Friday, April 1, 2016

Hostile, intimidating, and bullying workplace

I work for a very hostile and intimidating workplace which as a consequence has a good amount of bullying and mobbing as well.  We are part of a major university, I know that you are thinking a liberal utopia, you would be wrong.  We have some of the poorest managers that I have ever worked for in any field.  Most don't have the skills of a crew chief at McDonald's let alone the ability to manage "professionals".  I use the term "professionals" pretty loosely because in terms of development they are more like a class of middle school students.  I am frequently asked how can it be hostile?  We have managers who act on rumors and innuendo.  We don't deal with personnel conflicts other than "you should work it out", which doesn't work.  We affix blame to targeted individuals for things that are really out their control or where they were actually doing what the supervisor asked for.  We have people who express how we can be open and honest in meetings.  But if you are open and honest in a meeting, by some strange coincidence a day or 2 later you find yourself in a conversation with your supervisor about some baseless charge.  Yep that is how it works.  Those of us on the front lines are constantly told by others that there is no way that happened when we regale others in our misfortune.  Among ourselves the constant refrain is that you can't make this stuff up.

I should take a minute to discuss the lack of trust.  It is not what you would expect between employee and manager.  No we have what we like to call watchers.  They assist in going after the targeted employees.  Some of these people are known, others suspected and still others unknown.  I like to play a little game of whose who by making outlandish statements and seeing if it gets back to my supervisor who will act on hearsay.  Once you become a target you need to be aware of these things otherwise you will be in the meeting with personnel where you get presented with 2 letters one for termination, one for resignation you get to pick.  Which fulfills what manager is fond of saying that we don't fire anyone, which I say no we force them to leave.

I've been told to keep my head down, but literally I can't get low enough.  For example, I have been having few if any problems the last 6 months but it all came crashing down, probably something that I said in a meeting.  Almost immediately the queasiness and desire to self medicate came back.  I know that it will start to build on Sunday night.  As an article in the State Journal said managers need to learn how to turn TGIF into TGIM.  With our leadership there is no way that is going to happen. 

I don't know what the future holds for this particular group but after being targeted off and on for more than 2 years I really don't care.

You might wonder why I am still there?  Well I live in Wisconsin and have worked in a specialized area for a long time (so I'm old).  I know that those of you that listen to Gov. Walker will find this hard to believe, but there are virtually no professional (jobs that you need a degree) jobs open in the State.  Those that are require a boatload of experience in other narrow fields so those companies are hoping to lure someone into the state.  I say good luck.  Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce (WMC) likes to say that they can't find skilled workers.  That is because salaries in the state are down and people are leaving for states where salaries are higher.

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