Dealing with The Boss (A Personal Story)

I received this post from Xtina, who shares her story of trying to start her career and her troubles in the workplace. She works in the media field and I know first-hand as well how egos clash with trying to get the work done in this arena. It is supposed to be fun and exciting work, but many times the sometimes fragile egos of those in the creative field can clash with allowing others to shine. Xtina shares her perspective on these early days below. ~Alan Eisenberg

Who am I? I am Xtina (I’m not using my real name because of my profession) and I am a writer. I write for a somewhat major publication in Houston, TX.

Growing up, I was raised in a Southern Baptist home. However, I went to a Lutheran school from 3rd grade right up until I graduated highschool in 2005. Being a southern Baptist (now ex-southern Baptist, but still a christian) at a Lutheran school was a lot like introducing a grown dog to a cat: someone’s gonna get scratched or bitten.

Teachers would sometimes frown upon me because I was Baptist and we played the rich Baptist school, which the church I grew up in owned. But even worse: when I would attend church on sunday and we lost in football and they won against us, the people in the youth group would poke fun at me. Also, the youth ministers at the church I attended would always come to the Baptist school but never the Lutheran one. That made me feel very unwelcome at a church I had loved. I didn’t want to be there anymore.

I eventually changed churches. I started going to a Vineyard church near my house and after 3 years, I am still there because I loved it.

Now fast forward to 2011: I had just graduated from college with my Bachelors in Communications-Broadcast Journalism and I had just finished an internship at a voiceover studio. I get a rather demanding call from this guy who works at this online SEO marketing firm. He offers me an internship/production manager position as a technical writer – essentially I’m a fancified proofreader of websites they were trying to develop. They also wanted someone who had experience in WordPress. I had experience in WordPress in the form of my own blog, The Wild Heart. So I was hired.

The first day I get there my boss, the CEO, treats me terribly. He lets others talk, but not me. I would talk about my hobby which was my blog but he wanted ABSOLUTELY NO SMALL TALK WHATSOEVER!

But one day he really hurt my feelings when after work he was showing me some stuff on WordPress and I mentioned I wanted to turn my own blog into a paying entity – like what Perez Hilton has. He laughed in my face and said “that’s never gonna work.” I wanted to cry but instead went to the record store and treated myself to some of the best of my favorite artists: Billy Joel, Fleetwood Mac, Stevie Nicks, and a few others.

Oh and did I mention the pay was a joke? It was only $150 a month. He expected me to buy with my own money a laptop. I ended up not doing so because I really wanted tickets to see Stevie Nicks when she came to town. (tickets were a whopping $79.50 per ticket)

He did this repeatedly. One day I wasn’t doing anything except for working and a new guy asked if there was any mac users that worked there. I told him I did and my boss tells him that I don’t know anything. I’ve had a mac since 2005 and I use an iPhone. Yeah I know nothing about macs. I went back to the record store and ended up spending $40 there. I was so upset and hurt by his comments.

It was also around this time he kept sending me Facebook friend requests as well as twitter requests. I didn’t want him on ANY of my social networks because those are devoted mostly to either my personal stuff and or my blog. I felt like he was spying on me in the off hours. Like for example he would have found out that after I took care of my mom who had surgery, I went to a tribute concert on the other side of town. I was reporting/tweeting about said concert for my blog which he so hated.

As time wore on, things got progressively worse. He gave me worthless tasks such as seeing if all the pics come up on his cd and going through a book of 1,000+ OTC contacts and manually checking to see if they had a bad website. Oh and he was going to force us all to go to an all male minimum security prison and listen to business pitches from inmates for some prison ministry program he was trying to woo into being a client. It made me feel very uneasy to go so I took the option he proposed of not going.

By this time the treatment I was getting was taking its toll on me. I remember having outbursts of anger and constantly complaining about the job. I also started looking for another job, which he found out about.

But one day he stooped REAL low and started giving me “advice” in the form of insults about my hair, weight and clothes. Luckily he let me off early that day. I wanted to cry and did. He apologized but I think it was only because he got caught. I told my best friend about what happened and she told me I needed to quit.

One day I got an email about that OTC spreadsheet saying get it done NOW so I decided that it was time to quit. I had had it with his crap! So I told him via email that I quit immediately. I know I won’t be able to use him as a reference – like I would want to use that dirtbag anyway. After that he made my life hell for a day in the form of 6 calls in one day followed by 1 call each day till thanksgiving.

However, a month later, I found a dream job. I was looking through my favorite rock blog and found out they were seeking new writers. I sent them my samples and they hired me. My former boss said I would never make it as a writer and I slowly but surely am.


3 thoughts on “Dealing with The Boss (A Personal Story)

  1. Read your story. You are forthcoming in how you displeased you were about the way your boss treated you. It must’ve been particulary difficult to quit since (from what I’m sensing) you finish what you start. Was there a time when you let your boss know just how despicable he was and, if so, how long did you wait after the incident? If not, what was your reason for not doing so. As a person who strives to speak her mind in a tactful manner, and as a person who has had her (small) shae of office bullying, I know the emotional struggles associated with an experience such as this. Thanks for sharing your experience with us as it helps us grow. Didi Mills

    • I did once, and he said he was sorry but I have reason to believe he was lying. I actually talked to him about the weight comment and even though he said he was sorry he still mentioned health stuff. I don’t need his advice! I can do fine all by myself!

      It was hard to leave. I didn’t give him a 2 weeks notice and I got many phone calls afterward – almost like he was stalking me or something because they were from an unknown number. (I sent my resignation letter on a Sunday)

      As far as letting him know the other times about his behavior I never let him know because he would somehow try to justify it as “constructive criticism” – but what’s constructive criticism when you refer to someone as “stupid” behind their back or poke fun at their hobby that they want to do full time as a job? He claimed to be pro business and tea party but was a liar: he favored outsourcing us business to India for cheap labor and even said that imminent domain laws (where the govt or business can take away your house or even another business) were a good thing.

      He was essentially a very intimidating man.

    • But the reason I waited in quitting was because I needed the money. I had a speeding ticket that needed paying off because hedwig village in Houston (which was where our offices were) is essentially one big speed trap where you will never get a ticket dismissed.

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