Pushing Back

Dear Dr. Darcy: I've been working for a new boss for the past 5 months. I really want the experience that this job will give me, but the guy I work for is such a bully. He is a verbal bully.  He makes me feel demoralized.  He insults me to motivate me. I don’t know what to do. Should I continue working for a boss who is so abusive?

Answer

Although your boss sounds like a douche bag, you need to ask yourself some questions before you tell him where to stick his job:

  1. It’s an employer’s market.  He can replace you in seconds and it will likely take you months before you find another job.  Can you afford that?
  2. You say you’re getting good experience from this job.  Have you gotten what you need yet?  Are you fully trained?  Is leaving prematurely worth what you’ll lose in experience?
  3. Do you have a history of dealing with bullies?  If so and depending on where you are in your emotional growth, this experience could result in one of two outcomes:  A) Continued exposure to the boss could retraumatize you.  B) Continued exposure to the boss could give you a new opportunity to set limits with a bully in a way that would be cathartic and empowering to you.

Only you can say what the right decision is.  It would be very easy for me to tell you to run away from this boss, but my advice is really predicated on how this experience is affecting you.  Someone who doesn’t have a history of being bullied might fare better in the environment than you do.  But at the end of the day, if his unsophisticated management style is undermining your self worth, you need to leave while some of it is still in tact. As I've said before:  People only treat us the way we let them.

Writer's Stats: Male, Straight.