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# OverWorked/Bullied/Blackmailed14

## OverWorked/Bullied/Blackmailed

(OP)
Hi guys,

What would you guys do if you find yourself as the only one In a small start up company that is overworked and also the victim of being bullied and blackmailed for being fired or by your boss? he is one of those terrible bosses that gets a kick out of making fun of you.

Im designed 2 machines that are heavily selling and its our job to get the machined parts and assemble them with our shop guys and send em out. My boss has labeled me as the Owner of these designs and slowly has taken advantage of my ambition and has put a ton of stuff on my shoulders.
Nobody is forced to work as hard as i am in this small company but now i am getting demoralized.
I need 3 alarms to wake up in the morning. They dont let me breathe at work for a second while other employees screw off all the time or dont have near the amount of responsibility as me. They have some type of relationship where they dont get to deal with crap where im always getting beatdown for something.
I stay late to design and build the units but theres no appreciation for it.
I get yelled at for things that arent in my control and its just becoming exhausting.

I want a new job but its my first engineering job and i am 2 months away from 1 yr of exp. I really just cant do this anymore and i randomly get blackmailed for me getting fired but it never happens.

What is going on you feel?

### RE: OverWorked/Bullied/Blackmailed

You have two choices, put up with it or quit. Your choice. Make a decision now.
Life is too short to put up with that nonsense.
You have an engineering degree (presumably) so you have many other opportunities.

### RE: OverWorked/Bullied/Blackmailed

(OP)
I do have a BSME/EIT. I dont get why its so unbalanced, the engineer before me had to design much simpler items and has this type of relationship with the CEO and my boss to where no matter how much he bullshits on the job or does just easy paper pushing work he will never get fired. The unstable job security blackmail they put is always on me regardless of the fact the 2 machines i've designed for them is selling and making them the most money for the past 6 months.

I am never late to work and only took 1 sick day since i've started. People at my workplace are not nearly pushed to work as hard as I am and if they have to work hard they get into a fit and show they bad mood all day.

My boss wants me to be on top of not only the design (which is my main and only job) but I am blamed for all relevant documentation related to the designs not being updated or corrected when I am busy helping the shop guys learn how to build my machine and ship them out to customers and also update drawings as much as possible. It gets really difficult to put out fires on the daily when its all left on you.

I welcome the handwork dont get me wrong I come from an entrepreneur background where I am used to running around putting out fires and managing my own product but when you mix in blackmailing job security and bullying its not fair.
I will be looking for a new job but its only been 1 year at the very least i've had any real life engineering experience.

### RE: OverWorked/Bullied/Blackmailed

If it's a small startup company as you mentioned, they're likely just trying to milk your ambition for what it's worth. Your response to this could be no, that's not my job; okay, but give me a raise/promotion to reflect these new duties; or quit.

It sounds somewhat toxic to me.

### RE: OverWorked/Bullied/Blackmailed

At some point you either take a stand or you don't.

If you do take a stand and demand change, it could generally go one of two ways.

If you don't take a stand and demand change, it seems there is only one way it will go.

Andrew H.
www.mototribology.com

### RE: OverWorked/Bullied/Blackmailed

My two cents: Start looking for another job yesterday based on what you've described.

The job market, in general, is excellent right now for engineers - including mechanicals. I'm not sure what industry you're aspiring to stay in or move into, but my personal opinion is that one spends WAY too much time at work not to enjoy it. No potential employer will bat an eye at a job move from you right now; they'll rack up your current position to you looking for a position after graduation and taking what you could get at the start-up...I would recommend downplaying the toxic nature of your current work environment while expounding on the many responsibilities you've taken on to a potential employer to prevent giving them the wrong impression.

Best of luck.

### RE: OverWorked/Bullied/Blackmailed

I don't understand this "blackmail" bit. Is the boss threatening to tell other people that he fired you if you were to leave?

I agree with the others here: it's time to bail out. Life's too short to put up with abuse, and the likelihood that being assertive now is going to fix your situation on the job and make it long-term survivable is fairly low given your description of the people involved. If it weren't, that would be the absolute first course of action.

If you're ready to go anyway, giving them a list of conditions under which you'd be willing to stay (regular hours, better treatment and support etc.) can't hurt.

### RE: OverWorked/Bullied/Blackmailed

You need to quietly find another job without using the company you are working for now as a reference. Then having found a job. LEAVE!
I am sorry to say it, but this is one bridge you need to burn. Nobody should have to put up with that treatment.
B.E.

You are judged not by what you know, but by what you can do.

### RE: OverWorked/Bullied/Blackmailed

I believe the OP means that he is being "threatened" with being fired.

### RE: OverWorked/Bullied/Blackmailed

(OP)

Its just there are good days but then there are many days especially now where I am being over stressed to do tons of work and my boss will at times throw it out that you can be replaced anytime but says it in clever ways.

Its an open atmosphere but at the same time I am the one who seems to be treated with the lowest job security even though my product designs are showing to be most successful for the company right now..

I will just have to find a new job but do it discreetly. I took a lot of shit and disrespect from my boss he cusses out otherpeople too but nothing close to how bad he treats me.

### RE: OverWorked/Bullied/Blackmailed

Not excusing the behaviour. But are the other guys older / more experienced?

This might simply be the bosses way of 'breaking you in'. Maybe the others have already gone through that process with the boss? Some bosses want to know your limits, and where your boundaries are. They'll push until they find them, and then let off because they understand how much you can take and have seen how you respond under pressure.

But I would be finding a new job and leaving. I'd maybe have a ludicrous list of demands (like double the average salary for the job, plush company car and whatever else) ready in case they asked what would it take for me to stay. But even then I'd probably go.

### RE: OverWorked/Bullied/Blackmailed

Find a new job. Or find a way to make this one work. The amount of stress you've got WILL catch up with you if you don't find a way to reduce it.

I was in a similar situation, except there was never any threat to let me go. It was my first real "career" job out of college, designing systems and products. I was brought on to supplement the engineer they had and quickly displaced him, allowing him to move up in the company. A quick year of exceeding expectations, followed by a few more years of too much work and stress. Overtime to just stay above water, zero down time while at the office, no vacation/time off, working from home on nights and weekends, while "management" might be bothered to show up in the office once a week while working from home the rest. It finally came to a head when I demanded a raise and leveraged another job offer to get it- followed quickly by another elevation in my responsibilities and a shift in structure that put the company VP as my boss. I was told I had a job as long as I wanted. 6 months later, trying to juggle too many projects that had too little management, the owner put some outrageous demands on me, which I ignored, and was fired outright.

It was 5 years, and looking back I had formed all kinds of unhealthy habits. Not having a good home/work/health balance means you're making compromises somewhere, and for me it meant letting my health and home suffer needlessly.

Funny enough, when he let me go I was overjoyed. I didn't start looking for another job until I had done some traveling and enjoyed a few months of worry-free life.

It was tremendous experience, I will admit. I am now ahead of my peers in terms of "growth" as an engineer, something you don't even realize you need coming out of college and working in your 20's.

### RE: OverWorked/Bullied/Blackmailed

I had a job like that once. I stood up to the boss. I had some respect after that. He was still a jerk, but had some more respect from him after.
I got in his face and literally told him to f-off. Knowing that he needed me for the job and he wouldn't fire me on the spot.
Like the others said, it's up to you. Do something about it, or quit.

Chris, CSWP
SolidWorks '17
ctophers home
SolidWorks Legion

### RE: OverWorked/Bullied/Blackmailed

You should consider a corollary situation, domestic abuse. Predators and abusers have a "preyDAR," that can home in on potential victims.

Somehow, you managed to to show up as a blip on their preyDAR and they hired you, and not others. Whether you continue to be abused is up to you, but know that you need to make fundamental changes within to avoid showing up on someone else's preyDAR

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
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### RE: OverWorked/Bullied/Blackmailed

I was in the exact situation except with structural building design rather than product design. I was a young lead structural engineer in a small start-up company under pressure from my boss in the same manner as you've described.

The personal comments, threats and attacks really got to me at first but as I evaluated my self-worth by my accomplishments it was much easier to keep calm during these exchanges and resolve conflict. I've noticed a trend in younger professionals where when there is heavy conflict discussion they will remain quiet and not speak their mind even when they're in the right. I've never done this, never compromised and always participated in these heavy discussions in a very respectful and calm manner knowing I may get fired. It may be the reason why I'm now close friends with my boss and we have a good relationship, I don't suggest running away from conflict because it'll just find you elsewhere but I do not know your situation completely to be able to give an ultimate answer.

However, if you really are feeling extremely uncomfortable then I suggest to keep searching as you try your best to work through the issues day to day.

Stay calm and just deal with it each day as you search for a new job.

### RE: OverWorked/Bullied/Blackmailed

#### Quote (HLE111)

I've noticed a trend in younger professionals where when there is heavy conflict discussion they will remain quiet and not speak their mind even when they're in the right. I've never done this, never compromised and always participated in these heavy discussions in a very respectful and calm manner knowing I may get fired.

Can't agree with this more. This is the kind of situation you can't prepare for in school. The sooner you can learn to do this the better. Always listen, respect what people have to say, but don't be afraid to speak up when you know what you're talking about. In my first few years out of school I had a few conversations with clients/boss that made me feel like I was going to throw-up because I was so nervous, but I'm much better for it and now I can hold my own in those situations easily. And along the same lines, own your mistakes if they're yours but don't take someone else's crap just because you're a convenient punching bag. Tough situation, I wish you the best.

### RE: OverWorked/Bullied/Blackmailed

My first job out of collage I had a similar boss - but not as bad.
I finally got another job, 10% increase (but I would have taken the same salary).
After I gave my notice, my boss asked me how much more I was getting (in an open office area). I told him 10%, he told be I was getting shafted if i don't get at least 20%. He later asked me if I would stay if I got a salary increase. I told him sure 20%. He said "What? 20% what your making now?" I told him "No 20% over what I will be making at the new place."
That felt sooo good.

### RE: OverWorked/Bullied/Blackmailed

Look for another position. When you're interviewing, be gentle on criticism of the place you're leaving.

I'd do this soon. When you apply for PE licenses in 2-3 years, some states will require a reference by your current and previous supervisor. I'd put a supervisor or two between me and this guy. It sounds like you'll need more colleagues that can serve as references, also.

Finally, a couple of book recommendations: Extreme Ownership and Dichotomy of Leadership by Willink and Babin. They have a lot to say about responsibilities at all levels. There might be some things you're doing that aren't helping the situation. You would also get information on how they're supposed to be acting as leaders.

### RE: OverWorked/Bullied/Blackmailed

(OP)
Appreciate everyone's advice..Im thinking I will just tough it out and get better because if I don't improve myself the same problems will come up in the next situation.

Thank you for the book recommendation I will definitely read it

### RE: OverWorked/Bullied/Blackmailed

2
Sounds like your boss is a bit of a jerk. The only way to deal with bullies is to stand up to them. This doesn't mean having to have an angry public exchange between you and him. Although I did do this once with a VP at dinner in a restaurant full of patrons and in front of a dozen other employees, including the VP of Human Resources (a retired marine) who oddly enough treated me incredibly well from that point forward. The other employees were afraid that it was going to lead to a fist fight (it didn't), and without me even realizing it I cleared the table. I was very direct and clear in communicating to him how angry I was. And he backed off. I was not fired, but if I had been at that point I wouldn't have even cared.

Stand up for yourself. Don't expect anyone else to do it for you. People can dislike me as much as they please (many on this board probably do) but I demand to be treated respectfully. You should too.

Maui

### RE: OverWorked/Bullied/Blackmailed

Common at startups, and even established companies.

Tesla is a fine example. Elon always said things like "we're not meeting goals and we need to push, it's for planet earth". People worked like 50 hours a week.

Meanwhile, the upside is I believe they were also paid in Tesla shares, so they get a portion of the thing they're working to build. If they expect a lot of work, with no apparent upside, I'd kick the bucket at that place. If it's not a reciprocal employer employee relationship, it's not a good one to have.

Many places will promise you that "The payoff is coming". In my experience, they also say this to other employees. Meanwhile, some other employees get fired due to politics while waiting for that big payoff. Not worth it.

### RE: OverWorked/Bullied/Blackmailed

Space213, check out my post from a year ago, it is not exactly the same situation but similar in some ways:

My advice, accept that the situation will not change by itself. You either have to find a new job, or find a way to deal with this one. Standing up for yourself may make things better, or may make things worse. Staying at this job will be hard, but so is finding another one so you kind of have to choose the lesser of two evils, whatever that is for you. Personally, I would start looking for a new job. Try to do things to improve your physical and/or mental health because dealing with work pressure will only get worse if you develop health issues. Good luck to you, no matter what you decide to do!

### RE: OverWorked/Bullied/Blackmailed

PawSoxRule is onto something. Sometimes it's astonishingly easy to find a new job while you already have one. Just as it is easy to see which women are interested when you already have one. I think the pattern here is that "The good workers are taken" and among women "the good guys are taken". It's funny how that works. But if you're unemployed, you can go to inverviews and be asked why you're unemployed, for example.

Put your self out there looking for a new job. Linkedin, Monster, etc. I think you will find if you know your skill is valued, especially after you're given a new job offer, it'll give you the confidence to ask for fair treatment from your current employer as you transition to new employment. Try and make that transition easy for them, as you may need a signature for your license. If they're taking much advantage of you, you may find they make a good offer, monetary or otherwise, when you disclose your new job offer.

Get to a point where you're confident you have people willing to hire you, and stand up for yourself. If the situation gets worse, you have a place to go. If it gets better, good.

### RE: OverWorked/Bullied/Blackmailed

I think the thing to work on for you is actually boundaries. It sounds like you've been "pushed" past a boundary that should've existed.

#### Quote (Space213)

My boss has labeled me as the Owner of these designs and slowly has taken advantage of my ambition and has put a ton of stuff on my shoulders.
Light should be flashing right here. What was your job description being hired? If there was not a concrete job description, ask for one. Take mental notes. Are you working later than you thought you would when you were interviewing? Are you taking all your brakes? If ever asked to do things that are consistently not in your job description fire off some emails or have a frank discussion about it.

The boundary you need is this (some flexibility): Not in the job description, and billable hours, I'm not going to do it unless given more salary or a title for compensation.

I'm sorry to tell you this, but I've studied similar things in psychology:

#### Quote (space213)

Nobody is forced to work as hard as i am in this small company but now i am getting demoralized.
I need 3 alarms to wake up in the morning. They dont let me breathe at work for a second while other employees screw off all the time or dont have near the amount of responsibility as me. They have some type of relationship where they dont get to deal with crap where im always getting beatdown for something.

#### Quote (PsychologyToday)

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/take-all-p...
Certain personality traits may create better perpetrators and, unfortunately certain cues may create better victims. In a study by Wheeler, Book and Costello of Brock University, individuals who self reported more traits associated with psychopathy were more apt to correctly identify individuals with a history of victimization.
Unfortunately, management positions are frequently occupied by those with an antisocial personality disorder. I.E. the perpetrators who have no problem asking you for more. And if you don't give it, you're the problem. they'd try and do it to anybody if it weren't you. Just be aware of that.

You should consider looking inside yourself, because

#### Quote (INVITATION TO PSYCHOLOGY)

research has confirmed the psychodynamic idea that we are often unaware of the motives behind our own puzzling or self defeating actions

You can change your personality, and any little problems such as not setting your boundaries over time. Even if it's "in your genes". For example:

#### Quote (Invitation to psychology)

Stable changes in the expression (activity) of genes, and thus of traits associated with those genes, can occur without any changes in a gene's DNA

#### Quote (Invitation to psychology)

To become fully functioning people, rogers maintained, we all need unconditional positive regard

Ever heard of employers who keep employees who make mistakes, because they think they are more valuable after learning from it?

#### Quote (space213)

I stay late to design and build the units but theres no appreciation for it.

It seems like you are in a position where positive regard is unobtainable. I'm going to you like this: Make a resume now, leave, and never look back.

#### Quote (Invitation to psychology)

People treated with conditional positive regard begin to suppress or deny feelings or actions that they believe are unacceptable to those they love. The result, said rogers, is incongruence, a sense of being out of touch with your feelings, of not being true to your real self, which in turn produces low self regard, defensiveness, and unhappiness. A person experiencing incongruence scores high on neuroticism, becoming bitter and negative.

see how your observation that you need 3 alarms is related to the situation? The depression of the situation is undoubtedly causing you these issues. You literally do not want to get out of bed in the morning and to go there. I could quote way more on this matter alone.

and you could do with a better work culture

#### Quote ((Hamamura & Heine 2008))

"Americans often value "self enhancement" even at the expense of others, but the Japanese way of being a "good self" is through constant self-criticism in the context of maintaining face with others
You should ask yourself, why doesn't your management consider this other way of being a good self? why don't they analyze their own actions? They're valuing their "self enhancement" \$ at your expense.

I could go on and on with research I've read, quoting all of them relating more or less to your situation. I only touched on the subject to show it's there. You're right. Your feelings are natural in your circumstances. You're right to question the situation. You're not imagining the things you've noticed, other people likely are getting treated better.

If this is a pattern in your life, you need to work on yourself, your boundaries, your personality and your character. Otherwise, your job satisfaction is contingent on you finding a fair, understanding, and caring employer/manager. I've found some that are fair, but they're far between.

I've had good experience with therapists some times. Honestly some know way more about psychology than I'll ever know about engineering. Finding a good one and talking about your work situation could possibly do you some good, there's probably a lot more to this story than you've provided us here, and there's probably a lot better advice tailored to your personality that a therapist can give you that we can't.

Good luck!

### RE: OverWorked/Bullied/Blackmailed

(OP)
PawSoxRule,

I checked out your thread and alot of it has to do with that. I get frustrated when the senior engineer puts me down for not figuring stuff out to the point where its magic lol. To give all you guys an update so far it has been quite laid back because these toxic cycles come in waves to where they do the push and pull method.

My thing is i have designed two products for the company that uses proprietary equipment inside my design and within a year of working there The sales team was able to sell over 30+ units 100k+ of gross income. my income is just 65k.
I have no idea being at a start up how much of an impact I am making for the company and if suppose my designs sell for 10-20k each and say you sell them a few times a week am I deeming profitable for the company or does it take a lot more ? I am having a hard time figuring out my value I provide to this company.

I not only design I am in the shop training and building the units since nobody in the company really understands how to build the units like I do since I am the one who designed them so I am taking alot of work onto my shoulders just to prove since this is my first job and I am ambitious by nature. I also do basic P&ID's and also dabbed into some electrical drawings and understand basic electrical components that can power my design at different voltage specs. All this within a year when initially my job description was to just be a solidworks guy. I am improve tremendously and do alot but now that these designs of mine are selling like crazy nobody feels the motivation to get them out the door as much as I do and my boss just puts all the stress on me.

What do you guys feel?

### RE: OverWorked/Bullied/Blackmailed

"I have no idea being at a start up how much of an impact I am making for the company and if suppose my designs sell for 10-20k each and say you sell them a few times a week am I deeming profitable for the company or does it take a lot more ? I am having a hard time figuring out my value I provide to this company."

I don't know what exactly counts as profitable for your company or industry so I can't really comment on that. Sounds like you are definitely of value to the company from what you've described.

### RE: OverWorked/Bullied/Blackmailed

Cultural environment aside, I would worry if my employer gave junior engineers that are less than a year out of school enough latitude to handle the majority of design work on two products. Not to belittle, but your first year or two in any new role should be closely monitored as you climb a steep learning curve, more of a team-effort until engineering competency is built to the point that you can successfully be an individual contributor.

As to the environment, a former supervisor once told me that something was wrong if I came into work without the "weight of the world" on my shoulders and at every well managed, successful company he's been correct. Good companies keep you busy, hire other folks based on talent not personality, and push you to your limits quite often to get the best out of you....kinda like the military. That's why agile and lean philosophies were developed, why companies have us sit through classes teaching how to prioritize tasks and work efficiently. Well-run offices are full of "Sheldon Coopers" who regularly will be unknowingly abrasive, annoying, or offensive. Its nothing personal, end of the day its who they are and a critical aspect of engineering is debating design strengths/weaknesses with an open mind, without emotion, and among a plethora of viewpoints and experiences. To the outside world (or folks new to engineering) this might seem a bit "rough" at times, but that's engineering. I would encourage you to get to know your colleagues outside of work, you might be surprised how different many folks are and learn to understand them better.

As to profit margin, IME manufacturers prefer to be above 40% and will rarely go below 30% on a new product as there are many backend costs after products are sold - warranty, sales freebies, legal, etc that can quickly consume an otherwise seemingly large profit. Personally I wouldn't recommend wasting time trying to rationalize your cost vs revenue generated as ultimately its your actions today that matter, not what you did yesterday.

### RE: OverWorked/Bullied/Blackmailed

I break it down to the fact if I'm making money for someone else, that person better not be a complete dick.

I've been in similar but not exactly the same situations, looked around and asked myself if I am happy living with the fact that I'm making in some cases these guys a lot of money. My hard work is paying their bills, its pretty easy to convince yourself that they can go stick their job at that point in time as I can't live with the fact that I'm supporting their poor behaviour. Never look back.

### RE: OverWorked/Bullied/Blackmailed

(OP)
Friday I hit a breaking point almost. I made a small mistake in not figuring out the electrical portion of our designs and which was a very simple mistake that was fixed with no loss but he happened to have blown up on me and the rest of the day I just kept getting bashed on by him and the other engineers around him because the energy became very contagious. I was so mad all day and just disappointed in how they treat me regardless of how much work I put in for them staying late and not just designing the units but also building them so I am doing double the work. I just wanted to quit and walk out but then I got over it and just kept my patience. I just wanted to walk out and say screw you guys.

His reason of why I was being picked on all day was because I made a small dumb mistake. Regardless of how much I get done for them it was just disappointing. I am willing to take a paycut and find something else my only obligation currently is myself at 29 years old.

I was able to deal with the verbal beating but now its just too much with almost a year into this company I am starting to get lash back at them alot more than I used to. I would just take the beating but its just too much now my tolerance is slowly going away. I have side endevours that are promising but not at the point to where I can just walk away at this moment.

### RE: OverWorked/Bullied/Blackmailed

Yeah why not hang around until it affects your mental/physical health more, that's where it's going if not already there?

I hate to say it but staying around hoping that things will improve seems like false hope if this is their standard way of treating you.

Next time it happens just walk out for the day and take a break.

You mention the money, in my experience if it's at the point where that's the only thing you are sticking around for. Then you can keep that up for a while but it's rarely worth it.

### RE: OverWorked/Bullied/Blackmailed

#### Quote (Space213)

Friday I hit a breaking point almost. I made a small mistake in not figuring out the electrical portion of our designs and which was a very simple mistake that was fixed with no loss but he happened to have blown up on me and the rest of the day I just kept getting bashed on by him and the other engineers around him because the energy became very contagious.

Could be a perfect example of group think:
https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/basics/groupthi...

The only considerations are that we only have the information that you give us to base our advice on. Furthermore, no one can be an impartial judge of their own cause.
You should aim to have one friend at work. Not to gossip with, but to try and aim for receiving that impartial, neutral opinion about what's going on. Someone who can witness the events from both sides. Preferably someone with an education similar to your own.

I agree that you should probably leave, especially if you can't talk about it and make things a little better one week at a time.

EDIT:
Almost forgot, this could be a perfect explaination: Displacement:
If other employees are equally as miserable with the job, they could be taking their anger out on you:

#### Quote (psychology today)

Mr Walt humbled himself to his Father, and promised he would behave himself mightily mannerly. So away he went... he sate nexte to his Father and was very demure at least half dinner time. Then sayd he, I this morning, not having the feare of God before my eies, but by the instigation of the devil, went to a Whore. I was very eager of her, kissed and embraced her, and went to enjoy her, but she thrust me from her, and vowed I should not, ‘For your father lay with me but an hower ago.’ Sir Walt, being so strangely supprized and putt out of his countenance at so great a Table, gives his son a damned blow over the face; his son, as rude as he was, would not strike his father, but strikes over the face of the Gentleman that sate next to him, and sayed, ‘Box about, ‘twill come to my Father anon.’

Engineering student. Electrical or mechanical, I can't decide!
Minoring in psychology

### RE: OverWorked/Bullied/Blackmailed

(OP)
last 2 posts pretty much solves it. I dont have any psychological issues. The answers are already here from all the posters. I am working on looking for a new job and if it does it to a breaking point between then and now I will just walk out as the above poster said.

Appreciate all the advice once again. Lets me know I shouldnt be going through this.

### RE: OverWorked/Bullied/Blackmailed

#### Quote:

My hard work is paying their bills, its pretty easy to convince yourself that they can go stick their job at that point in time as I can't live with the fact that I'm supporting their poor behaviour.

I'd recommend extreme caution going down that path. Employment is a two-way street. We're doing the work but our employers are also affording the opportunity to do that work. If someone's income is down close to the national average or their work rather uninspiring then by all means, demand what you will bc you've got little to lose. However, I'd caution anyone against making the mistake of letting their mouth and random asshats cost them a top-tier check or rare project opportunity. BTDT.

### RE: OverWorked/Bullied/Blackmailed

I've been there and sold my soul too. If the answer to what am I getting out of this relationship is money, then it's the beginning of the end in my opinion. Talking yourself into the fact there aren't going to be other opportunities is beating yourself to death. If you are half competent don't sell yourself short by staying in a toxic work environment there's alway going to be other opportunities even if it's a move sideways instead of up. Experience will help you with the warning signs next time.

Everyone has different trigger points for how much crap they are willing to put up with. I think everyone has their limits, but doesn't necessarily know their limits, being over your limit and talking yourself into 'things will improve' affects you personally in a bad way in my opinion.

Because its really hard to come back from that situation even if things improve, the damage is done so to speak. It takes a significant change in the relationships to gain back trust and enjoyment in your work. I've done jobs where I really wished things would improve, good company, good projects, dream job in certain aspects, just bad/toxic environment, extreme pressures, no support, etc that I'm glad I eventually saw the light and moved on to better things. The moment I finally snapped and announced I was resigning it was like a huge weight lifted off my shoulders, a great feeling, but still hard to let go and walk out of somewhere where you've put your best foot forward for years.

To the OP, make sure you post back on your next steps. I wish you well in improving your situation!

### RE: OverWorked/Bullied/Blackmailed

One or more of these things need to happen: better treatment, more compensation, fewer hours. Next time you are belittled in front of your peers, calmly but very loudly respond with that. At the very least it will quickly shut down the abuse. It should also earn you a little respect from everybody, and most likely a private conversation with your boss.

### RE: OverWorked/Bullied/Blackmailed

That kind of stress is not good for your health. If people don't appreciate you, you can't make them. If they don't respect you, you can't make them.

You may find Character Disturbance by George K. Simon, Ph.D. an interesting read. It was an eye-opener for me as was Mindset by Carol Dweck, Ph.D.

Learn how to set healthy boundaries and to practice good self-care. You may want to read the law regarding bullying, too, just to ensure you're understanding their behaviors accurately.

You can't change people. You can only point out behaviors but they have to make the positive changes.

Pamela K. Quillin, P.E.
Quillin Engineering, LLC
NSPE-CO, Central Chapter
Dinner program: http://nspe-co.org/events.php

### RE: OverWorked/Bullied/Blackmailed

(OP)
Hi guys,

so to give an update currently things have gotten better. My boss took me out to eat and tried to tell me how important I am to the team and the reason he pushes me so hard is because he feels I can take it and I can improve a lot. It hasn't gone back to that point and I also am just trying to get better at my job. It is a lot of project management/design/production/manufacturing tasks I have to complete in my job even though my initially job was to just CAD design. The other engineers only do 1-2 tasks at most but he saw how ambitious I am and slowly held me responsible for many other things.

Its great being my first job. The designs I produced happened to sell the most so all the documentation/production/manufacturing behind these product lines fell onto my lap since I was proclaimed to the be owner of them. So I've just tried to own the designs and push forward with them to get them out the door properly. I hope this experience can really make my resume shine and also in the future teach me how to work with difficult people as well.

What do you guys feel?

Thank you

### RE: OverWorked/Bullied/Blackmailed

From post #1, "What would you guys do if you find yourself as the only one In a small start up company that is overworked and also the victim of being bullied and blackmailed for being fired or by your boss? he is one of those terrible bosses that gets a kick out of making fun of you."

I hope that in your lunch meeting, you made the point that you had been pushed too far, and that it had better not ever get to that point again. If the boss backs off and starts acting professionally, fine. If that sort of behaviour is in his nature, odds are, it will return.

From post #1, "I stay late to design and build the units but theres no appreciation for it." Then don't. At 5 pm, leave work behind. If your position is salaried, it might be expected to occasionally work late to help a critical project along, but it shouldn't become routine, and if it interferes with taking your son to baseball ... at 5 pm, that takes priority.

Have your back-up plan ready. Who knows; in the course of making your back-up plan, it might become the main plan.

### RE: OverWorked/Bullied/Blackmailed

It is possible your boss's senses picked up that you were not happy and were looking into other places of employment. That may be your change in attitude when you began polishing your resume' or actively started looking.

His change in attitude with you may be his way of trying to keep you from exiting. A tiger cannot change his stripes, and your boss will eventually go back to his own ways - unless he makes a real effort to change. You would see that change in how he treats everyone else, not just you.

### RE: OverWorked/Bullied/Blackmailed

Space213,
You should start working on your resume and cover letter. Look online for jobs that you are interested in because it is definitely time to change your job. The boss and company you have mentioned above are not uncommon. You have learned your lesson and now it is time to move on. Don’t worry about spending only a year at this company. Just make sure you have a job offer before leaving. Good luck!

### RE: OverWorked/Bullied/Blackmailed

#### Quote (SPACE213)

the reason he pushes me so hard is because he feels I can take it and I can improve a lot. It hasn't gone back to that point and I also am just trying to get better at my job. It is a lot of project management/design/production/manufacturing tasks I have to complete in my job even though my initially job was to just CAD design. The other engineers only do 1-2 tasks at most but he saw how ambitious I am and slowly held me responsible for many other things.

Its great being my first job. The designs I produced happened to sell the most so all the documentation/production/manufacturing behind these product lines fell onto my lap since I was proclaimed to the be owner of them. So I've just tried to own the designs and push forward with them to get them out the door properly. I hope this experience can really make my resume shine and also in the future teach me how to work with difficult people as well.

What do you guys feel?

Thank you

It's paradoxical that the hardest workers get pushed the most. You should be setting the bar, and if your bar is the highest, no one should be pushing you, with poor techniques, to raise it. They should help you raise it, or focus on the things that really matter, the low performers. I hope you've kept notes of your conversation with your boss. He may not give you a good reference if you leave, and you may need a resume checker person to call and see what he says(there are professionals who do this), especially if your company does not have an HR department what will answer calls for references and tell the same old boring stuff like (So and so never recieved write ups, so and so was employed from date X to date Y)

Engineering student. Electrical or mechanical, I can't decide!
Minoring in psychology

### RE: OverWorked/Bullied/Blackmailed

(OP)
I've noticed my boss has calmed down and isnt as crazy as he was, he told me today he sees the most potential out of me but I am not sure why I have to be pushed so hard. It gets very stressful and I am losing hair on my hairline since i've started here.

Overall it has gotten much better but Its just very hard because there is so alot of responsibility thrown on me and im barely crossing the first year of my first job. I hope these hardships can help set me up for the future

### RE: OverWorked/Bullied/Blackmailed

2
Space213,
Many folks have told you that your situation is not normal, not healthy and excessive.
An elephant can sit on you for a day, then he will switch places with a gorilla - and you are now happy the gorilla is sitting on you. Still not normal.
Not one response was "suck it up and stick it out".
What you do with your life is up to you.

### RE: OverWorked/Bullied/Blackmailed

Great analogy monkeydog!

### RE: OverWorked/Bullied/Blackmailed

I am always amazed at how much time we spend at work. Often more than most spend with their family or significant other. If someone did a Madlibs of a crummy job situation, people would just move on without a thought. I have a (girlfriend) who move (heaven and earth) for and all I get is (threats that she will leave me) and (belittling comments). (She) treats me like this because it is (good for me). Sounds really stupid when you turn your relationship to your workplace into a relationship with a person.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
If you can't explain it to a six year old, you don't understand it yourself.

### RE: OverWorked/Bullied/Blackmailed

Learn how to say "no", nicely, but mean it.

If your schedule is full, and someone wants to insert something else into it, "Sorry, my schedule is full, I can't take on any more work in that timeframe." Or, "Which other urgent task you would like me to delay so that I could do this one instead?". Or, "Pick one of the other of project A or project B, because I can't handle both."

The other loaded question can be "How long is this project going to take". If you know it's going to take 10 weeks, stand your ground. Saying you can do it in 6 (like they want) and ending up taking 10 (reality) isn't constructive. Don't give in.

### RE: OverWorked/Bullied/Blackmailed

Someone's been reading "Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less"

Andrew H.
www.mototribology.com

### RE: OverWorked/Bullied/Blackmailed

(OP)
I totally understand where you guys are coming from. I feel I will need to prolong this change because simply quitting now I dont think is the best option.

The CEO apparently offered me stock options to vest into the company since my 1 year is coming. He sent the offer a few weeks ago but I never noticed it in my busy emails. So we finally had a talk a few days ago.

What do you guys feel about stock options is it a small deal or actually shows signs of something when you work for a company?

would appreciate the insight on this.

### RE: OverWorked/Bullied/Blackmailed

If it's publicly traded then the stock price is established by market forces. If it's privately owned then the stock price is (almost) whatever someone wants it to be at any given moment in time. I would consider stock options in a small privately owned company to be worthless. If it's publicly traded then you can look up what they're worth at any given moment in time.

### RE: OverWorked/Bullied/Blackmailed

As far as the stock options, see if there are any requirements regarding how long you must keep them before selling. If you have to hold onto them for a few months or longer, then that will change how you evaluate them versus if you can sell immediately.

### RE: OverWorked/Bullied/Blackmailed

2
Space, I'd encourage you to take stock of what is truly important and ignore the bs. I've always believed that employees should see real potential to move up in the world significantly in terms of finance or education or they should go elsewhere. All the petty interpersonal bs aside, if this role has good potential for one of those then stay, if not then go.

Personally, after eight years in the military I have a different point of view than most here. My bottom line - end of life goals are important and mine don't explicitly mention having had friendly supervisors or colleagues. At work, I want to have worked on a few challenging and famous projects and earned enough to have been very successful financially - that's it. There's always going to be a few asses trying to make life miserable - don't let them, and definitely don't let them push you into leaving a good position or company bc then they win. Most folks who have never served struggle with this concept but ultimately your stress level is what YOU allow it to be, NOT what others make it. Dont give others the satisfaction of upsetting you. Sometimes the ol' give-a-dam needs to be broken to prevent petty pride from costing you an exceptional career. I've made a few career mistakes and honestly the only one I regret is allowing a few greedy, lazy, former colleagues at my first engineering employer convince me in a weak moment that I could "do better" elsewhere and that the paycheck "wasn't worth it." Long story short - they stayed, I left, and while I still do better than most I definitely took a step backwards in income and opportunity.

#### Quote:

I've been there and sold my soul too. If the answer to what am I getting out of this relationship is money, then it's the beginning of the end in my opinion. Talking yourself into the fact there aren't going to be other opportunities is beating yourself to death. If you are half competent don't sell yourself short by staying in a toxic work environment

If I'm earning a top income, have excellent benefits, an interesting job, a flexible schedule that allows me to attend almost all family functions/appts/etc, and still have plenty of free time then why should I care about the number of hours I work or how anybody acts toward me? Worst case they'll fire me but in the meantime I'm winning by being happy and having the things that are legitimately important to me. As to other opportunities, I worked on two supercar development programs this year. Most in this industry would kill to work on one as would most companies. JMO but its foolish to let ones pride over unimportant details cost them most of this profession's better opportunities.

As to stock options, I would be extremely wary of anybody willing to share their pie with a junior engineer or for that matter any fairly new hire. Unless it was a large company, I also would not want options but rather stock granted as a bonus with my only liability being taxes, not actual income paid. Furthermore, I would discuss the matter with my attorney before accepting or purchasing any stock to ensure that it would not make me personally liable for the company's failings - it happens in small business.

### RE: OverWorked/Bullied/Blackmailed

(OP)
HI guys,

so to give an update I've worked at this company for 14 months now. I am still the one doing most of the work its insane how much I have to get done but my 2 product lines are the highest selling products the company has to offer and forcasted to be the same next year. I do not get treated poorly as before but there are times where I do get treated unfairly still.

I have not gotten a raise but I do not know how to ask for one since this is my first job. I am certain I gave my company everything from wearing multiple hats but it is definitely time I get a pay raise.

My boss indirectly told me he pushes me the most because he knows he can get the most out of me but it doesn't make it fair for the other poor performers to have job security not doing shit and rarely getting yelled at as well. I enjoy the job honestly but I need a payraise I have not only designed the products but I have worked on electrical design/pump design/sheet metal/enclosures/pvc and other side things and became very familiar and flexible with it. This time last year I was still trying to learn how to use solid works proficiently.

I got the stock option for a certain amount of stocks and I thought that was awesome because if the company does go public or gets bought out that will be a nice investment for me.

Other than the cowards who act like bullies only at work I can handle, I enjoy the job very much.

Appreciate any final advice guys on getting a pay raise. Thank you!

### RE: OverWorked/Bullied/Blackmailed

Be direct. Have your evidence handy. However, do not compare yourself to the other people by badmouthing them. Show the management how much you do for the company, why you are valuable, etc. If you say anything along the lines of "Well Karen makes more than me and she slacks off all day long" then you're not going to get anything but a bad reputation.

### RE: OverWorked/Bullied/Blackmailed

I agree with jayrod12.

Also, remember that the worst thing they can say is "no".

It is normal in some companies to give a small raise every year or so, to keep up with cost of living increases, so you can mention this when you bring it up.

Good to hear that things have improved for you.

### RE: OverWorked/Bullied/Blackmailed

2
Still looks like an abusive relationship to me.
"I only push you because you can do more"
"I only hit you because I love you so much"
You got antsy, they backed off a little and gave you meaningless gifts (stocks in a private company) so you felt better and stayed.
But at the end of the day?
You're still getting used. You're still getting mistreated.
Please, walk away! This cycle will continue until you have nothing left of yourself. Look up the classic signs of habitual abusers and honestly evaluate them in relation to your employment environment. YOU DESERVE BETTER.
Seriously. When a group of random strangers on the Internet care about your wellbeing more than your boss does - it's time to send out resumes.

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