Tue | Oct 16, 2018

Secretary spends salary on stress tablets

Published:Sunday | December 21, 2014 | 12:00 AM

QUESTION: Mr Smith, allow me to respond to your great article 'Dealing with disrespect at work', published on Sunday, November 30.

I am a 39-year-old personal assistant to a female boss in her 50s, who is the greatest nagger I've ever met. She wrote the book on disrespect. She has called me insulting names, accused me wrongfully, blamed me for her mistakes and has even hurled files in my face.

I'm only being paid $45,000 a month, but am afraid to leave for fear of not finding another job. I'm having to spend a portion of my salary on stress tablets and high blood pressure medication.

Your advice about reporting her to HR is a joke. The HR director will not do anything since she is friend with her. What should I do?


Space only allowed for the above excerpt from your lengthy letter.

ANSWER: It seems you've not found the advice practicable, about not taking your boss's disrespectful remarks and actions personally. Therefore, I advise you to seek another job. Working in this stressful environment may only prove more ruinous to your mental and physical health the longer you stay.

It is a sad reality that tyrants, bullies, and manipulators delight in tormenting, insulting and terrorising subordinates who lack self-worth, self-confidence and don't believe they have a choice. You must affirm your value and self-worth, Janielle. And you must believe you do have a choice of finding a better job.

You deserve it. You have knowledge and experience that another company will pay you better for; and they will treat you with more dignity. You don't have to continue acting like a helpless, begging, dependent dog, desperate for even a little bone.

Heed Brendon Burchard's words in The Motivation Manifesto: "Let us demand respect ... Give the disrespectful person affection and patience but also clear warning. Do not tolerate any behaviour that is dismissive, cruel or condescending. Should we fail in this, then we ourselves become unworthy of respect."

Explore opportunities in your ministry, department or agency, or elsewhere in the government services. If that doesn't yield success, expand your focus to the private sector.

It's true that you might find it difficult at first to find a job. However, by taking time to learn effective job seeking strategies, you may discover it's not as difficult as you feared. Consider your qualification level, and the range of jobs that may be available. Be realistic.

Seek help in preparing a job-hunting plan. Inform people in your network that you're job-hunting. Update your resume and cover letter. Start reviewing job-interviewing strategies.

More important than all the foregoing, however, is the renewal of your mindset. You seem to regard yourself as being helpless in the face of your boss's unprofessionalism and rudeness.

Is it that you think you're unemployable? If so, stop. See yourself as someone with valuable abilities, experience and knowledge to offer the job-market.

Don't walk off the job without a better offer in hand. Keep doing your best right there for now. And be discreet and determined in your job search. My best wishes to you.

n Glenford Smith is a motivational speaker and success strategist. He is the author of a new book 'From Problems to Power: How to Win Over Worry and Turn Your Obstacles into Opportunities'. Email glenfordsmith@yahoo.com.