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Abuse in the Workplace
Employer doesn't offer raises or benefits, not good to staff.
MrAndrewJ




msg:4281164
 12:36 am on Mar 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

One boss didn't approve of how long it took me to get out of the way of the glass door he wanted to open, so crushed me into the filing cabinet that I was working in.

I'm making fifty cents an hour more than when I started nine years ago, and started at entry level wages. The other boss (related) goes on racist, sexist, and partisan tirades which find me on the losing end.

I've had one raise in nine years. It was a small raise, and currently means that I am making about two dollars an hour less in spending power than the day I hired in. I also have no benefits.

They will be gone for most of next week at least one full month this summer, at their second home, during which time they will expect me to run a great deal of their business.

One of them saw my hand-coded, valid XHTML and yelled at me for not doing it right. The files were opened in Microsoft Wordpad, cluttered with <FONT> and <CENTER> tags in all caps, and uploaded as binary files. This, I was told, was the "right way to do it."

I have been shouted down for not updating their CMS. That software was written in Visual Basic by other family members and I have no access to the source code.

But anyway, the abuse finally moved from the yelling, screaming and -isms to actually being physically struck. I'm throwing out my resume left and right but - obviously - my skills and desire to learn are being frowned upon.

I'm really at the end of my rope, and could really use some help. I'm broke. I've been throwing my resume around for ages with only a handful of interviews to show for it. Quitting isn't an option with children to take care of. Neither is staying there.

Whatever I'm doing to get out is obviously ineffective. I would really like help. Please.

 

LifeinAsia




msg:4281179
 1:19 am on Mar 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

First of all, welcome to WebmasterWorld [webmasterworld.com]!

Second of all, my sympathies for your plight. Working in an environment that you describe sounds like pure Hell. Unfortunately, sometimes there is simply nothing to be done about abusive work environments besides moving on.

You don't say what country you're in, so I can't comment on local labor laws that may protect you against such abusive behavior.

I'm throwing out my resume left and right but - obviously - my skills and desire to learn are being frowned upon.

Why are your skills and desire to work "obviously" being frowned upon? Sending resumes in a shotgun approach may get you another job, but it may not be much better than the curent one. Chances are that you may be coming across as desperate for another job, which is a big red flag to potential employers.

...during which time they will expect me to run a great deal of their business.

In your resume/cover letter and when you interview, focus on this- employers (should) welcome the responsibility that you took on while the bosses were away.

MrAndrewJ




msg:4281186
 1:37 am on Mar 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

Thank you, first of all and sincerely. I should do as much. I tend to write a new cover letter for each submission, but will try to make this a more prevalent focus.

Is this normal, though? I can take the differing opinions -- but if this level of abuse is a regular part of the industry then I'll find a new one to join.

johnblack




msg:4281196
 2:13 am on Mar 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

Is this normal, though?


No.

I agree with LIA, depending on the local laws, my first port of call would be a lawyer's office.

A workplace should be somewhere where you feel valued, where you are respected and most of all feel safe! None of those apply in your situation.

I hate to say this but you must resign now, I realise you have responsiblities outside the workplace that make this hard, but the long-term effect this workplace is having on you is worse than being unemployed.

If it's difficult for you to find another IT role, how about another job, temporarily, until another IT job comes along?

Honestly you need to leave now, sorry.

With regard to covering letters, try and tailor make them for the prospective employer, and as LIA said highlight all the responsibilities you have taken on at your current job.

I hope that helps and good luck

wheel




msg:4281206
 3:05 am on Mar 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

The last thing I'd do is a call to a lawyer. that'll end you up with no job, and likely less money, with quite possibly no real satisfaction. My wife was basically pushed out of a job she'd been at for 14 years because the new academic supervisor decided the admin staff should have master's degrees in order to raise the status of the department. Our local lawyer assured us it was illegal and that we would get money from them, and that the fees would pretty much equal what we got. We chose to move on.

The web business for the most part is one of the best industries to work in. It's full of bright, aggressive and forward thinking people, many of whom are happily earning a great income. So your experience is not the industry.

You need a new job. That may not happen fast. Suck it up at work and keep your nose clean for now. Then the biggest thing you need to do is learn how to apply to jobs, and to interview well. These are learned techniques and skills. And (clearly) sending resumes out does not work.

For example, you have to network. Join your local computer/linux/mac/web/seo group and attend meetings. I can't stress enough the importance of this being an important change - meet people and let them know you're looking for work. Don't be afraid to ask them specifically if they know of any openings. To the timid goes the jobs where the boss shoves you into the filing cabinet.

And if you simply can't bear it anymore (I and I appreciate that your work is likely affecting your entire personal life to the point that it's unbearable 24/7) then find a sideways job doing something else until you can get back into the industry. If you can earn the same money doing something else temporarily, you can hone your skills on the side until the right job comes up.

And get a new attitude. Nobody's your 'boss'. Maybe your spouse, but that's it. Everyone else is your coworker. Their job might be to organize other staff and assign them tasks and that might make you think they're over you somehow. They're not. Realizing they're at the same level as you, merely different tasks, puts a whole new spin on it. I wouldn't take that crap from a coworker or a 'boss', because in my eyes, they're the same thing. (But maybe that explains why I'm happily self employed).

koan




msg:4281220
 3:53 am on Mar 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

I don't know what's worse, being forced to use <CENTER> or being shoved into a filing cabinet. Kidding aside, I hear it's a lot easier to get a new job while already employed instead of being out of work.

piatkow




msg:4281313
 11:06 am on Mar 14, 2011 (gmt 0)


I hear it's a lot easier to get a new job while already employed instead of being out of work.

I will confirm that both from personal experience of a previous recession and anecdotal comments from people I know now.

Its a bit late for this job and you will probably end up paying for a lawyer but once you start elsewhere I would recommend joining the appropriate trade union. Then if you have an employment problem they should provide the lawyer.

BeeDeeDubbleU




msg:4281339
 12:27 pm on Mar 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

I think much of what you should do greatly depends on where you are. For example this would never be allowed here in the UK.

g1smd




msg:4281380
 1:42 pm on Mar 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

Next time someone strikes you, punch all their lights out.

Make sure it is on camera. It would clearly be self defence from assault.

wheel




msg:4281394
 2:01 pm on Mar 14, 2011 (gmt 0)


But anyway, the abuse finally moved from the yelling, screaming and -isms to actually being physically struck.

I missed that the first time through. The door thing, that's bad but a case could be made either way. If someone strikes you in the workplace, you should walk out immediately.

You're saying that your supervisor actually hit you?

HRoth




msg:4281493
 4:27 pm on Mar 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

Last week I had contact with someone who works in an office where she is referred to by the n-word and the other workers, all men, are constantly grabbing her breasts and butt and making dirty remarks. I was thinking this was some nasty mom-and-pop, but it turns out it's a federal agency. She said that if she filed a complaint, she would be branded as a trouble-maker and either get fired or get treated worse. I thought this was hard to believe and so asked a friend who is public administration. He agreed with her experience and said all the gains that had been made for workplace protection in the US since the sixties had basically been eroded to nothing and the best thing to do was to leave ASAP. He also advised, though, for the individual to keep track every day of every single thing that happens in a journal for that purpose. If it ever did come down to evidence, you would have it.

What about creating your own business online? You're already there, and you have the skills. You don't need big bucks to start out. You mostly need time. If I were you--and I have indeed in the past been in crap jobs where I had to take a lot of garbage because I could not afford to leave--I would chip away at the work time I put in and divert it to my own business.

I don't know what the laws in the US are anymore re unemployment compensation, but if you can still get unemployment if you are fired, that might be a very good option.

viggen




msg:4281501
 4:44 pm on Mar 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

They will be gone for most of next week at least one full month this summer, at their second home, during which time they will expect me to run a great deal of their business.

If I was you, (i know i am not and you seem to be in a very difficult position), i would the day before they leave on their month holiday, tell them you want a substantial raise, benefits etc..., or you leave,

...btw. when i was still working and my boss would have pushed me into a filing cabinet i would have gone to the doctors and the lawyers ands sued the crap out of him...

wheel




msg:4281514
 4:56 pm on Mar 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

f I was you, (i know i am not and you seem to be in a very difficult position), i would the day before they leave on their month holiday, tell them you want a substantial raise, benefits etc..., or you leave,

If you're looking to screw them, you're not doing it right. You want to quit the day after they leave on vacation, not the day before.

But don't take that advice. It assumes that their leaving on vacation is some type of leverage. It's not. They would just move their vacation - not bow to pressure over it.

BeeDeeDubbleU




msg:4281549
 5:43 pm on Mar 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

Are we talking about the USA here? The OP has still not told us where he is located.

In the UK we have an employment law called constructive dismissal where if things are deemed to be bad enough employees can claim this. [direct.gov.uk...]

incrediBILL




msg:4281566
 6:18 pm on Mar 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

the abuse finally moved from the yelling, screaming and -isms to actually being physically struck.


If they get physical, that's called assault, the police deal with assault.

I never put up with crap from employers when I worked for other people, I'm there to work, not be their whipping post.

Only had one boss that got angry at people, yelled, even threw things. Tried that crap with me a time or two and I told him to act like a professional and take his toddler temper tantrums elsewhere because I don't play that way. I literally shut down and stop listening to people that yell and will easily walk away, which makes them go totally ape.

Life is too short to deal with office bullies and there are too many good jobs out there working for nice professional people to deal with the jerks.

BeeDeeDubbleU




msg:4281835
 10:07 am on Mar 15, 2011 (gmt 0)

Is is easy (for those of us whose lives do not depend on a salary to survive) to say, "you should do this" and "you should do that" but it is not often so easy when in that situation yourself.

In any case the OP has not returned to the discussion. Perhaps he has a new job, let's hope so. :)

viggen




msg:4281837
 10:23 am on Mar 15, 2011 (gmt 0)

...of course it is different when one is in the actual situation, but from what i get that the OP is a seasoned coder with several years experience.

It would be a start to try and make some extra income at one of those online places for freelancer, or work after hours from home on own projects, sometimes when in a situation like this one is paralyzed and cant see the opportunity every change brings with it.

Leosghost




msg:4282608
 6:22 pm on Mar 16, 2011 (gmt 0)

@HRoth
perhaps your friend ought to try writing and telling her problems at work to Mrs Obama ?
and maybe Oprah..
(and maybe take a female black notary public to her work place for an hour or so..introduced as "my cousin" ..as a witness for later use ;-)

Rights fought for have to be held onto with both hands ..and sometimes teeth and claws ..and enlisting the help of those whose opinions and actions have weight, backing and influence...never hurts.

HRoth




msg:4282670
 8:16 pm on Mar 16, 2011 (gmt 0)

It does hurt, that's just what was so shocking to me. The public administrator friend I asked about this problem specializes in working with minorities and is a minority himself. He said this problem is widespread at the federal, state, and municipal levels now and folks who complain almost always just get fired and/or blackballed.

I feel grateful to work for myself. All the frustrations and precariousness--worth it.

bwnbwn




msg:4283813
 7:09 pm on Mar 18, 2011 (gmt 0)

Sometimes I wonder if this is true. How easy is it to buy a small camera recorder and get this on video. If what has been reported here is going on in the State and Federal level or private business either it isn't true or they are not thinking. Think about this a few minutes who doesn't know how bad it would be getting caught on tape calling people names, feeling their body parts, hitting them, or whatever is being said here. If it were happening to me I wouldn't need a job after I got finished with them. Just hard for me to believe this is going on, and why don't they make a small investment get it all on tape quit go to a shrink, press, and retire. Just ask ACRON

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