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Manager is a bully

  • 06-03-2023 7:51pm
    Registered Users Posts: 8 April1234

    Numerous people have left/been transferred to different departments because of her.

    There was no disciplinary procedures against my manager despite the issues being raised with HR and senior management.

    I feel like I have gone backwards instead of forwards in my job as she micromanages me to the last.

    I have never dealt with someone like this before.

    She sets unrealistic targets and has to find an issue with everything.

    She is extremely paranoid and doesn’t trust me to do anything.

    She leaves everything to the last minute which creates extreme pressure for everyone on the team.

    She stays up till all hours working and when I log on I could have a thread of 10 plus messages along with a list of emails.

    Her tone is so aggressive and demanding.

    She constantly rings me late in the evening before I am supposed to finish and keeps me on the phone up to one hour past my finish time.

    She also rings me before lunch and keeps me on the phone during my break.

    I am working overtime and at the weekends unpaid/no time in lieu just to reach my productivity target.

    I have raised the issues 3 times with different partners and nothing has changed. Both of them were aware of her behaviour and agreed with everything I said.

    I was left without work a couple of months ago.She told me she was sick yet when I checked with another team member she never mentioned being sick and had given them work.

    I don’t know what I am supposed to do now as she having such a negative impact on my mental health.

    I am so stressed and cannot enjoy anything anymore as all I can think about is work.

    I feel so trapped because I have applied for a mortgage and don’t want to change jobs until the application is completed.

    I don’t want to take sick leave as I will still have to face the music when I come back, I am at a loss as to what to do.

    Any thoughts/help appreciated.

    Post edited by April1234 on


  • Registered Users Posts: 25,938 ✭✭✭✭Mrs OBumble

    Document everything, outside of your work computer.

    Start preparing to look for jobs elsewhere.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,950 ✭✭✭kravmaga

    Move on , life is too short , get the CV up to date, this so called manager will wear you down.

    In the meantime don't take her calls during your lunch break or answer her calls out of office hours. Just do the bare minimum.

    Take control of the situation, you have to manage her and her micro management behaviour.

    Worse case scenario, go see your GP and get signed off work with work related stress and anxiety. Log everything and copy in HR.

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,959 ✭✭✭Xander10

    That's totally unacceptable. Long term, like others have said, probably best to look for a new job, especially if partners are ignoring issue.

    Short term. Mortgage situation has you a bit tied.

    I presume you are through your probation period?

    Is so, I would stand up to her a bit more. Insist on working your contract hours.,and cease calls that go beyond finishing time.

  • Registered Users Posts: 759 ✭✭✭OscarMIlde

    Document everything. Stick to your hours and let her know in advance if anything won't be met. Presumably you're in the civil service if the people who used to work with her are still in the organisation. If she leaves you without work in future get it in writing that she has not given it to you and verify in writing that other people were given work while you were not. If she is giving you tasks last minute, politely mention/point out in an e-mail precisely this is why is making your workload difficult to manage. Document every time a major task is given to you last minute, along with the time allowable to do this. All this will be necessary when you need to ask HR for a transfer, They know full well she is the problem since you are not the first. Take none of it personally, it is a job and shouldn't be causing you so much stress.

    You want to stay until your mortgage is drawn down. Focus on that. Do essential tasks within the hours available. If stuff is left undone and causes issue this reflects on her management and not you. Let her know what can be accomplished within time frames and what can't. Ask her to prioritise. If the company tries to sanction you in any way you have ample evidence of her bullying and incompetence to take action against them. Since they know what she's really like they will ignore the problem rather than try to scapegoat you. Essentially this means she can't touch you so let her try her passive aggressive tricks. It will upset her more to see you ignore it and get on with your life instead of the pleasure she gets seeing you try your best to please an unpleasable person.

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,959 ✭✭✭Xander10

    If it's the civil service, I'd be surprised if HR weren't acting to get them a move

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  • Registered Users Posts: 10,686 ✭✭✭✭Jim_Hodge

    It has all been said really. Look for a new job. There are plenty of vacancies around. Start looking. Document her behaviour. Don't take calls outside work hours. Straight out tell her you can't achieve unrealistic targets and will not be doing unpaid work.

  • Registered Users Posts: 8 April1234

    Thanks a lot for all the detailed responses and your helpful advice on this.

    I actually work in finance and not the civil service.

    I stood up to her previously regarding a job that needed to be finalised by COB (one which I sent to her months beforehand for review). I was given the silent treatment for a few days after this.

    I have been documenting everything incase it is ever needed and will continue to do so.

    Thanks again for taking the time to respond to my post.

    Post edited by April1234 on

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,488 ✭✭✭con___manx1

    People like your manager live sad lives. Usually people who micro mange like that and do extra work after hours literally don't have a life outside of work.

    I have a boss who is like that but in a couple of weeks that boss will be gone thank god.

    I worked with this boss previously a couple of years ago with different colleagues. Iv since been moved back to that section recently. This boss didn't push me around before or now. We had some arguments when they were being unreasonable.

    I know for a fact I actually got some respect for that. Now that I'm back with this boss I noticed my colleagues are basically running around like headless chickens. Doing everything so my boss looks good. Its basically all give and no take.

    I have told them to have some more back bone. You need to stand up to bullies. This boss has also been in hr more times than I've had hot dinners.

    Some Companies love ruthless arseholes like that in charge with no empathy for first that's it.

  • I worked for a local authority, where extreme bullying was commonplace and soul destroying, nearly killed me when I suffered a heart attack at work, directly related to bullying.

  • Registered Users Posts: 24,050 ✭✭✭✭Larbre34

    Set your own ground rules. Don't answer her calls out of hours, don't cooperate with unreasonable instructions, requests, work practices etc.

    You know its unreasonable, so don't allow it.

    Whats she going to do, report to the partners that you won't cooperate with her improper carry-on? They sound like they'd be glad someone took the headache of her off their hands.

    Bullies need facing down, stamping on. Its all they understand. Its time this cow's day was done.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 2,775 ✭✭✭thomas 123

    I had a boss for a long time who I never got on with - seemed to take special interest in my work etc. The day I left I said Why did I not do this years ago.

    Loads of jobs out there, leave! Give a lovely exit interview on your way out.

    Id agree with Labre also - your work hours are your work hours, in the short term force yourself to be like that, let her off with her midnight emails you read them when you get a chance.

    Just to add - if your up to it absolute stand your ground and dont do her dirty work, tell her not to check your work for no reason and push her for deadlines and ensure its recorded that the delay on things was on her part. She can make your life difficult but if she attempted to give you a warning of any description thats your cue to go to senior leadership and have her sorted once and for all.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,775 ✭✭✭thomas 123

    Sorry OP one other thing,

    If you leave your job in one business for another of similar pay the bank should be fine with that. Check with your Bank/Broker - I did it recently same boat with mortgage! You may not be as trapped as you think.

  • Moderators, Business & Finance Moderators Posts: 10,273 Mod ✭✭✭✭Jim2007

    If as you say several people have left etc., then it is a known problem that management have decided not to deal with for whatever reason. Unless you are into righteous indignation the effort of dealing with these people are just not worth it. So you either move on or suck it up.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,893 ✭✭✭deirdremf

    Bullying is common in many work situations. When it continues unchecked that means that the people at the top are unconcerned, for whatever reasons. In actual fact, they are tacitly supporting this behaviour. You can document to your heart's content but nothing will change.

    The only thing you can do in the medium to long term is look for another job. In the meantime, "work to rule". Arrive on the dot, take all your breaks in full regardless of who emails or calls you (I once had a manager who used to ring around during breaks like the OP's) and leave on the dot. Do your work to the best of your ability within your contracted work hours, but not a tap more. If asked to stay late, have a series of excuses prepared - a date, a sick family member, tickets to the theatre or opera, whatever. "I have a prior engagement tonight. So, so sorry"; make a list of acceptable reasons if need be, and use them one after the other in a rota.

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,581 ✭✭✭jackboy

    Actually no need to have such excuses. Just say you have responsibilities at home. Nothing more needs to be said.

  • In my workplace certain bullies were protected. It used to be said that those bullies “knew where some bodies are buried” so they were never dealt with. We used always wonder what exact secrets those bullies would potentially divulge! Some people are full blown narcissists and they percolate every workplace and can make horrific partners to their spouses etc. they often gang up together too, but only insofar as it suits their purpose. They lose no love in anyone.

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,875 ✭✭✭Augme

    Or just go one further and say you are finished for the day. You don't need to give them a reason at all. Infact just log-off or leave the office without saying anything at all.

    You aren't in primary school, you don't need permission to leave.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,893 ✭✭✭deirdremf

    I may be wrong here, but I think the legislation allows for mandatory overtime in certain circumstances.

  • Registered Users Posts: 754 ✭✭✭Lefty2Guns

    I had a similar manager myself. She wouldn't start the day until about 9.30am where I was an early starter around 7.30am or so. I was pulled aside to say I wasn't doing enough as I wasn't staying late. I asked did she know what time I started and she said no.

    Becuase I stood up for myself and other employees in my team my manager didn't like it. I liked the job and my work mates so stuck it out for 2 years but I always felt she was pushing me out the door and during a yearly review made up lies about me. So I eventually left. I reported her to HR before I did leave.

    Best thing I ever done was going. My new manager is great, the company I now work for is great. So OP move on if possible.

  • Moderators, Social & Fun Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 7,008 Mod ✭✭✭✭HildaOgdenx

    Unfortunately it seems that many organisations harbour bullies, and are not prepared to deal with them. They have beautiful shiny policy documents about it that they can point at, if asked or audited. But the policies are feck all use since they won't implement their own procedures.

    I had a bully boss some years ago. Her manager was very senior in the company and knew exactly what she was like. He wasn't prepared to do anything about it. So I just got the hell out of there.

    OP, as this is a known issue which the organisation is not prepared to deal with, I would do, as others have advised and up sticks and move on. I know that's easier said than done but you have to look out for yourself.

    The situation you describe could cause damage to your health both physically and mentally, longterm.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 1,036 ✭✭✭Daisy78

    Going through this at the moment myself with a manager that sounds identical to yours. Micro management, intimidation, gaslighting for the last four years. Naively I thought that over time it would improve but not so. Individual takes pleasure in criticizing and will actively look for something to complain about. They won’t change and neither will your line manager, that’s just the way they are wired. The only way to deal with this is to move on. If you need to stay in your current role to ensure your mortgage application is approved then do so but I’d be actively looking for a new role once you receive approval. It shouldn’t be the case that you need to move but unfortunately as others have pointed out most organisations have a poor record in tackling this kind of thing. That said, your mental and physical health will suffer if you don’t do something about it, update your cv and do some prep for interviews so you are in a good position when a suitable role becomes available.

  • Registered Users Posts: 112 ✭✭Avenger2020


    I have also been dealing with a bully-manager. I was in a central department in the Civil Service. I had to leave my job over it. This person was particularly nasty and even said to me that he enjoyed being called a prick and taking people to HR. He threatened several times not to give my increment and said he fully intends to do a Performance Improvement Plan. He intimidated me every day. It was clear he wanted me gone. At the final meeting I decided to record it. I played it to my friends who were shocked. They didn’t think the Civil Service was this bad. I then played it to a HR specialist in the private sector who told me that I have a case for the WRC as I had contacted HR and they (same grade as him) said these things are issues for local units! My friend said that taking the case to the WRC would take years and lots of emotional energy and confronting the bully for years. So I just left. He slandered me completely when I handed in my notice, didn’t send up work I had completed and refused to pay my overtime and refused to sign off my work year.

    There is very little support from HR. If your manager takes a dislike to you there is little if anything you can do but leave. In one particular unit of this central department 5 staff members left over the last few years. That is almost all the junior grade. In the Civil Service There are no metrics or targets like in the private sector. It is very much what your manager says goes. I have a recording of the bullying and written evidence and as I said when I played it to my friend who is an expert in HR he told me to leave asap. The union said the same. HR in the department do nothing so it would have been years at the WRC (at which I couldn’t use the recording for example nor would lower grades realistically stand up against management as they want an easy life understandably). I’m one of many that just left. It was a lot of CS BS as I like to call it: Civil Service Bull ****! Making up lies behind my back; not clearing things and then blaming me. There is so much of that in the CS. My manager came from a department particularly known for such bullying and I could see he enjoyed destroying people. he often showed up late for meetings with stakeholders etc. It was very toxic.

    I know someone in the private sector working with targets and getting bonuses and pay rises easily. I have seen people advance in the private sector much quicker than in the CS. That and the pay just doesn’t compare. So my advice is to Avoid the Civil Service.

    However, if you manage to get a Senior management job it is amazing as most come in late (i.e. no clocking) and have little accountability. Most just approve work and send up the line. Its a joke on the tax payer I couldn’t do it but if u have kids etc I would see it as a nice cushy job.

    It actually makes me sick thinking that this bully got away with it and is on a higher senior management salary. He is literally untouchable and he knows it. Why would anyone change in the Civil Service? Tax payers money n all. Makes me sick. They said Im the problem. If I cud Id avoid paying taxes in this country its just lining their pockets for doing nothing.

  • Registered Users Posts: 112 ✭✭Avenger2020

    I would love to get on to a journalist about it. Very poor management in our civil service.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,297 ✭✭✭Count Dracula

    Op, just some comments on this thread.

    You haven't stated what you actually do, what is your job? A lot of posters have replied with inferences to the CS , but I don't see any reference to it in your OP? Did you originally infer this and then delete it?

    Listen i understand what it can be like working for a manager who makes your work difficult. It can be really counterproductive and trying to operate and organise your work whilst being micromanaged is nigh on impossible.

    Ask yourself this - when did the micromanaging start? Is it a deliberate ploy by your boss? Is she being supported by her bosses doing this?

    Most micromanagers are suffering from intense pressure themselves and it can be particularly prevalent in middle mgt, where perpetrators often are working to deadlines and budgets which they are too insecure or paranoid to share with subordinate colleagues, to be frank this happens an awful lot.

    If you are interested in your job you should try to find the time to knuckle down to what this painful, cantankerous git is leaning on you to do. Give it 6 months and see how it goes.....? However.... if you work for a private company whereby she is controlling an IGU I would try to suss out if she has been asked to trim down her team... and if she has, decided you have to go? If this is the case trust me , just go. There is no point in wasting your time changing her mind, she has already decided you are it and she has actually invested her time in making your life so uncomfortable you will leave. If you go now she will be delighted, actually feel like she has achieved something ( I know how hillarious is that ? ) but most importantly will help you out with a reference, which you will need from this wagon in the future, that sucks I know but life ain't fair, ok?

    If you are in the CS to be honest you actually don't have to worry about this half as much as you think you do? In the CS your main objective should be getting yourself made permanent and then fitting into whatever role the directors have conditioned you and your colleagues to fit into and get on with? The CS is all about being a big cheesy team player, fitting in and smiling through all the stupid useless crap you end up doing? Think about it?

  • Public servants are often micromanaged to a horrendous degree, there is a massive culture of it in some sections and it can be souls destroying. The micromanagers of old were just supercilious bullies, the present day ones are often downright incompetent any themselves, IME.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,297 ✭✭✭Count Dracula

    Apologies OP, I now understand you work in finance. My bad, I did not see your second post.

    Finance is a very tough industry and it doesn't suit everyone. You horrible boss is probably on a 6 figure salary and could give a flying phuck what you think of her management style? She just needs you to get your shít done exactly the way she wants you to? This is straightforward. Just do it or leave.

    If you can handle spending the next five years working your brains out and getting stuck into a decent finance role, you should and will find yourself also getting paid over 100 grand a year and whilst you might have a few bags under your eyes, you will most likely find that you have your own team to bully and coerce into doing exactly what your directors are demanding you deliver every 3 months, or else?


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,398 ✭✭✭tinytobe

    The thing is, if you raised the issue with HR or talked to others as well, but there was no result and HR did absolutely nothing, than you might consider talking to a solicitor.

    There is nothing to lose, and HR typically reacts if a solicitor gets involved. It's there job to keep the company from any litigation issues.

    Is HR and the company HQ in Ireland? Are they international? Try raising the issue with HR at their international HQ where they usually have HR as well. This usually works as well.