How to Survive Difficult Managers

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  • #2902893
    Pete
    Participant

    About 4 months ago, the environment at my Not-for-profit organization changed drastically. Previously, mostly everyone at my organization was able to find at least one enjoyable aspect to their position. Understandably, no job is perfect and some aspects to everyone's job are just no-fun. End of the day though, the job wasn't that horrible and I liked a few aspects of my position.

    A new CEO stepped into a previous vacancy though. Since then, the environment at my organization has deteriorated; it's now in a state of people running around like chickens with their heads cut off. Everyone is afraid of losing their positions with this new person. He never has time for his staff; if you ask to meet with him for advice etc., you'll get the “i'm too busy line.” He will also act like a child with a tantrum when he doesn't like something. You can hear him constantly screaming at staff with his doors shut. I've been the recipient of this numerous times (weekly), even for things that aren't my fault/doing. I'm almost shaking in fear, when I have a meeting with him.

    He'll openly pick apart your numbers and tell you you're wrong/things don't make sense in-front of other individuals (ie. board members), despite the fact he never brought the issues up beforehand. Hell, he'll usually request things 5-10 minutes before his important meetings, then get angry when there's something he doesn't like about the report. Overall, this individual has the mentality that “i'm right, you're wrong” to everyone. Good luck trying to explain accruals. If restricted cash comes-in for something that hasn't been satisfied (ie you haven't resolved the restriction), that's income and you're wrong if you think otherwise (under his mentality) – it's more his mentality than lack of accounting experience/knowledge that's the problem.

    Nobody at the organization is happy anymore. The environment and moral here is worse than that of most CPA firms during tax season, when the staff are working 60+ hours/week. I've been looking for a new position for a few months now, but i'm having a difficult time keeping motivated in this toxic environment. I have never met an individual as mean and fake (he'll tell you you're great in a limited few situations, then rip you apart/attempt to fire you in others) as this new leader.

    Anyone have advice for keeping happy in this environment and keeping sane? I need to keep this job, until I can find a new gig, but it's been a living hell dealing with this person.

    #2902935
    Skynet
    Participant

    I will say this bluntly, It's time to leave. It's not worth the abuse.

    I was in a previous non profit where I had to not only deal with an incompetent accountant but management that micromanage everything.

    I was at a point where I was getting sick, stressed to the point where I losing my hair, and having to fix the screwups from the other accountant, and management tantrums.

    So I just said EFF it! I put in my resignation and never looked back. I am now at a better job and and a better work environment.

    It was a big risk not having anything lined up when I quit, but it was a risk that worked out for the better.

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    #2902938
    Biff TannenBiff Tannen
    Participant

    How to survive rogue managers? Find greener pastures!!

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    #2903772
    Pete
    Participant

    Thanks for the advice guys. I appreciate the feedback. My fear is that if i'm having as difficult landing a new position while i'm employed; the search will become that much more difficult if I quit. It's becoming extremely tempting to just leave, but as Robert Frost says “i've too many places to be.” I've just gotta keep my eyes on the prize each week (the weekend).

    #2904348
    12tang
    Participant

    This is why I advocate for people to have 9-12 months living expense save up, because finding an ideal accounting position is not always easy. While you can find another job no problem, it may not be ideal. For most non-professionals, I'd say the 3-6 month living expense rule is fine. But just imagine how much less anxiety and how much more power you'd have if you knew your butt would be covered in the event of termination or resignation. Don't put up with bad work environments. This isn't prison, you have other options. It may be scary because it's unfamiliar territory, but being stuck at a bad job isn't helping you either. If you know you want to leave, first try to speak with the CEO and see if change is possible. If it's not possible, then say SAYONARA!

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    #2909586
    2bigcpa
    Participant

    Hi Pete,

    I have been in a similar situation and your CEO does not sound like a difficult person; he sounds like an idiot and it might be time for you to leave. I actually quit two jobs without having another one lined up and I would not recommend it, but I felt it was the best decision at the time. As someone stated, if you quit without another job lined up then you might have to take a less than ideal job. I recently experienced this but I have a plan because I passed all four parts of the CPA exams and I can become licensed where I currently work. The work isn't ideal, but my license is the most important thing right now.

    I would start refreshing your resume and savings (like 12tang said) because that was one of the drawbacks when I quit my jobs. I didn't have enough emergency funds saved so I had to take those less than ideal roles.

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    #2910897
    ak_cpawannabe
    Participant

    Can you complain to the board? Or send an anonymous letter to them describing everything in detail? Maybe he will be fired. But if not, at least it will feel good that his superiors know about his horrible attitude.

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    #2912979
    CPAHOPECPAHOPE
    Participant

    Have a manba mentality like kobe Bryant (RIP to a great legend) and you should be fine. This works in any type of situations.

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    #2913069
    DocJ
    Participant

    Just quit, man. Just freaking quit.

    As someone who's dealt with nonsense like this for years, I can safely tell you that these people are completely incorrigible. Nothing you ever say your do will calm them the heck down. You make them a million dollars, and they'll whine it isn't two million.

    Seriously, bosses like this are mentally-stunted children who have reached a point of no return in their lives. If you think it's gonna get better or you're gonna somehow win them over, then frankly you deserve the bad environment you're letting yourself be stuck in. You really think an “I'm right you're wrong” jerk is gonna listen to some lowly employee they see as beneath them? I wouldn't even waste time talking to him or the Board or anyone else, just get your dang resume together and get that job search started right NOW.

    Don't listen to any idiot who says “the grass is always greener,” that's a quit and accept mentality from cynics who think work anywhere is that bad, when it's not. Get the heck OUT of there.

    #2917395
    PCPC
    Participant

    Reach out to the Board directly. It may seem like an audacious move, but nonprofit boards are really the only check on toxic managers. You or a colleague can gather feedback from other staff. Send the board a detailed and organized description of the situation, and request a confidential call to discuss. Emphasize that this is not about a personal beef – the CEO is inherently jeopardizing the mission by his/her conduct. Ultimately, it will be up to the board to decide what the priority is…health of the company or this particular CEO.

    There is no education like adversity.

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    #2917623
    Skynet
    Participant

    I would like to say that don't waste your time reaching to the board as majority of the non profit boards are about as useless and clueless as the CEOs themselves.

    Most of them attend the meeting for the free lunch, and other than that, have no clue as to how the business is run or what management and their employees do.

    A lot of the board's members are usually brought is to raise funds but most can even barely do that.

    So yeah it is useless reaching out to the board.

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    #2920500
    PCPC
    Participant

    “It is useless reaching out to the board.”

    In some cases, sure. But I've had experiences that directly contradict this whereby the nonprofit boards actually listen and help. I'm just saying…it couldn't hurt to try.

    There is no education like adversity.

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    #2920605
    vbmer
    Participant

    I agree with others who say just quit. The board doesn't care what a junior analyst thinks. If they are paying attention, they will see things like high turnover and ask questions themselves.

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    #2927964
    Pete
    Participant

    Sorry about not being super active in this chat that I created. I really appreciate the feedback.

    I concur with the posters above about not going to the board. At the end of the day, they (the board) were responsible for the quality of the organization deteriorating. They were responsible for hiring the new people in leadership.

    The board was also responsible for misappropriating funds in the past, years before I even knew the organization existed. We are currently dealing with those issues now; however, the only way we can deal with them is to essentially misappropriate more funds to survive. Overall, it's just viscous cycle.

    You can't pay for project A, get money to cover that project from funds dedicated to project B. Uh oh, now we're short on project B – better try to push for a new “project” to cover the shortfalls from it. We'll deal with the shortfall from the new project, which we now can't afford to complete, on a rainy day. Eventually, this tactic will catch up to you; it's becoming evident that is happening now. There are now currently projects on our plate that we can't afford to complete, yet we've already spent the corresponding restricted funds (ie. the project needed to be completed before the restriction would be released). To make matters worse, we typically go over budget and LOSE money on most projects (ie. we obtain $5,000 and it costs us $10,000).

    I've been searching for a job for over 2 months – 1 month of hard searching. I've yet to even get an interview; can't even get interviews for entry level positions.

    #2928147
    AndreAAndreA
    Participant

    Keep looking, it's not about the money.. it's about your time that you wasted.

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