I’ve been at my current job for two years and really enjoyed working here until the last six months. In a nutshell, I was given an account management position when the old acct manager quit, and was left doing a two-person job by myself until I finally announced I was not prepared for this and wanted to step down. It was decided I would still be doing most of the account manager duties, but that my supervisor would be the “face” of the company when dealing with clients. It’s still a lot more work than I was used to, but I find it manageable and even enjoyable most of the time.
At the time I stepped down, my boss was very sympathetic and supportive. Now, however, she seems to be going out of her way to make me feel like an idiot. Whenever I ask a question in a meeting or make some sort of comment, her reply is always impatient and often sarcastic. This is something I have much difficulty dealing with; I can take it once in a while, but not multiple times every single day, and I’m at the point where I just can’t keep my mouth shut. Whenever she makes some rude or sarcastic remark, I find myself firing right back at her, even in front of others (including my direct supervisor). I’m just not sure what I did to inspire her attitude toward me, or what I can do to make it better. I’m not sure what she expects of me. Any insight would be much appreciated.
And here is my advice:
Turning down or stepping down from a promotion isn’t necessarily bad in and of itself, and it sounds like you acted in your own best interest as well as the best interest of the organization. However, without more detail, it’s hard to know exactly what transpired when you announced your resignation. If you weren’t as diplomatic or positive about the situation as you could have been, it could have sullied your reputation with this particular manager, who may now think you’re not as dedicated and/or competent as before. She may also resent your decision because it means more work and/or agita for her. And finally, every time you and the boss get into an argument in public, it escalates the problem and it sounds like you are now near the point of all-out war.
I understand how upsetting this must be for you, and feel that it’s time to nip it in the bud. Invite her to lunch or coffee. Sit down with her, swallow your pride, and acknowledge that your relationship has suffered since you stepped down from your prior role. Ask her what you can do to ensure that the two of you can work more effectively together. Even if you feel that the unpleasantness is mostly her fault, taking ownership and responsibility for getting things back on the right track will endear you to her. After all, it’s hard to be too critical of someone who earnestly wants to improve things. Hopefully, the conversation will also be a wake up call in the event that she is truly clueless about how her remarks are being perceived. Even though it’s hard to address conflict directly, a response like this is the mature one, and both of you will be happier and more productive in the long run.
For guidance from three other amazing career experts, check out the post on Intuit's Fast Track blog.