You have been basically bullied into working double shifts through threat of closure, taken on huge amounts of work and responsibility with no recognition, and ended up with a manager who doesn't care about you. You are learning the hard way that your job is not your family, its not your life, and you need to look after yourself.

Think of your life as a juggling act - some of the things you are juggling are rubber balls and some are glass balls. How many can you juggle until you start dropping some balls? Thats the question you need to ask yourself - and once you have too many balls to juggle, you need to start thinking about which ones you can drop with minimal issue.

The rubber balls are the aspects of your life which will recover easily - your work for example. Drop that ball, walk away and you can get another job. You might have to work back up the chain a bit but walking away from your job is not career ending, it always bounces back.

The glass balls are the aspects of your life which will never recover easily - your family life, friendships, your health (both mental and physical) and so on. Which of these are you willing to give up permanently? Which of these are you willing to drop and never be the same again?

From your post, it sounds like your employer doesn't care about you, and is just loading you up with balls to juggle without checking to see if its too much. And when you manage to juggle those balls, your reward is more hardship and less recognition.

Drop the right balls, not the wrong ones.

2
  • I almost sacrificed my family once. I am taking a few days off to spend some time with them. I miss them so much. I'm not financially able to just walk away yet. That is why we have two chat groups at work, we're all stressed and looking for a way out.
    – Baconmac
    Apr 28 at 4:17
  • This is a great answer. Long term career wise it isn't smart to run yourself into the ground, it is a trap. You can't spend any time developing yourself for your next opportunity/role, and when you don't get recognition you end up being a mediocre employee in the end and miss time with your family. May 5 at 6:57
4

Sounds like battered wife syndrome

Them: Our original department manager would visit frequently and chatter about plans to close this department, stating we would all be let go.

You: [This job is] stable...

...

Them: I'm going to mispronounce your name on purpose for 2 years and then act condescending towards you in private 1-on-1s while you're recovering from surgery.

You: ... and feels like family.

Seriously, how bad would this company have to treat you before you realize it's not a good place to work? They threatened your job in order to get you to work 12-15 hour days, guilted you into trying to work while recovering from back surgery, refuse to pronounce your name right, and are condescending to you.

... and your worry is that you are the one that is problematic?

4
+50

At that point, I honestly stopped caring about the job.

That means it's time to find a new job.

This company sounds like a terrible place to work.

chatter about plans to close this department, stating we would all be let go.

This does not sound like a stable job. It sounds like bad management. They didn't even have a plan to keep people they JUST HIRED employed.

He assumed because my metrics were different I was not doing any work.

You volunteered to work 12-15 hour days and it's completely forgotten. Your company doesn't value hard work, stop doing it.

I like this job, its stable and it feels like family.

How is it stable - people are openly exchanging job opportunities and complaining. Management repeatedly threatened to close the department? They also didn't support your recovery after surgery - that is not how a family acts.

Join your coworkers in finding a new job

Your company is terrible. Get a new job and quit!

Don't give this company anything else but the minimum required, they don't deserve it.

2

It sounds like you and your coworkers were all happy with this job until the new department manager came in. I mean, in the comments it was noted that you really shouldn't work double shifts, but if you don't mind doing so then that's up to you (my advice would be not to do it, but it's up to you at the end of the day). But the new department manager really started screwing things, belittling you and your contributions, not getting your name right, and so on, and it seems your coworkers feel the same.

The thing is, this department manager isn't hurting just you and your coworkers; he's hurting the entire company. Let's say, your entire office of 40 people or whatever decides this one guy is a complete asshat and just walks out the door, on the same day, without warning. Just like 40 people, "nope, we're done here, see ya" (you're in the USA, I don't know if you're in a right-to-work state, but under right-to-work laws you could actually do this). Any company would probably see that as a pretty big deal, and especially a company which is already understaffed and having a hard time getting work done.

And when there is a problem which is hurting the entire company, it's time to get HR involved, because while HR is not your friend, HR is certainly the company's friend, and if there is a problem which threatens continuity of the company, then HR needs to act. So here's that you do:

  1. Collect complaints from your second group chat group where people are talking behind this guy's back

  2. Massage in some of your own complaints, like getting your name wrong and belittling your contributions

  3. ANONYMIZE ALL YOUR INFORMATION (this is VERY IMPORTANT AND IS IN BOLD FOR A REASON)

  4. Send a letter to HR, which looks something like the following:

Dear <HR rep's name>

It's come to my attention that a number of employees are having an issue with Joe (the department manager). There seems to be a lot of rumbling amongst the employees that he is engaging in activity that is damaging the morale of employees, to the point where a number of them are considering finding other jobs. As a concerned employee, I would like to see ABC Corp be successful, and rather than having a large amount of staff quit over Joe's behaviour, I decided to alert you to some of the issues that the employees are having with Joe so you can decide what an appropriate course of action would be. The complaints against Joe include:

[list of complaints]

While this is not a threat by me personally, I am simply alerting you to the possibility that ABC corp might lose a large portion of its already insufficient staff if these behaviours are not rectified. I hope that you can do something to help all of us.

Something like that. Do not threaten to leave, do not say the names of anyone else who is threatening to leave, do not say who is making which complaints, and write it as though you are a second-hand observer of other people making complaints and not making the complaints yourself. Frame it not as a personal issue or vendetta, but as a potential threat to company continuity, which it is.

Then see what happens. One of two things will happen: Either Joe will be fired and/or reprimanded, or he won't. If he is, then great, you have the old situation back of the job you enjoyed (but still worked 12-15 hour days, which is another whole discussion...), and if he's not, then you know where you stand: Making the department manager happy is more important to the company than making the entire rest of the employee body happy, and then you can take that for what you will.

1
  • 2. massage in getting your name wrong 3. anonymize ... how is that supposed to work? Even if the manager manages to misspell the names of all other 40 people in the same company, there should still be a pretty easy way to figure out who of them had a back surgery in the past 2 years.
    – BestGuess
    May 5 at 12:45

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