where are they now: update #2, featuring sleeping bunks in the office

Remember the reader with the boss who yelled so much that he had to keep the radio on at all times to cover the noise? We all told her to get the hell out … which she did. Here’s her update:

I emailed you a little over a year ago (see entry under “jerks” for September 2008) about my verbally abusive boss at a small creative agency. Well – I hung in there until I couldn’t stand it any longer and found something else and gave my notice two days before the Thanksgiving break in 2008. I honestly don’t think I have ever had such a tirade unleashed against me as when I gave my notice. He badgered me over and over about how I had misconstrued his yelling and that he was just passionate about his work. It then turned into a horrible set of personal attacks and threats of lawsuits if I ever contacted anyone from the agency again – he even demanded that I remove the agency’s name from my LinkedIn profile as he perceived it to be some sort of legal infringement for me to even say I had ever worked there.

Long story short – instead of the two weeks I intended to give, I left at the end of the following day. This was not before he got the whole company together (about 20 people) in the conference room to talk about how little I had added to their process and how they would be going on and probably doing better now that I was gone. Two more people gave their notices by the end of that day because he was such a tyrant about the whole thing.

Unfortunately the job I left for was somewhat out of the frying pan and into the fire. I left for a publicly traded, much larger creative agency as a director and was really excited to get to hopefully work with some decent folks again. On day one – I got a taste of how things really were – they “forgot” to mention that I was expected to keep a set of clothes at work for all of the all-nighters and then showed me the sleeping bunks they had built along with a shower so folks could live at work.

I was given accounts in both LA and NY (despite having been told there would be no travel), so I worked from 5am til 8 or 9pm and was routinely called out in executive meetings for not taking one for the team (all the rest of whom where single and without kids unlike me) and staying on with them all night. The final straw was when the company did not protect me from a mid-level manager who obviously had mental issues and that I had a strong hand in her getting fired because of client complaints. She slashed my tires, broke into the office and stole a laptop, and then called my multi-million dollar client and aired all of the company’s dirty laundry. When they left her go, I was told to leave the office and stay at a nearby cafe because they were worried that she would become physically violent – never mind that I had to buy my own coffee. In the end, even though the worst did not take place, I had to endure numerous phone calls from her at all hours and slanderings on facebook.

After 10 months, I have since left that agency as well and have vowed to never work in an agency again. I am currently relocating and am looking for a nice, “normal” quiet job after taking 6 months off to recuperate.

{ 10 comments… read them below }

  1. Heahtly Employee*

    Eh, sure.. Companies like the above exist. Completely. I'm curious as to why this person continues to take jobs where they're treated like this?

    There are usually obvious indicators that you can see for terrible behavior at companies, it's not always the "woah, bunkbeds?!!" revelation that where you're working is extremely dysfunctional.

    Someone very smart once said to me, "People are generally attracted to and gravitate around exactly what and who they're equally as healthy as."

  2. Ask a Manager*

    Ouch! She has left both jobs where she was treated like that, Heahtly. I agree that people are attracted to *people* who are about their level of emotional health, but I absolutely would not blame someone for ending up in a toxic workplace, especially if they're actively trying to leave (which she was and did). First, because it's not always clear before you're hired how dysfunctional somewhere might be, and second, because sometimes people don't have many choices when they need to pay bills!

  3. Rebecca*

    Way to blame the victim for the crime, [Healthy] Employee. Two bad jobs in a row does not mean that she has terrible judgment, or that she's a broken person who only attracts other broken people.

  4. Anonymous*

    Hey everyone – thanks for the comments here – the part I guess I should have mentioned is that I had no less than two acquaintances inside company #2 who vouched for how great it was – that was until they got a new GM who came from the corporate office to "tighten the ship" about two weeks into my employment. The bunk beds where set up in another building all together, so I definitely didn't see them during the interview process! After I left, I was contacted by a lawyer who was helping someone in another office put together a lawsuit for bad business practices and illegal working conditions.

  5. Adam*

    And I thought my job was bad. I'll take "no guaranteed hours" over setting up permanent residence at work any day.

  6. GeekChic*

    @ OP: Glad you got out of both places and hope you find something better.

    @ Heahtly (but illiterate) employee: How long have you worked for the OP's former ad agency? Or are you just a jerk?

  7. Anonymous*

    Read yesterday about a local company that discovered many of its employees were working at home in the evenings. The owners blocked the company's database from 7pm to 7am to force their employees to take time off.

    I doubt they have any trouble recruiting and retaining excellent people!

    Lois Gory

  8. dearro*

    Oh my god… could you reveal the names of the these agencies? Even a hint…. I'm trying to find work in creative agencies but now I'm having second thoughts!!!

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