Q. Right after I accepted my new position, the manager who
hired me quit. I now have a boss "Sam" who's a classic
bully. He has most of the office terrorized. Every question
becomes a confrontation. Last week, he walked into the
conference room as I was meeting with a customer and began
berating me about a missing fax. Our Regional VP has asked
us to be understanding because Sam has family and health
problems. I've only been here two months. Should I begin
looking for a new job?

A. Possibly. But first take charge of your current

(1) Document your boss's behavior, with action time and
date. Skip personal comments ("he's a jerk"). Instead,
"Sam entered Conference Room A at 11:04 AM while I was
meeting with Mary Jones, VP of Eastern Widgets. Mary left
five minutes later, so I could not complete my presentation
to this Major Account, risking sales of $400K." Write what
Sam said and describe his gestures objectively. "He
pointed a finger at me," not, "He waved his arms wildly."
Keep your notes at home.

(2) Document your efforts to establish a good relationship
with your new boss. Be ready to demonstrate that you're
building bridges.

(3) Stay tuned to the office grapevine but avoid getting
bogged down in long gripe sessions. Use the time to enhance
your skills and test the job market.

(4) Take care of your own needs. Coaches can help you
develop creative coping strategies and provide a
confidential sounding board. If you're seriously depressed
or anxious, find the appropriate professional resource.

(5) Begin exploring the job market, even if you just
arrives. Many employers will understand if you explain,
"The manager who fought to get me hired has left the company
and my new boss wants to put own team together." Be brief
and professional.

(6) Call the manager who hired you. She may not be willing
to serve as a reference, but she may back up your story of a
change in management.

(7) Listen for hidden agendas. Some managers are
untouchable, no matter how outrageously they behave, because
of some past history with the company. Maybe they brought in
a big account during an economic downturn. Maybe they saved
the president's career a long time ago. You may never learn
the reason.

(8) Assess your corporate culture before making a formal
complaint. Once you've reached management level, you have to
tread carefully when appealing to HR, senior managers or
legal action. You're expected to be able to handle all kinds
of tough situations. Some companies even evaluate managers
on how they deal with a bad boss.

(9) Prepare a "last resort" strategy. If your boss has
crossed the line from bad to bully, you can't find a new
job, and your stress level soars, take your documentation to
the appropriate place. In some companies you would start
with your boss's boss, then human resources; in other's it's
the other way around. Make your case professionally,
couched in of the company's needs. "I've lost two sales reps
who named Sam in their exit interview. I've had to spend an
extra nineteen thousand dollars to hire replacements and
they're still on their learning curve."

(10) Reclaim your own power. Seize the opportunity to use
your company's resources as a vehicle to reach your own
long-term career goals. Recognize that your stay here will
be limited and begin to invest time, energy and sometimes
money in your own healthy long-term future.

Author's Bio: 

Cathy Goodwin, Ph.D., is an author, speaker and
career/business consultant, helping midlife
professionals discover the First Inning of their
Second Career Game.
"Ten secrets of mastering a major life change"

Contact: mailto:cathy@cathygoodwin.com