retro comic


By Nina Rubin


Hi Nina,

I’m working in a hostile work environment. My boss doesn’t trust me to do my job, but I know I’m doing good work. I believe that my boss’ insecurity with his own performance is bleeding into his evaluation of my work.

I’ve tried not taking it personally, detaching, turning it back on him, being calm/reasonable, defending my performance, engaging, not engaging, etc. I think his treatment has crossed the line into abuse. What do I do?




Hi Lobster,

This work environment sounds awful, pure and simple. Without knowing about your industry or the size of the company, my obvious and initial reaction is to address your boss’ behavior with the HR team. I realize, however, that many startups or other companies don’t have an HR department, so you’re pretty much left to other devices.

Your boss sounds like a bully. It must be really challenging to show up to work everyday and do work you’re proud of. Are there other managers with whom you can address the situation? Does your boss treat other people like this? Is there a possibility of working from home some days, just so you can avoid his wrath? I’m glad you’ve tried various tactics of communication. Have there been any that are more effective than others?

We all need jobs, and we all need a paycheck.

Perhaps it’s time to update your resume and start networking. Start spreading the word with people you feel close to that you’re considering looking for a new job—and see if they can make introductions for you. You might feel less tense if you take steps on a daily basis to get out of this hostile work environment, knowing that you’re making every effort to place yourself somewhere better.

Write in again and give an update!


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Editor: Dana Gornall