Since we are nearing the end of our competition for ‘team horror stories’ (you can share yours with us here) I thought I would encourage any last-minute entrants with a couple of my own over the next few days. The reason it has taken me so long to write these short pieces is not through lack of material, rather the opposite. I was finding it hard to choose between contenders.
Today let’s start with this: A long time ago, I took a job with a large company overseas. Most of the reason I took the job was because the person I would be reporting into was absolutely amazing. I was still building my career and this person was exactly the kind, nurturing, tough-but-fair role model I needed to help me shape my experience and sharpen my skills. In fact, my boss to be was so perfect I didn’t do the due diligence I should have on the organisation its self. From the first moment I arrived, the nervous energy and staring eyes of my new team members were a big red flag. It quickly became apparent that my new boss was being steadily destroyed by the company I had just voluntarily put myself in the middle of. Sure enough, roughly 6 weeks into my job, my boss had a clinical breakdown and left the company to go into treatment.
Suddenly feeling very alone and exposed, it was with great relief I was notified that a new boss had been found and would be coming to take the reins within days. My relief however was to be short lived. Our new leader had come from a competitor and announced her intention to replace the team with her own people, poached from her previous establishment. Horrified, but not stupid, I started looking for a new job immediately but things were moving very slowly and the market was almost completely stagnant at the time. As the weeks went by and I was still there, her frustration grew. Visibly. It was around then that I started to notice small acts of sabotage. Important documents I was responsible for would suddenly go missing, including passports belonging to coworkers and cheques for large sums of money would appear outside of the safe where I had securely stowed them.
It all came to a head, serendipitously, on the same day I finally secured a new job. Coming into work that morning I must have seemed happier than usual because, before I could deliver my own news, the boss swept me off into a private interview room declaring it was time to revise my yearly objectives. Curious to see how this was going to play out, I let her continue as she piled my KPIs with increasingly unrealistic goals. But she had saved the best for last. My core KPI for that year was to be ‘lose weight, minimum 10Kg’.
It was probably quite lucky for everyone involved that I had my new job offer confirmed and was able to respond by simply handing over the notice of my immediate resignation. Which I did calmly and almost without saying any rude words. Almost.
So come on chaps, I’ve shown you mine, now you show me yours! Let’s hear the weirdest, most wonderful things you’ve experienced working in a team. Our fantastic team report awaits the lucky winners who can shock and horrify us – bonus points if you also make us laugh! Share your stories here.