Ask Kari: What should I do when my new boss belittles me in public and over email?

Dear Kari,

I recently started a new job working for a former colleague of mine from a previous company I worked at. He is now my boss. The first few weeks went well, then he started belittling me in meetings and through email. How should I handle this? I need this job to provide for my family, but I cannot keep taking his disparaging comments about me on a weekly basis. What do you suggest I do?

Abused at Work

Dear Abused at Work,

I am sorry to hear that your new job has not turned out to be as pleasant as you had hoped. I understand your desire and need to maintain the position at your current company for both the welfare of your career and your family’s income. I do suggest that you immediately establish a professional boundary wherein you let your manager know that some of his behaviors are not acceptable to you. I recommend that you time this carefully, such as a nice day at the office when not much is planned. Share with him your feelings of gratefulness for the opportunity, as well as your hopes for a more positive environment and exchange with him moving forward. Choosing this path allows your manager to both hear your hopefulness and reflect on his role of leadership within your organization. Good luck!


As published in the September 2016 issue of Connections.


About Kari:

Kari O’Neill, MSW, LICSW, is a licensed independent clinical social worker and a resident of Issaquah Highlands.

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