how to hire people to work for a difficult boss

A reader writes:

I am an office manager in a 7-person business, and have been here for the last 4 years. I have been planning for a while to leave for graduate school and am in the process of hiring my replacement.

The problem is, my boss has a really difficult personality. Prior to my starting this job, no office manager had ever lasted more than a year, and so far every admin I have hired (over the last year or so) has either quit or been fired due to personality conflicts. They report that he is demanding, has over-the-top expectations, and a lack of professional work behavior (he often walks around just bothering people and saying “GET TO WORK,” despite them being clearly hard at work, and nothing is ever good enough). My fear is that I am going to hire someone, spend a ton of time training them and then they will quit because he is difficult to work for. This pattern has occurred more than once. I don’t want to find myself having to stay at this job (mostly out of guilt) longer than planned because of this issue.

When interviewing for the position, should I screen for thicker-skinned people or do I just find someone who can do the job and hope that they don’t end up feeling the same way? Do I offer them some kind of warning, or do I just pretend everything is easygoing? Also, before you ask… I have tried to talk to my boss about this, but he says that people are too sensitive and he doesn’t want to lower his expectations. Ugh.

You can read my answer to this question over at Inc. today, where I’m revisiting letters that have been buried in the archives here from years ago (and often updating/expanding my answers to them).

{ 103 comments… read them below }

  1. Mike C.*

    Is there any way for the OP to address the root cause of the problem without getting in trouble? Anything from managing upwards to digging up and quantifying all the damage being done to higher ups would be useful here.

    Otherwise, I’m afraid you’re treating symptoms when the real issue at hand is that you are working for a terrible manager. The “rosy colored glasses” thing is really the truth when you’re talking about someone who needs a job now for some reason or another.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Sometimes, but sometimes there’s really nothing that you can do, and you still need to get the hiring done. (Actually, I think that’s probably the case in the majority of these situations.)

      1. Mike C.*

        I guess that’s just how it is, luckily the OP was leaving shortly at the time.

        I’ve always found that managers like these are terrible in a multitude of ways, and once you can translate that terrible performance into money lost, higher ups become very interested in moving the person out or at the very least pressuring them to shape up. But of course you need that data and a situation where rational thinking is involved.

      2. Artemesia*

        I agree that the OP will not change this guy, but that doesn’t mean she needs to stay a day longer than she planned to stay. She should make that clear to the boss and perhaps gingerly suggest to the boss that there has been a lot of turnover in this role and that they might brainstorm some ways to make sure the new hire adjusts well and sticks. But she needs to be clear that she leaves on Oct 1 (or whatever it is) and will not be available to extend her work. She has firm plans for Oct 2. And believe it herself. If she has to book a trip across the country to visit relatives to stick with it, she should.

        1. AMG*

          In the comments on the original post, Joey had some good feedback for what he did in this case. It was basically showing what the boss’s attitude was really costing the company in terms of hiring and lost productivity. Maybe the boss really took it to heart, or maybe the boss was afraid that document would get out, but either way it seemed to have helped. People should want to be nice for the sake of being a good person, but if not then avoidance of negative consequences works too I suppose.

          1. some1*

            I went and re-read Joey’s response on the Original Post, and I agree that it was a good idea, but there were a couple of key differences in his situation: Joey’s problem manager *knew* he was a problem, and Joey was apparently in the position of enforcing consequences if he drove another assistant away.

  2. Former Diet Coke Addict*

    Wow, this is very close to my workplace. Our longtime admin is leaving and has been training her replacement, but we’re all terrified she’ll leave in a few weeks after experiencing our horrible boss. My admin screened specifically for someone with a thick skin and someone who’s going to be OK with very little direction combined with ineffective spurts of micromanaging and the occasional temper tantrum. Will the new admin work? We don’t know yet. But honesty goes a long way in setting up a new person.

  3. Bend & Snap*

    Let’s be real here. A shitty boss is a shitty boss, and careful screening can only help to a certain degree. It’s not a failure if people don’t want to tolerate that type of behavior, and in the OP’s shoes, I certainly wouldn’t stay longer than planned because people had a normal reaction to being treated poorly by their manager.

    A heads up is VERY much in order and I like Alison’s language. Also if the personality translates into night and weekend work, being available by email phone 24/7 or anything like that, it’s important to notate. Don’t just say the culture is “work hard play hard” and leave it at that.

    1. fposte*

      Yeah, that “I don’t want to find myself having to stay at this job (mostly out of guilt) longer than planned” really stands out to me too. That’s the one thing you *do* have control over, so you’re not finding yourself staying, you’re choosing to stay. Go; don’t choose that.

      1. BRR*

        When Alison responded with “take a look at why you were able to last so long when others didn’t” I’m wondering if the answer is guilt (or at least partially guilt).

    2. Anonsie*

      Yeah, I mean– the LW can screen people thoroughly, but if they end up leaving then as long as she did her due diligence, she can file it under Not My Problem. Try your best to select someone with whatever aptitudes allowed you to deal with it, then wash your hands.

    3. INTP*

      Yeah, and there has to b incentive to stay. Just because someone can withstand an asshat boss doesn’t mean that they will continue to by choice. The best hope is to offer something that the candidate is highly unlikely to find at another job. A way above market rate salary, a visa sponsorship, an extremely flexible schedule. The OP probably isn’t in charge of these things though.

  4. GS*

    Ugh, I’m also dealing with something similar to this at the moment. In addition to similar habits by this boss, the company is also unwilling to pay the position what it’s worth. Fired 3 people in less than a year, and paying $20,000 under market for what is essentially 2 jobs turned into one. Very frustrating.

    1. Mike C.*

      I’ll bet that your superiors also complain about “not having enough candidates to fill their needs”.

        1. _ism_*

          At my work we hear “they just don’t wanna work!” almost daily. We turn over temps that often, yes.

          1. Not So NewReader*

            There’s more to that sentence. “They just don’t wanna work for asses!” Cue crying baby.

          2. Liz*

            “They don’t want to work, they only care about money!” It translates roughly as, “I’m still paying people at rates that were generous 15 years ago, expecting them to be at their desks from dawn until late at night, and shouting at them when they ask questions.”

    2. Kairi*

      That sounds just like my old job! Being severely underpaid was just one of the reasons I left. I was in a weird situation, because I told my boss I was planning on leaving, but stayed on part-time until I found a new job. In that time frame, I hired and trained two new people, both who have since quit. The second girl quit when I had started my new job, so when she told me she was quitting, I avoided all the phone calls from my old boss because I had no reason or desire to help. I still don’t know if he has found a stable employee.

  5. Anonymous Educator*

    I think Alison gives good advice (as usual), but I don’t know (maybe I missed it) if she addressed this part of the letter specifically:

    I don’t want to find myself having to stay at this job (mostly out of guilt) longer than planned because of this issue.

    Can I just offer that you do not need to feel guilty? This is not on you. It sounds as if your boss will be difficult no matter what, and, frankly, it will be a bad work environment for the new person, no matter how thick-skinned she or he is. Your job may be to a find a replacement, but your job isn’t to ensure the replacement will be happy forever in a bad working environment.

    Let the guilt go if you can.

    1. Anonymous Educator*

      P.S. Leave when you’re planning to leave. Don’t depend on finding your replacement first. Looking for the replacement is all you should do, but you aren’t obligated to stay until a replacement is found, especially if the search is taking unreasonably long.

  6. GS*

    It’s rough when the owners of the company have only ever worked here and are so disconnected with traditional business and human capital norms. They consider all admin positions to be “putting in your dues” before moving on to”real professional work” while likewise wondering why nothing ever gets done correctly and why people don’t want to stay.

    1. Anonsie*

      Ahh yes, the “let’s not pay the junior staff members decent money or reward them in other ways or treat them like adults because they’re paying their dues and they don’t deserve to be treated well yet” management mentality. One of my least favorites.

  7. Workfromhome*

    If it were me and I was leaving for graduate school I think I’d take a more selfish approach. As a professional you owe it to the company to do your best to find qualified candidates to fill your job before you leave but finding a replacement isn’t a condition of you leaving. You gie 2 weeks notice at least before school starts. On the day you need to leave ..if you have found a replacment great…if not its no longer your problem you did your best.

    Find the 3 or 4 candidates that would be best for the job and then let the boss interview and select the one he wants. After all he’s the one that needs to work with them not you. No need to scare off qualified people that’s the bosses job. If they meet him and interview with him and take the job its on them. Its not your job to warn them away. Answer honestly “is boss happy go lucky or grumpy?” Answer the truth that he’s grumpy. if they don’t ask don’t offer. Its your job to evaluate their skills and talent and give the boss the best options to do the job. You know there is a pattern of people quitting over the bosses behavior so why concern yourself with if the person will last when you KNOW that its not likely to happen no matter who you hire? Leave enjoy school and don’t look back knowing you did your professional duty.

    1. TootsNYC*

      Also, it’s important that your BOSS make the final choice, because this relationship needs to be between the two of them. You’re going to be gone, for one thing; and he needs to feel some connection to the new hire. That’s the only thing that may make him treat them reasonably.

      The hope is that if boss does the hiring (and you do only the recruiting and screening), he will create an “us” in his brain, instead of a “me” and “them.”

      1. Beancounter in Texas*

        Good tip. I was hired by a recruiter for my current position and even though The Boss interviewed me once, it took a few months for me to let go of the recruiter as my go-between. (But in my defense, the recruiter kept calling me and inviting me to call him whenever I had an issue on the job.)

  8. DatSci*

    I’d also recommend asking candidates about their experience working for a manager like this one. Those who have a past record of success with difficult managers (not just those who say it won’t be a problem for them when you describe the boss) should have an advantage over those who have not. Managing a difficult boss really is a marketable skill (that can be developed if desired) and should be part of the screening process for working with this particular manager.

    1. Anonsie*

      I was going to say– they really outdid themselves with the stock photo this time. This one is amazing.

  9. mirror*

    Hah, oh man…this sounds like my last job. I was trying to find my replacement and my boss (who is never at work anyways–family business thing) insisted on running the interviews. Our location is rural, the pay is small, and she’s an emotional micromanager who never gives you feedback on time until the project is late and everything needs to be rushed.

    Of course, she is trying to sugarcoat everything in the interviews. She also gave strong preference to people with skills we dont need (“oh! But that’s nice to have!”) or hobbies she likes. At one point my supervisor and I tried to gently….so gently….suggest that we do the first round interviews and then let her interview the finalists. She starts bawling and disappears for 2 weeks…in the meantime we interviewed people and laid everything on the table to the candidates.

  10. Formica Dinette*

    Alison, your advice is spot on! I once worked for an extremely difficult, demanding boss and I can’t say I wasn’t warned. It was also at a small company, and everyone knew the guy was a challenge, so every person I interviewed with talked to me about him frankly and asked if I was *sure* I was up to it. I will say that even though he was a total PITA, he wasn’t ever mean or micromanaging.

    1. Chinook*

      “everyone knew the guy was a challenge, so every person I interviewed with talked to me about him frankly and asked if I was *sure* I was up to it.”

      I was turned down a job for a demanding teaching position (which ended up with me being unemployed, so it wasn’t a decision I took lightly) and I will be forever grateful for the principal who was candid about what I would be walking in to and wanted to make sure I could handle it. He even went as far as stating that it would be similar to a previous position I had quit (due to poor management but, from the outside, it looked like I quit for other reasons). I almost took it despite the negatives because the principal was so upfront about the issues and how he planned to address them until I looked at the housing situation (which hadn’t been cleared as safe to live in yet and there were supposedly non-live wires visible in the bathroom) and realized my psyche wouldn’t survive it. But, if I had taken it, I would have been eternally grateful for knowing what I was walking in to and knowing that others were aware of it (so it wasn’t just me)

      1. AGirlCalledFriday*

        I agree – especially about difficulties in teaching. Being a teacher requires so many different skills – dealing with clients, managing students, great planning, public speaking, data-driven assessment, creative problem solving, project planning, event planning, self-monitored work, and dealing with demanding administrators, parents, and community members. It’s the kind of position that normally carries some difficulty in the work, but if you are aware of what the problems are, you can research ways to mitigate risk or combat any specific issues and STILL find passion for the work.

  11. Jen S. 2.0*

    Do the best you can at finding someone, but it’s not your responsibility to make sure the next person sticks. Once you no longer work there, their problems are no longer your problems.

  12. Sascha*

    Is there a way to be upfront with candidates during an interview where the Boss in question is present? I’m thinking probably not…but I’m wondering because when I interview, my manager is always present (I’m the team lead, so I screen applicants and do interviews, but don’t have the final say or do the HR stuff). He’s not terrible, but working for him can certainly be frustrating, and I know that most of the people who have left my team have done so because of him. Do I just have to present hypotheticals and hope he doesn’t catch on?

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Can you be up-front with your boss before you start interviewing? “I’ve noticed that the people who work best with you are people who XYZ, and people who ABC tend not to do as well. I’d like to think about how we can screen for XYZ, and part of that is probably that we should be up-front that ABC isn’t a good fit.”

      Note that this is non-judgmental; it’s just factual.

      1. Sascha*

        I will try this tactic with him, thanks! Last time I tried to give him some feedback on his management style, he started crying…

          1. Anonsie*

            This makes me think of the Oglaf where the guy says he has a flawless seduction technique, then just stares at her. She says “this isn’t seductive, it’s just making me feel sorry for you” and he goes “that’s how it starts!”

        1. neverjaunty*

          I think AAM has offered previous advice on dealing with people who cry at negative feedback – probably just hand him a tissue, wait for him to get it out, and then get back to what you were talking about. Don’t let him derail you with this nonsense.

          1. Sascha*

            That is definitely what I need to do if he cries again. In this instance, it was in a meeting with another coworker, who started crying as well, so I just cut the meeting off short and told everyone we’d regroup later. That was an awkward day.

  13. puddin*

    So in a situation like this would it be helpful for the poo-boss to conduct part of the interview or at least have him meet the candidate?

    This might allow his ‘blessing’ for whom he liked, granted he might not like anyone if he is an unreasonable sort. And the candidate may be able to get a read on the atmosphere or boss’ behavior in person.

    What do y’all think?

    1. Golden Yeti*

      Eh, I’m not sure. It could be useful, but at the same time, some bad bosses are also good at lying and basically charming the pants off someone they are trying to bring on board, so I wouldn’t count on first interactions with the boss to necessarily tip someone off to red flags. If you were going to go with that type of scenario, I’d be inclined to split the interview: first part without boss, second part with boss. But you’d definitely need part of it without the boss so you could give a discreet heads up, and the candidate could judge it from there.

      1. Anonsie*

        Yeah this may or may not work, it really depends. Some people like this will hire folks they think they can push around, while some will hire folks they like and then treat them a lot better. I’ve seen both.

  14. ACA*

    When I interviewed for my recently-departed job, one of the things they asked me was if I had experience working with difficult people. I thought they were referring to the students…but in retrospect, I’m pretty sure they were talking about my boss.

  15. Techfool*

    Find someone who’s had a difficult boss and give them fair warning. Pay danger money. Expect to recruit again in three years.
    I’ve been recruited specifically to work with difficult bosses but I feel as though
    I’ve had that experience now.

    1. the_scientist*

      I was coming here to say that the short answer is “hazard pay”. You’ll probably end up needing to rehire every 3 or so years anyway, because reality is that if the environment is bad enough, money will only compensate for that for so long. Eventually the situation will become untenable, but fair warning and some hazard pay might keep someone around for three years when they would have quit after one at a lower salary.

  16. Us, Too*

    I took a job in which I’d been warned by his team members that the boss was horrible to work for – an extreme micromanager. I went in with my eyes wide open and didn’t have any issues at all! The key was that I dealt with him differently and far more directly/proactively than his other staff members did. We got along great and I’d work for him again if given the opportunity! :)

    So I agree that transparency and pointing out what others have done well or failed to do well is key to a good fit.

    1. JB*

      I’ve had two such bosses, but they were tough, not mean. It was more along the lines of getting used to someone with a very curt and direct style, and very specific, and high, expectations. I also had to learn to be more direct and to stand my ground. In both instances, it worked out really well.

      I did have one who did treat everyone like they were lazy and couldn’t get anything accomplished unless he were there to run roughshod over them, like the “get to work” when everyone is clearly working, or not paying fair salaries. I left as soon as possible.

      1. JB*

        I will also say that for one of the “tough” bosses, I did have to hire my replacement and I was very open and direct about how challenging the manager could be. She said she could handle it, but couldn’t, and left soon (to a different department). She complained to everyone about the specific things I warned her about.

        I confronted her and she said she didn’t believe me when I was explaining the situation! If someone is trying to hire you to replace them so they can leave, why would you doubt them when they’re giving you advanced warning of the trouble spots? I could have lied and said the manager was perfect, just to get myself out of there sooner.

        Sorry, needed to vent.

  17. AnonAcademic*

    Is the boss malicious, or just a difficult personality? E.g. is he petty, cruel, vindictive? Or is it mostly bark (“Get to work!”) that doesn’t majorly impact people’s ability to do their job?

    I have worked for/with a good number of “difficult” people and the socially tone deaf ones weren’t hard to work around when needed. You might need a greater level of directness (“Cut it out, Percy”) or detachment (“Percy just likes to yell but he’s not mad at me or anything in particular”).

    But if someone is *mean* there’s not really much you can do in terms of hiring the right person to deal with it. There is no “right person” to take abuse.

    1. I'm a Little Teapot*

      If you can’t find someone who can deal with this jerk, don’t feel an iota of guilt. It’s 100% his fault and 0% yours. Frankly, it would serve him right if he couldn’t find an assistant (or one he could keep for long). When you treat people like crap, no one wants to be around you.

      The only solution is for the jerk to get out of management.

      (I’ve had several awful bosses, so I feel rather strongly about this subject. Fortunately my current bosses are excellent.)

    2. Anon Accountant*

      Exactly. And how difficult is he to work with? Is he difficult in that he likes to have the monthly TPS reports error-free and doesn’t like to see what he perceives as slacking? Is he very detail oriented and wants to see loose ends tied and gets upset when they aren’t?

      Or is he just an all around jerk that no matter what you do it won’t ever be right?

  18. Vicki*

    I have a potentially “trigger” question:
    * Have the office managers and admins hire up to now been a mix of male and female? Or all female?

    If they have all been female, try looking for a male next time. There may be some underlying gender bias on the part of the Boss.

    I worked in a team that had had three Project Managers, none of whom lasted more than a year, due to a similar pattern on the part of our Director. All three were women.

    The 4th attempt, a man, outlasted the director.

    It;s unfair. It’s wrong. It’s inappropriate. But give this some thought.

      1. fposte*

        Yes, unless the business had fewer than 15 employees total. (Might have a lower threshold for illegality in state.)

    1. Kairi*

      When I was doing the hiring for my replacement at my old job, my terrible boss told me to “throw out any resumes with a guys name on it”. It was awful and felt so wrong and illegal, but his mind was set and I just wanted to get through my time there.

    2. Bend & Snap*

      I think this is a really dangerous line of thinking. There’s a reason for anti-discrimination laws.

    3. The Strand*

      Without suggesting that people who have the wrong gender be tossed from consideration, I think it is fair to consider whether gender bias might be an issue. I have worked for bosses of both genders who clearly preferred the company of men, or clearly preferred the company of women, and saw in these cases that if you met whatever stereotypical behavior they liked, you’d usually be fine regardless of your genital packaging.

      For instance, if the boss wants someone who will yell back at him, rather than cry, when he’s being an unreasonable grouchypants… there are definitely women candidates who will do the former and men candidates who will do the latter – even if he thinks yelling is a masculine trait and crying is feminine.

    4. CMT*

      “It’s wrong for all of these legitimate reasons, but do it anyway!” . . . I’m so glad you’re not the one with the advice column.

  19. lowercase holly*

    do you work in nyc for my former boss? when i was hired, the person hiring me alerted me point blank to the fact that the boss was a nightmare. and i accepted. i found it totally fair.

  20. AGirlCalledFriday*

    I had a job like this…on my first day of work, a coworker pulled me aside to give me the actual lowdown on the management…information that I wish I had prior to accepting the job. I thought really hard about quitting, but decided to stick with the job and see for myself how bad it really was. It was bad….really bad. I made it to 7 months, making me someone who stayed a pretty long time there.

    When they hired my replacement, I was honest about some things but a LOT more positive about the working environment, think “There can sometimes be issues with management when you are dealing with a, b, or c, but while it’s good information to have you will only deal with a about 20% of the time, here is how to minimize b”, etc. She quit after attending a meeting where the rest of the staff clued her in and were just brutal about it. Management blamed me, and after I left, coworkers contacted me letting me know that my manager was telling people that I never worked there and other lies.

    1. The Strand*

      What ghastly people. But your ex-coworkers had your back. In fact, it sounds like they were so bad, they provided a united front for the new hire, and then later for you.

  21. Ad Astra*

    Not to derail these helpful replies, but… how do people this hard to work with manage to succeed in business? So many of them are bosses yet they’re so insufferable they’re running off qualified staff. It’s nuts, but apparently quite common.

    1. _ism_*

      I really wish I knew. I wonder this about my own boss. I know she started her career feeding punch cards into one of those old room-sized computers. 40+ years later she runs a factory. It’s not a large or notable company at all, but still, someone picked her and they seem to have been happy with her for over a decade.

    2. Not So NewReader*

      They can act personable, knowledgeable, etc long enough to impress someone that they need to impress. My worse bosses were either in total fear of their boss OR they totally disrespected their boss. In turn, these rotten bosses treated us like crap. The fear/disrespect goes upward and the animosity/abuse goes downward.
      Think of it this way- what counterbalances fear? A dysfunctional but seemingly workable counterbalance could be anger. So the more the boss fears her boss, the more anger she could direct onto her subordinates. Or maybe the boss does a crappy job and is in fear of being found out- that could also trigger bad behavior. I had a boss that for some reason always had a medical note to work half days. I don’t know what was up with that. One issue would heal up and, whoops, a new issue with a new medical note. She was the most verbally/psychologically abusive boss I have had in my life. I think she feared that her game would be called out and when it wasn’t she had no respect for the bosses. She would do stuff to them that I have never seen anyone do. They laughed it off. With us, she was a nightmare. If you did not screw up, she would make up a story where you did. So you would end up dealing with a write up that was not even true. On any given day, most of the people in our department would not be speaking to each other because of something the boss said she overheard.

      You can’t make an insecure person feel secure. So, you can’t fix a boss like this.

      1. Boss_Abuse_Victim*

        I totally agree that it tends to be the insecure bosses/co-workers that are a nightmare to deal with. I once had a very insecure boss (rightfully so because she frankly sucked at her job) and it was a nightmare working for her. It didn’t matter that I took the mentality of making her/our team/myself look great. She would go out of her way to find things to nitpick and chastise me about. I even found out after she left for a new department that she would hold pre-team team meetings with everyone but me … so that at the *real* team meeting everyone would be on the same page. I only found out when a co-worker called me crying one night apologizing that she went along with this. The co-worker was scarred that if she didn’t agree with boss, and make a big deal out of whatever thing of the day was, that boss would turn her ire to her. It was a tough situation.

  22. Theresa*

    Is there any way to read the answer without creating an account? It’s just something I’ve not noticed needing to do before.

      1. Theresa*

        Chrome and I get the following message: ‘To read this article and more great content, please log in or create an account.’ Thanks :)

  23. Don't Know*

    I interviewed for a boss like this several years ago. Apparently, he was so bad the staff had their own signal on whether boss was safe to approach, i.e., if the lamp in front of his office was lit, stay away! The staff who interviewed me were quite honest about the challenges of working for him, which I appreciated. Alas, I didn’t make the final cut so didn’t get to interview with him. (I’ve always been sorry about that because I would have loved to meet the guy in person.) The ironic thing was that I was soon hired by another company I was interviewing with at the same time and a year later the young woman who got the job with the difficult boss applied for an opening at my company. Turned out she couldn’t deal with him, either.

  24. The Strand*

    Alan Shepard, the first American man in space, was famous for this in his midcareer at NASA (he was grounded due to an inner ear disorder); a different sign would appear on his door or outside his office depending on what kind of mood he was in.

    1. Slippy*

      That apparently is not uncommon with former astronauts. I have met a few and my fiance worked with one and they tended to have issues adjusting to working with people that did not have a type A+++ personality.

  25. MR*

    While not exactly addressing the OPs letter, I get the feeling that as time goes on, these types of managers will become a smaller part of the workforce (unless they are the owner of a small business).

    The reason being, is because companies are taking an increased look at turnover and the costs associated with turnover. Yes, turnover is a natural occurrence in business, and there are various levels of acceptable turnover, largely dependent on the position and industry.

    It’s when turnover spikes in a certain area or under a certain manager – that is what gets the attention. If the cause is determined to go back to a manager that is difficult, then it becomes easier for the company to fix the problem. Either the difficult manager ships up or ships out.

    Smart companies look for this, and deal with the problem. It makes for a better work environment and reduces costs (and likely increases productivity, morale and profits).

    1. Ham Sandwich*

      Yes, the OP updated in the comments and the boss was a POS to him/her:

      Interested in an update? I finally found someone who describes themselves as thick skinned and doesn’t need constant pats on the back. She turned out to be a malicious person, and I caught her throwing me under the bus 3 times in the 3 weeks we worked together. I had agreed to stay through the fall, and up until last Friday, my boss was talking about making this a smooth departure, and trying to reformulate our roles so that I could train the new girl for everything she would need to know. Then on Monday, he fired me. Out of the blue, with no warning. I am so angry because I had given him 4 a**-busting years of my life, and as much notice (over 6 months) as possible about my end date, and this is how things ended. My thoughts are that he panicked about my impending end date and just wanted to rip off the band-aid, but I am so angry and hurt. This truly is a blessing, I was being swallowed whole by this company and by this boss.

      1. Kristen*

        Good for you! Get on with your life and find a place that has a more positive impact on you and appreciates you.

  26. Kristen*

    Oh I have been there! I was an admin at a company and my direct responsibility was for 4 engineers and we all worked well together. The owner of the company was a different story. He treated his admin like crap, actually he treated everyone like crap. His ego was so big not sure how he got through the door in the morning. There were several times he berated me over things that he didn’t have the whole story on, and there was nothing wrong with what I had done, but he jumped me over them anyway. My direct supervisor tried to buffer between us and would support me at the times he would berate me. I am a pretty think skinned person and I know that I am capable and very responsible at my job, but I just could not work for someone that treated me that way. I had to move on for my own sanity.

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