goodbye sanity, hello anxiety

We were discussing something, my boss and I, and we disagreed about an idea my boss had. I thought it was an unnecessary burden we really didn’t have time for then. He really wanted it. Still, I managed to convince him, hurray! Only … A week later, I found out he had started on it anyway.

when someone fools you

It’s not that his idea was wrong per se. It just didn’t make sense then.

We were already drowning in work. And this was actually a consequence of some previous decision he played a part in and didn’t want to change or adapt. We had been previously told to strip down to necessities, that this was the main priority and we have the right to refuse other stuff and not overcomplicate and all that jazz. Just to make the impossible a bit more possible.

But now, of course, he had this sudden new idea, and now all of it didn’t matter. It was his idea, he wanted it, and that was what mattered. We were just supposed to somehow make it work.

you zig and you zag and then what

I don’t think he changed his mind. I think that sometime during our discussion he decided on an easy way out to get what he wanted. Who needs arguments and confrontation when you can pretend and then do it anyway.

when you cant be sure of anything

He seemed to expect me to have magical powers that allow me to just know when a decision had been made or changed. And when I didn’t utilize these inexistent powers, it was my fault, of course. But even when I did ask, I often didn’t hear all that I needed to hear anyway, and again, I was supposed to simply know his answer was actually incomplete, and sometimes keep asking for more of the yet unknown, but also not too much, because who wants to keep answering too many questions anyway. And then, couple that with his often inexorable ideas, and the tendency to revert decisions randomly and behind closed doors, and you can see where I was at.

It wasn’t just that, though, there were a lot of inconsistencies in behavior and attitudes towards me. One day I was the best at something, the next day I was the biggest idiot, it seemed. One day I was told to just do it on my own, the next day I was scolded for not discussing it. With one sentence I was praised for my sharp mind, but when I turned around, this supposedly ‘sharp mind’ didn’t mean squat.

A schizophrenic environment if there ever was any.

a losing game

when you cant do anything right

I was never going to win (if we can even call it that, which we shouldn’t). There was no rhyme or reason to anything. So I could never actually pick the exactly ‘right moments’ to push back on something or to share my opinion. One day, I might not say anything to not start an argument and at some other point be blamed for not speaking up … Or I would speak up but be silenced but then still be blamed for the outcome because maybe, I didn’t try hard enough … Or I would speak up and not want to give up and be considered unreasonable.

Or maybe I was just extra bad at making the right decision about when to speak up (but this seemed to be a problem only with him, so maybe not).

The only time I was able to breathe was when he was away. And oh, it was great when I knew in advance that I could get a day, two, a week, perhaps, where I can finally feel somehow at peace, feel like I am doing things OK. Until, at least, worries started to creep in about his upcoming return and what all might get shattered when this happens.

when toxic boss is away

Still, I’m not sure my boss was doing all that to me intentionally and out of malice. And that is what’s sad and pretty terrifying. I could be wrong and naive, but I just don’t think he wanted me to make me feel doubtful and unsure, to dominate me. He just wanted things done his way and he didn’t much care for anything or anyone else. I’m sure, if he read this, there’s no way he’d even remotely recognize himself in all this. And yet.

It didn’t matter what I did
I always did it wrong
one day I was supposed to bid
the next I was to fold

There was no choosing right at all
there was no steady ground
it seemed like I was set to fall
a million times I’d drowned

To try to name it with a word
oh, where do I begin
‘twas farcical and ‘twas absurd
‘twas like a looney-bin


July 14, 2021

Tags: Work, Leadership, Relationships, Impact