Help! My Co-Founders Have Turned Into Jerks

by Evil HR Lady on April 20, 2017

We four friends started an advertising company. I was given the role of business development manager. I love the job but during the course of time, the two partners who are better skilled became the self-proclaimed CEO and CMO suddenly. Then started the unfair treatment. They made us two feel like employees and often insult and humiliate us in front of people working under me. In fact, all the employees feel the two are senior management and I am working under them.

One partner quit the company because he couldn’t take it anymore. Both of them being workaholics has affected my personal and social life (which is literally dead). We work an average of 12 hours a day often reaching home after 11 pm only to come back to work the next morning at 11 am. The stress level has increased. No amount of hard work I do is appreciated. One small mistake and it’s stuck to me like a leech. They say one small weakness overpowers all my hard work.

Once I was under immense depression due to a break up (my fiance cheated on me). They said I should not mix personal life to work life and gave me an option to quit since I was underperforming (of course a lecture with humiliation).

What am I to do in this situation. Is this enough reason to resign and start finding a new job though the business prospects are good.

To read the answer, click here: Help! My Co-Founders Have Turned Into Jerks

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

grannybunny April 20, 2017 at 4:18 pm

Disclaimer: I am a retired attorney and former member of the judiciary. Depending upon the legal structure of the business, a “founder” may not be an “employee,” so “resigning” may not be the correct approach. This person definitely needs legal counsel. If she, in fact, has an ownership interest in the business — which a “founder” normally would — she is probably entitled to an accounting of the value of that interest and would want to take legal steps to dissolve her interest, which could also involve dissolving the current legal structure of that business.


Jill April 20, 2017 at 4:57 pm

Don’t just quit (as in walk away) without consulting an attorney. Even if you no longer want to work with these jerks, you still likely have a financial claim. Don’t let them bully you out of it!

And don’t feel like you have to stay because you were a founder. People leave jobs all the time. You may have helped start this business but it’s clearly taken on a life of it’s own and you don’t like the direction things are going. It’s OK to leave! (Just get your money first!).


Chuck Diamond May 5, 2017 at 11:15 am

If I were you I would walk away but wouldn’t sell your 25% share of the company. Let them build it up, and you can profit from it.
Go to the yearly board meeting and demand your share of the profits. Good luck. Don’t let the jerks win!
If they get tired of you after some years. Don’t take their first offer, let them pay up.


Brian Murphy May 6, 2017 at 3:56 pm

I would first read We Got Fired!: . . . And It’s the Best Thing That Ever Happened to Us. By Harvey Mackay

Unfortunately I agree with “Lady” regarding the complaints and hours. My average day is 15 hours and this week alone if I remember correctly I worked Saturday….no sleep….Saturday…No sleep…. Monday and by Tuesday had probably 60 hours…. Then I finish out the week, by Friday I’m beat and I got hit again and worked Friday….no sleep… Saturday.

That’s the price we pay for being the best.

The first thing you do is refuse to allow someone else to have any control over you such as – any emotion or reaction. Fear and anger the two worst.

And, another unwritten rule is we don’t get to bring personal issues to the workplace.

Reverse your thought process, If your wife cheats on you – your off the hook. Doesn’t matter why she did it or with who, your better off without her and the sooner they cheat the better rather than wasting your time.

This “seems” planned to me. One out of four going nut job, happens. Two at the same time – planned.

When you stated “my co-founders” I was unsure if you were a co-founder as well or you reported to the co-founders.

If you are a co-founder, and it were me, I would have given it back times 10. Most companies fail in the first 5 years. If that is just their true self coming out then that company fails regardless because the only thing they co-founded is on paper.

Hire the right people and get them in the right places so they can have a career should be your primary goal with a startup.

I recall another book written by Harriet

Braiker Ph. D., Harriet B.
Who’s Pulling Your Strings?

At the beginning of the book she states something like “The next time someone asks, “Who’s pulling your strings” you look them straight in the eye and say “Nobody but me”.

That applies to the x-wife as well. You can tell a lot about people by the decisions they make. And the pattern is consistent and repeatable. I started to recognize the patterns at least 25 years ago. Where some collect coins, I collect “Wireshark Captures” to identify network patterns.

If they are “toxic” to the people the company won’t exist.

And your being manipulated which means they don’t care about your feelings or your problems. In fact, they are doing what they feel is in their best interest regardless of the expense to you or that other person.

Every time you “comply” it gets worse. Comply again, double worse.

All you have to do is not comply. Unfortunately, there is no one that has your back. I’ve been several of these scenarios to the degree where I had an entire group of people in a different State trying to prevent our progress. And despite that we still built a 200K square foot datacenter and in 3 years migrated 6 more.

Most likely they are without concern for fairness, ethics, decency, or you.

It just seems odd that you would refer to them as friends and not have seen this coming.

If it were me, I wound find and read every book I could find on HR, Toxic Managers, stress in the workplace. I started doing that about 10 years ago and still to this day.

A few that come to mind are
“You Can’t Talk to me that Way”
“How to work for an idiot”
“Working with you is killing me”
“Verbal Self Defense in the workplace”
“A Survival Guide for Working with Bad Bosses”
“The Employee Legal Handbook” by Nolo
“Who’s got your back”

And the list goes on, those are just a few of the one’s I have read and found to be interesting.

I call it strategy. I have to deal with all kinds of people and still get the job done and in some cases the most hated person once I walk through the door. Yet, when I’m done, everyone benefits, operational cost goes down, incident tickets go down – I turn chaos into stability through forced change and anyone that get’s in the way suffers the consequences.

I have a reputation to keep.


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