Another One Bites the Dust…

It’s no longer possible for me to trust my own mind because I know how utterly unreliable it is, but I got greater affirmation of why I’m so uneasy in my workplace when I learned last night that we have lost yet another very decent person from our working team.

My boss is toxic. So am I, though. I’m not a positive, constructive workplace presence; at least in terms of what my employer would like.

Nobody can work with my boss. She has chewed up and spat out everyone she works with, mainly through being excessively demanding and relentlessly uncompromising.

I’m moaning, but not merely whining. I’ve in the 10th year of employment with my current employer. From 2014 to 2017, we had no changes in the team of seven. From 2017 to the end of 2018, we lost six people, three of whom were replaced. Then, at the start of 2019, three of the then team of six left at once and were replaced by five people, one of whom was the toxic boss, who was given that position upon recruitment because they are a Japanese national and was the oldest of the new hires. Up until that stage, it was a fairly average turnover rate for a Japanese small- and medium-sized enterprise. Within weeks, one talented member had quit (citing the toxic boss), another team member filed a complaint of harassment and within months another team member had gone on long-term sick leave as a result of being subjected to constant harassment. Then came COVID and the boss was given effectively total authority over the division as we were sent to work from home. It has been mayhem, all sanctioned by the employer, either directly or indirectly. Nobody hired to work directly with the boss has lasted more than one year–even while working remotely. We have lost seven employees, all very good people, in just three years; all of them citing the boss, though perhaps not officially. (I have been told personally in each case except for two.)

I suspect my company plans to have one last crack at a money-making summer, then put an end to the business when the contracts of most existing employees at the end of September. The employee on the way out said they had been instructed to keep their impending departure a secret from the rest of the staff until their employment actually finishes at the end of July.

Twice I have asked the company president to establish a (legally mandated) harassment hotline, but the president has promised only to handle the matter personally and will not abide by the law. It’s Japan. The company is fully aware of the person they have appointed, and seem to have continued the appointment anyway, even though the cost of retraining and rehiring undoubtedly outweigh anything this toxic boss has brought to the table.

Anyway, as an old man with no transferrable skills, I’m really scared. I fear losing my livelihood and the lifestyle that makes it possible. I’ve never handled fear well.

How am I handling it now? Or trying to handle it? Well, I acknowledge that it’s happening and remind myself that it will be easier in the long run if I address it now instead of running away, allowing it to mount and then overwhelming me.

How can I address it? I can’t really. I have made my complaints to the company and they were refuted. So, I have to cooperate and fulfill my contractual obligations, which I am doing, even with the sword of Damocles hanging over my head.

And I am praying for the toxic boss. There is clearly something wrong there, and their behavior is abnormal. May whatever it is please be taken away and peace and calm be bestowed upon them.

And boy do I thank Mrs. Kangaeroo, my kids, the Dinosaur, my mates, cycling, my garden and the way of life I get to lead.

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