Nightmare Boss - Help!

Postby nickyw_uk » Thu Jun 02, 2005 11:08 pm

I'd like some advice about how to deal with my boss at work. It's kind of a long story but I'll try and make it short. I have just started going through the process of gender reassignment (female to male) and don't pass very well as male, but I am living as a man. I was offered the chance of a job in a music shop about 4 months ago and I decided to keep my transition a secret and apply as a man. I got the job and then from the 2nd day onwards, my new boss decided that he was going to spend quite a lot of time play fighting with me and telling me that I was awfully feminine for a man. He would hit me when I was up a ladder and throw things at me from across the other side of the shop. It was all done in a 'jokey way' and he said he meant no harm by it. I hated it so I tackled him about it and he stopped but not after he told me I was a wuss and I shouldn't get so upset about it. I've got to know him a lot better now and learnt he was bullied at school for all sorts of reasons but this doesn't stop him continuously taking the mickey out of me about being 5'4, having small feet, acting 'effeminate' etc, etc. It's getting to the point now where I have really had enough of his behaviour. I don't really want to go to his manager about it because he will turn the whole workforce against me but I can't stand being treated like this for much longer. I don't want to give up my job either because I enjoy it. I just want to know how to stop my boss from constantly being on my back. Any advice would be really appreciated :( :?:
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Postby Lyndsay Swinton » Fri Jun 03, 2005 5:30 pm

Hi Nickyw_uk,

Welcome to the forum, and thanks for your post. Although I'm familiar with how to handle difficult bosses, your particular circumstances are new to me, so bear with me if any of the following advice is slightly off target!

The first thing that strikes me is that although your bosses behaviour is inappropriate and unacceptable to you, it's quite "laddish". Is he treating you any different to how he treats other guys? Either way, the fact you are fed up with it is enough to warrant doing something to make it stop/change.

As you've found out, bullies have often been bullied themselves, but this is no excuse. There are some good web resources on how to deal with bullies... e.g. keeping a diary of their harassment.

The key is setting some boundaries with your boss. Easier said than done, I accept, but worth starting. You can tackle this in two ways - at the time something happens, or later. Next time your boss hits you or makes a comment, say calmly and firmly "stop doing xxx, it's really not acceptable to me, and I would prefer that you treated me like yyyyyy". If that's a bit too confrontational, have a more private conversation, which would be similar, but would allow for more discussion e.g. check he understands you're serious about this. Above all, remain calm. If you're worried about saying it "for real" do some practice in front of the mirror or with a trusted friend, and keep going until you can say the words in a confident, assertive manner.

"Training" your boss in this way may take some time (and courage) but it can work if you keep at it. And if his behaviour doesn't change, then you are perfectly entitled to talk to his boss about this.

Keep posting and let us know how you get on. Good luck!

Warm Regards
Lyndsay Swinton
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Location: Oban, Scotland


Postby nickyw_uk » Tue Jun 07, 2005 1:24 am

Thanks for you lovely reply Lyndsay. I think what you have said is great and I will have to try to be more firm with my boss. I have stood up to him once and got him to stop 80% of his physical bullying but I've yet to stop his verbal bullying.

He is very laddish and he does act like that with other members of staff. There's been many occasions when I've wanted to hit him back very hard but haven't done in case he hits me back even harder! I know hitting him would be taking myself down to his level but sometimes I get pushed way too far.

Anyhow, I'm back in work this Wednesday so I'm going to start making notes of everything that he says and does and also try to get through to him that I'm not going to keep putting up with his behaviour. Hopefully in time he'll get the message!

I'll keep you posted
Thank you
Nicky :D 8)
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