Have you ever had a boss so crazy you genuinely wouldn’t be surprised if they’ve committed murder?? I have.
I worked with my old employer for 3 very long years and I quit twice. She ran a recruitment agency in London and at first she came across as this lovely mother-like woman who helped me to find my first job after college. Instead of placing me in a new role she hired me herself and I was so thankful to have a job.
A few months into me joining her son started to work in the business. It wasn’t long until I could see he had a lot of control over his mother and she used to go along with any decisions that he put to her. The son clearly had it in for one of the employees that worked there. This created a very sour atmosphere in the office and it wasn’t long before other staff members left however, being originally out in reception I wasn’t very affected by the atmosphere and was still quite happy in the role.
I was then promoted to be more involved in the recruitment side of things and had a new seat in the main office where everyone including the boss worked. They then wanted to promote me to a Recruitment Consultant position but at the same time they decided to bring in a scheme of cold-calling which involved calling clients all day long every day, they knew how uncomfortable this made me but continued to insist that I had to do it if I wanted to be in recruitment and work for the firm. I was constantly being pushed by them into making more calls and repeatedly and unethically hassling the same clients until they responded as well as being constantly asked how many calls I’d done.
At 19 years old and having spoken to my boss about how I felt about the calls. I felt trapped and started to develop symptoms of anxiety related sickness. I had trouble sleeping, I used to dread work days and I started waking up becoming sick every morning and unable to eat properly. I went to the doctor and they sent me to the hospital for some blood tests to see if I had any stomach problems to explain my sickness, the results came back clear and it was apparent to them that I was suffering from anxiety. I continued to work which involved being sick before work and occasionally during rather than being signed off purely because I knew what her reaction would be. I’d seen someone be signed off with work-related stress before, the comments they had made about him had not been nice and had involved the word “weak” and laughter of how the job isn’t stressful and then later after he returned following an awkward team meeting of him being picked on for various things he then left the company.
In April 2014 I handed my notice in for the first time. I hadn’t obtained a new job I just needed to get out of there. My boss and I went into the meeting room and I handed in my letter of resignation to which she replied “Good, I have been waiting for you to hand in your notice, I saw what you put on Twitter and I was going to sack you anyway, I’ve already got someone to replace you”. Yes, I had written something negative about work on social media which I shouldn’t have done, I was young and naive and not in a great head space and I learnt my lesson but I was shocked by the things she said to me. I apologised and said I shouldn’t have written those things, she then asked me if I had a job lined up and when I said no she laughed and asked if I really hate it here that much that I’d quit my job without having a new one lined up. She then went on to calling me weird, asking me what is wrong with me and comparing me to Jekyll and Hyde. She carried on until she reduced me to tears, handed me a box of tissues and then went back into the main room. She then by email told me I had to publicly announce to everyone in the room that I was leaving, I broke down into tears once again and left the room to which she suddenly in front of the rest of the employees asked me if I was ok and what was wrong, as if the previous conversation had not even happened. She then asked me if anything was going on at home and said how I wasn’t normally like this. My last day was on the 2nd May 2014 after carrying out my week’s notice and training up my replacement.
I received several calls from my old boss during my month out in which she phoned me asking me to come back to work, even on a temporary basis because she’d made a terrible mistake and didn’t release what she had until it was gone. With quite a big pay rise insight and having started to feel much better after starting my dose of Fluoxetine I decided to rejoin the company and give her another chance. We agreed we would put everything behind us and start a fresh.
Early June I returned to work but on a temporary basis. For a while they were very nice to me, making sure I was happy and mentioning how they want me to stay for the long run and quoting “the grass isn’t always greener” and for a while I really felt things had improved.
We soon took on several new members of staff to include a receptionist, who I supervised and worked very closely with. It wasn’t until the new members came in that I noticed the way they were being treated, if they were a couple of minutes late they were majorly scolded and made to stay late or miss a large proportion of their lunchbreak. If they weren’t working quick enough or not finding enough people we weren’t allowed to help them we were instructed to watch them struggle to “test” them. It was a horrible atmosphere to work in and I couldn’t stand watching people being treated in this way. I started browsing online to see what other jobs were available and my CV appeared publicly on Reed (by accident) to which my boss called me in to her office, demanded that I remove my CV instantly as it was making her look bad and informed me that whilst working for her company I was forbidden from having my CV on any job board. She then went on to mentioning how weird I am, how I come in to work all nice then I’m probably going home and writing stuff on twitter again about the company and how I should find a new job. I was then asked to return to my desk and sit there until she said I can leave. My colleague asked if I was ok and I managed to hold back my tears. I spent the evening crying and I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to face work the next day.
The next morning my boss’ husband (who also worked there) spoke to me about the incident and mentioned that they didn’t want me to leave and how my boss was just angry and realises she shouldn’t have said the things she said. I was open and honest and said how I was going to look for a new job, I felt uncomfortable for various reasons, not only from that incident but also the way in which people were being treated, bullied, the way I felt as if I wasn’t allowed to look for a new job and from the aggressive tone she had taken with me. The trapped feeling and dread started to return, I was offered a new job but the thought of handing in my notice after the first time, knowing what it was going to be like filled me with severe anxiety once again. I spoke to my doctor and explained how I felt, she knew how bad I had been before and she signed me off work for 1 week.
Early January 2016 I emailed my boss my resignation, after seeing my doctor’s note she accepted my termination of employment with immediate effect. She wished me all the best for the future and a week later I received a letter from a solicitor with regards to not working my notice and also my restrictive covenants. I was due to join a Sales Recruitment Company which had no overlap with legal recruitment whatsoever and I was appalled that she could clearly see I was suffering from anxiety and still set her lawyers on me.
My future employee also received several calls from my ex-boss asking for me to see if I had started there and when the call got transferred to my now boss she hung up. She then continued to keep calling and hanging up on a witheld number. I received the message that she had rung my future employer and then received a call from a witheld number. I was at the gym at the time with my friend and I ignored the first call. It then rung again and I knew it was going to be her, so I passed the phone to my friend who answered saying “Sarah’s phone”. My ex-boss must have thought it was me answering because she said “Get my name off your LinkedIn you scheming lying little bitch”. My friend was pretty shocked and hung up not knowing what to say. I emailed my ex-boss asking her to stop calling me and my future employer.
After another letter from the solicitors all went quiet until early February when both myself and my boss received an email from my ex-boss which accused me of calling her up and saying things such as “Stupid Bitch”, “Foolish Bitch”, “Hate you Bitch”, “Fooled You”, “Got one up on you” and saying my Dad had just sent her a letter to forgive me. For one, I’ve never told anyone I hate them and secondly, I can’t even pronounce the word foolish properly!
I was extremely shocked by the email, I had blocked all their numbers from the moment I handed in my resignation as I didn’t want anything to do with them. I certainly hadn’t rung her and said those things. It was horrible, I was shaking, I didn’t want my new boss to think that I was that sort of person and that those lies were true and luckily he didn’t but it concerned me and I was afraid of what lies she would make up next to try and ruin my new job. With regards to my father who my ex-boss is aware I don’t have a great relationship with, I called him to ask if he had sent her a letter. He mentioned that he sent her one years ago when I first left but definitely hadn’t since. I had no idea about the first letter but it bothered me even more that she tried to make it sound like my father had recently contacted her when he hadn’t. She knew the impact saying that would have on our relationship and that’s why she mentioned my dad.
I haven’t heard from my ex-boss since this incident and I honestly believe that my other colleague leaving has distracted her from targeting me. Working at that firm was a horrible experience for myself and the people around me and it sickens me to think that they’re probably still continuing to bully their current staff members. I am annoyed at myself that I didn’t leave sooner and that I stood back and watched her bully people in the way she did but she made me feel powerless, it was them as a family against us.
As well as the above she has continued to have a legal dispute with my other colleague who left. Her son publicly humiliated him on a train calling him a thief and a liar and telling everyone to watch their bags and phones. She’s also revved her engine up behind him and beeped to scare him and then drove off and she’s tried to get him arrested for harassing her when he hadn’t done a thing!
Has anyone else has a psycho boss? I’m so glad I quit my last job and joined a great new firm. Life is too short to be unhappy in a job and work takes up so much of your every day life too!