Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Should I quit?

Dear HR Store,

I have a query. Is it time to quit a company when an employee is depressed and stressed out? With end results sometimes leading to an employee in tears.

The problem can be attributed to a horrible manager and repeated escalations aren't helping as well.


Well, with the limited information that you have provided, my answer is ‘yes’. You should look for another job.

I really can’t think of a good reason to ask you to stay back in a job that’s only going to make it worse for you. That’s assuming you’ve done your part of having discussions/ tried sorting out any issues/ taken & given feedback, with your manager. It might not have worked out in your favor, but that effort is required to find out the real cause of the problem. Might just help you deal with similar situations in future.

You mention that you escalated the situation. Whom did you escalate it to? Was it his boss? Or HR? I’m keen to know.

Did you escalate the issues after having a candid discussion with the manager? Or did you escalate it to the next level without having a discussion with the manager? If it’s the former situation, then it’s fair since you went through the reporting hierarchy. If it the latter (by-passing reporting structure) that’s not a comfortable situation for your manager to be in and that could have worsened the situation. The second line manager will have only your version of the issue and he’ll then approach your manager for getting his version. You can bet your last penny, that if this happens, your manager isn’t going to be very happy with it.

Now, I’ll assume you must have spoken to your manager’s boss (second line manager), rather than with the HR. If that hasn’t worked either, I’ll have to assume that the second line manager has backed your manager’s work and stands by your manager. Their working styles could be functioning just fine for each other. In that case, I don’t think you stand a chance to counter argue or escalate. It will go eventually go against you. You could even try and get help from HR (employee relations). It might bring a fresh perspective to the issue.

Your references for future jobs might be dependent on the manager. Therefore, keeping HR informed might work in your favor, should the next employer try and reach them for your reference.

I do have one more question, are you the only person affected by your manager’s behavior? Or are the other members on the team equally affected? The answer should tell you the something about the manager’s way of dealing with things and you could then either align yourself to his way of working or leave. That’s a call you can take with some objectivity and which could also lead to some very truthful answers. It would be futile to try and change the way your manager approached things at work, unless he is the ready to sit down and have that one candid discussion. Better yet, be open to receive feedback. In your case, the situation seems to have gone too far for trying that approach.

Get your resume updated. Start applying for a new job. Get an offer in hand. And then quit.

Good luck!

Previous posts that might be helpful:

Are you hit by 'Hurricane Micro-Manager'?

Abusive Managers: Confront or Walk-out?

PS: I got these wonderful tips on Twitter from @preethe, who read this post. She suggests a couple of things that might work too. Thanks!
  1. Explore the option of changing projects within the same Company. That could lead to working with a different manager.
  2. Taking the issue to HR and then talking to the resourcing manager for a new project might solve the issue.