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 avpd
Joined: 8/5/2009
Msg: 1
toxic workplacePage 1 of 1    
Has anyone dealt with a toxic workplace situation? How did you handle it? Did it get better or did you have to quit and get another job? I realize this will be a difficult question for people to answer if they are currently in a bad workplace. I have heard of employers firing people for things they wrote in online blogs. So please be careful people. I am being careful here. I don't have a pic up.

I have been working at that place for many years. It was a good job until about4 years ago when they reorganized and I got a new supervisor. It didn't get really bad until a couple of years ago. My boss overworks me and then tells me to work overtime without pay to save money. He did not put this in writing so I cannot prove it. I have been working 15 minutes over many days without putting in overtime. My boss also threatened to fire me for insubordination when I tried refusing to do work that I didn't have time to do.

Then my assistant left and my boss gave me someone from another department. He tells me that he really likes this guy. The new guy shows up late a lot and takes too many breaks. Then he says we are allowed to have 30 minute paid breaks in addition to our 30 minute unpaid breaks. I told my boss and my boss aid it was true. I've never gotten any paid break at all. I take my 30 minute unpaid break.

All this time my office-mate has been coming into work at noon and leaving at 4-5 pm. He even got caught by the exec director and nothing happened. I thought something would happen last year when the exec came looking for him and he wasn't there. He got in at noon that day, but nothing happened. He kept coming in at noon and would often get right on the computer and log into facebook for an hour.

I tried going to personnel. I e-mailed them when I caught my assistant coming in late and falsifying the time on his sign-in sheet to cover. Personnel told me that I may need to be disciplined. I wrote back that I did not understand why, but didn't get an answer.

My boss came to me and told me we were having a meeting with the exec then. I complained to the exec that my assistant was always late and that my office-mate came in at noon every day. He told me that I was causing the situation to get inflamed and that wasn't good. He didn't want the situation getting inflamed. He said to just keep telling my boss when my assistant did something wrong. I did that for a while but then I got suspended. They said I was being investigated for misusing the computer at work. My boss told me that we could use it for personal e-mail so I would. I live 40 minutes from work so I don't have a chance to check my e-mail during the day if I don't do in on break at work. I repeat - my boss told me that was alright. My office-mate even goes on facebook when he's supposed to be working.

I have been looking for jobs, but the economy has been so bad fothe past 18 months that nothing decent has turned up. I will almost certainly have to take a pay cut if I want to get another job. I have been hoping my boss would retire. He has more than enough years in, but it hasn't happened.

I hope someone has a story like this with a happy ending.
 avpd
Joined: 8/5/2009
Msg: 2
toxic workplace
Posted: 8/12/2009 11:58:20 AM
My complaining hasn't been constant. I only just started after 4 years of going with the flow. I'm not sure how much it will take to get me fired though. There was a couple that got caught having sex and they didn't get fired. Then there was the guy who showed up for work drunk a few times. It was not until the third time that they fired him. It's that kind of place! Do you let your workers come in drunk and have sex with each other?
 sexyfunguy
Joined: 4/9/2005
Msg: 3
toxic workplace
Posted: 8/12/2009 1:17:42 PM
I wish I could tell you that things would work out for the best, but the truth of the matter is it rarely does. When new supervisors take over, they usually like to remove the old guard left over from the previous boss. When the boss brings someone over and says to your face that he really likes this guy (and its clear from his actions that he doesn't like you), that is code for - this is your replacement.

My advice, stick in there while looking for another job. Don't kid yourself, you will lose this job either from quiting, being pushed out, or just plain ole fired if they get tired of waiting for you to quit. In any case, the tell tale sign for imminent termination will be when your boss asks if you could start training the other guy.
 readyfornow
Joined: 5/15/2009
Msg: 4
view profile
History
toxic workplace
Posted: 8/12/2009 3:12:24 PM
Agreed sexyfunguy. One bit of advice though. Whatever you do don't quit. Do what the job requires and force him to let you go. Also make sure you don't sign anything in the form of write-ups. This way you'll be sure to get unemployment benefits if or when you get terminated. I went through a similar situation once and my former employer didn't have a leg to stand on. Also, keep good notes just in case you have the chance to sue him (depending on employee rights in your state). These days its everybody for themselves. Good luck.
 farceur
Joined: 5/3/2009
Msg: 5
toxic workplace
Posted: 8/12/2009 6:45:18 PM
Ignore what coworkers do unless it actually prevents you from doing your job well. Even then, cut people some slack. Once they have used up their slack, they have become an unreasonable hindrance to your job performance. That's the approach to take when reporting problematic behaviors. Then, your boss can decide if it's worth letting them get away with it. It could be that your boss wouldn't care if your job performance suffered somewhat, depending on what the alternative was from their point of view dealing with the situation. The focus should be on what is best to get the job done. Everyone doing that is good for business.

And then there is the universe of personality conflicts and bozo bosses and coworkers (which any of us might be according to someone else). It's a fact of life that people are different and so whenever you have an organization of people, they have to try to get along. The goal would be for everyone to be happy all the time, but that's not realistic, so managing the mix is required. To get along well and do your job well, be diplomatic, have a thick skin, know your rights and responsibilities, avoid being petty, and stand your ground when it matters. Getting a "bad for you" boss is a drag. If I was in your shoes I would just ask the boss straight up if there was a problem to solve. It's highly unlikely that you can be unhappy with your boss without your boss also being unhappy with you. You both win if you can identify and solve whatever problem is creating that conflict between you. Because of the organizational structure, bosses hire and fire, employees try to get hired and try not to get fired. You volunteer for that by being an employee.

Whatever the economy is like, you can know your requirements and limits when it comes to dealing with other people at work. No job is worth feeling like you sold your personal integrity for a wage. Every job pretty much requires you to be occasionally annoyed. By clearing your head of amorphous political thoughts you free yourself from petty resentments and other emotional downers. That clearer mind can be used to advantage for considering your options, making the best of the meanwhile, and daydreaming. The workplace may present some unpleasantness but unless you invite that into your thoughts, there is no toxicity. I wish you good luck rising above it, sorting your options, and achieving the work situation that suits you.

Books to read that may help include: What Color is Your Parachute, The Peter Principle, Games People Play, Build A Better Life By Stealing Office Supplies (Dilbert Cartoons).
 Not The Cable Guy
Joined: 10/24/2008
Msg: 6
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History
toxic workplace
Posted: 8/12/2009 8:12:43 PM
Yeah... What ^^^ they said... Just remember that no matter what skills and qualifications you possess for whatever it is you do; you are expendable...

You're rocking what sounds to be a very tiny boat... The other occupants would sooner toss you overboard then risk capsizing...

Who cares if the exec is fvcking your co-worker?... No matter where you work, there is always internal politics, and unless you've got your own key to the executive's mens room; it's in your best interest to not involve yourself...

My only exception would be if you are working for people who are polluting the atmosphere or ground water with some kind of noxious toxic waste... Under those circumstances, you should feel obliged to walk the fvck away and drop a dime on the bastids...

You can always find another job...
 rosie-day
Joined: 4/27/2009
Msg: 7
toxic workplace
Posted: 8/12/2009 9:27:22 PM
good advice here! and have you read the workplacemobbing website?
there is another strand on here 'terrible jobs/managers..how have you handled them?" that may also give some ideas on getting happier at work
 PiscesItaliana
Joined: 4/8/2009
Msg: 8
toxic workplace
Posted: 8/12/2009 9:43:31 PM
I really wish this thread was started a few months ago. Really superb advice I could have used then, but I will use it to my advantage in the future.
 Nina1000
Joined: 5/28/2009
Msg: 9
toxic workplace
Posted: 8/13/2009 6:11:00 AM
If I could not respect the person I report to, I would change job. I am currently reporting to somebody I respect, so I don't have this problem. When you are in a big company, going to Human Resources is the last thing you should do....it is better to approach the person whom you need to deal with DIRECTLY. Now, If you are the manager and have assistants, that is your job to make sure they are happy and comply with regulations. What your assistant does, is your responsibility, not your boss responsibility. You could have simply dealt with the assistant directly. I would avoid in the future using the internet for personal reasons at work. If you have an office mate on your same level, what she does is none of your business ( unless she endangers your job). What you do is.

Our boss told us from the first day that she wanted nothing to do with issues among assistants, that we were old enough to deal with the conflict ourselves. She did fire the office manager though......It is much better now. We are forced to get along and there is no hierarchy. I think to spread authority horizontally other than vertically is the best solution. I avoid any office environment where politics reigns supreme: It simply sucks and people are miserable.
 soulmate08
Joined: 12/30/2007
Msg: 10
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History
toxic workplace
Posted: 8/13/2009 8:48:23 PM
Hi OP....
In my country.. part of the 'payoff'....besides... paycheque etc.....going to work.. ...... is actually the reference you will receive.. from your employer.. after you leave...
building a work reputation..ie do they work well in a team?... performance.. etc..
abit like someone putting in long hours in a business.. but when they sell.. that business.... part of that is the 'good will' .. payment for those hours..
reference = personal 'good will'...
Im not sure if it works like that in your country though...
here.. a potential employer...will contact at least 1 of your refferees..(usually required to have 3 ) cited..
no management wants a non team player...
I have a mate who is quite high up in management... so he has worked with the imperfections that every human.... 'has' at least one imperfection.. he has ever had on his teams... as management.. they're all imperfect...screw up.. make mistakes..have bad days.. wife leaves ..yadda yadda..
he is aware of their good/bad points.. imperfections... but if someone is constantly making an issue of others faults.. coming to him.. ...complaining.. he then finds those being accussed.. counterattack.. and complain about the complainer... (human nature..justification etc).. point is.. no employee is perfect...
but.. whoever makes his life miserable... dealing with squabbles.. is the one who.. will go.. so harmony can be restored /..so his mind can focus on the job.. not squabbles..plus it really pizzes him off...on a personal level...

because it sounds like eventually.. unless you can do some pr.. you 'will 'change jobs.. b/c no one sounds happy..I reckon.. those who know how to get on with others go further in life.. then those that don't..... smiling is a good thing.. at work.. it can be contagious..
A good . character/reference....etc.. = going up/forward..
What sort of reference would your boss write about you?.. or describe you as to a mate going to hire you?....
good luck op...
peace
 arwen52
Joined: 3/13/2008
Msg: 11
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History
toxic workplace
Posted: 8/13/2009 8:54:10 PM
This is why people form unions. Being forced to work unpaid is illegal. However, refusing to do it may lead to them finding reasons to lay you off or fire you.

Only you know if it's time to leave or not.
 bedlog
Joined: 1/25/2006
Msg: 12
toxic workplace
Posted: 8/13/2009 10:27:51 PM
Wazwiz sez: "I own a few businesses & I really hate to say this but if you worked for me when it was time to cut back you would be the first to go. Why? Because you don't go with the flow. Sometimes we all have to put in some free time, sometimes we don't like our bosses, sometimes we do more work than others, it friggin sucks. You should not be concerned with what your co-workers do. That is not what you were hired to do! Your running to personnel & tattling on others is wrong & a very dangerous game to play. Your refusing to do certain work is also wrong & not a very smart thing to do. Your constant complaining is creating a hostile work environment! You using the company computers to check your personal e-mail is wrong. I don't care what was said "Verbally", if it says not to in "Writing", then it is wrong. It sounds like personnel is building a case against you & when they have enough evidence you will be fired. I would suggest you do some immediate serious PR work to improve your image or you are going to be unemployed. The only happy ending I see in this, is the company is going to replace you with someone that is greatful to have a job. Sorry but this is not the time to be demanding & pizzy."

Wow, you seem like a dream employer to work for. So let me get this right, crappy economy and it's ok to throw all federal and state labor laws out the window? Sometimes we have to put in free time? Really? So is indentured employees, is that a new IRS Classification? I'd love to get a hold of all your low paid, indentured serfs and see if we could gather as much testimony against all "few businesses" and see if the local tv stations would be interested in how well you run things. Maybe Labor and Industries would be curious to see how you treat your employees, and I'm sure with I.R.S more than happy to have a reason to investigate your excellent payroll history, you might think twice about figuring out where your moral comp(ass) is.
Please send me an application so I can "run and tattle" to whom know how to make a good PR job.
 avpd
Joined: 8/5/2009
Msg: 13
toxic workplace
Posted: 8/14/2009 10:42:02 AM

What management does with other employees does not concern you! However, I would rather have a worker that comes in drunk occasionally, does his job, doesn't bother anyone & goes homes. The same for two people that sneak away on their private time to have sex. But a disgruntled worker that refuses to do as told, tells on other employees, hates his boss, complains, creates a hostile work environment, deflates moral, insists they are right & gossips, has to go!
You need to put all of your preconceived injustices aside & concentrate on your job & you. I would not push the envelope on this one. Right now you are in a no win situation. Like I said you need to do some serious PR work. I suggest you read the books the other poster mentioned. No job is worth being miserable. You really can turn this situation around to your benefit.

Do you realize if you are using your office computer to type this they have access to it?


I have not written any of this on my work computer.

The couple having sex were not doing it on their break time. The drunk guy was definitely not getting his work done. He was falling down drunk. What happens is that the bosses expect the hard workers to take up the slack for people who won't work because they are drunk or having sex. That is one reason my job has been so hard. That's the only reason I informed on my office-mate. I know I shouldn't have done it. Now I'm an informer and NOBODY is going to want me around.


I don't think any amount of PR work is going to turn this around.
 notatowniegirl
Joined: 4/18/2006
Msg: 14
toxic workplace
Posted: 8/14/2009 11:00:15 AM

I did not say my employees work for free, I said "sometimes we all have to put in some free time." It was a suggestion to the op to compromise in an effort to save his job.


Actually no, we don't all have to put in some free time. If some free time is needed, it should be the responsibility of the owner/management as they are the people profiting from said work. You shouldn't have to give up personal time under threat of losing your job if you don't comply. Being in a position of authority does not give someone the right to demand/blackmail under threat of termination. It's why labour laws were passed in the first place.

I was working for someone with the same sort of attitude you had once (right down to claiming that everything she made her employees do were simply "suggestions" and her business ended up going under. I was a college student at the time and had to keep up with tuition so I stayed there longer than I should have. The job I applied for was waitressing... by the time I walked out I was head cook, janitor, was averaging 10 unpaid hours per week at the restaurant, babysat for her both at work and at home when she didn't come back before closing and was threatened with termination for not lying for her when Revenue Canada came sniffing around. The day I walked out, she docked 14 hours off my check because I refused to skip a final exam to cover for her .... she wanted get a massage and she had to pay another employee overtime so that she wouldn't have to be there.

If your employees are there, they should be compensated for their time... full stop.Unless of course it's a co-op situation where they share in the profits or they are a salaried worker based on work produced and not hours worked.
 farceur
Joined: 5/3/2009
Msg: 15
toxic workplace
Posted: 8/14/2009 3:24:34 PM
Hey, wait a minute. Where you work, employees can have sex and get drunk on the job. Setting aside your complaint for a minute...are they hiring!?


 Tarah0128
Joined: 2/25/2009
Msg: 16
view profile
History
toxic workplace
Posted: 8/14/2009 5:53:02 PM
Sheeeeeeeeit! I wanna work thar too!

Uh, unless it's you I'll be having sex with, Waz ~ sorry Tarah don't go dat way
 avpd
Joined: 8/5/2009
Msg: 17
toxic workplace
Posted: 8/15/2009 11:53:08 AM

Hey, wait a minute. Where you work, employees can have sex and get drunk on the job. Setting aside your complaint for a minute...are they hiring!?


Yep. They are almost always hiring - so many people quit in disgust! If you happen to be someone the admin likes you get away with murder. If they don't like you then they come after you for any little thing. For the longest time I did my job and ignored all the crap. But then some of it started really making my job impossible so I complained. And put a great big target on my forehead!
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