Bullying boss with their boss leaving: references for newjob

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Snowy Owl
Snowy Owl

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Joined: 19 Aug 2007
Age: 35
Gender: Male
Posts: 138
Location: Dubuque, IA

12 Apr 2024, 8:04 pm

I'm working in a more demanding job than my last one, which was a ten-year call center job for telecom that made the local office redundant after I basically grew all my work skills there. Now I'm handling a claimload for an HR consultancy (won't say more for privacy) but struggling to get up to speed as communication is more opaque than I'm used to and the software is clunky and temperamental. I work from home 4 days a week, in office Wednesdays health permitting and barring a blizzard. Wednesday hours are conventional 8 to 4, rest of the week 11 to 7 to accommodate a West Coast client.

My training experience was rough like my fellow colleagues, particularly with trainers unfamiliar with the particular client we were going to serve, but the first month or so went fine with my boss, until my difficulties with executive function decisions on claims (really with learning how to do it) got in the way and I was basically introduced cold turkey to having to dial out and take calls (some for claims in my name, some not) with only a brief introduction by a triage line on inbound breaking my flow on what is assigned to me several times a day, while I try to work maybe 30-40 tasks a day of highly varying nature into a 7 hours of net work time. She has ramped up criticism of my pace, asking me what I need to get faster but not always making clear what I'm doing that's "extra" (as far as the refs here I haven't been found to make substantial mistakes, so it's quality over quantity when they want more of the latter). I'm expected to "move on" when my question is awaiting an answer and am admittedly not the greatest triager of unsolved mysteries, but today she tried to dictate a timed series of things just to see if I could get closer to one of those piecework estimates which I've been far off of due to executive function and communication issues (verbal with people on the phone) beyond what I ever had with one-and-done customer service. Her latest "solution" was to suggest comparing me to those I know are doing better than me (perhaps useful if only to see how they note) and going onto the frontline call queue when the difficulty switching gears and noting while on the line is the crux of the issue to begin with. It's claimed I'll be on "performance" ("probation") if I don't take accountability for improving (I'm getting risers and a stand for my personal laptop as well as a new home office chair, a longtime priority now that my savings are more flush and since physical comfort at home is part of the sensory issue for me), and when I tell her I'm determined to hang on she acts flustered that I think she wants otherwise, kind of a tell. She has complaints but little constructive criticism I can process, and seems to favor accountability over inclusion in the boilerplate values of the company; I have disclosed my diagnosis and get the feeling she is willfully ignorant about how it affects how I do things because she seems surprised over and over, and I've been trying to reach the overloaded vocational rehab in my state who will likely need to have a conversation sooner rather than later, though I doubt it will help matters when the ADA takes a lawyer and all that expense to enforce.

I admittedly am not the smoothest "office" person, and have struggled to blend in with the quiet habitats of this majority-female workplace. After the same boss let me know Wednesday of some issues with my calling out claim concerns (pretty quietly I thought) across a row between cubicles to her and a colleague who was helping train us early on, I felt bashful since the others kind of knew to knock or message in chat first, not a great setup for a pizza lunch with a visiting veep (pretty lousy catering to be honest) at which I felt a lot of cold shoulders including from those who had met me but didn't seem to act like it. I've been physically ill, though mildly so as long as I don't exert myself the last few weeks, with possible walking pneumonia I thought was a cold at first for a month, so Murphy's Law seems to be in force and no performance dip seems acceptable.

I just want to dig out of this hole and thrive where I'm at, and I love the benefits and opportunities to advance even if my current role is a struggle. While the manager's frequent absences lately make me think I may get a new one (I get along better with many of the other co-workers and pretty much all the managers I've met, but that may just be their role as "not my manager"), otherwise I know I'm the outgunned one by definition as a new hire in a non-union, at-will state. If I look elsewhere for work, seeing as this is only my second long-term job at 35 with a B.A. and motor skills not conducive to factories or merchandise service jobs, how do I seek anything above the poverty line with the shaky references here? Vocational rehab and self-advocacy might stretch things out a bit, but for my quality of life I am considering Plan B. I'm in the U.S., as my profile indicates, so cost of living is a big issue and leaving a job or going back to searching without one after four months unemployed despite a boom economy last summer and fall (real ego blow) is not to be taken lightly.