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How to Handle An Abusive Boss

How Would You Handle an Abusive Boss?


While most employees try to be on their least offensive behavior for office life, I've had many bosses who've showed their true colors without any apparent apprehension for lashing out. I don't know if it's just a coincidence that the most memorable episodes are attributed to male bosses, and while I'm sure testosterone had something to do with the outbursts I also think once a certain place of power is achieved there's less of a filter for some people. I've experienced and witnessed interesting encounters with the boss-man at various jobs, ranging from a restaurant to an investment bank. Find out which was my most traumatic when you read more

One of my jobs as a college student was serving at an all-organic bistro that claimed you'd leave with a Zen state-of-mind. Out of curiosity I searched online to see if it's still open, and the answer is that yes, the doors are open except for Tuesday nights which are set aside as nights of "healing." Now with that stage set, do you think that pushing an employee was part of the Zen experience? Yep, you read that correctly — the owner physically pushed me because I didn't want to buy a customer's birthday dessert out of my own pocket. It wouldn't be a dessert on the house, he really thought it was appropriate for an employee to pay out-of-pocket and it wasn't a case where I needed to smooth something over with an upset customer.

Naturally, I was shocked and cried, and shortly after I quit that disastrous job. Its website says that its core values include "caring for the well being of others" and "combining individual empowerment with teamwork," but obviously things aren't always as they appear. I should have thrown in my apron much earlier, as I was often treated unfairly by the owner — the one time I approached him about it, he retorted that he was hard on me "because I could take it." Emotional and physical abuse are definitely not worth the paycheck, and in retrospect I'm not sure why I was so shocked about the pushing episode after enduring months of emotional abuse from my employer. Lesson learned.

Have any of you ever had to deal with an abusive employer? How did you deal with it?

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