Those Who Survived The Boss From Hell
Defining the Parameters
When you are employed to a Boss From Hell there is no reason to stress. You know what he is, you know what you can expect.
As you are not dealing with a rational human being, you have no reason to feel guilt if you unwork. No need for commitment, even interest in the job. And certainly, no loyalty.
There is no reason to activate emotions, to consider professionalism. One must sever all connection to him, the job, the work performed. Everything must fall the kind of disinterest one experiences glancing at a rerun of a boring serial.
As you distance everything connected to the job from yourself, there is no way anything he says/does can touch you. Those eight hours you spend in ‘hell’ are segregated from your life.
These are a few ‘survivor stories’.
Mrs. Scott had worked for The BFH for three years. She approached him the last week in July to request leave for the month of August.
The BFH was in his ‘lair’. This was his large office, festooned with various ‘awards’ he had received. He gave her his imperious look and immediately told her that it was impossible.
Too much work.
Mrs. Scott nodded her head, primly, left his office emitting the sense of 'acceptance'. Mrs. Scott appeared to do her work as she did last week and the week before.
On Friday she left at her usual time.
Mrs. Scott was not at her desk on Monday. She was not there on Tuesday. In fact, Mrs. Scott was never present in the building again.
During the days between her request for leave and departure on Friday, Mrs. Scott clandestinely took all personal items from her space, deleted a large number of files from her computer, these were crucial files. Mrs. Scott in no way betrayed this was her last week on the job.
The reason Mrs. Scott could behave as she did, was because appreciating the quality, or lack there of, of her employer, treated him as he deserved by quietly walking off the job.
The BFH was bellowing at the top of his voice, berating Eric, one of the messengers. It was not the first time, nor would it be the last.
When the BFH sent someone to deliver anything, he accepted no excuses. His usual bellow; "You don't come back until that is delivered!"
Eric left at nine a.m. and returned the following day claiming he had to wait until past seven p.m. to see the person he had to deliver the item to.
He asked if he would get overtime, and the BFH shouted him out of the office.
Eric was not upset.
There had been a cricket match at Sabina yesterday. He'd bought his ticket, arrived at the office, got his chewing out, left, delivered the item, and went to watch the match, which he thoroughly enjoyed.
Anytime he wanted to take a day, this was the method.
Some days Eric would take two or three items to be delivered and not be seen in the precincts of the office until quitting time.
Unlike those who were 'chained' to the desk, Eric had a life outside of the building, and actually did a few paying jobs for others during his working day.
Eric always had a story which suggested he should get overtime or special pay. The Boss From Hell enjoyed denying him what he deserved.
Eric was not as upset as he pretended slinking out of the office leaving the BFH to feel proud and powerful. After all, Eric was paid for an eight hour day. Eric didn't work two hours a day; if that long.
Miss Kings was one of those committed employees, who took an interest and worked hard, and didn't watch a clock.
That is, until she fell into Hell.
During her first days, she was loaded with work, and was leaving one or two hours after quitting time. This is because she was engrossed and committed to what she was doing.
When she left the office, she kept the work on her mind, and in the morning arrived with motivation.
After the first time being shouted at, insulted, demeaned, her confidence eroded, she came home totally depressed, and had the Epiphany.
Firstly, this was NOT her work. This was HIS work.
Secondly, none of this work mattered at all.
Thirdly, she was paid for her physical presence in the office.
Fourthly, there were ways she could limit her actual work, add recreation, and receive the same pay she would if she were working ten hours a day non stop.
Miss Kings developed her new paradigm.
Every day she arrived at 8:30 and signed in. She went to her desk, activated her computer, then went to the bathroom.
Having left her desk at 8:32 she would not return until 8:47.
Once back at her desk she would spend the next 13 minutes setting up... this might be moving files from one place to another, anything that accomplished nothing, until 9:00.
At 9:01 Miss Kings would commence work.
Work consisted of re-reading items she typed yesterday or the day before, or the day before that, which were still on the computer, adding or subtracting meaningless bits.
In the background, she would be connected to the Internet, reading her mail, taking turns in Scrabble, and other such activities.
When the Boss From Hell emerged from his lair, usually about 9:45 with instructions, he would find her with a file open and her fingers on the keyboard.
As soon as he spoke, Miss Kings would grab her pencil and paper and begin to write down his instructions.
He hated this.
She knew it.
However, the BFH couldn't complain, he had already attacked her for her poor memory and distraction in one of his diatribes.
It was not until 10 am that the BFH requested particular documents. To 'save paper' he would view them on the screen of her computer.
Miss Kings brought up the documents she had done a week ago. He went each one word by word, demanding various changes. This went on until about 11:43
When he got up, she took her time correcting, changing. Then went to lunch at 12.
She returned at 1 pm, went over each document, taking her time, printed them and brought them to his desk at 2 pm. She then went to the bathroom, spent fifteen minutes there before returning to her desk.
She begin another document, pretended to work on it until 3 pm then went outside to smoke a cigarette.
Returning, she relaxed with email, Scrabble, other internet pursuits and off hand worked on another file. She began closing down so by 4:26 she was out of the building.
As she came through the gate she flushed the BFH, the office, and everything in that part of town down the toilet.
Considering that she was paid for 8 hours and considering that she worked less than four a day, it was not much stress.
She couldn't care less about the work, the Boss. She was more concerned about the play she made in Scrabble, or that item she read when doing her Internet travels than she was about what documents she had composed.
In fact, she had begun to keep a penciled record of her work so for nothing she did went into her mind.
The job, becoming so peripheral, could not provoke stress.
The Three Survivors have one thing in common; they couldn't care less.
This is not a palliative remark, this is soul deep honesty.
The employees might have started with interest, but over a fairly short time, lost all commitment and the job became less and less important as time passed.
Mrs.Scott was going to take that month off. What her BFH said, didn't say was peripheral. She and her husband were leaving that Friday night. The flight was booked, the bags were packed.
When, as not unexpected, the BFH believed he had a 'right' to deny her leave, she removed her personal items and deleted many vital files.
Mrs.Scott was certain her BFH would not appreciate she was not simply absent on Monday but had walked off the job.
Eric actually loved his job.
He had so much free time.
He was wise enough to know that when he was to deliver an item down the road he did it immediately and returned to fool the BFH into thinking he was trustworthy.
When he was to deliver something a distance away, he took it as an excursion. What would take less than an hour, would take Eric at least three hours if not the whole day.
And when Cricket was being played at Sabina, well, he had his seat.
Miss Kings did very little work. Further, as she wrote items for various publishing sites, she would do this at home, use a thumb drive to copy her writing, and the Internet at the office to publish.
The Three Survivors were under no pressure. They didn't care about the work and certainly not about the BFH. . They considered him sub human and his work meaningless.
The salary they received was, in some respects more gift than earned.
What You Must Do
When you realize you work for a Boss From Hell the First thing you must do is disconnect. Realise you are working for an Evil being, a man who would be a slave owner in a past life.
Get that clear in your mind.
The Second thing is to appreciate that this is NOT your work, this is His work.
You put your name on Nothing. You keep yourself arm's length from everything connected to Hell, (Your Work Place).
You have to build that Wall.
Thirdly, take nothing he says to you as real or true. He berates you because he is a psychopath and this makes him feel better.
Fourthly, take his diatribes as time fillers.
If he shouts at you for five minutes, that is five minutes you don't work.
If you can, you can get up and walk away after he finishes, as if you are 'so hurt' Hide in the bathroom for a time. Let him feel the 'triumph!'
Fifthly, work as slow as you possibly can. Do as little as possible. This is not nice but it does give you a sense of 'control' which you need.
The term 'unwork' is applicable. Do what you can to cause delays, confusion, as long as it is not connected to you.
Sixthly, plot your day to give yourself as many breaks as possible. There should be an arrival bathroom break of 15 minutes, another two hours later. There should be a closing down fifteen minutes before lunch break.
Another fifteen minutes at return from lunch, another a few hours later, and a fifteen minute closing down before leaving.
In this way, an eight hour day is automatically dropped to five.
Any time you are out of the office on a 'mission' make it fill as much time as you possibly can.
Seventhly, look for other jobs. Continually be on the Look Out. Don't let money be your consideration.
In many cases, taking a pay cut but working for a human being is more than a reward.
Eighthly, understand that you have been subjected to similar Abuse as in domestic violence. It will take you time to recover. Be aware of this. When you move to your next job, don't carry the 'learned' behaviour with you.
Many normal employers are not clock watchers. They expect you in 'around' a particular time.
Many employers want you to contact them immediately if you hit a snag or have completed a project. Don't sit and wait to be summoned, unless you are instructed to wait.
Give yourself a few months to get back to normal.
Until that moment when you escape Hell, adopt every kind of self preservation method you can imagine.
Never think about the job when you are home. Turn off your cell. If you can't, don't answer when he calls, or get yourself a specific 'work phone' and 'life phone'.
I can't repeat this enough times.
A Boss from Hell will Call you at 4:46 am. If your phone is off, it won't wake you. Hence, shut your work phone off as you leave the office and turn it on shortly before leaving for work.
Never do overtime, never work on any day that is a week end or holiday... ever. Let him shout, threaten, whatever. Never do it.
Once the Boss From Hell learns... and this is a long process... that you Must leave at your quitting time, Can Never arrive until your Start Time, that cuts down on that slice of stress.
Once the Boss From Hell notices that you write down what he says when he says it, he will be prevented from shouting; "I Told You To..." because you can go to your note pad.
Slavery is over.
You can, as Mrs. Scott, leave the office without permission.
You can, as Eric, not do what Massa says.
You can as Miss Kings, do very little work.
And you can survive.