She started feeling nervous and flustered every time her phone would buzz. She would anxiously open her emails and if, somehow, the email wasn’t from her boss, her heart rate would return to normal.

It didn’t start out this way, while her boss had always insisted on his employees always being available, he used to only send the occasional after hours email, and it was usually something she could respond to the next day, without consequences. Her job was good, demanding, but overall she was satisfied. She became close with a coworker, which made the day go by faster. She had a great relationship with most of her coworkers, chatting amiably in the office kitchen over pizza.

Even now, looking back, she’s not sure what started it. Business wasn’t amazing, but they had been through the ups and downs before. Was it doing even worse than she knew? Her boss had recently brought on 3 more guys. Their salaries were surely adding to the strain.

Slowly, her boss started to get more frantic, sending emails and 7pm, 8pm, 9pm, all in one night, asking for questions to be answered RIGHT AWAY. He would confide in her about wanting to fire other employees, how the business needed to save money, who should he fire?

Slowly, he started to doubt her commitment. After a week of 12 hour days, working endlessly on a crappy project made only worse by her boss’ strong but usually wrong instincts, he sent her an email at 12:30 a.m. on a Friday night. Paragraphs about how if she’s not committed to the job, she should just tell him now. If she wasn’t going to put in the work, that was a big problem. He went on an on about how she wasn’t dedicated. It made no sense, was out of left field, and entirely false. She wrote back, with a detailed list of all the things she had done in the last week, and all the things in her next week’s list.

He, of course, didn’t respond. He didn’t mention it the next week. He continued ignoring her most days, unless he had to speak with her. It was the most bizarre, confusing, childish behavior she had ever experienced at work, and she did not know how to deal with it.

She just needed to stick it out a little longer, and then things would either get better or she could get a new job. Little did she know that his behavior would only get worse, and more destructive, in the coming months.



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