Hey there! Sign in to join this conversationNew here? Join for free to post

Verbally aggressive manager, long post but NEED advice

Announcements Posted on
Why bother with a post grad? Are they even worth it? Have your say! 26-10-2016
    • Thread Starter


    Ok, so I could desperately do with some advice, PLEASE bear with me as this could get very long although I feel like the information I'm about to include is all relevant - positive rep for anyone who makes it through to the end!

    I'll rewind to December 2014 which is when I got offered my dream job (which I am currently still in, just about). I graduated in May 2013 and was stuck in retail for nearly 2 years so I couldn't believe it when I was offered the position. I'll keep details anonymous but it's basically the best company I could have ended up at in the industry I wanted to break into, bearing in mind it's ridiculously competitive, there were just over 200 people who applied to my job and I was that 1 person in 200 so as you can imagine, I felt amazing. I started at a good time in the year as it was just a couple of weeks before the office closed for Christmas and there were quite a few opportunities to go for drinks to get to know the people in my team and other people in the wider department/company.
    So fast forward to my first performance review in March, it was really positive, my manager said I had filled the form in really thoroughly and said she was looking forward to getting to know me better etc. She made a comment about me being quite quiet - if I had a £1 for every time someone had said that to me, I probably wouldn't need a job at all! But anyway...she just said if I had any questions or if there were any particular training courses I liked the look of, to let her know so she knew that I was moving in the right direction, which I was grateful for.
    Everything seemed to be going fine, I got involved in someamazing opportunities as part of my job and felt so lucky to be doing what I loved and actually getting paid for it, how many people can say they go to work and love what they do? Our team was doing really well and in November myself and a colleague who I work closely with both got nominated in our monthly department meeting for all our hard work and got a bottle of champagne from the head of the department. The autumn was a particularly busy time for us and it was absolutely manic, my workload increased but it made me even more pleased with the work that I had done and really increased my confidence in my abilities. So at this point I had been in the job nearly a year and I still absolutely loved it as much as when I started. My manager gave me a present and a card before we all left for Christmas with a message that said "thanks so much for all your hard work in 2015, looking forward to an even more successful 2016!" and even gave me a hug.
    So I left for the Christmas holidays and came back in January feeling refreshed and ready for the year ahead and that's when things went a bit awry. My birthday was in January and I got some lovely flowers and a card from my team. Then a few weeks later, my manager scheduled weekly catch-ups just for the 2 of us. Our team usually has weekly catch-ups anyway but as I say, this was just for the 2 of us on top of the usually weekly catch-ups our team has. In our first one-to-one catch-up, she got quite infuriated saying there were a couple of things I didn't "react" to earlier in the week. Basically there was still some work hanging over from last year that we still needed to check and I had been going through it all, a lot of spreadsheet stuff. I had accidentally recorded gross amounts instead of net amounts and when she found out, she said she thought she had made it clear that it should have been net amounts. I honestly wasn't aware of this as there had been several spreadsheets we had been working on and some were recorded as net and some were gross, there didn't seem to be one set way of recording the information. Anyway, I said I would go through and change it straight away (and actually, even though it was a mistake, my boss said at least it was round that way instead of the other way as it meant the amount being charged to us was lower than we thought!) but apparently I didn't "react" in the right way. She then went on to say that even though I had been there a year, she still felt like she didn't really know me and that I should feel very lucky to be in the position I'm in and reiterated how many people applied for the job I was in. I said I've always felt incredibly lucky to be in this position but she said she didn't really see me demonstrate this which I was surprised at as even though I’m quiet, I'm always a happy, smiley person etc.
    In February, we had our annual company sales conference which I love (it's definitely not as boring as it sounds and is a round-up of all the great work people did the previous year). It was across two days and in that time I met some absolutely wonderful and interesting people. The conference took place in a hotel and as a result, the signal was quite unpredictable but I tried to answer emails on my phone whenever I could. I knew our team hada deadline looming so I made sure to keep checking my emails and I sent a follow-up email to check when this deadline was. I got a reply saying it was the end of the week, bearing in mind we were out of the office on the Wednesday and Thursday, we had to quickly get everything together to meet the deadline.When we replied with the information they needed to meet the deadline, they then said they couldn't go ahead as we were in competition with someone else (it was related to holding a particular date at a venue). I read through the entire email thread and found the email where I had specifically asked for confirmation that we were holding the date to which they replied "we do have you down as an enquiry" so I thought everything was ok. I work in venue hiring all the time and when you ask to hold a date, I've only ever known that to meant one thing. You either hold a date or you don't so as I say, I thought everything was ok. Back in the office, my manager absolutely exploded on me, saying there was a massive breakdown in communication, that I should have asked for the deadline date sooner and as a result of this, it reflected badly on the whole team and other colleagues who we were working with were frustrated, didn't trust us etc. Everything went downhill from this point. It felt like quite a hostile environment between me and my manager, she would make me feel stupid so that whenever I asked a question, she would turn it back on me by pulling a face and saying "what do you think?" and when I said I wasn't sure, would make little comments in our one-to-one catch-ups like"you've really got to use your brain" and "it's not rocket science" bearing in mind that I thought the whole point of asking a question is that you don't know the answer to something and would like to know the answer. Something else she said was “can you tell me what was wrong with what you said the other day?”which felt demoralising as she could have just told me directly in a constructive way. At one point, she poked me on the head and said "I know it's in there!" referring to information that I simply wanted clarification on. She would often ask me to draft emails for her to check before sending. Other little comments include (what felt like) humiliating me in front of another colleague. It was someone's birthday in the office, I offered to get a cake and card for them (it was a chocolate cake). My manager had actually given up chocolate for lent which completely slipped my mind as I only ever recall her mentioning it once, weeks ago. When I brought the cake out I said something like "sorry are you still not eating chocolate I completely forgot?" to which she said "no of course not, it's still lent, you do know what lent is don't you?" At this point I said no, she then went red in the face, pulled a face and said "you don't know what lent is?!" and interrupted another colleague (who at the time was eating her lunch and had headphones on) and said "do you know what lent is? (my name) doesn't know what lent is!" My colleague looked over at me, looked rather shocked at what my manager said and put her headphones back on." I honestly didn't know what to say after this. I'm not religious one bit so I admit I don’t know the ins and outs of what lent is, only that it occurs at Easter and in the context of hearing people say "I've given up ... for lent" (maybe that's not a good enough reason not to know...I don’t know). My manager then repeated this situation to other colleagues in a meeting later that afternoon like she couldn't wait to to get it out of her system. There was another time where we were having our team meeting and as several colleague were talking, I was flicking between looking at one person then looking at the other person, as you do. Apparently I had been looking at someone who wasn't currently talking for a few seconds too long and my manager yelled in an aggressive tone "I wish you'd look at me when I'm talking!" She then brought this up in our one-to-one catch-up as clearly she thought it was worth mentioning and proceeded to tell me that perhaps I had a "social tic" for not looking at her when she was speaking. I have a list of other little snide comments and this has dragged on for months. I did ask another colleague's advice about whether she had overheard any of this and she said she was aware of it which I was relieved about as I was genuinely worried I was overreacting or imagining things. I initially shrugged off these comments but it became so frequent, I suddenly wondered why I was beginning to feel so miserable until I realised that over time it had just worn me down. I think she’s quite tactful. Whenever we talk, rather than a conversation, it feels like an argument, even over the smallest of things to the point where we can barely hold a conversation. I’ve always found her to be a bit like this, but I’ve just got on with it, however, it’s worsened.
    My manager told me she went to HR about my"performance" where the mistake about the venue hire mishap was mentioned, along with a couple of other things that were so minor, did not have an impact on the department's reputation or anything like that and things whichI have seen other colleagues do so it felt like a personal attack on me. I was given an informal warning and later a formal warning, despite being told my performance had improved. When my manager and I met with a member of HR to talk about the "situation" I was very honest and said I felt like my manager had been verbally aggressive on a weekly basis, sometimes even daily, which I found very difficult to work with. My manager said she has always wanted me to ask more questions and I said I honestly don't feel like I can ask her a question as I never know what her reaction will be (she often, for want of a better word, explodes, with no filter at all on what comes out of her mouth) and I don't know how I can learn or progress like that. I admitted I often wait until my manager leaves so I can ask another colleague a question as it's really not worth the hassle when sometimes all I need is a simple yes or no or clarification on something. As part of the formal warning, I had been given several tasks to do, one of which I think is slightly more of an advanced task for someone in my position, even though it has been passed by HR as ok, and something which other colleagues haven't been asked to do, which has been making me stressed for weeks as my job is potentially at risk and I had wanted to do well but I just feel like it will be completely picked apart and whatever I do won't be good enough. As a result of all this, I have handed in my notice with 3 weeks left in the job /company which I once absolutely loved but which has somehow escalated into all of this. I think it will look better on my record if I resign rather than if I get fired and I am worried this is what this whole situation will result in. My manager said her decision to keep me would have been based on this task which I feel like I am under too much pressure to do well in.
    After handing in my notice, my manager said she was sad as my work has been really good lately and would be very very willing to talk if I wanted to. I was incredibly suspicious of this as she has never been this nice to me, to the point where it made me regret my decision (which I am still regretting). We had a one-to-one catch-up where I got upset and said there is a difference between constructive criticism and being rude and that I felt she has been very rude to me and I think she knows that. I said it feels like she has wanted me out for months and this has just been a very slow push out the door. She asked if I was leaving because of her and I said that is mainly the reason, plus the stress of this whole process which has been unnecessarily long and drawn out to which I think she panicked and said she would help me with my CV if I would like which I didn't expect at all. I now have to decide if I want to retract my resignation or not. I can't help but feel this situation is part of something much bigger. Our team has been struggling this year, we're not hitting our targets and there's been pressure from the top and I noticed there was a meeting in the calendar with senior members of staff about ‘the purpose of our team’ and my manager has admitted to me that if we don't come up with some good ideas, then basically we're not good enough. I desperately need some perspective on this as it's taken over my life these last few months and I've never been so sad or stressed. I realise it's likely I won't find another job straight away, especially one like this and the thought of not having a job really scares me. Equally the team dynamic has changed quite a lot, it doesn't feel like it used to and I can't help but feel this situation is now beyond repair and no way am I going to get promoted. Is there anything I can do about the way my manager has spoken to me as it seems like borderline verbal abuse. I'm aware everyone has bad days and they snap, bad weeks even but this has been constant and I think she knows exactly what she's been doing. Only did she tone it down when I mentioned it to HR and now I've handed in my notice, I think she's panicking about what I'm going to say to HR again. She's also going on maternity leave in a couple of months. Some people have said all of this could be a result of hormones, but I'm baffled.

    What the hell do I do?!

    I can't see it?!

    Posted from TSR Mobile

    I think you made a mistake handing in your notice when she was pregnant and leaving soon. She might not even come back after having the baby and you could have got a better manager. I know it can be **** working with horrible people but I think you missed a trick there.

    If you still have the chance to retract your notice I would do so immediately, and if you want to keep looking for another job, do it while you're still working; it is madness quitting having nothing to go to.
    • Thread Starter

    (Original post by Alba2013)
    I think you made a mistake handing in your notice when she was pregnant and leaving soon. She might not even come back after having the baby and you could have got a better manager. I know it can be **** working with horrible people but I think you missed a trick there.

    If you still have the chance to retract your notice I would do so immediately, and if you want to keep looking for another job, do it while you're still working; it is madness quitting having nothing to go to.
    Thank you for your reply. I should point out that if I retract my resignation, I would still have to present the task which I don't feel confident in doing as I can guarantee it will be completely picked apart and could lose me my job if it's not good enough anyway. Even though my manager is leaving, I would still work closely with my manager's manager who, before all this started, didn't have a problem with me but has now also seemed to have turned against me...

    (Original post by IamLouise5)
    Thank you for your reply. I should point out that if I retract my resignation, I would still have to present the task which I don't feel confident in doing as I can guarantee it will be completely picked apart and could lose me my job if it's not good enough anyway. Even though my manager is leaving, I would still work closely with my manager's manager who, before all this started, didn't have a problem with me but has now also seemed to have turned against me...
    You have given up before you have even started. Why not go back to them and question whether the task is suitable or ask what support you will get as you expect this task to be above the level expected of someone of your grade?

    I think it will be hard to come back from resigning anyway. From what you have said it sounds like they want you to show a little more resilience when things get tough.

    You need to stop taking this personally though. Using language like "turned against me" suggests you think this is a personal vendetta when you have to look more closely at what has gone wrong and the mistakes you have made and how you can ensure you don't make them again, whether in this job or the next one.

    Given your length of service you are not going to be eligible for constructive dismissal which could have potentially been an option, nor unfair dismissal if they dismissed you rather than you resigned.

    Work out what is best for you and move on from this though. There is no point holding on to what has happened or how it makes you feel. You've just got to look forward, whatever direction it might be in.

    Posted from TSR Mobile
Write a reply…


Submit reply


Thanks for posting! You just need to create an account in order to submit the post
  1. this can't be left blank
    that username has been taken, please choose another Forgotten your password?
  2. this can't be left blank
    this email is already registered. Forgotten your password?
  3. this can't be left blank

    6 characters or longer with both numbers and letters is safer

  4. this can't be left empty
    your full birthday is required
  1. Oops, you need to agree to our Ts&Cs to register
  2. Slide to join now Processing…

Updated: July 11, 2016
TSR Support Team

We have a brilliant team of more than 60 Support Team members looking after discussions on The Student Room, helping to make it a fun, safe and useful place to hang out.

Cats: Yay or nay?
Useful resources

Articles and guides:

Hands typing

Degrees without fees

Discover more about degree-level apprenticeships.

A-Z of careers Advice on choosing a careerCV writing helpCovering letter helpInterview tips

Featured recruiter profiles:

CGI logo

CGI is open for applications

"Offering a range of apprentice and sponsored degree positions."

Deutsche Bank logo

Deutsche Bank is recruiting

"Thrive in an international banking environment"

ICAEW logo


"Merck is a global leader in specialized pharma & chemicals – join us!"

Army logo

The Army is recruiting now

"With hundreds of roles available, there’s more than one way to be the best."

Bianca Miller, runner-up on The Apprentice

Handle your digital footprint

What would an employer find out about you on Google? Find out how to take control.

Quick links:

Unanswered career sector and employment threads

Groups associated with this forum:

View associated groups

The Student Room, Get Revising and Marked by Teachers are trading names of The Student Room Group Ltd.

Register Number: 04666380 (England and Wales), VAT No. 806 8067 22 Registered Office: International House, Queens Road, Brighton, BN1 3XE

Reputation gems: You get these gems as you gain rep from other members for making good contributions and giving helpful advice.