of no fixed subtitle
June 21, 2005
No, really. According to Prof. Emeritus Robert Hare, low-level psychopaths who are not inclined towards criminal activity may in fact be the
that have inspired so many miserable hours.
17 years ago
Yes, I've worked for someone like this in the past, and the experience has changed my outlook on life. There was an incredibly high staff turnover, and the boss (who was the main source of stress for everyone) didn't appear to notice or care in the least. The three main responses by staff in this unhealthy environment were (broadly) 1-get another job, then quit; 2-quit anyway, preferring to become unemployed; 3-assume you're not good enough to work for anyone else and stay. There were a small number who stayed because they were oblivious or could deal with it. I was in category 3 for a while then switched to category 2. Second best thing I've ever done in my life...
Oh. Is that bad to sometimes
comment on job perfomance issues a little loud and sarcastically and
be curt both in conversations with both bosses and underlings and crush a CD-R with one hand now and then...?
Oh well. Mmhhhh... primrose oil...
Lucky me, I have worked for three people who fit this description. I'm also category 2, in fact I joke that I'm "the rat" because I'm always the first to jump off the sinking ship.
Did I miss the part in the article where it told how to tell the difference between a psychopath and middle management?
there's a difference?
Am I supposed to be surprised by this?
I was married to one. It was a
Surprised? No. Feel less like you imagined/exaggerated how bad it was? Yes.
How many of those "telltale signs" do I have to meet before I'm considered an office psycho? Because I'm a tad concerned. I mean, I thought some of these were good things.
Cynnbad, are you serious? The only one that sounds like a good thing to me is the "calm under pressure" one.
Hey my them music is Firestarter, if you can't beat them, scare the hell out of them!
I just became category two today. I'm scared, but hopeful. And I hope the damage is repairable.
I'm really sorry for those of you who have felt that you were working for psychos, and happy that the few times I did that I could manipulate the close calls into something different. On the other hand, I've managed a couple of employees (out of dozens) who seemed really unable to connect with the realities of the workplace. But, give us your stories in more detail, including your participation.
This is what is known as the
Toxic Boss Syndrome
, and it's epidemic. I worked for one of these beauties at my first tech writing job; she got away with it because the whole company, particularly middle management, was psycho. She's now selling real estate. (Would
buy a house from this woman?) I stayed in my profession because after she got me and something like 75% of the rest of her department laid off when the company (surprise!) started to go belly up, I went to work for a succession of real gems of managers, who knew how to run a department so you
to come to work in the morning. On the basis of my experience, I think good managers are in the majority, but the bad ones are such standouts they give the whole lot a bad name.
Boy, this one describes
to the letter! How I wish I could name names!
So I guess
interviews really well, then?
John Bolton's behaviour may have been despicable in that story, jimbecile, but he wasn't her employer; she was eventually able to get back on an even keel without losing her job, career, or losing faith in herself. If your employer fits the profiles above you it puts you at risk of
. The first step is recognising where you're headed, so you can start to get your stress
; I was going in that direction, but I avoided the worst I think.
In my case, I suddenly realised I didn't want to still be working for that bastard when I turned 30.
I have "empathy"! You ungrateful bastards. *glares, picks nose a bit, fires someone*
There's a difference between a boss being a bit hardnosed and being a sociopath. The former will hopefully learn that treating his staff fairly* means they'll perform better, take less sick time, and will be more flexible (in other words, better for the
, and the business is what matters). The latter doesn't think staff are humans in the first place. The sociopathic employer puts their own needs and wants first, not because they're the boss, but because they believe they are the
only person who matters
*I didn't say generously, though generous treatment of staff
produce rabidly loyal workers.
Path, I have had good bosses who I've appreciated, people who have taught me to be more productive and allowed me to grow on a professional level. About half of my bosses have been good at their jobs, people who demand good work and lead by example. They are inspiring. I've also had bosses whose capricious demands undermined their subordinates by preventing them from accomplishing their actual duties. Bosses who give every task on a page-long list a #1 priority, who stop vital work during the Christmas rush to deliver a twenty minute rant about someone refilling the paper towel dispenser with the fold going the wrong way. Bosses who regularly call at 11 pm with nothing important to discuss, just to make sure you'll answer the phone whenever they want you to. Bosses who throw daily tantrums, who have lied about degrees and jobs they've held, who cultivate friendships with coworkers in order to report to their superiors about someone's personal life, who pre-emptively fire people so that they aren't around to dispute it when the boss takes credit for their work. Bosses who makes subordinates cry on a daily or near-daily basis, who have asked me to falsify accounting records to defraud the insurance company, who have embezzled, who change the requirements for a project that has taken weeks fifteen minutes before it is to be presented. Bosses who call you on vacation and demand you come home early or lose your job because it now conflicts with their own last-minute trip. You know, psychos.
Now think about having a clinical sociopath
as a mother
Whoa. This sounds like
the guy I work with
, except he's not a manager. I can only hope that he doesn't make it into a management position.
Dr. Hare is
. He's a local, too. His book "Without Conscience" is what started my fascination with sociopathy. But in a good way.
The first rule of MeFite Club is that you don't talk about MeFite Club.
Yeah, I had one. She fit every single one of those signs and I stayed for 4 1/2 long years. So I jumped ship for another job - this one - and now I don't have psychopathic boss, I have something that may be even worse: Severely ADHD Boss! At least with psychopathic boss I knew that there was always evil around me: it was predictable and almost soothing.
I am being very careful at work. I am current favourite to my boss, and he's on the rampage against one of my co-workers. I think I'll have to point out these pages to her.
Oh yes, the technical term for this kind of office-creature, is "cunt". How I wish basball bats were a socially acceptable form of dealing with the problem.
Companies don't do a good job of training bosses to be bosses. People aren't promoted to management positions because of people skills in most cases, so they make that part of the job up as they go along, mostly based on their perception of what management up from them finds valuable...who also made it up as they went along. But, you know what, there is usually a real human being under that management facade. Psychopath? Or just unclear as to what their staff actually does in any detail? I've seen that happen often enough. It's hard to admit that your staff could train you, so bullying seems like an easy way to avoid admitting ignorance of something you're in charge of. Or, is it someone who thinks that a "tough guy" approach works best based on having met up with an outdated management style in his or her early years. Those are hard to deal with as an employee, but I have seen those types change a lot with some effective management training. On the other hand, I did find that inviting the president of one company I worked for to a going-away lunch suddenly made him see us worker bees as human. And, it was probably the first time that workers had treated him as human in ages. ADHD? Or, someone who hasn't a clue and confuses action with progress? For some of those that I've worked for it was fun to watch employees make humorous, non-threatening responses to sudden changes in direction - which the managers actually went away and thought about. Never admitted they were wrong, but did change. I know I haven't presented any panaceas, but I do believe that so long as staff just assumes that managers are EVIL, they're just perpetuating the problem. And, if there's any way you can suggest to the problem bosses that frequent, regularly scheduled communications meetings would be a good thing (assuming that's not happening now) where people can talk about their challenges as well as the good things that have happened, they can be fruitful. So does this all just sound like "corporate speak?"
Now think about having a clinical sociopath as a mother.
Been there, done that.