After five years of consulting I accepted a full time job with a startup. My hiring manager is someone with whom I’ve worked as a consultant: I knew he had a temper, which is why I declined his first few invitations to work for him. After a full-court press (by him, his CTO, and the founder) I signed on.
The salary is amazing, the work is interesting. And he promised to control his temper. It’s been two months and he had his second nuclear meltdown all over me last week – a total ambush. He’s an out-of-control bully behind closed doors, and rules by fear and intimidation. He’s lost friends and employees as a result of this character trait.
The job I signed on for isn’t the job I’m doing. The players have changed; a new clique-team of developers have been put in charge. They are disinclined to work with folks they didn’t hire. They’re jockeying for control conducting political power plays, micromanaging me (and I’m a Director), and trying to slice my position into being marginally useful instead of being integral to the team and product.
What to do in this situation? I’m really at a loss on how to improve the situation, aside from walking away.
Walk away, walk away, walk away. Run if you can. Crawl if you must. But leave.
Damage to your health, mental or otherwise, is something no salary or perk can compensate you for. Ever.
If you were starving or were unable to afford new shoes for your kids I’d understand working in a hostile workplace, but otherwise it’s a sign of lack of self-respect. The existence of someone with his problems in a managerial role means his boss has problems too. It always runs deeper than just one bad seed: it takes at least one other bad seed to overlook the need to fire the first bad seed.
It is never your job to fix another person’s psychological problems. If a job requires this for you to succeed you are set up to fail. You should have never believed in his commitment to change as most people don’t possess the ability to make those changes, certainly not as quickly as he promised. Your years of working with him told you more about what to expect than anything he could ever say.
Startups are chaotic places. It’s not surprising that things have changed. But every major change is an invitation to you to change your employer. Take that invitation as a gift. Get out now, on your terms, with your sanity and self-respect intact.
Also see: How to Survive a Bad Manager