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Interfering Control Freak Boss

Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
Hey everyone, I've just started a new job about a month ago and I'm really not enjoying it due to this awful boss I have.
I'm working in a small team of about 6 non-admin staff and 3 admin staff (including myself). I'm the lowest grade admin assistant and we're waiting for another admin assistant to start so we've got a temp in. And that leaves my line manager, the senior admin person who I'll call A.
Basically, A has been irritating me since I started. She was off for most ofmy first two weeks and the first day she came back she was really rude. During this first fortnight there I was the only admin person in so I took on work that A would normally do. When she came back and saw that the office had managed without her I think she was really put out because she'd hurried back in from sick leave I imagine thinking that everything would belly up without her.
On the first day she came back she noticed that I'd been given her computer log in details while she was off and she was really annoyed by this. And then made snidey remarks because I ate my lunch at my desk whilst reading a book, "so you're just going to sit there...reading a book??" in this really amused voice as if it was the weirdest thing in the world.
The thing that REALLY annoys me is that she wanders over to my desk for no apparent reason and picks things up off my desk. One day I'd left a tube of lip balm on my desk and she picked it up and started examining it. I know it might sound minor but it's the principle behind it, the way she intrudes on my personal space, touching my personal things. And today she started rearranging the pens on my desk???!! Also, my desk phone rang and she decided she didn't like the ring tone. She said something like "oh that's awful" and I just said something non-commital like "yeah its a bit annoying." I left my desk and when I came back she'd altered it without even asking me, to something that I dislike even more. She also comes and stands behind my computer for no reason and will just watch to see what I'm typing, which I also find really rude and unnerving. And whenever she comes over to my desk she really stands too close and invades my personal space.
She also hates the fact that other members of the team give me work to do, instead of giving it to her, and has to butt her oar in. For example, someone will say "oh wheres this file on the computer, (insert my name)?" and before I've had chance to answer she has to tell them. Again, minor on its own but if someone does it all the time and coupled with the other stuff she does its really annoying. She can't handle letting me do anything.
Another example we go to this meeting every week, she's never there for the first half an hour, so I'm asked to record the minutes of the meeting. When she arrives she then comes in and starts doing the minutes too, even though she can see I'm doing them. I'd be happy to let her just do it all but the thing is I'm in the meeting first, so surely it would make sense for one person to just do it all? Instead, I'm sat there feeling really stupid that we're both doing the same thing and wondering if I should stop...although I always type the minutes up so I need my notes.
And today she pretty much accused me of stealing/being really stupid. She told me that I can no longer open the post and put it on peoples' desks because post has 'been going missing.' So now I have to open it up and put it all on her desk so she can hand it out and 'keep a record'.
Basically, I think that she feels threatened by my presence. They've had temps in there for a while so I think she has been doing things single handedly for a while and doesn't like the idea of someone moving in on her territory. But I'm finding it really frustrating to have to work in an environment where I'm either treated like a baby or someone who can't be trusted with anything. Everyone in the team really relies and gets on with her, which makes my position first especially as she's more senior. Help!!?


  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    do you have another boss you could possibly talk to about this?

    find out what the complaints procedure is in your workplace, and if the first step is going to the boss in question, skip to the next step, but make sure you explain why
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    There is the non-admin team leader I guess. It's just because I'm so new and she's been there for years I feel like I don't want to rock the boat unless it's really serious. Like I said, it's mainly small things that add up and the context she does them in, but I feel like I'd get laughed out of the office if I complain about her picking up my lip balm.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    you mention she is your senior line manager... i take it this means she has a boss then...why not go to them and maybe even show them this post or at least copy down all of the points made.

    Now a couple of tips for dealing with her in the meantime:

    If she comes and stands behind your desk just watching you type (i find that annoying too) just turn your chair around and say "yes?" she will probably say something along the lines of "i was just looking to see what youre doing/working on" then reply with "i'm just .....(insert whatever you are doing here)" then stare at her until she goes away as if waiting for a response.

    If she picks anything up off your desk or plays with your phone etc then ask her not to! sounds simple but it cant fail to work. be rude if you have to. at the end of the day its not her who will come off well in that arguement no matter how much she might try.

    I wouldnt worry about her giving you extra work or anything (as some managers tend to do when they feel threatened or are trying to bully people) because it sounds like you are well liked by your colleagues and they seem to be giving work to you rather than the manager anyway.

    As for the butting in conversations theres not that much you can do for that, some people are just naturally annoying. all i can suggest for that is when shes done it and walked away to bitch about her butting in to your work mates and they might stick up for you when it happens again.

    But as i say, go over her head because she sounds like a right bitch anyways :p:D
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Even though when it happens at the time I know she's acting out of order, when I was writing it down I was worried it was all going to sound petty, as though I was making something out of nothing, so its nice to hear that people agree. I'm definately going to do the "yes?" when she starts standing behind me while i'm typing. It's so creepy, half the time I don't realise she's there for ages. And if she touches my stuff I'm going to ask her not to, even though I hate any type of confrontation at work.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    It's all minor, but its certainly not petty. Lots of little things can create a serious feeling of harrassment, people are rarely open anymore because of industrial tribunals.

    The major issue is her accusing you of lying. I would certainly raise that with senior managements, as if she is to accuse you of things she needs to prove it.

    Just ask her to leave your stuff alone. Can you put things in your desk drawer so she can't touch them?

    It's a pain. I'd have a quite word with your colleagues first, see if they have noticed anything. Don't be bitchy, but do ask around, and make sure other people know you are feeling harrassed.

    If it is a major company they should have a person responsible for anti-bullying, etc. Perhaps have a word with them too.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    She sounds mean! The standing behind you thing is passive aggressive, definately try out the calm "yes?" stare down. Good luck.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    ive started basically locking everything-personal posessions and work stuff such as notes and notebooks- in my desk drawer.
    im trying to just avoid her as much as i can being my boss,although today im sure she's been reading my emails.her email was broken so she asked to sit at my desk and send one from my address and when i came back my inbox page had been scrolled halfway down (not at the top as i left it) and she knew stuff that she would only know from reading my emails.grrrrr.
    im gonna play it by ear for a bit and keep a note of stuff she does in the meantime.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    thats not on! make a complaint or at least add it to the catalogue of her misdemeanors and show the main bosses, soon. you dont have put up with this as it sounds like a form of harrasement!
  • **helen****helen** Mod malarkist Posts: 9,235 Listening Ear
    :yes: The behaviour you describe is the kind of thing that can make you dread going into work everyday, lose confidence or start feeling physically unwell. From what you say, your boss is clearly abusing her power to undermine you and unless some kind of action is taken then you will either continue to feel uncomfortable at work, or the situation will get worse.

    You don't mention if you've spoken to friends/colleagues at work about the situation - have you noticed whether anyone else has any problems with her. It may not be obvious at first, but if (as Kermit said) you subtly ask around, it's quite likely that you will find that other people may have struggled with her either in the past, or even in the present. If that's the case then you could ask with how they've coped/dealt with it. You said earlier that everyone in the team really relies on her/gets on with her - but it's easy to think that when you first join somewhere that everyone likes everyone.

    I'm not sure if you've looked at TheSite's article on bullying in the work place but here it is.

    I hope you are able to reach some kind of resolution soon - whether it's to find your own way of dealing with her, or to report the problem to someone you can trust - good luck ;)
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