Category Archives: abuse

Why Standing Up To Your Boss Works

Below is an email exchange between my girlfriend and her boss. She works an internship at a magazine twice a week for 5 hours each time, writes for her campus newspaper, works this job (that sucks and pays her meagerly) and is taking a full time, three class load. Her boss had the nerve to send her the following letter:

On 4/11/07, H.W.(the boss) wrote: Hi N.,

As you are now working split shifts of two- and three-hour intervals, it is not appropriate to eat lunch during that time. California law provides that employees must receive a 30-minute meal break if they work in excess of five hours.

It’s fine if you’d like to stay for a few minutes after you finish work at noon, or come in early before you resume working at 2 p.m.

Please let me know if you have any suggestions or questions.

Best, H.

My girlfriend, being the extremely intelligent and no-bullshit person that she is, promptly responded. She had been wanting to quit this job for months as the work was tough and her new boss was especially crabby. Instead of apologizing for eating her lunch at work, she responded with the following:

—–Original Message—–
From: N.E.

Sent: Thursday, April 12, 2007 8:00 AM

To: H.W., K.N., A.K.
Subject: Re: Work Thursday

Hi H.,

I appreciate your concern. I do have my own to contribute.

When I leave after my two hour shift, I go to class. I don’t have time to eat. On those days when my professor ends the class early, I will, for now on, take those minutes to eat lunch.

On the other hand, on those days when my professor doesn’t end the class early, it doesn’t take me more than ten minutes to eat lunch, and I usually can do it while I’m working. I do not think it interferes with my work or dampens my overall productivity. Furthermore, I think that an atmosphere where an activity like eating is not strictly monitored would allow for a more positive work environment simply because it gives me, or whoever is working, a sense of autonomy.

I understand that my past with !@#$% has been checkered. I’ve had quarters with frequent absences, I usually eat while I’m working, and I sometimes check my email a little too frequently. While interning for !@#$% has taught me a lot about marketing and publicity, I also feel over the past two quarters, I’ve stopped enjoying it as much. For that reason, I would like to resign.

Please inform me of how you would prefer I do it. I understand this resignation is mid-quarter and I would like to accommodate the two departments as much as possible. Thank you for listening,

N.

This was the response she got not long afterwards:

From: H. (the boss)
Date: Apr 12, 2007 12:07 PM
Subject: RE: Work Thursday
To: N.E.,
K.N., A.K.

Hi N.,

Thanks for your message and for helping us understand your feelings.

First, I’d like to apologize for my message regarding eating while on the job. It’s was unfair on my part, and I’m very sorry. We want you to enjoy your time with us and be comfortable having lunch, as well as taking personal calls and emails.

We’d very much like to work out something that might be agreeable to you within the dual aspects of the position. As I mentioned yesterday, our press mailings for the 06-07 season are complete and – thanks to your help – the clippings are, too. We really appreciate all that you contribute and for looking at the “bigger picture” while helping us with work that may not be as challenging for you.

Perhaps you might consider staying on to help Marketing? A.’s looking very much forward to speaking with you.

Kind regards, H.


This just goes to show that if you are being mistreated at work and believe yourself to be important to the company its your prerogative to stand up for yourself when threatened by your superiors. My guess is that when her other bosses saw the letter of resignation they made HW apologize for her letter. That’s why I love you, baby.

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My Crazy, Controlling Dad Explained

by anti-folk hero

Ah, fathers. Few have anything good to say about fathers. The best father/son relationships usually involved a father who taught his son to be just like him. The musician father with a musician son, the preacher father with a preacher son, etc. Then there are the loads of criminals in the world who claim to have been abused or neglected by their fathers. No matter what your relationship to your father was, however, one indisputable fact is that fathers have a tangible effect on their children no matter what they do. Whether that relationship is good or bad depends on the personalities of both people involved.

Let’s talk about my father for a minute. He is a very successful professional who is at the top of the company he works for. He has a team of elite, intelligent people working under him, doing his bidding, and generally just trying to profit off of his hard work. He financially supports my mother (whom he divorced over fifteen years ago and who still lives on alimony), sends his second kid to a private school for 30k a year, and is probably going to help me out when I eventually get into higher education later this year. Sounds like a great, helping, encouraging guy, right?

To be fair, he can be a great Dad. He got me into music by telling me stories about different musicians as I was growing up. He also forced me to start taking guitar lessons at age eleven even though I really didn’t want to. Almost everything he has ever predicted about my life or what would happen to me has been right on the money. So where is the issue in my relationship with him? My dad is a control freak. There is no better way to describe him. He has many personal insecurities that he cannot control that manifest themselves in negative behavior towards others. He’ll oftentimes be dead wrong about something and yet find justifications for why he is right and everyone else is wrong, often involving verbal and emotional abuse. He is aggressive, uncompromising, and decidedly uncooperative in just about everything. “My way or the highway” could be his personal philosophy.

Yet people still like him and deal with him. He has many friends, most of them through work, and he is well respected by his contemporaries. Now, you may be saying that I shouldn’t be so ungrateful, as he is giving me money for school. But at this point, I am sick of his money and sick of his shit.

An example: Today, I brought him a spreadsheet I had made outlining the costs of a cross-country trip to visit several of the schools I was accepted to. I laid out flight costs, dates, hotel prices, even trains prices from some cities back east back and forth. I got the absolute cheapest prices on flights that I could find (which is better than he could do). Upon sitting down in his office, he took the piece of paper to me, and then berated me for ten minutes about how stupid I was, how I should find the cheapest prices, insinuating that I was dumb and arbitrarily put up more expensive prices on purpose, and even accosting me for not realizing that flying to Ithaca is much more expensive than flying into Syracuse or Rochester instead (to save money). In the end, he has done nothing but yelled, complained, and generally insulted my intelligence in the most aggressive, mean-spirited way, and said nothing constructive at all. He had alienated me.

My father is a man at the utter whim of his moods. He can’t control himself. In many ways, a child has more control over the responses he chooses than my father does. If he has a bad day, he’ll be rude and contemptuous towards everyone around him. “This isn’t what I wanted for dinner!” he’ll shout at my step-mom. “I specifically told you that I only eat Norwegian potatoes, not these Idaho pieces of shit! You knew that! You’re just serving me these worthless, disgusting potatoes because you don’t listen. Maybe you should stop watching all of those idiotic TV shows and pay attention when I tell you these things. Its really not that hard to do.” Then, the same day, he’ll be half an hour late to a family dinner, forget about his son’s basketball game, and space out on a bunch of other shit entirely. HYPOCRITE.

This is my read on his personality. I see him as emotionally immature. Here is a person who has some serious insecurities that are deeply buried. He can’t control his fears and desires, so when he feels like he can’t control himself, he tries to control others. Being an intelligent person, he is quite successful in controlling other people. The effect, however, is that he alienates the people that care about him. He treats them like invaders or strangers and his attitude couldn’t be less inviting.

At this point in my life, I’m realizing that there are two paths I can take at this moment. If I take his money for college, I’ll be in a weaker position to call him on his bad moods and at the mercy of his bullshit. If I don’t take his money, I’ll have to take out monster-sized loans and repay them later in life. However, I would have my independence. What do you think? Is the independence worth it? Please share your stories about controlling friends or family members if you have them.

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