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  #1  
Old 13-01-2021, 11:16 AM
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Employment advice- return of a (previously) mean boss

Hello all, I wondered if anyone has been in a similar situation or can offer advice. I work in publishing advertising sales and have done so for about 15 years. About 12 years ago I worked at a company where the policy was very corporate. I had a boss for while who I complained about to HR and then in revenge disciplinary action against me, to cut long story short this resulted in not only a year of much misery for me in the workplace, but also bonuses I had worked hard to earn being stopped many times(to the tune of a few 000s). Any way I left that company 10 years ago and now the old boss I had the grievance with has just been hired at my company now and in the role where she is my boss again! I appreciate it was a long time ago and I am much better in my role now and feel much safer now as I am quite highly thought of in my company plus we will both be in a much better less 'toxic' environment but it is still a bit concerning. Any advice?
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Old 13-01-2021, 11:29 AM
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You could log your historical grievance with your company, just in case their are any issues with this person?
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Old 13-01-2021, 11:30 AM
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She could have changed, it was a long time ago. Be nice, try to relax, and just treat her like you would any new boss. If she says anything about what happened previously, try to brush it off and just say it was a long time ago, and you've forgotten all about it.

Equally though, be wary. Don't give her any reason to be on your case. If you get any bad vibes and you have to have private meetings with her - I know this is going to sound extreme - audio record them with your phone on the desk/in your pocket.

But you'll probably find it is all ok and worrying about the situation won't help. Best of luck
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Old 13-01-2021, 11:50 AM
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Thanks both so far - great advice and was thinking along similar lines. With reference to your advice Stonewall I have a good working relationship with the boss who hired her and may email him just to say whilst I am optimistic about working with her now. that ‘this’ happened in the past -just to cover myself really(something in writing) in case it all goes south in a years time! As you have mentioned Endeva she probably(hopefully) has changed and I’m pretty certain she won’t have the backing of the toxic culture at the previous place.
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Old 13-01-2021, 11:52 AM
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Originally Posted by Lombardarian View Post
Thanks both so far - great advice and was thinking along similar lines. With reference to your advice Stonewall I have a good working relationship with the boss who hired her and may email him just to I am optimistic but that this happened in the past -just to cover myself really(something in writing) in case it all goes south in a years time! As you have mentioned Endeva she probably(hopefully) has changed and Im pretty certain she wont have the backing of the toxic culture at the previous place.
Completely shit situation, feel for you.

Me personally would hold fire and possibly being seen as stirring it up for her before she has even started, but that just me!!

You can always point her boss to this thread if she is still gunning for you!"!
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Old 13-01-2021, 12:14 PM
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If you raise the issue with anyone, it almost creates an issue....the slightest disagreement will then be 'oh, this is only because blah blah blah'.

Chances are she's thinking the same in reverse...it'll soon become clear if there's an unspoken mutual agreement to forget about it and move on, but a lot will depend on how you actually feel when you're in the working environment together. Fingers crossed everyone's grown up, good luck.
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Old 13-01-2021, 12:22 PM
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I had a loosely similar sitatuion a year or so ago.

Attacked it head on, connected with the manager via LinkedIn and arranged a coffee prior to start date with a view to iron out an issues face to face and put it behind us.

After all the pleasantries and asking about the last few ears and family etc. I jumped in with both feet and offered my unofficial resignation straight up, told manager that if they felt they couldn't work with me and wanted me to go that i would offer no resistance and begin searching for a new role immediately. My thinking was if they accepted the offer at least i'd knew where i stood and could make plans accordingly (whether that be to actually leave or work to undermine them and stink the place out).

Thankfully said manager declined and we agreed a fresh start. Seems to have worked as i've had little to no problems so far.

That said, i'd never trust the ****.
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Old 13-01-2021, 12:22 PM
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Begin a campaign of sabotage from day one. Swap over 4 random keys on her computer keyboard; link all her paperclips together; sign up her email address for every mailing list under the sun; saw half an inch off one desk leg, just enough for it to develop an annoying wobble; misspell their name in every email; set a screenshot of their desktop as their desktop wallpaper; etc etc. You'll probably get fired but just think of the petty revenge points you'll score along the way.
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Old 13-01-2021, 12:26 PM
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Ask to have a quiet chat, when she's not on her period.
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Old 13-01-2021, 12:38 PM
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Just make sure you keep records of everything and be alert to her building a case against you.
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Old 13-01-2021, 12:41 PM
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Old 13-01-2021, 12:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lombardarian View Post
Hello all, I wondered if anyone has been in a similar situation or can offer advice. I work in publishing advertising sales and have done so for about 15 years. About 12 years ago I worked at a company where the policy was very corporate. I had a boss for while who I complained about to HR and then in revenge disciplinary action against me, to cut long story short this resulted in not only a year of much misery for me in the workplace, but also bonuses I had worked hard to earn being stopped many times(to the tune of a few 000s). Any way I left that company 10 years ago and now the old boss I had the grievance with has just been hired at my company now and in the role where she is my boss again! I appreciate it was a long time ago and I am much better in my role now and feel much safer now as I am quite highly thought of in my company plus we will both be in a much better less 'toxic' environment but it is still a bit concerning. Any advice?
Don't complain to HR, their job is to get the most for the least out of the workers by complaining they will just see you as a trouble maker. You have to be certain of your ground before doing so.
Join a union for a small fee you will have someone to represent you if the worse comes to the worse. You don't have to make it known.

Other than that you can only think about how can you avoid confrontation with her and make sure you match her priorities. Remember the boss may not always be right but they are always the boss.

Networking is always useful make sure you are well thought of by her managers and those on her level. That way they'll may question any complaints about you.

In general sucking up is always a good policy.
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Old 13-01-2021, 12:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Little Matt View Post
Begin a campaign of sabotage from day one. Swap over 4 random keys on her computer keyboard; link all her paperclips together; sign up her email address for every mailing list under the sun; saw half an inch off one desk leg, just enough for it to develop an annoying wobble; misspell their name in every email; set a screenshot of their desktop as their desktop wallpaper; etc etc. You'll probably get fired but just think of the petty revenge points you'll score along the way.
My favorite on a shared desk was to switch his display computer cables with mine and send him fed up messages every time he typed. Admittedly, this was 30 years ago with basic text screens.

You could also send him blank paper faces so that he thinks his machine is broken.

Or, put his number on the phone cards found in phone boxes so he gets calls from all over central London asking for a spanking good time.

I suspect I am showing my age.
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Old 13-01-2021, 12:49 PM
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I'm very fortunate that in 10 years in pretty much exactly the same industry, I've never had any issues.

Clearly your position has improved since then, and I'd imagine you'll have enough kudos in the bank anyway.

I don't think it's a terrible idea to maybe let someone senior know, but let it be known that you don't foresee being any issues now, and you will continue to work like you have been doing for the last few years.
Then just make a big deal to be friendly when she arrives.

I think it's a personal preference whether you feel confident to try and speak to her beforehand. I think it's a good idea, but I'm also not sure it's something I would be comfortable to do. Anyone who is walking into a new job right now (particularly in publishing!), would probably be very wise to behave themselves for the next few months!!
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Old 13-01-2021, 01:05 PM
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Many thanks all for the assistance - including the swapping keys on her keyboard, lol. Its definitely helping by talking about it and whilst I am 95% certain it will be fine, as it would reflect badly on her, there is 5% of me that thinks she could make my life very difficult - think Cersei from Game of Thrones and that's what she was like in my experience of her all those years ago. She wouldn't be without motivation either as my complaints at the previous company I'm sure contributed to her being demoted from a more senior role there(after she knowingly arranged a disciplinary meeting for the day after my grandad's funeral!). I am currently siding with the idea of sending a toned down email to the senior boss blaming the previous environment and that I look forward to working with her but basically flagging the quality of our previous working relationship.
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Old 13-01-2021, 01:25 PM
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I am going to sleep on it for a few nights but this is similar to what I am considering sending to the boss who has hire my now new boss:
Good afternoon,
I am very much looking forward to getting our XXX run rate back up for 2021 including working with our new Sales Director - I think she could be great for the team! I didn’t mention this earlier as thought it would be unfair of me to influence the recruitment process and although it was a very long time ago, and in a very different environment, I feel if I didn’t say something I would be doing myself a disservice. When I worked with XXX previously our relationship wasn’t great to be honest. She was my team leader for a while on XXX and during my time I felt I was unfairly treated, spoken down to and on a few occasions my bonuses were stopped. There were also numerous trips to the HR instigated by XXX for what in my view were unfair reasons. I appreciate this was a long time ago and in a fairly toxic environment and am sure we have both come along way since then and I look forward to welcoming XX to the team, but I would be dishonest by not mentioning this.
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Old 13-01-2021, 01:29 PM
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Do you know the senior boss to have a chat in person rather than via email?
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Old 13-01-2021, 01:30 PM
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Old 13-01-2021, 01:34 PM
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The most important thing is for you to make a formal statement to HR and describe what happened in a previous role. Support this with whatever evidence you have kept. Ensure that HR understand your concerns and also please get a formal acknowledgement from HR.
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Old 13-01-2021, 01:39 PM
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