Saturday, August 20, 2022

Forget I ever said anything

“When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.” -Maya Angelou

Forget every good and positive thing I said about my job and my boss in my last post.

The woman has issues. Clearly.

I (along with three of my colleagues) were subjected to a tirade yesterday the likes of which I haven't seen since I was a manager at Pier 1 Imports and the regional manager would get drunk and call the store and rant and rave and curse if our sales were down. I never expected to be treated like that at this job.

It was so bad one of my coworkers (I'm not sure which one, I only know it wasn't me) called the district office to complain. They sent someone from HR to try to diffuse the situation. It was honestly the most terrible day I've had since I started working there 5 years ago. One of the people subjected to the same treatment later told me that in her 21-year career with our district, she had never been attacked like that. It was all seriously unhinged.

One of the outcomes is that I won't be doing two jobs anymore. The HR person they sent to diffuse the situation confirmed that other schools always have at least two people doing the work I've been given. My boss asked (not me) and that was the answer she got. Sounds good, right? Now I can relax and do one do-able job, right? Wrong! 

Last night I got copied on email sent to someone in personnel, asking her to start "looking for alternative placements and possibilities for Barlow". Then my boss called me at home just to say, "Are you okay, Ms. Barlow?" in a sticky-sweet, fake voice. This was all beyond bizarre. When I insisted on clarification about the "alternative placements and possibilities" line, she seemed embarrassed and finally said I'd stay on to do one job and they'd hire someone else to do the other, but I don't believe her. I think she wants me gone. 

I've already started reaching out to friends in the district, looking for a new school to transfer to. Even if I can continue where I'm at, I don't want to. I can't work for someone who behaves like this. I can't have my job threatened on a whim when I haven't done anything wrong. I can't take that kind of stress and I know I deserve better! Yesterday I couldn't eat all day, couldn't sleep last night, was just consumed with anxiety. I can't live like that long term.

So yeah, forget all the good stuff I said.

64 comments:

  1. Good grief! Unhinged is putting it nicely. Jekyll and Hyde comes to mind. I'm so sorry. Simply insupportable. Wishing you the very best of luck in finding a new job in the district. No point in staying there under these circumstances.

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  2. Best of luck in getting all this sorted out. For your sanity I agree you need to be happy in your work.

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    1. I don't ask for much, but to be treated professionally is the very minimum!

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    1. Not to play amateur psychologist, but I think a borderline diagnosis would be a VERY safe guess. :(

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    2. If so, then be mindful to set limits/structure and be consistent in who/what you are.

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  4. She sounds like she has mental or substance abuse problems. You need out of there quickly. Watch your back and document everything because she is obviously not to be trusted.

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    1. Everything is being documented. All my friends and family have given me that same advice, and it's good advice.

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  5. Holy moly! I hope everything works out well for you.

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    1. Thanks Debra! I hope so too. I'm also dreading tomorrow.

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  6. Having been through the ringer my own self, I read the nice things you were saying, recognized the signs of my own past experiences and was waiting for the other shoe to drop, which it did. At the time I was going through it, the being overworked, underappreciated, not appreciated at all, being yelled at, harassed, bullied for absolutely no reason by the three witches (I referred to them as when I blogged tid bits from the journal I kept during those very bad years), I ran across the words "Functionally Insane". These people, like your boss, have successful careers and tend to go off at unexpected times for unexpected reasons because they can't keep their crazy from showing forever. Because they are functionally insane, they're smart. Know whom they can unleash on ... subordinates, know whom they can't unleash on ... their peers or higher ups. Wish I could tell you how to get beyond this. For me it was a process, and I was lucky because knowledge IS power. I could see who and what they were, why they did what they did, and was waaay ahead of them. Plus, I never reacted in the way they expected me to react, did not react at all. Just kept my head down, my face straight, did an exemplary job, rose above the frey, went on to better environments from where I watched as their own stuff eventually caught up with them. Best of luck in finding your way through. There is light at the end of the tunnel.

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    1. Thank you for this insightful comment. I can tell you know exactly what we're dealing with here! Your last few lines make a lot of good sense to me and I'm taking them as advice: don't react, do an exemplary job, rise above the frey, and then move on as soon as another opportunity shows up. If I behave unimpeachably, what can she really do to me? If I get wrongfully terminated without a valid reason there could be legal problems for the district. Not that I think it would come to that, but I don't intend to roll over and be a victim when I haven't done anything wrong. Thank you!!!

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    2. The next time she goes off on a tirade, I plan to have my phone in my pocket ready to hit record. Every other communication with her I'm going to try to put in emails so there will be a paper trail.

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  7. Oh, Lord. I'm sorry. It definitely sounds like she's going to struggle with managing people, and you don't want to be around that. I don't blame you for trying to move on.

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    1. Oh, Steve. You'd be shocked if I went into any more detail. It's more awful than you know.

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  8. Agreeing with Margaret- she sounds bi-polar or alcoholic - something mental. Best to change jobs and clearly write your resignation , send it to every one! Save yourself!!!

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    1. I need to get out fast, that's for sure. I'm already reaching out to friends in the district, and will be doing more of it next week, to see where I might be able to go.

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  9. Your peace of mind is worth more than your loyalty to that school. I hope you are able to find something more rewarding, kinder, more fun, to put your efforts toward. - Jenn

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    1. My loyalty to this particular school is gone. I'm ready to move on to a better, more positive place!

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  10. I was going to leave you a comment on your previous post saying "be very wary of this woman" but I am not sure whether I published it or not. She was not to be trusted. I agree with Jenn above. xxx

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    1. Thank you Rachel. If I posted some of the things she'd actually said, I think you all would be shocked. I sure was. It's a terrible situation. I've always put a lot of faith in the Maya Angelou quote I shared. It never fails me.

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  11. She sounds absolutely unhinged, insecure, and vindictive. I hope you are able to find another job as soon as possible.

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    1. All those words describe her perfectly, at least what I've observed so far.

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  12. Lordy, she does indeed sound bipolar or perhaps has borderline personality disorder (GOD forbid). I would scatter like a cockroach when the lights come on. I have a sister with Borderline personality disorder and I no longer see her or communicate with her in any way. So toxic. I am so sorry you have had to endure this. May the force be with you to find a NON-toxic job!

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    1. My guess is borderline. Thank you so much for the support, Karla. I've had people like this in my life before, and I know how toxic they are.

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  13. I am so sorry to hear this, Jennifer. I hope you find a great position as I am sure your hardworking reputation is known in your school district.
    How does she manage being around children and working with parents and teachers? It's a nightmare that you need to get away from. Best of luck!

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    1. One of the coworkers asked the same question of the HR lady: how can she work with children and parents if she behaves like this? The HR lady assured us that she's great with kids and families and would never act out like that to THEM. I'm not sure I believe that, though.

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  14. It sounds like they don't want to get rid of the actual problem.

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    1. I mean to tread VERY lightly. They just hired this woman and have a lot invested in her. They're not going to be in a hurry to do anything about her behavior unless they're forced to, not at the moment anyway.

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  15. Try Florida District Three…mrs. Hickson is wonderful…superintendent…quick drive there…

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    1. I lived in Florence where you are…taught in Lake City…think that is the district 3
      About fifteen minutes

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    2. That makes sense! Your original comment says FLORIDA district three so I thought you were joking! :) Thank you Brenda.

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  16. Oh Jennifer. I am so very sorry. I really wanted to be wrong on this.

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  17. I'd have been putting out my name a long time ago. As I used to tell people when I was in HR, if don't like your job, find another one. There's no need to put yourself through the anxiety and distress.

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    1. I really want to stay with the school district. I have great benefits and I'm building a state retirement pension. I just don't want it to be at this school any longer!

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  18. I wondered if another shoe would drop.
    Please keep up your search with diligence.
    Best of luck finding it; we all love you.

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    1. And I love you all! The support here on the blog helps me more than you know.

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  19. I was suspicious from the get-go of this woman. She sounds like the crash and burn type.....unfortunately taking many down with her. I'm so sorry you had to be involved in this mess. Sometimes leaving is the best option if you can. No one can function under someone this destructive. Best of luck.
    Paranormal John

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    1. Yes, I was suspicious from very early on, but I tried to put the iffy beginning in the past and move forward with a positive attitude. But I see I was wrong; hence the Maya Angelou quote.

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  20. Sounds like she could be bi-polar. Such people are difficult to live with. I remember when you very first got your job, you were so happy; what a shame that it has come to this. If she has a CV somewhere, it might be worth finding-out why she left her previous jobs!!!

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    1. I'm so sad that the job I loved so much has devolved into such an awful mess. It's time to look elsewhere.

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  21. So sorry that you have all this to contend with, just as you thought things might be getting better. Get out asap !!

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    1. Getting out asap is my top goal at the moment. Thank you Frances.

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  22. How awful for you. One way or the other, don't put up with such unprofessional and nasty behaviour.

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    1. After things cool down a little I'm probably going to make an appointment to talk to HR about a lateral transfer somewhere else. I can't work under conditions like these.

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  23. Goodness!! You are right, you absolutely deserve better, and I am sure you will find a better job, one where you do not have to be on high alert all the time because you never know what the boss is going to do next.

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    1. It's worse than you know, but as I told Neil, I'm trying to be a tiny bit discreet here on my blog.

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  24. Oh crud! I really didn’t have much hope for your new boss, who had already shown signs of being insincere, but this is beyond the pale. We'll have to come up with a satisfying nickname for her until you dump her.

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  25. In all my years of teaching I never had anyone from senior management phone me at home. That was a line between home and work that leaders knew they should not cross.

    Ranting and raving is not the way to get the best out of people. You need to bring them along with understanding and encouragement. Besides, you have been working extra hard - not slacking.

    Shouldn't she be focusing on teaching and learning? Maybe men in white coats should take your new principal away in an unmarked van to The Pinewood Sanatorium for Unhinged Principals.

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    1. Neil, I didn't even share the bizarre things she said...with the person from HR sitting in the room! You'd be shocked, I can tell you that. I'm trying to be a little discreet on a forum open to the public, but unhinged and unprofessional are the two mildest words I could think of to describe her behavior.

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  26. Well. Somehow I am not shocked although I am sure I would be if I heard what she had actually said. She is not well. To put it mildly. Get out of there as quickly as possible. I know you will. And the county needs to get rid of her before she does irreparable damage.

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    1. I'm going to have to stick it out for a little while...because unless she does something truly beyond the pale (honestly, she already has, but still...) she'll have to approve a transfer for me. If I go to the DO and try to transfer without her approval, she'll take it very personally and will make me suffer for the "insult" to her. Especially if I try to transfer immediately after she's acted out. I've dealt with her brand of crazy before. I have to be very, very careful not to offend her or make it seem like my desire to move is a reflection on her. I'm going to have to play this smart.

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  27. My stomach turned as I read this. In a school in Canada, the union (CUPE) would have been called immediately. Union staff are trained to deal with people like her. Verbal abuse would have put her on a suspension in Canada. Do public employees have a union in the States? It sounds like HR is in the "smoothing over" business as apposed to the business of actually protecting employees from mistreatment. Hang in there. I'm hoping something good is waiting for you and you can get out of that rattlesnake pit very soon.

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    1. There are unions in the northeast part of the country, but they're very rare in the south. Oh, how I wish we had one!

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  28. Personality disorder and playing mind games. (wild and erratic mood swings, constant mixed messaging, up and down like a yo-yo, bewildering personal affronts that leave you reeling). You can never win or make ground with this type of personality as their behaviour is so unpredictable and makes no sense. It is a power thing. Long term exposure to this is not only exhausting for their victims but can have long term stress outcomes as well. Take care of yourself and try to remember that she is the one with the problem and not you. You are just in the wrong place at the wrong time and you need to find that new job quick smart! Very best wishes. Another Jennifer.

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    1. Many thanks to you, other Jennifer! I think you've hit the nail on the head with this comment.

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  29. Jennifer, I am late to the party. I just went back to read your previous posts when I saw this one. I am so sorry. When you described your boss a few posts ago, a tiny bit of radar went up as I have had principals who were Jeckle and Hyde. Sweetly overly nice and yet had a knife in their hand behind their back. I hope this finds things better. If you can, try and stay with the school system as I can attest that one of the few benefits of working in a school, as the pay is lousy, is that the pension is pretty good. (at least here in Virginia). I will be thinking of you and hoping for the best.

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  30. Oh Jennifer, you do need to escape ASAP when a good opportunity presents itself and I agree with your idea to have your phone set ready to record easily when you think she might go off on you. Something good will turn up for you. Best wishes.

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