Someone close to me recently got away from an abusive employer. This employer started out the same way they all do. The job seemed like a dream come true, the pay was right and the people seemed great. After only about a week he was asked to start doing things he wasn't comfortable with doing. He was put down every day and constantly threatened with being fired (though they never would've fired him because that meant paying into Unemployment), in short they were trying to force him to quit. Which he did, but after a couple weeks of unemployment, he decided to give this job another shot. He went back to a 2 dollar pay cut and twice the responsibilities. But he loved what he did, so this didn't matter to him. Things seemed great at first, they seemed to treat him with a little more respect. But those days were short lived. The abuse returned and this time, with a vengeance. It got to the point where it became a quality of life issue. The employer was participating in illegal activities as well as treating their employees like dirt, so even though this was his dream job, he decided it would be best if he left for good.
So how do you deal with an abusive employer? How do you know if your employer is abusive? Here are just a few signs you may have an abusive employer:
- Your employer is ALWAYS hiring - Take a hint! If your employer is always hiring that usually means they can't keep employees whether they get fired or quit. Chance are you won't last very long either
- Your employer does not respect your personal needs - Occasionally everyone needs to take a day off to go to the doctor or resolve a personal emergency. Some employers will punish their employees for taking time off. You should feel as though if you need to take a day off, it should be no problem!
- Your employer presents you with a long list of "Dont's" and Consequences list. Negative reinforcement is not a great way to get anyone to do anything for you. It builds anger and resentment very quickly. Managing companies by intimidation is one of the most abusive moves a company can make.
- Your employer is very demeaning - Everyone makes mistakes, we're only human! A good boss will help you work through your problems to prevent you from making the same mistake twice. An abusive employer will bring up your mistakes and ridicule you for them in front of everyone in order to mock and embarrass you.
- Your quality of life drops - If you wake up in the morning dreading the rest of your day, if you find yourself having panic attacks when you think of heading back to work on Monday or if you just feel miserable, it's time to look for a new job!
So what can you do to survive an abusive employer?
- First impressions are everything! Make sure you very politely make sure your employer understands that you will give respect but also ask for it in return. Act confident!
- Keep a healthy distance from your boss. Don't try to be friends with an abusive employer. They will be your "best friend" for a while but eventually that ends and you will be treated even worse than you would've if you kept your distance. Be courteous but don't go overboard. Other employees may resent you if they see you as a suck up.
- Keep open dialogue with other employees - Don't get involved in office drama and rumors however compare notes with other employees about the abusive employer. Most dysfunctional employers use a divide and conquer method to keep the staff malleable.
- Define yourself by who you are - not what you do. Don't let your employer get to you. Don't forget to get out and get your mind off of your troubles, after work. If you don't give yourself a break you'll end up feeling burnt-out and even more stressed out.
- Staying positive is the best revenge! Act very passive when they yell and scream, smile all the time, show them that they can't get to you. This is the best revenge of all.
- Remember you always have options - quitting is just one of them! Find a life coach, psychologist or career counselor to help you regain perspective.
One in 3 U.S. workers have suffered health problems because of an abusive employee/employer! If your employers is disrespectful and abusive remember you don't have to put up with it. There are other options out there! Do you have any suggestions about how to survive an abusive employer? Did you have an abusive employer? Comment below and share your tips or stories!