Dear Jewish Fairy Godmother:

I work for a bully. He’s mean, demeaning, rude, makes fun of me in
meetings (public and private), dumps work on me at the last minute,
never says thank you or praises me in any way, and expects me to be
responsive 24/7 no matter how unreasonable the demands. He does
pay me well and has given me consistent raises and bonuses. I have
worked here for so long I think I’ve forgotten what the real world is
like. But I know it is slowly killing me to keep working for someone
about whom the nicest thing I can say about publicly is that he is a
mean-spirited soul-killing jerk. Is there any way to protect myself or is
my only recourse to get another job? PS – He’s a big honcho in this
company and I am his exec, as well as someone who works with lots
of other folks on different teams.


Dear Abused:

Some companies have what is politely called a “No A-hole” policy,
something you can google and find some serious professional literature
about in both vernacular and management consulting terms. A lot of
the advice that these folks have boils down to this: Don’t try to tackle
an A-word person on your own. Start with your Human Resources
department but know they will probably ask for documentation. So
walk in the door prepared.

Get yourself a diary, the old-fashioned hard copy page-a- day kind. You
may end up turning it digital later. But for now you want it kept in
your own hand so it cannot be easily tampered with. Go back and
create retrospective notes, even if you don’t have dates and names of
witnesses You’re telling a story. Record every form of abuse and
demeaning behavior. If other people were present ask them to witness
and sign your diary or send their own recollections. Build in the
collective consciousness awareness that his behavior is not oaky.
There’s a risk someone will spill the beans but if confronted you need
to be willing to say You pay me well but don’t treat me well. I’m not a
hired whipping boy/girl. This is a professional organization and I am
asking for civility and respect. In a worst-case scenario you get laid off
but you will have a diary full of evidence to use when you try and
negotiate a severance package. In a better world, his behavior will