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YOUR OFFICE COACH: For your own well being, look for employment elsewhere

Question: The owner of our company flies into uncontrollable rages. He's like a 2-year-old having a temper tantrum, only much scarier. He curses and yells, turns red, and has bulging veins in his forehead. Once he even put his fist through the wall.

Question: The owner of our company flies into uncontrollable rages. He's like a 2-year-old having a temper tantrum, only much scarier. He curses and yells, turns red, and has bulging veins in his forehead. Once he even put his fist through the wall. Some employees are so fearful that they leave the office whenever he gets angry.

We never know when something completely trivial will set him off. For example, he gets mad about the way papers are stapled. The staple must be absolutely horizontal and one-quarter inch from the top and side of the paper. Otherwise, he will be furious.

Even when things are going extremely well, he finds something to complain about. Nothing we do is ever enough, and no one dares to disagree with him about anything. His wife also works here, but she never confronts him about his temper. I actually think she's afraid of him. How do we handle this situation?

Answer: Your volatile boss is a truly scary guy with serious psychological issues. He gets upset during good times because his anger is not caused by external circumstances. He's just a chronically angry person who is constantly in search of a target. His wife undoubtedly has good reason to be afraid.

Because this man owns the business, no one has the power to make him change, so you need to start searching for a healthier place to work. Even if he never inflicts bodily harm, the stress created by his unpredictable outbursts will be damaging to your mental and physical health.

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Q: I recently lost my management position during a reorganization. I was told that my job was being eliminated and that I would be transferred to another department. Although I'm enjoying the chance to learn new things, eventually I would like to return to a leadership role, especially since I just received my MBA.

When I discussed this with my new boss, he said that once you are placed in a lower-level job, you never get back to your original level. This is very depressing, because I am a motivated, driven, career-oriented person. What should I do now?

A: Don't be too discouraged by your manager's ominous and unproven prediction. Being reorganized out of a job is disheartening, but it's not necessarily the end of the world. A leadership position may still be in your future, either with this employer or elsewhere. However, you won't receive any assurance of that now, because management has just finished rearranging the company.

At this point, the best strategy is to accept your present circumstances, while positioning yourself for future opportunities. Do outstanding work, learn as much as you can, and get to know people who could help your career.

Make an ally of your human resources manager, because HR people often influence promotional decisions. Finally, to avoid putting all your eggs in one basket, start making a concerted effort to develop contacts at other companies.

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