Most recently I switched jobs due to an enticing “creative & leadership” role and have been there for 3 months. Upon starting, I was asked to complete a presentation for my manager and “higher-ups”. I did a rough draft, presented it to manager and explained that I was planning to transition this into a more formal document.
She told me to leave the document as is. I explained my concerns and she told me to leave it as is. Long story short, it was not fine. I presented, they (the higher-ups) hated it and she asked me to give up the project completely. When I told her “no thank you” she commented that since I am only in my mid 20’s, it’s ok to be stressed and that everyone would understand due to my age. As you can understand I was furious and started not to trust her. I don’t blame her for my poor work, but I do blame her for using poor manager skills and trying to make me feel incompetent. I revised the doc right away (my way) and sent it off to everyone in the meeting. They gave me praise, but also gave her the credit for “helping me” (ugh) She gave me half the credit in response.
I have noticed that she knocks me a lot. I have asked her to double check a project before it leaves the department, she doubled checked it and explained to me in several ways why I was a disappointment and not good with details. There have been no improvements since then. Naturally, I can’t do anything correct. She continues to call me an equal, but treats me like an intern. I have not put the company in danger or risked losing money, so I don’t see why this criticism is necessary.
I have a lot of resentment at this point, and while I know it’s been a short time, I don’t know how long I can work with someone who is not helping me improve my career.
My question to my LONG story is: Do you see these as red flags, or am I just being sensitive to someone who doesn’t understand how to work with people?
Flags. Red. Hmmmm, just what kind of danger do these flags seem to be indicating?
From your description, I can see this in two different lights.
1. Your manager really did think that your draft presentation was fine, and was shocked with the higher ups disagreed. So, now she has to cover her rear end by blaming you.
2. Your manager needs to feel superior and because of that, she needs to have others around her that fail.
Truth be told, both are terrible management practices.
Just how does she treat you like an intern? Is it because she oversees your work, or because she has you making copies and filing things? Some bosses like to oversee a lot more than others. You’ve only been in this job for 3 months and she may not feel comfortable with you yet. Does she hover over the other people in the department? If so, it’s not a personal thing, it’s just how she manages.
Is it age discrimination? Not legally. You aren’t considered a protected class until you hit 40, which you haven’t. But keep in mind, being young means you don’t have a lot of experience. You may be brilliant–truly brilliant–but you just don’t have a lot of experience.
There are definitely flags, but from here I can’t tell the color. What it is signaling is her management style. Here are the steps I would advise:
Step 1: Arrange a meeting with her. Explain that you feel like you aren’t meeting her expectations and could she please help you to understand what is required. If she’s just a nit-picky hoverer, this meeting will be pointless in practical application, other than to make her aware that she’s annoying you. If, however you have some short-comings in this area (not unlikely, given your short tenure), this will help to establish what you need to do to meet her expectations. And please note, your expectations of what this job would be like and what her expectations are could be two completely different things.
Once you have expectations set, work hard to meet them and then go to step two.
Step 2: Deal with it. Understand that she’s going to criticize and hover and hang you out to dry whenever possible. Work your best. Make sure you don’t present any “rough” drafts to her any more–just completed professional work. Sure, she’ll want changes (That font on the power point presentation–is that Arial Narrow because I prefer Times New Roman.), but they will probably be minor.
When you are meeting with her management remain professional and don’t let your annoyance of the whole situation show. Just be professional and cheerful. Make it clear that you’ve done the work.
Step 3: If this doesn’t resolve the problem, then start looking for a new job. By the way, this resolution should take a considerable amount of time–so I’d say start looking for a new job when you’ve been there a year. There’s no requirement that you stay in an unhappy job. Start looking. Incidentally, I find that some people agonize more over leaving a job then they do about leaving a spouse. That really should be the other way around.
Micro-managing, power hungry, credit grabbing bosses stink. But, this same boss may really be trying to help you figure out the ropes in an area you are new in. If that’s the case, you don’t want to dismiss her to closely.
Keep trying for a while, and see what happens.