According to MedCircle, a mental health education company delivering virtual live classes, educational videos and info from world-renowned mental health experts, “people who become highly educated about mental health can improve both their lives and the lives of the people around them.” To increase the public’s knowledge of the Mental Health Awareness Month of May, the focus will bring insights to a most unappealing personality type in the workforce: the micromanager, authoritarian, self-appointed maven or who some describe as the control freak.
Many have experienced positions where they love the work — if they could only remove the boss. This is the boss who can turn a day full of excitement and potential into stress and disappointment with their critical words instructing the experienced employee on how to do it the right way — their way, of course. The boss wants it done his way “because this is how we do this work, period.” It’s important she tells you her way is better, even if it isn’t.
Few employees have kind words for these bosses but learning how he or she turned into that nightmare boss may brighten the light of empathy and tolerance in a situation considered impossible. Lynn was a talented public relations employee who worked directly for the vice president. Brian, who wasn’t especially bright or talented but was the son of the owner, required Lynn to ask permission on every press release before she wrote and sent it. Brian didn’t care if it was time-sensitive and should go out immediately. She decided to wait outside his office door so she could get approval quickly, as it was urgent and just what the client wanted. When he called her in, he told her to leave it on his desk and ridiculed her by asking, “Why were you standing outside my office staring at me?” She responded with disbelief, “I wasn’t staring at you. This release is time-sensitive, and you weren’t answering your phone.” She left the paper on his desk and decided it was time to get a new job. He didn’t understand public relations and he didn’t want to. His entitlement attitude ran through his personality, perhaps since childhood. He was the boss’ son and nothing else mattered.
Marcy was assigned to train Pat, a new hire, but Marcy had always handled everything herself and would not train her. Marcy thought she could hold onto her old behavior, but rigidity was no longer acceptable, so the company moved Pat to learn under someone else. Marcy’s negative behavior reduced her own value to the company. All it took was the new hire’s complaint.
She was her boss’ only assistant. She listened to all his concerns and confessions as if she were his therapist, and he slowly came to rely on her. Other assistants for bosses sharing the offices marveled at how nice he was to her because for years they watched him disrespect everyone. He treated her differently; he trusted her, but as the years slipped away, she became his best friend, or as she called it to her friends, his crutch. She wasn’t allowed to engage in anything of substance. Despite his growing attachment to her presence there, she had to leave, and he took it badly.
Childhood and your ability to see reality and adapt to that reality can make or break you. If you felt invisible but retained your strength against your parents, you could win. You can cipher out the distaste of meaningless job content and you are strong and confident enough to fill in creative content when interviewed. You see how staying in your position keeps you compliant regardless of not learning a thing.
You have accepted you will stay until you have a new job offer or until a more progressive offer comes your way. Then you will bail and say the wonderful things that made this job acceptable.
Email life and career coach [email protected] with all your workplace questions and experiences. For more information, visit www.lindseyparkernovak.com and for past columns, see www.creators.com/read/At-Work-Lindsey-Novak.