October 2017
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rant: mediocre bosses make drudges out of the best workers & protect & elevate mediocre workers


icon: "bloodcurdling (photo of me w wide-eyed snarling wild expression wearing "Red Queen" makeup: searingly red lips, darkened pointed eyebrows, black eyeliner, deep red & black eyeshadow accented with gold & silver, and black-outlined silver hearts & diamonds with red shadows on my cheeks)"

The worst person I ever had the displeasure to meet (and I'm including people who abused me as a child) was a boss I had at a retail job. [the failings of this mediocre, nasty, creepy, despotic cheap plastic knock-off]Unlike the people who abused me as a child, this person was cruel on purpose and I consider that far worse. He was a racist, sexist, cissexist, ableist, fat-phobic looksist who never showed compassion, had no sense of humor and literally zero good qualities. He talked about the sex he imagined his teenage son having in a way that made it clear to me that the only reason this shitwad wasn't assaulting young girls was that he didn't think he could get away with it. I can only hope that saves people from becoming his victims.

And this dude thought people liked him. He thought his employees were his friends because they laughed at his awful jokes and pretended to take an interest in his alternately brain-scrapingly boring or skin-crawlingly creepy stories. He hated me because 1) I violated his sexist beliefs by existing 2) I didn't allow him to mock me or put me in my place and 3) I did not laugh at his fat-phobia, islamophobia, racism, or other 'jokes' he made.

He deadnamed me and refused to call me by my real name, and told people hired after me that they could also deadname me. (to which I responded, "you can -- I won't answer to it but you can call me that." None of my coworkers were that disrespectful, at least not to my face) Lest you think that he was rude 'to everyone equally,' let me tell you that at least three other people went by a name that was not their birth name and he respected that fine because they were cis (although, the cis girl with a 'boy' name was always called "miss [name]" but I don't think she minded). When I was saving bottle caps for an art project (with all my co-workers aware and setting the caps aside for me), he asked why they were in a cup on the counter and when I explained that I was saving them, took it and threw it away. In full view of everyone, with no explanation; my coworkers privately expressed empathy for me after that blatant meanness (and symbolic violence). He knew that I lived an hour away and he continually gave me 4-hour shifts, even after I requested longer shifts to make the drive worthwhile, and he gave me shifts that ended at 5 so that I would have two hours to drive rather than one. He lived in the same city as I did, and he left every day at 3. He worked with most people's schedules, even the one who left the city for months at a time.

But it wasn't JUST me who was scapegoated. He also mistreated my Persian coworker partly because she was a transfer and he was angry that he didn't get to pick, partly because he wanted to give her shifts to his 'friends' and partly because he's a fucking racist. She reported him to HR and he responded by cutting her hours until she couldn't afford her apartment and had to move. He mistreated my Jewish coworker by continually scheduling her for Saturday morning, which was the one time she had asked not to be scheduled, even though she was fine with working Saturday evenings after sundown (when other people would rather not work). He did this over and over until she quit. He mistreated my black queer coworker by continually logging her as a regular employee when she was a shift manager so that he could cheat her out of a dollar an hour. She'd have to go in and fix it every time, or he'd steal her money. He mistreated another black coworker by continually belittling him and making him prove himself with tests despite the fact that literally no one else had to do these tests.


When I finally quit (after months of that shitwad trying to get me to do it), I felt panic at the thought of work even for months after. It wasn't until I'd been working for an actually supportive boss for a while that I stopped being terrified. To be scared of doing what you need to do in order to live and to have food and shelter is a profound problem. And I know it would have been at least three times as bad if I hadn't had a safety net.

Insecure abusive bosses require a scapegoat/drudge so that they can maintain social capital with the other employees. They pick one person (or maybe two) and give that person all the worst tasks, the things no one else wants to do. They give them fucking awful schedules so that they can give great ones to others. They make every problem into the scapegoat/drudge's fault. I have seen it not only with the unbearable waste of space that called himself my boss, but also with the bosses of my friends. One friend's boss literally gives them three people's jobs worth of work so that everyone else in the office can do nothing but chat with the boss all day.

This is what happens when you put dysempathetic, mediocre non-leaders in positions of authority. They don't care who they hurt, and they don't care or even realize that they're doing a shit job -- until an underling shows them up, and then they take the credit and punish the underling. Mediocre people respond to their inadequacies by lashing out rather than re-evaluating their behavior or trying to learn. If this happens more than once, that poor underling is the permanent scapegoat/drudge.

Unfortunately a lot of us underlings respond to attack from a boss by trying to do an even better job, which shows up the boss more and makes them more prone to attack rather than less. So honestly, it is often the best workers who are made into the scapegoat/drudges. Mediocre bosses want mediocre or even bad workers and they'll drive the good ones away so that they don't look bad in comparison. Capitalism: making mediocrity profitable.

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Comments
libraspirit2101 ══╣╠══

Sadly, many people in authority are like that. During my Home Depot years, I was DELIBERATELY kept in a very demanding and stressful position, despite my repeated attempts to obtain other positions. At that employer, those who either knew or were related to the right people received the best raises, the best starting salaries, the bulk of the promptions and the special priviledges. I was repeatedly given the short end of the stick DESPITE my tenure, contributions to the store and company and my outstanding performance.

belenen ══╣antagonistic╠══
Ugh, that is so frustrating!
wolfteaparty ══╣╠══
I had a bad boss too (though a different kind). She started treating me like the worst employee and making me nervous by threatening to fire me (while acting "kind but concerned" about it). I had not been trained well enough to really know what I was doing. I was fired in five months. I thought it was my fault and it really knocked down my self-confidence, not to mention that it made it really hard to find a new job. I later found out she started scapegoating another woman. And then that one got fired, and then my replacement (another woman) also got fired. She got a reputation for doing this to women. That environment was so bad I was crying in the bathroom. I'm glad I don't have to put up with something like that anymore... a bad boss can really change everything for the worse.
belenen ══╣hissing╠══
oof, yeah, it is horrifying how intensely a bad boss can ruin your life.
writing2exist ══╣╠══
Well said. I agree.
belenen ══╣garrulous╠══
thanks!
meteorology ══╣╠══
I've had the misfortune of working for a boss like this. The worst thing is that I didn't even realise the personal effect it was having until he took on another staff member and managed to "transform" her from a starry-eyed enthusiastic person into someone with no confidence or hope, in the space of 6 months. It was awful.
belenen ══╣hissing╠══
oof, that is awful *deep frown*
sidheblessed ══╣╠══
Seriously, that guy sounds like he was bigoted against anyone who wasn't a white cishet man. At every opportunity to be a decent person, he deliberately chose to be an arsehole. Like when he threw out of your bottle caps for literally no reason other than to be an arse. That's just pettiness for the sake of pettiness.

I'm sorry you had to go through that and for all the other people who have to go through his bullying.

Also, this post has helped me understand my abusive manager from back in the day. She scapegoated me and would threaten my job but did it in such a way to look like she was helping a less competent worker. This post has helped me realise why she picked me to abuse.
belenen ══╣hissing╠══
He absolutely was. Such a gross waste.

Once I saw it, I noticed it everywhere. It's amazingly common. At least I know how to react next time I'm forced to interact with someone who is insecure and has power over me.
jeune_fleur ══╣╠══
I wish I knew why most bosses are like that. because, really, I hear the same thing from 90% of the people I meet. Do they really need to be nasty in order to be in charge? I don't get it.
belenen ══╣hissing╠══
Power without accountability breeds mediocre tyrants. Basically, nobody ever calls these people out, so they just get worse and worse. And they band together because they're alike and they don't threaten each other, so the next set of managers is as bad as the last. And the ones on top are usually even worse: trump, for instance.
jeune_fleur ══╣╠══
Trump is so scary :( But still, I have heard that there's not much option out there, that Hillary is really bad as well...

webgirluk ══╣pic#124969441╠══
I'm sorry to read about your bullying past boss and often the people who end up in authority are the ones who ought not to be as you say and are absolutely shit at their jobs in comparison to those they make scapegoats. My current job is fine but in the past, I've definitely been the scapegoat of authority. In one past job involving care work on a shift rota, the bully boss would change my rota and not even tell me on a few occasions, leading me to receiving phone calls early in the morning from other people on shift wondering why I'm not there and making me seem unreliable. On one occasion I got up and went in, I was made to stay an hour later to make time up, yet someone who overslept for the shift they knew they were on and also came in later, got to go on time. It was many things like this and the final push was when I had cut my shifts to three a week, she put me as evening New Year, sleep in duty all night and all day double New Years Day. I was fine with covering one of the shifts, or even two but having NO New Year choice to "see in" was excessive when I was down to three shifts of a possible 14 day shifts anyhow but I was given the worst three of the whole week. Thankfully, like you, I had a "safety net" and was living with my ex and his parents at the time and had saved up a fair bit so I quit and never looked back. The overall sense of entitlement of some people in authority, though is disgusting.
webgirluk ══╣pic#124969441╠══
I meant to add I quit BEFORE the New Year and spent it relaxing at home :-)
belenen ══╣antagonistic╠══
ohmygod, I totally forgot that my shitwad boss used to do that! he would change my schedule without telling me, to the point where I had to call every week to be sure that I knew when I was supposed to come in. It was because he didn't want to actually do his fucking job and create the schedule ahead of time, but to make it look like he did he'd print out the computer-generated one for his bosses to see. I can't fucking stand lazy selfish asses like that.

I'm glad you quit before the new year, good on you!
raidingparty ══╣╠══
Had a micromanager who regularly hovered over my shoulder and watched me work.

She often shared cartoons or e-mailed jokes about how gross or predictable or I was about to say "stu-" but remembered that isn't great, but now I'm struggling to find something that fits. Foolish? However it is, posted all kinds of things indicating that women are superior to men.
Only last year did I recognize that was sexual harassment (in the middle of a mandatory staff meeting about protected classes).

And then personally: Saying things implying that there was something wrong with me; sometimes sounding concerned, but hard to tell whether it might have been sarcasm or trolling, when mixed with all the other stuff.
belenen ══╣antagonistic╠══
UGH gross. I can't stand that sexist shit. It is indeed sexual harassment.
ragnarok_08 ══╣ATLA ★ embittered╠══
I'm really sorry that your boss treated you that way - my mom once had a job in property management, which was a good job, but her boss was just awful and an all-around very unpleasant person.

This is what happens when you put dysempathetic, mediocre non-leaders in positions of authority. They don't care who they hurt, and they don't care or even realize that they're doing a shit job -- until an underling shows them up, and then they take the credit and punish the underling.

Preacher to the choir.
belenen ══╣hissing╠══
*shakes head* I hate how common this nasty shit is.
on communication, social justice, intimacy, consent, friendship & other relationships, spirituality, gender, queerness, & dreams. Expect to find curse words, nudity, (occasionally explicit) talk of sex, and angry ranting, but NEVER slurs or sexually violent language. I use TW when I am aware of the need and on request.
Expect to find curse words, nudity, (occasionally explicit) talk of sex, and angry ranting, but NEVER slurs or sexually violent language. I use TW when I am aware of the need and on request.