Your browser isn't supported
It looks like you're using an old web browser. To get the most out of the site and to ensure guides display correctly, we suggest upgrading your browser now. Download the latest:

Welcome to the MSE Forums

We're home to a fantastic community of MoneySavers but anyone can post. Please exercise caution & report spam, illegal, offensive or libellous posts/messages: click "report" or email forumteam@. Skimlinks & other affiliated links are turned on

Search
  • FIRST POST
    • hec2308
    • By hec2308 9th Oct 16, 7:39 PM
    • 68Posts
    • 51Thanks
    hec2308
    Help? At my wits end
    • #1
    • 9th Oct 16, 7:39 PM
    Help? At my wits end 9th Oct 16 at 7:39 PM
    So I should probably provide a bit of context to the situation.

    I work for three bosses as a PA. I definitely work for one of them more than the others and that director is....a bully. He is a psychopath, a narcissist and not a very pleasant person. It's all wrapped up in a package of charm that gets him to where he is and means he is untouchable and popular, he reminds me of my father but that is by the by.

    I have worked here for two and a half years. He is difficult to work for, I have coped for two and a half years. He calls people stupid, moronic etc. and sexist remarks are common place. I am a confident person, I have done what I can to tolerate regular verbal abuse in front of the entire team. This isn't what has broken me. I am strong.

    A month in to my new job back in 2014, they threw an office party to celebrate their new premises. A lot of clients were invited and obviously there were canapes and drinks a-plenty. One of the clients was "sexually inappropriate" towards me. I am loathe to describe it as sexual assault, but I will say that people investigated by operation Yew Tree have been jailed for less. He also said a lot of inappropriate things but words I can cope with.

    I went to a direct on the night and told her about it, he was kicked out and a few meetings followed the incident. They said that they would get rid of him as a client. He had just referred a client to us and I knew this brought us money and that he was someone the directors had known for years. I felt totally and completely humiliated by the entire experience and felt that I would be judged on my response as being a sensitive, fragile flower for the rest of my time at the company. As a result I said that I did not expect them to banish him as a client for my sake. I am a strong person and as long as I do not have to have contact with him or see him I was ok to proceed as normal. I was promised that both these conditions would be met and that has been the status quo for the last 2.5 years.

    Recently, one of the directors scheduled a meeting at our offices which this client was to be involved in. I made my surprise at this clear in a calm and apologetic way last week on a Thursday. On the Friday morning my manager (who is lovely but inept as an authoritative person) took me downstairs and said that he had been called by the director I specifically work for and told that they were very angry with me. They were horrified that I felt able in my position to tell them where they could have meetings and who with, and that they intended to have a formal meeting with me about it.

    I was probably wrong, but I got quite upset at this (mainly out of frustration rather than vulnerability) and said that I simply could not stay if their position had changed and I was now expected to meet this client or even just be in the same building as him.

    So that happened on the Friday. On Monday last week, one of my colleagues (who I am firm friends with) handed in their notice. My male director and my manager called me downstairs and asked if I would take her position (a promotion) and then they could advertise for a replacement of my job. I said that I would not want to do the exams involved with this promotion hoping that would be sufficient enough but my boss then said that I would not be expected to do the exams. So I had no excuses left.

    I hesitated for a moment and suddenly my boss went into a tangent of "you don't seem happy, and haven't done for weeks - what is wrong?"

    I don't know where he got the last few weeks from. I had been very unhappy on the Thursday and Friday when this situation transpired but that was it. I was honest. I said that I was unhappy about the inappropriate client situation. I was essentially told to get over it and that I had imagined their angry response in my head. Obviously he did not know that my manager had told me that they were angry with me and my manager did not speak up in this meeting. I kept my mouth shut to spare him. So this was made to look as if I had imagined this and that I was overreacting. Even though I knew his true thoughts on it. But he is a very good and smooth liar....I was honest and said that I was thinking about leaving as I agreed with them totally, they are the bosses and they should be able to have what meetings they want and when. But I will not be involved as long as that man is a client.

    So I have endured secret meetings held about me etc. and frankly the last week has been awful. They started advertising for my job on Wednesday, despite the fact I haven't handed my notice in. I'm not sure whether I was meant to feel sacked or not? I don't really get it. However I took it in my stride and carried on. It was terrible timing seeing as I said I was thinking about leaving on Monday (which is true - I was very honest), but I found a lump in my breast on Thursday evening. I phoned my doctor on Friday and she wanted me to come in for an appointment but the only available slot was 10 past 4. I didn't feel able to take it after how I had been treated all week by my bosses. I spoke to my manager about it and said that I would schedule an appointment for Monday (tomorrow) instead because of this. He said that I seemed too "deliriously happy" i.e. as if I had just got another job/interview so he didn't know if I was being honest.

    I was. I would never lie about something to do with a "cancer scare" I seemed "happy" because that is my brave face and until someone sits me down and tells me I've got cancer I'm not going to walk around as if I do. I am 27 years old and I know the chances are very slim.

    So they had a meeting downstairs about whether I was lying or not. It was eventually decided it was legitimate and that I would be allowed to have the 4.10pm appointment as it wasn't an interview.

    I feel completely broken. I have been a good employee for years and I have never lied. If I ws a natural liar I would have taken the promotion and the payrise and continued my plans to leave with the additional money in my pocket. I didn't want to do that.

    I feel like now ultimate suspicion is on me and they won't let me out for anything. I feel so down and depressed about the entire situation, I don't know what to do. I need to get out, I'm not happy and I can't keep going like this. Does anyone have any advice or suggestions having been in a similar situation??

    Edit: so sorry, I didn't realise how long this was until I posted. Sorry.
Page 2
    • hec2308
    • By hec2308 10th Oct 16, 3:14 PM
    • 68 Posts
    • 51 Thanks
    hec2308
    I think you are wrong to suggest that seeking help, assistance or therapy would be a sign of weakness. It is not. We are all human at the end of the day.

    Everyone needs help sometimes. Asking for help is a sign of strength as you are proactively dealing with issues. That is much better than failing to deal with an issue and letting it fester.

    At the end of the day we are talking about an issue that occurred at a party 2.5 years ago. You do need to work out a way of moving on from this. Personally it sounds to me like that may involve moving jobs to work someplace where you are going to be happy.

    Seeking another job, at the appropriate time, is a sign of strength not a sign of weakness. At the end of the day you have to think would you be happy working for this organisation in a year's time? 2 years' time? 10 years' time? There are lots of excellent opportunities out there if you search for them.
    Originally posted by steampowered

    Well, the only thing I can say is that this was not what I meant by "strength" but I won't bring it up again and apologies if that is how it came across. Not my intention.
    • hec2308
    • By hec2308 10th Oct 16, 3:17 PM
    • 68 Posts
    • 51 Thanks
    hec2308
    Surely OP the best thing would be to find a new job and start afresh?

    Whatever you do there is no quick answer to your issues and for everyones health moving on is probably more productive
    Originally posted by Takeaway_Addict
    This is what I am trying to do now, the struggle I am facing is being allowed out of the office to get to interviews. I was quite shocked at how my need for a doctors appointment last week was scrutinised to the Nth degree and how I was made to feel about it in front of the entire team. Especially as they seem to accept on one level that I will be leaving the company at some point and have been advertising my position for nearly a week now.

    It seems to have been taken very personally and their approach towards me now is very much "you are dead to us but we won't let you go without making it difficult". Just very stressful.
    • Smodlet
    • By Smodlet 10th Oct 16, 3:35 PM
    • 1,818 Posts
    • 3,014 Thanks
    Smodlet
    I agree with those who said your intention to resign was not made clear, also with those who say no-one promised this individual would never set foot in the building again. With no idea of the size of your office, it is difficult to advise but can you not arrange to be in another room/on another floor/absent when this client visits?

    OP, I wish you the very best and hope one day this creep gets exactly what he deserves. If this type of situation ever happens to you again, what is wrong with yelling, at the top of your voice, something along the lines of, "What did you just say to me? Say that again so everyone in the room can hear, otherwise I'm calling my boyfriend right now. He'll be waiting outside for me to point you out to him. Did I mention he's six foot six and a body builder?"

    No-one should have to put up with bullying in the workplace; it is more than bad enough in schools. By the time we leave, we should have evolved beyond such revolting behaviour but the world is what it is. Why on earth should you have to feel as if you cannot call out for help in a situation in which you feel physically threatened? Presumably you would if it happened in the street, in a pub/restaurant/club/your own home? Why is the workplace a sanctuary for sexual predators? It's the 21st century, ffs! These days, we have the technology to record this stuff... Can you imagine what it was like for your parents/grandparents' generations?

    Good luck, and good health. I hope all works out well for you.
    Last edited by Smodlet; 10-10-2016 at 3:49 PM.
    What is this life, if, sweet wordsmith, we have no time to take the pith?

    Every stew starts with the first onion.

    I took it upon myself to investigate a trifle; it had custard, jelly, soggy sponge things...
    • lincroft1710
    • By lincroft1710 10th Oct 16, 3:37 PM
    • 8,466 Posts
    • 6,101 Thanks
    lincroft1710
    Refusing promotion without a perceived good reason is often not looked upon favourably by management. They may think you no longer want to work there and when that happens they can lose interest in you rapidly.
    • hec2308
    • By hec2308 10th Oct 16, 3:41 PM
    • 68 Posts
    • 51 Thanks
    hec2308
    OP, I wish you the very best and hope one day this creep gets exactly what he deserves. However, if this type of situation ever happens to you again, what is wrong with yelling, at the top of your voice, something along the lines of, "What did you just say to me? Say that again so everyone in the room can hear, otherwise I'm calling my boyfriend right now. He'll be waiting outside for me to point you out to him. Did I mention he's six foot six and a body builder?"
    Originally posted by Smodlet


    I've definitely learnt a lot from this situation. Hopefully I'll never find myself in this position again, but I know what I would do differently. I was more concerned about the company than myself and I should have been honest at the time about how I felt. It's a shame that it is a situation that neither myself nor the company created but has caused a lasting impact which has ultimately lead to me feeling my position here is untenable after 2 and a half years of hard work. It's a shame, but it's ok.
    • hec2308
    • By hec2308 10th Oct 16, 3:43 PM
    • 68 Posts
    • 51 Thanks
    hec2308
    Refusing promotion without a perceived good reason is often not looked upon favourably by management. They may think you no longer want to work there and when that happens they can lose interest in you rapidly.
    Originally posted by lincroft1710
    Yes that is what has happened. I was caught off guard and not expecting that conversation. Lying/fabricating/coming up with a quick excuse (whatever you want to call it) does not come naturally to me at all. In retrospect I would have changed a million things, but I definitely would not be happy taking extra money and responsibility knowing that I may leave soon.
    • Smodlet
    • By Smodlet 10th Oct 16, 3:54 PM
    • 1,818 Posts
    • 3,014 Thanks
    Smodlet
    Learn to play poker... and look out for you!

    ETA: For points, obviously!
    Last edited by Smodlet; 10-10-2016 at 4:05 PM.
    What is this life, if, sweet wordsmith, we have no time to take the pith?

    Every stew starts with the first onion.

    I took it upon myself to investigate a trifle; it had custard, jelly, soggy sponge things...
    • Andypandyboy
    • By Andypandyboy 10th Oct 16, 4:01 PM
    • 2,298 Posts
    • 5,863 Thanks
    Andypandyboy
    Op I think the suggestion to put all of your understanding of the situation relating to the unwanted sexual encounter in writing is the best way forward. If they are reneging on this now it puts you in an untenable position and could be viewed as constructive dismissal. At the time of the incident you could have pushed the matter further but for the sake of the business you made concessions. It is up to them to uphold their end of the bargain. It is not so much that you have not got over it rather that they have now decided x time was enough. That is not how it works or we wouldn't have the likes of Operation Yewtree. Make that clear to them.

    Re the promotion, again do as a previour poster has suggested and put in writig that you were pleased by the offer but would rather remain in your current role. Then look for another job.

    Re the breast issue, when you get the results of the tests ( negative I hope) take the letter into your boss....

    Good luck
    • hec2308
    • By hec2308 10th Oct 16, 4:09 PM
    • 68 Posts
    • 51 Thanks
    hec2308
    Op I think the suggestion to put all of your understanding of the situation relating to the unwanted sexual encounter in writing is the best way forward. If they are reneging on this now it puts you in an untenable position and could be viewed as constructive dismissal. At the time of the incident you could have pushed the matter further but for the sake of the business you made concessions. It is up to them to uphold their end of the bargain. It is not so much that you have not got over it rather that they have now decided x time was enough. That is not how it works or we wouldn't have the likes of Operation Yewtree. Make that clear to them.

    Re the promotion, again do as a previour poster has suggested and put in writig that you were pleased by the offer but would rather remain in your current role. Then look for another job.

    Re the breast issue, when you get the results of the tests ( negative I hope) take the letter into your boss....

    Good luck
    Originally posted by Andypandyboy
    Thank you very much. I will do as you and others have suggested re putting the two matters in writing.

    My doctor is as certain as she can be that there is no issue with regards to the lump (as I thought), but I will still have a hospital appointment to go to at some point in the next couple of weeks. Apparently this takes about 3 hours on average which I have warned my manager about, and I'm not entirely convinced that they will let me go.

    I have shown them that I made calls to my doctors surgery on my phone, I couldn't think what else to do to prove that I wasn't lying. Hopefully when the hospital appointment comes it won't be an issue.
    • ThemeOne
    • By ThemeOne 10th Oct 16, 4:22 PM
    • 699 Posts
    • 541 Thanks
    ThemeOne
    This is a complicated situation, but the main thing that occurs to me was that you were probably naive in believing the company's assurances that you and this client would be kept out of each other's way indefinitely - in fact I think it's remarkable it's been achieved for 2.5 years.

    I don't blame you for believing it though, it was what you wanted to hear, and people can be very convincing even when they know they can't really keep their promises. They probably just hoped they could make good on it long enough to keep you happy.

    Your situation now seems to be they are advertising your job, despite you not having resigned, been fired, or agreed to move to another role. I think you need some clarification from HR over exactly what's happening here.

    But before you speak to HR be very clear about what you want to happen. You've said you don't want your colleague's job, but do you want to stay in your current role, move to another role in the company, or leave? I can't help thinking if it was me, I might decide it was time to go, but then again only you will have all the relevant facts.
    • hec2308
    • By hec2308 10th Oct 16, 4:27 PM
    • 68 Posts
    • 51 Thanks
    hec2308
    This is a complicated situation, but the main thing that occurs to me was that you were probably naive in believing the company's assurances that you and this client would be kept out of each other's way indefinitely - in fact I think it's remarkable it's been achieved for 2.5 years.

    I don't blame you for believing it though, it was what you wanted to hear, and people can be very convincing even when they know they can't really keep their promises. They probably just hoped they could make good on it long enough to keep you happy.

    Your situation now seems to be they are advertising your job, despite you not having resigned, been fired, or agreed to move to another role. I think you need some clarification from HR over exactly what's happening here.

    But before you speak to HR be very clear about what you want to happen. You've said you don't want your colleague's job, but do you want to stay in your current role, move to another role in the company, or leave? I can't help thinking if it was me, I might decide it was time to go, but then again only you will have all the relevant facts.
    Originally posted by ThemeOne
    I think it is time for me to go. I think I would like a fresh start away from this client stuff, there are also some other issues that I have briefly touched on in previous posts that have contributed to a feeling of not really being comfortable with staying for much longer.
    • Andypandyboy
    • By Andypandyboy 10th Oct 16, 4:30 PM
    • 2,298 Posts
    • 5,863 Thanks
    Andypandyboy
    I would try and let things settle down though after resolving your position as you may need a reference.
    • ThemeOne
    • By ThemeOne 10th Oct 16, 4:34 PM
    • 699 Posts
    • 541 Thanks
    ThemeOne
    I think it is time for me to go. I think I would like a fresh start away from this client stuff, there are also some other issues that I have briefly touched on in previous posts that have contributed to a feeling of not really being comfortable with staying for much longer.
    Originally posted by hec2308
    I can certainly sympathise with that, and wish you all the best. I don't know where you are, but I do know that good PAs in London are thin on the ground and much sought after.
    • asajj
    • By asajj 10th Oct 16, 4:39 PM
    • 3,702 Posts
    • 8,113 Thanks
    asajj
    Apologies, I've only reiterated that fact as I believe a couple of different people on here have told me that I'm fragile and need some sort of therapy because of it, which isn't the case. I won't mention it again

    Maybe I'm totally in the wrong then. I thought I was doing the right thing by being honest, I just didn't expect to get caught in this sort of trap-like situation here where I've become enemy number one in the office and am being regarded with utmost suspicion. It just feels like whatever choice I make here it will be wrong. Maybe it's one of those cases of "you have to be here" to feel it, maybe it's all in my head. Who knows.

    I just came on here as I wondered if anyone had ever been in a similar position and had any suggestions as to how I should handle myself and what I should do. I definitely just want a clean slate now and I wish that this situation hadn't been taken so personally by the bosses. I'm not trying to hinder what they do. I find it easiest to remove myself from the equation if I am the problem.

    Thank you for the responses.
    Originally posted by hec2308

    Of course, it is hard to know what you are going through You are young and you have some experience in your hands. You come across articulate and confident so I'm sure you will be able to find something soon, far from all this complicated situation!
    £2015 in 2015 / £2015

    No buying unnecessary stuff.
    Clearing out by selling on Ebay, donating to charity etc.
    • hec2308
    • By hec2308 11th Oct 16, 11:52 AM
    • 68 Posts
    • 51 Thanks
    hec2308
    I can certainly sympathise with that, and wish you all the best. I don't know where you are, but I do know that good PAs in London are thin on the ground and much sought after.
    Originally posted by ThemeOne
    Thank you very much. I'm in Hampshire, so whilst I don't relish the idea of that commute I certainly would not rule it out at this stage!
    • ohreally
    • By ohreally 11th Oct 16, 2:10 PM
    • 5,732 Posts
    • 4,270 Thanks
    ohreally
    I definitely would not be happy taking extra money and responsibility knowing that I may leave soon.
    Originally posted by hec2308
    Equally you may not. In future self interest comes first.
    Imagination is a mental faculty that serves as a coping mechanism for those who can't or won't accept reality - unicorns and dragons and wives who don't nag, are all figments of the "imagination".

    Give a man a gun and he can rob a bank. Give a man a bank and he can rob the world.
Welcome to our new Forum!

Our aim is to save you money quickly and easily. We hope you like it!

Forum Team Contact us

Live Stats

3,127Posts Today

6,046Users online

Martin's Twitter