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Was it the right thing to do?

pete-rock

Cyburbian
Messages
1,550
Points
24
Now that michaelski's job travails have ended positively, let me mention what has happened that brought me to where I am now.

I had a boss that I could not tolerate anymore, so I quit suddenly and with no immediate job prospects. Over the last 2-3 months, mean-spirited comments started coming from my boss more frequently. He was alternately sarcastic and just plain mean sometimes, but two weeks ago the comments became personal. Among other things, he called me a "f***ing disgrace", "stupid moron", "f***ing idiot", in full view of everyone else in the office, for 10-15 minutes. This was because we lost out on a competitive RFP. I actually wanted to hit him, and that's when I knew I couldn't respect him enough to work there again.

My work was fine; our older clients commented that the work that I brought to the firm was a higher quality and more thorough than before, and new clients thought our work was exceptional. However, part of my job was to find work in new markets, and that simply wasn't happening now. Municipalities put comp plans on the back burner when funds are tight; builders are not seeking site plans or zoning assistance for new subdivisions while the market is soft.

So now I'm in the job market again. Has anyone else encountered any verbal harassment on the job? How did you deal with it?
 

Wannaplan?

Bounty Hunter
Messages
3,216
Points
29
Sounds like your old boss was jealous that you were doing good work, and then when you faltered, he saw a great opportunity to humiliate you. Or he talked you up to so many people that once you guys lost that RFP, he got humiliated anf wanted to share his disgrace with you.
 

Tranplanner

maudit anglais
Messages
7,917
Points
36
Hope you manage to find a new gig quickly pete-rock. Perhaps you could even "steal" some of your former clients and set up shop on your own...

I had one boss who, while he never directly insulted me, was very sarcastic. He found out that I can be a sarcastic prick too when I want to be. :) Soon as a better position came up, I was out of there.

After I left, my bosses' boss finally noticed the amount of staff turnover that had occurred since my boss had started. He was gone within a few months after that.
 

Repo Man

Cyburbian
Messages
2,549
Points
25
I have not been verbally harassed in a long time and never as a planner. I think the last time I was verbally harassed was when a cook at the college cafeteria was filling in as manager because the real manager was off. He got mad because I served his food wrong (ok, this is not some trendy Manhattan restaurant, it was a college cafeteria) and it was something totally ridiculous like giving someone spaghetti without a chicken breast or something because they asked for it that way. He started yelling at me in front of all of these students and co-workers saying that I needed to serve the food the way he wanted and since we were having chicken parmasean, I couldn't serve just the noodles without chicken...even though the person offered to pay for the whole meal. I told him that was the most ridiculous thing I had ever heard and handed him my apron and said "if you want it served that way, you serve it yourself" and walked out and went home.

When I arrived home he called me begging me not to tell the boss what he did and offered to stop by with beer after work. It was great to hear him groveling and begging. I took the beer and kept my mouth shut (hey I was a poor college student). From that point on, he always treated me with a great deal of respect and I got away with all kinds of stuff that others wouldn't have.

Anyhow, any manager like pete-rock's that would speak in front of co-workers like that is very unprofessional and is proably unfit to manage. However, I have learned that many managers are unfit to manage. The people who hire the managers are usualy oblivious to that person's obvious shortcomings. If I were in that situation, I probably would have walked out too.

I think that most verbal harassment I encounter comes from residents. I just let them vent and keep in mind that they are mad at the City and not me as a person.
 

Cardinal

Cyburbian
Messages
10,080
Points
34
Pete, from the comments you have made on Cyburbia in the past, I am not at all surprised to hear that the company's clients think the product has improved since you arrived. Are you open to relocation, or hoping to stay in the Chicago area? I'll try to keep you posted on any jobs I happen to see.

Your ex-boss is an ass. Municipalities are cutting consulting contracts. It is easier to do that than lay off workers. I have a thought on who the company may be. I'll PM you to see if I am right.
 

SkeLeton

Cyburbian
Messages
4,853
Points
26
Good luck on your job quest :)

I guess it's for the best, let's hope that the a$$hole later regrets the loss of good people like you.
 

pete-rock

Cyburbian
Messages
1,550
Points
24
Alan said:
Sounds like your old boss was jealous that you were doing good work, and then when you faltered, he saw a great opportunity to humiliate you. Or he talked you up to so many people that once you guys lost that RFP, he got humiliated anf wanted to share his disgrace with you.
Jealousy? Maybe a little on the boss' part. Prior to my coming to the firm, he was the guy responsible for all writing and analysis in reports out of our office, then that became me. More likely was the fact that we were unable to find new work in the new markets we wanted to pursue, the stagnation of current business, and growing stress as a result. The boss doesn't handle stress well, and I became, in his mind, the reason everything's gone bad.

Cardinal, this firm has a well-known reputation among the consulting planner's community in the Chicago area for having a "difficult" president and producing, uh, unprincipled work (they will say exactly what you want them to say, even moreso than other consultants). If you know the area, I'll bet your guess is not that far off.
 

Mud Princess

Cyburbian
Messages
4,898
Points
27
Let's just say I've been there.

You DEFINITELY did the right thing by leaving. The harassment you describe is a difficult thing to change once it starts... and in the long run, it can really damage your self-esteem.

I'm sure you will find a job where people value your skills and experience, and treat you like a human being!
 

Chet

Cyburbian Emeritus
Messages
10,623
Points
34
Slap the bastard with a defamation of character suit. That is uncalled for conduct.

Is he AICP? File a claim that he violated C1 of the Code of Ethics:

"C. A planner should contribute to the development of the profession by improving knowledge and techniques, making work relevant to solutions of community problems, and increasing public understanding of planning activities. A planner should treat fairly the professional views of qualified colleagues and members of other professions.

1. A planner must protect and enhance the integrity of the profession and must be responsible in criticism of the profession. "

as well as D1 and D2 of the Code:

"D. A planner should strive for high standards of professional integrity, proficiency and knowledge.

1) A planner must not commit a deliberately wrongful act which reflects adversely on the planner's professional fitness.

2) A planner must respect the rights of others and, in particular, must not improperly discriminate against persons."
 

pandersen

Cyburbian
Messages
243
Points
9
Been there, done that. Well sorta, anyway.

The last place I worked (public sector planning agency) the man running the department was an incompentent ass who presented himself very well in the public arena. This fellow consistently stabbed his subordinates in the back and never felt compelled to share any credit when/and where it was warranted.

After getting the "lay of the land" after giving the place the benefit of the doubt, I decided to move on ASAP. While I didn't just get up and quit, I took the first decent job that came along.

Funny thing, what goes around, comes around. Shortly after I left, the manager in question was finally "let go" after Council started asking why are so many of your staff members resigning type questions of this fellow - still gives me a warm feeling just thining about it.
 
Messages
5,352
Points
31
pandersen said:
Been there, done that. Well sorta, anyway.

The last place I worked (public sector planning agency) the man running the department was an incompentent ass who presented himself very well in the public arena. This fellow consistently stabbed his subordinates in the back and never felt compelled to share any credit when/and where it was warranted.

After getting the "lay of the land" after giving the place the benefit of the doubt, I decided to move on ASAP. While I didn't just get up and quit, I took the first decent job that came along.

Funny thing, what goes around, comes around. Shortly after I left, the manager in question was finally "let go" after Council started asking why are so many of your staff members resigning type questions of this fellow - still gives me a warm feeling just thining about it.
Same thing happened to me. The executive director finally resigned under pressure from the current administration. Approx. 15 staffers, including planners and clerical, quit or transferred depts. during this person's 2 1/2 yrs tenure.
 

Jeff

Cyburbian
Messages
4,161
Points
27
I wonder if my old and now retired boss has taken up in Chicago?

After my learning experience of having to deal withg a boss like that, as well as coworkers who start rumors/talk trash, etc. I've decided that, there is an HR Dept at all workplaces. Use them.

Also, there are plenty of lawyers in the world that would drool over a case like yours and the one I had. Use them. Or at least threaten to use them.
 

Zoning Goddess

Cyburbian
Messages
13,852
Points
39
The planning director two jobs ago was a horror in meetings. He kicked furniture, cussed all the time, would say stuff to staff like "That's the most idiotic thing I've ever heard" (about our reports). Plus, he was always "rearranging his package" in front of staff.

Finally, one of the male planners made an appointment and told him we were not going to take his verbal abuse and the planners, as a group, had decided to take the matter to a higher authority if he didn't stop. That helped a lot.

Unfortunately, his secretary was stuck telling him we got really uncomfortable when he was checking his assets...
 

Big Easy King

Cyburbian
Messages
1,361
Points
23
Planderella said:
Same thing happened to me. The executive director finally resigned under pressure from the current administration. Approx. 15 staffers, including planners and clerical, quit or transferred depts. during this person's 2 1/2 yrs tenure.
I, like Planderella, am also one of the planners in that group of 15 that departed because of that previous director. As a matter of fact, I am number 15. On behalf of the departed group of 15, Planderella and I can attest to her stupidity, lack of planning knowledge and experience, and her lack of respect towards her staff.

Good riddins to her!!!
 

donk

Cyburbian
Messages
6,970
Points
30
Mike D offered.
Also, there are plenty of lawyers in the world that would drool over a case like yours and the one I had. Use them. Or at least threaten to use them.
I did this when I was physically threatened by a councillor, got the apology, got the dollar but the situtation has not changed much in dealing with him and my direct supervisor. This was the last nail in the coffin and started me looking for a new job.

I wish I had the guts, and savings, to just quit.

Good luck pete-rock.
 

biscuit

Cyburbian
Messages
3,904
Points
25
Wow, it seems as though a lot of us have been in similar situations. I was working for a firm who, I later found out, had a reputation around town for doing, well, scattershot work. I was working 60 hour weeks with no overtime and was getting yelled out almost every day for no other reason other thatn my drafting table was on the way to the bosses office. One day he walked by my desk and started screaming at me about someone elses screw-up on a project. I had taken enough of that and let loose, telling him exactly how I expected to be treated. It felt good.

I was then let go about three weeks later.
One of the best things that ever happened to me. I now have a great boss and a job i really enjoy. :)

So don't worry. Whether you think you did the right thing or not, it will all work out in the end.
 
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ecofem

Cyburbian
Messages
206
Points
9
I would personally advise against filing any sort of AICP complaint. A person I know did, the employer found out, and the person I know was summarily fired.

However, I guess if you don't work for the particular person anymore... go for it!
 

Seabishop

Cyburbian
Messages
3,838
Points
25
Yeah, you're better off not being there. Luckily it seems like your job gave you positive contacts with a lot of other planners in the area so hopefully you can find something soon.
 

H

Cyburbian
Messages
2,850
Points
24
long, but thought out.

Psychologically speaking, you most likely did do the right thing. Self-esteem and self-respect are important character builders. You need them intact to be successful in the long run. If you stayed these would have been broken down, so it is probably best you did not.

Only you (here) know whether it was the right “financial” choice. But I suspect you will be tremendously better off in the long run, as said earlier on this thread.

In regards to your other question, I have not had verbal attacks from a boss but I do deal with a sometimes passive-aggressive and strangely apathetic boss. Which also is difficult. However, it seems if I ignore ‘remarks’ as they happen, the attitudes change as fast as the Miami summer rain. There are always negatives, and the grass is always greener. But at the same time, a person should only endure so much. Right now I endure my environment in exchange for the good experience I am receiving; there is balance. But if the balance tilts the wrong way, I would most definitely go somewhere else.

I think a big problem in our field is that the ‘managers’ are trained as planners and not as managers. Now there are obviously some naturally good managers, but not all are. I think planning ‘managers’ should take a standard management course, and some govs might ask for this, but private companies have there own rules. Often times the owner is a brilliant planner, but a terrible manager causing negative employee moral and a high turn over rate (especially in small firms).

Best of luck with the job hunt, I wish I had some directions to point, but unfortunately I do not.
 

pete-rock

Cyburbian
Messages
1,550
Points
24
donk said:
I wish I had the guts, and savings, to just quit.
I wish it was guts, or savings, that made me do it. It was more anger, and a desire to maintain my self-esteem and self-respect.

I didn't even throw in the kicker. To make matters worse, I'm getting married this Saturday!!! My fiancee and I have been together for 4+ years, and we've been through tough times, but obviously the timing for leaving the gig could've been better. About 180 people from around the country are coming here to wish us well, and I'm feeling a little bit like a slacker.

On the positive side, there are some very intriguing prospects that could work out very soon for me, and they could possibly be much more rewarding professionally and financially. I wouldn't be surprised if I'm idle for no more than a month.

I never intended to pander for sympathy, but I do want to thank you guys for your encouragement.
 

Tranplanner

maudit anglais
Messages
7,917
Points
36
Hey, congrats pete-rock! Welcome to the club.

There's no shame in being a kept man, for a little while at least ;)
 

Plannerbabs

Cyburbian
Messages
1,037
Points
23
Tranplanner said:

There's no shame in being a kept man, for a little while at least ;)
Exactly. I was a kept woman for most of grad school (yes, yes, imagine all you like) and having to rely on each other more made our relationship stronger. You'll find something great, don't worry, and just concentrate on having fun at your wedding this weekend. The guests will be there to celebrate you and your future wife's marriage, not grill you about job prospects (except maybe the father-in-law, but that's his job).
 

pete-rock

Cyburbian
Messages
1,550
Points
24
Plannerbabs said:
The guests will be there to celebrate you and your future wife's marriage, not grill you about job prospects (except maybe the father-in-law, but that's his job).
That's exactly how I see it. There will be some fun on Saturday night!

But I see the unemployment (I hate that word) as a little bump in the road, with smooth sailing ahead.

How's that for mixing metaphors?
 

Jeff

Cyburbian
Messages
4,161
Points
27
pete-rock said:


But I see the unemployment (I hate that word) as a little bump in the road, with smooth sailing ahead.

Look at it as a new beginning. All things happen for a reason, and th reason is usually to help make us a better person.

My philosophizing for the day. Who's next on the couch?
 

SGB

Cyburbian
Messages
3,388
Points
26
You did the right thing. No job is worth that type of b***sh**.

I'm betting you land on your feet soon in a much more professional environment.

And by all means, if you continue in the private sector, let your previous clients know where to bring there future business!
 
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