A reader writes:
I recently left a large internet company to join a well established, yet small creative agency. The company's philosophy of listening and constantly learning really connected with me and the team was very passionate about doing good work for a great set of clients.
The issue here is the level of verbal abuse that I have since found out is a feature of the work environment. The cool radio station playing in the background wasn't because the office was hip - it was to cover up the screaming coming from the executive office for even the smallest offenses. Late 10 minutes? Well, you are going to get yelled at for a half hour and have every other fault or perceived flaw flung at you along with a litany of questioning of your professionalism and dedication. Didn't convey the exact message that the founder force fed you before a client meeting? Well, that is good for at least an hour.
I have tried everything from being calm and reasonable, to trying to get a work in edge wise, to confronting him and telling him behavior is unprofessional and damaging, to just flat out ending the conversation and walking out. Unfortunately, because I am not willing to sit through these tirades with my hands folded and head down like all of the other executive team, I am being froze out of key meetings and now enduring work which is totally not in my job description suddenly becoming my responsibility (i.e. I am a producer and suddenly I am being told that site QA, customer research and architecture work is also part of my duties).
I am a senior level person with over 10 years of experience and have not had the experience of working for someone who only knows how to express themselves by yelling. I just started this job and really would like to get a year in before going, but this is taking a toll on my health and I dread stepping foot in this place. There were also a whole host of things that they flat out lied about during the interview process (no 401k, no flexible hours, team is widely dispersed) and I would have never taken this role if I had known. I am not sure what to do here - I am very on edge and don't think I have it in me to deal with another day wasted with these tirades.
Okay, look for a new job and get an offer first, but ultimately, the answer is to leave.
I get that you want to stick it out for a year, so that you don't look like a job hopper to future employers. But you have a perfectly reasonable excuse for leaving now. You can tell interviewers, "The manager's management style revolves around yelling, and it's not for me." Assuming that the other jobs on your resume were longer stays, people are going to understand this and will realize that good people don't want to work for tyrants.
Chronic yelling should be a deal-breaker. It demeans the person being yelled at, and frankly, it diminishes the authority of the yeller because it makes them look out of control. And if anyone out there is reading this and thinking, "Well, there are some times when yelling is warranted" -- no, there aren't. If you're a good manager and you're confident in your own authority, you don’t need to yell; problems don’t get under your skin because you have effective tools at your disposal (such as performance counseling and moving out employees who aren’t the right fit). Yelling is the sign of a bad manager. And a jerk.
Leave, and have no qualms about doing it.