toxic jobs

Personal stories about toxic jobs and workplace woes.

September 08, 2010

the bizarre boss

Martine had a job with a small Internet start-up before finding her present six-figure salaried job. At first she was very impressed with the idea behind the start-up. It was novel. Fresh. But after two weeks with the company she gave a month's notice to quit - giving them plenty of time to find a replacement - and could not get out of the place fast enough because her boss was bizarre.

"The CEO's behavior was bizarre," explains Martine, "because he knew on one level that the company was in trouble, but he just could not bring himself to face that fact, no doubt because he had been brought up to believe that if you have a dream, and you work hard towards making it come true, then it must come true (or something along those lines)."

"Rather than sharing his doubts and fears and working on some disaster recovery program he poured more and more effort into forcing his dream to become reality," explains Martine. "The eventual success of the company became like a mantra to him. He started to stop people in the street and tell them about his wonderful new idea. He became a man obsessed. He couldn’t speak out about his true feelings - his fear of failure - because if he had done so everyone would see him as weak, call him a fool or desert him."

"In rationalizing a crisis situation," explains Martine, "the CEOs behavior and then my co-workers’ behavior became bizarre. He knew, and they knew, that this is not a good way to carry on, let alone run a business, and yet they preferred to rationalize rather than listen to their intuition because this was how they had been socialized to behave."

"When people refuse to listen to their feelings," says Martine, "their behavior becomes bizarre because they are at war with what they feel and how they have been socialized to behave – and this scenario just didn’t fit with the intuitive way I go about my daily business so I had to quit.”

Read more by Martine on this issue:

tune out the pollyannas
tune in and tune out

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