update: will it hurt me to stay in a job where my managers don’t like me?

Remember the reader who asked whether it would hurt him to stay in a job where his managers didn’t like him?

I wrote in at a point where I had been unsuccessful in job hunting after about a year and a half of intensive effort. I was exhausted mentally and physically and was on the verge of just settling for what I have and trying to tolerate the negative, soul-crushing aspects of the job while deriving what positive things I could get out of it.

Spurred on by the positive responses and your advice, I gave job-hunting another go and within three months I was interviewed for and then hired at a new job! The commute, pay, flexibility in hours, proximity to public transportation, and benefits they had matched perfectly what I was looking for. I was happy to leave the dysfunctional workplace where I had spent two years (a year and a half of it job-hunting!).

It has been 11 months since I was hired. I am absolutely thrilled to be in my current position. Management communicates in a way that is direct, clear, and most of all, respectful. The culture the management is trying to promote focuses on cooperation, collaboration and cross-departmental project teams. So everyone is encouraged to work well together and get along.

I wouldn’t say it is 100% rosy at my new workplace. It has its own issues (as do all workplaces). But overall I can say that I am much happier and much more comfortable with the work style and communication style of the organization. Most of all, I enjoy a much better relationship with my direct supervisor and I feel that this is a job that I see myself staying for the long term, where I can really flex my skills, stretch to meet challenges, and where good work will be recognized and rewarded.

{ 18 comments… read them below }

  1. Rebecca*

    So glad to see this update! I think a lot of us are so afraid of jumping from the frying pan into the fire that we just hunker down and suffer. I know I have for the past few years.

    Updates like this give me hope that I can make a positive change too.

  2. anonon*

    I spent over 10 yrs. a job I tried for over 9.5 yrs to get out of. I needed the money and benefits. I knew I’d be worse off unemployed and I was not going to purposefully make myself ineligible for unemployment by quitting. The salary was good so it was hard to find a like position.

    I put up with politics from allowing me to do what I was hired to do from the get go. I guess a large corp. doesn’t care about paying some one over 70,000 a year to literally stay in a holding position. Bad management. Periodically I would look and then coast for 6mos. When I finally got a new job, I was paid 15% more. I refused to lose salary so I stayed and it eventually paid off.

    1. anonymous_now*

      I’m glad I’m not the only one who’s been stuck for many years and trying to get out for most of that time. I was beginning to think something is wrong with me! :(

      I’m glad you were able to move on. I am still looking, and it’s the paycheck and the benefits that keep me going–and the few friends I DO have at work.

      Every day, I have to force myself not to quit, because I don’t have a safety net. Your story gives me hope!

  3. AB*

    “I wouldn’t say it is 100% rosy at my new workplace. It has its own issues (as do all workplaces). But overall I can say that I am much happier and much more comfortable with the work style and communication style of the organization. ”

    Good for you, OP! Having worked for dozens of organizations over the past 10 years, some very big, some medium or small, interacting with many managers and employee, I have never seen any place where everybody was entirely happy with their jobs. There are weeks in my job that I am perfectly happy, and other periods in which I just have an urge to apply to any job I find in my area of expertise. Jobs are not designed to be 100% rosy, and not having that expectation is helpful to avoid becoming an unhappy job hopper, never satisfied with what one has.

    Which is obviously very different than staying in a clearly dysfunctional situation – remaining positive and continuing searching, like you did, is crucial to be able to move on to a better place. I’m happy that you did it!

  4. Working Girl*

    Wow, as I logged on and thought about how to word an email about this same issue, I saw your post – thank you it gives me great inspiration. I have been well over 10 yrs in a job where the manager has been bullying people until they leave. I have been working there longer than her and other staff say she is on a power trip. Unfortunately for me all was well until we hired back an employee in my department that had previously been fired, has many personal issues, is very manipulative and has been able to sweet talk the manager into believing her lies. I have done a lot of bullying research and it appears both true and unbelievable at the same time that the boss supports the bully in trying to get rid of a hard working valuable employee (me). I wish you well and hope I find the same success. Yes, I believe no workplace is perfect but toxic is too far not normal.

  5. OP here*

    Thanks for the kind words all! I just had my one-year anniversary at my new job and everything is going great! No job is perfect but whatever flaws this job may have, the positives definitely outweigh any negatives. I can’t stress enough how working in a toxic environment like my previous job — no matter how good the money, benefits, etc. are — is night and day compared to my new job where I feel respected, that my skills and experience are needed and appreciated, and where communications are clear and expectations are laid out in an unambiguous manner. Thanks to AAM and her readers for taking me to a much better place!

  6. Jen M.*

    I LOVE a happy ending, OP! I’m still looking for my way out of a similar situation, and I love reading about people having positive outcomes!

    I hope your new job continues to go very well for you! :)

  7. Sam*

    Reading the initial article actually made me want to cry. I’m in the same place OP was in. My manager actively doesn’t like me. I didn’t know it until one day a coworker (who I knew didn’t like me) was leaving the area to work part time as a telecommuter, and every single person on our team was invited except for me. I tried to ask my manager about it, but it turns out she was the one who set the whole thing up. She got very defensive about it and ever since then, whenever that coworker comes into the office at Christmastime, I’m still the only person on the team not invited to go with her. I know I don’t like her and she doesn’t like me, but in the workplace you’re supposed to pretend to like everybody. Even if they’re the only millennial, like I am.

    I didn’t do well when I first started there and I was treated like I was an idiot. Someone actually called me stupid, for the first time in my life (not to my face, I found out through someone else). It was a new field to me and I received no training in it. No one was willing to tell me if I did something wrong or how to fix it, but they would talk about me behind my back, which was how I found out. I was told in performance reviews that I “ask too many questions” multiple times.

    Eventually, I got myself a mentor and made my own mentoring program and my work improved, but it hasn’t changed the way my manager looks at me or views my work. I have a client who loves me and requests me and when I send her an email with his accolades, she doesn’t respond to them and she doesn’t mention them in my reviews, but she does tell me he requested me for another project (but she doesn’t say anything congratulatory about it). The woman who assigned me the project makes snide comments about how menial the work is (a lot of note-taking), even though the client is happy.

    And I make way, wayyyyy less than anyone else in my area. I live in the DC metro area and have 5 years of experience and a TS and make $43,000. I started making $40k 5 years ago. I should be making anywhere from $20k – $40k more than that. From work i’ve developed an anxiety disorder and it’s put me in counseling. And when I cried to my counselor about how I haven’t had any luck in job searching she told me even non-experienced jobs, without educations or clearances, people make a lot more in this area. She said I could be a secretary and make more. It’s been so bad for my mental health that at this point I really just want to quit because I can’t take it anymore.

    I feel like OP initially did, like there’s no way out, because I haven’t had any job luck. I hope my luck changes soon, like his did.

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