Friday 9 May 2014

haters gonna hate....

I found out this evening that my former boss, the one who slowly made my life a misery for the eighteen months he managed me and who left the business a couple of weeks ago, actually hated me.  This nugget of information came up when I was stuck in the office fairly late this evening and was chatting to my current boss.

Apparently, a couple of months ago, when several of our IT guys left the team, it was discussed whether or not I might move out of my current role and go back to fill the gap as a business analyst.  You can understand the thinking: most of my experience is in that area, I was already working on the project and familiar with what needed to happen, and it would be the least disruptive option for the project as a whole.  When this was put to my former boss, who by this time was essentially in the exit lounge and barely involved with the project at all, he flat out refused to countenance it.  Apparently he was very, very uncomfortable with the idea of me working directly with his boss and blocked the whole thing.  

I didn't know anything about this until this evening.

Now, I wouldn't have been interested in going back to work as a business analyst.  I've learned a lot about myself over the last few months and I'm pretty sure that going back would be a bad idea and I'm not really interested in doing it anymore.  I also don't really give a damn what that man thinks of me.  It hardly matters now, but my current boss told me this evening that she thought he had behaved really unprofessionally because he had blocked the right person for the job because of his own personal opinions. It took me a little while after I stopped working for him, but even before he left the business, I'd got enough perspective away from him to understand that he was irrelevant to me; that my self-esteem wasn't bound up in him or the way he behaved towards me.

But you know what?  The news that he hated me has bothered me.  I'm not sure that I can rationalise it, because I genuinely don't care what he thinks and I'm fervently hoping never to see him again.  I can actually understand why he might have hated me: I tried really hard to help him when he first joined, but as time went on and our relationship soured, he will have know full well that I thought he was an incompetent idiot.  He was never very good at his job or with his stakeholders, and I think he was intimidated by the fact that I knew so much more than him and seemed to get on really well with everyone he was struggling with.  He actively kept me away from projects he knew my knowledge would embarrass his own ignorance.  I gave him some pretty direct - but reasonable, I thought - feedback and eventually went to speak directly to his boss to try to call out what an appalling job he was doing on projects I cared about.  He will have known that, so is it any wonder than he disliked me and wouldn't want me anywhere near his new boss (the boss I spoke to left the company shortly after I spoke to him... possibly carrying the can for other people's lack of control over the projects in his portfolio).

So why don't I like the idea that this idiot hated me?  I think it's because I like people and I like to be liked.  For all that I am an argumentative, contrary old bastard, I really don't like conflict at all and will seek to avoid it if at all possible.  I will speak my mind and will say what I think, but I don't like conflict and do not seek it out.  It makes me angry that this idiot allowed his personal feelings towards me to cloud his judgment and I hate that he will have spoken ill of me to other people.

My overriding emotion, however, is sadness.  I'm sad that it came to this and I can't help but feel that I must have failed in some way because, for all that he was an idiot, I  still wasn't able to communicate with him and I wasn't able to help him.  In the end, I concluded that some people won't be helped and I gave up trying.

I gave up on him.  I don't like admitting that I've given up on someone like that.  I don't want to be that kind of person.  He is an idiot who did an appalling job and made my professional life miserable to an extent I have never experienced before.  But you know what?  I'm fairly sure that he didn't get up every day and come to work determined to do a shitty job or to piss me off.  He's probably a decent man underneath everything... and I gave up on him.  His failure is my failure too, even if only in a small way.

Hearing that he hated me doesn't really surprise me, but it does make me feel sad.


  1. I once had a boss that made multiple attempts to block my transfers at work. The first time, she tried to write me up for being late more than the allowed times (3) in a 30 day period. She claimed I was late 4 times. I told her I didn't think I had been, so she pulled my time cards. Of the 4 instances she found, one was a shift I'd traded with another worker, and the other was the day she'd taken the store to Six Flags over Texas as a reward for setting a sales record. I was actually early that day. Had she been successful, she'd have blocked my transfer to another location.

    Two years later, I tried to transfer back to that store, under a different manager. She was now the Regional Manager. She tried to block it. We pointed out to her that she had no say in the matter, per the Policy & Procedures Manual. She said she didn't care, she wasn't going to allow it. The manager who wanted me to work for him made one last-ditch attempt to justify my transfer, and she finally relented, with the caveat that it was on his head, and if I screwed up, it was his ass on the line. She also told me I couldn't be late at all (which was no longer an issue). One day I had a flat tire. I called in, explained I had a flat, and was going to be late. The managers were ok with it. Whenever she would stop by our location, the first thing she'd do would be to pull my time report. She walked in that afternoon, went to the office & pulled my time, then came storming out to me in a rage, demanding to know why I was 45 minutes late that day. I calmly told her I had a flat on my way to work, and said I'd gladly show her the flat tire in my car if she'd like.

    Before I transferred away from her, she used to get the male employees' attention by grabbing our ties and holding them while she barked her orders at us. She did it to me once. The entire time she was talking, the only thing going through my mind was, "push her away!" When she dropped my tie and turned, I calmly asked to speak with her in her office. When we got in there, I closed the door, and asked that she never do that to me again, that I didn't hear a word she said, because I was trying to fight the urge to push her away. She never did it to me again. What finally broke her of the habit was when one guy was wearing a clip-on tie, and it came off in her hand.

  2. How do people like this end up in charge of anybody?

  3. because people higher up are fooled by bluster and waffle - as the man said:

    "full of sound and fury, signifying nothing"

  4. "How do people like this end up in charge of anybody?"

    Her stores consistently produced good numbers.

    When the company rolled up into one big company instead of limited partnerships, all of the people in her position had to reapply for their jobs. She didn't get hers.

  5. Yeah I'd have to agree - various managers over the years (both mine and people I know) have landed their jobs and kept it through a mix of bluster, bluffing and blaming people under their management.

  6. At risk of being a bit "Devil's Advocate" on this - was "hate" actually mentioned in his description of you?

    I only ask because in the context of everything else, it's more likely that he feared you, and/or what you might say to his boss directly. If he knew he was on the way out anyway, it could've been fear that you'd throw him over the cliff simply by saying something, or obviously knowing the role far more than he did.

    I've worked with both situations, being hated by a boss (for insane reasons, but there we go) and being feared by one because of being smarter/better than they were. They can be confused on occasion, which is why I'm wondering if the active blocking of that return was stated as "I hate [Swisslet]" or (as per your reported conversation) 'just' that it would make him very uncomfortable etc.

  7. That's an interesting thought, Lyle. My own personal view (as I mention) is that he is a decent man who, for whatever reason, is unable to show that decency in a work context. Unfortunately, that impacted his projects and the people who worked for him. I tried not to lose sight of that, though, even when I was personally in a very difficult place. "Hate" is the observation my current boss made of I his behaviour. She said to me, "he really hated you, didn't he?" You're right to highlight the difference, though. He was threatened by me, ultimately and found ways to cut me out so he didn't have to deal with me or risk having me show him up. Worst case scenario for him had already happened: I became the customer.