By: Revanche

Toxic jobs, bad hiring, and freedom: A financial victory story

February 10, 2016

Most of us have had our share of bad or indifferent managers, some of us have had absolutely terrible managers, and sometimes those terrible, no-good, very bad managers were Toxic Waste Phenomena.

For those of us in the latter category, if and when we escape, we often vow to ourselves never to go through that again. It was one of my strongest motivators to get the hell out of Dodge (debt, that industry, that job), build a career where I could write my ticket, and never again be subject to the unsavory whims, or drunken flirtations and grabby hands, of a petty tyrant.

People think that Michael Scott from The Office is funny, and I think I can see the hint of “but he means well” that makes it possible to laugh at him.

Y’all, take Michael Scott, take away any good intentions, replace them with pure solid selfishness and disregard for humanity, and that’s the level of bad we’re talking about. The shenanigans that people can laugh at, I suspect, are because most people think that’s a parody. An exaggeration. They don’t imagine there are people for whom that’s a reality. I could never really sit through much of The Office without feeling the urge to vomit because that, minus any funny, was three of my former managers.

Is it any wonder that the friends from those former jobs that I keep in touch with feel like friends made in foxholes?

Over the summer, my old friend and ex-colleague, C, told me that our former Toxic Manager (I’ve had a few) from 12 years ago started texting her. That TM was fired years ago for incompetence, but out of the blue, sent a mass text to a handful of former employees with a personal life update, ending with “if anyone still cares about me”. Friend who is far too kind for her own good, sent a nice reply back with a congratulations and “hope you’re well”, and worried to me that she was being uncivil in not extending a hand of friendship to someone clearly in pain. Perhaps I shed my humanity a long time ago but I pointed out that TM was piling guilt on a former employee who was never a friend, and if she’d been any good at her job, she wouldn’t have expected it. A true friend wouldn’t have, for example, have welcomed C back to work after bereavement leave with massive guilt trips about how hurt she was that C didn’t confide in her about her father’s death and her feelings. C was then forced in the awkward position of having to try to comfort TM and her hurt feelings over C’s loss. True story. But like I said, C is too kind and attributes her kindness to others who are wholly devoid of consideration for others.

Well, it’s happened again. Except this twist is magnificent.

A friend, Z, left the company specifically because of a TM, without another gig lined up, and eventually found a job at a start-up. He was far from the first. TM had driven out at least 4 other people before this, and if TM hadn’t left, Z would soon have.

He was so much happier, and he soon proudly welcomed into the world his new baby. Everything was coming up Z.

A few months ago, he said that TM was interviewing at his company!ย  This was after TM had been fired for incompetence at a company that doesn’t easily fire. Of course, I felt strongly that he should speak up. He has strong and valid concerns about TM from personal experience, and TM’s work history is consistent. Warning: contains bullying and petulance.

Apparently, Z did. And his company went and hired that terrible TM again.

So Z quit.

And invited us to his retirement party.

Z and I weren’t close, we just kept in touch over the years, but I am ready to throw on a dress, make some sparkling confetti and pop a champagne bottle. And that’s before we even get to the retirement party!

Because, y’all.ย  Z is maybe 40 years old and even with a new family, they can afford for him to quit instead of sacrificing his health and sanity working alongside someone whose track record for the past 20 years has been to torment colleagues and underlings like you wouldn’t couldn’t believe.

This is why we save.

*wipes away a happy tear* I entertain the notion of early retirement a lot, for many reasons, but this is a favorite. The freedom to walk away from any bad situation because you can and you want to is amazing.

*Part of Financially Savvy Saturdays on brokeGIRLrich, Disease Called Debt and The Yachtless*

21 Responses to “Toxic jobs, bad hiring, and freedom: A financial victory story”

  1. Money Beagle says:

    Yeah, I’ve had a couple of those. I think for me, whether I would consider potentially quitting if one of them appeared where I’m working now would probably boil down to whether I had to work directly with them or not. If Z knew that TM would be on his team, then yeah that’s understandable that we went with such a drastic move, but if they were in different areas of the company, it might have been a little overkill, perhaps?
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    • Revanche says:

      That’s absolutely valid. In this case, Z would have been working in very close quarters with TM, so this hiring would have had an immediate and detrimental effect on his work life. I sincerely doubt he’d have made the same decision so quickly if TM was just one more cog in a massive corporation.

      • Jessica says:

        I’m confused how any company could have such terrible feedback on someone and then say to someone who’s worked with them for years (and done well!), “I don’t trust your judgment, so we’re going to hire this person anyway.”

        How surprised were they when Z said, “See ya, but I wouldn’t wanna be ya!” and then walked out the door?

        • Revanche says:

          I don’t get it, either. Z is really a strong performer so I can’t imagine what was going on in their heads to ignore his feedback but … I just don’t know!

  2. Linda says:

    That is a great reason to save: the freedom to walk away from a bad situation. The current BF has also proved himself a prodigious saver and frugal person as he’s supported himself for the past few years without a regular job and steady source of income. (I admire him, but am also wary due to my past history with a person who embraced joblessness at my expense. I also like to spend money for fun on a regular basis, and being super frugal can interfere with this.)

    I know that it is a challenge to convey all the ins and outs of a situation in a short post, but I wonder: is it possible TM did some personal work and become a better manager before getting hired for this most recent job? Or was it more of a PTSD-type situation where Z never, ever, ever could have tolerated working with TM even if TM had changed hir ways?

    I guess I’m too nice and would have given TM a chance in the new environment before moving on so quickly. I not only like to get a regular paycheck, I like steady benefits, too.

    • Revanche says:

      Your wariness is natural considering what you left behind so I’m glad that current BF is so far proving capable to supporting his current lifestyle.

      Like you, right now I’d suck it up for a while to see if it was doable because I do like the freedom to buy a little fun sometimes, or buy the Life Changing Chicken ๐Ÿ˜‰

      From what I’ve heard, if TM had changed hir ways, Z would likely have stayed on but there were signs that indicated no change had happened. TM was convinced that the firing was entirely everyone else’s fault, for one thing, and absolutely nothing was wrong with her tenure at Old Company. And that was after being sent to management courses and being reprimanded formally! So that’s not a good sign.

  3. Leigh says:

    I’m so happy for Z! Life is too short for toxic managers in my opinion. This is why I save. So I can retire on my terms. Or leave a job on my terms. I would have quit too.
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  4. Eesh, I’ve been very lucky with supervisors. I had a couple inconsiderate ones/ones who just didn’t get it. (I took a job on the assurance that I could mainly work from home. Suddenly, I found myself going into the office every day, killing my health, but I stayed because I had no other option.)

    But never toxic. I’m so glad that Z was able to walk away. I hope the start-up realizes just what it’s lost — especially once the complaints about TM start.

    Also, let’s go kick the guilt-tripping TM in the shins.
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    • Revanche says:

      You and a few others here have had some great to decent experiences with managers, I’m impressed. Minus the jerk who changed the job description on you.

      Kicking the guilt-tripper TM in the shins – yes! let’s!

  5. Mrs. CTC says:

    Good story! In my first job out of college I had a very toxic manager, and I think I never fully recovered from that experience. Good thing I would say, since it is definitely one of the reasons I am now aiming to become financially free. To be able to step up and leave.

    I would love to be able to afford my own principles.

    • Revanche says:

      That’s one thing I can thank my series of TMs for: they have all given me serious motivation to get up and out of every difficult situation. Best of luck with your journey and thanks for commenting!

  6. Wow! What an incredible story. You and your friends have some of the most amazing experiences…

    Good on Z for having worked himself into a financial situation where he could walk away from a situation that promised to become toxic. And of course there’s the message he was able to send to Former Employer: pay attention to what your employees are tryin’ to tell ya.

    So true that one of the best benefits of financial fitness and a skill for frugal living is that it gives you a lot of flexibility in your personal and work life.
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    • Revanche says:

      It’s been pointed out to me before that we’ve worked with some real oddballs…. ๐Ÿ™‚

      And yes indeed, who knows if the Former Employer is smart enough to take the clear message but he did the best he could!

  7. I’ve had the world’s worst and best coworkers and managers. It’s so not worth any amount of money to remain in a toxic environment like that. Kudos to your friend!

  8. I’m so glad Z was in a position to escape! I’ve only had one horrible, toxic Manager, but I’d certainly quit if he ever appeared in my life again.

  9. I feel like I’ve been scarred for life by a TM and it’s actually the reason why I’m now self employed. This person put me off working for anyone other than myself. I endured seven years at the hands of this TM and my nerves were literally shot by the time I fell pregnant and felt able to leave my place of work on maternity leave (never to return again). Glad your friend decided to quit but shame that his employers didn’t take into account his feedback on the TM!

    • Revanche says:

      Seven years is a LONG time to put up with that kind of awfulness. Kudos to you for getting away from it.

      I’d guess that it’s a good thing all around. A place that doesn’t respect my opinion regarding a key hire in a role that would highly affect my performance and role is a place I wouldn’t want to be.

  10. […] Career and money: Keep your eye on the ball because the freedom to make choices is amazing. This was a friendโ€™s story, but the principle can be applied to any of us […]

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