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Aunty Bella: Miss. Horrible Male Bosses



Aunty Bella is our agony aunt column on BellaNaija. We launched this column in the early days of BN and periodically feature issues sent in by BN readers. We hope the BN family can offer insightful advice as well.


I never figured I would be one of those people doing “Aunty Bella”. It goes to show how much we all think we’ve got it together. So people, here’s my story. It might be lengthy, but abeg, let me rant.

I have worked in a pretty large organization for the past four years. Some may say that because of my profession, I get to work directly with very principal officers both internally and externally; but I know it’s mostly because of my personality. Think Alpha Female, Type A, and whatever terminology applies. I am trusted. I get things done. And I absolutely love to think on my feet.

I happen to have several immediate bosses I report to: all male except one female. Unfortunately, and with all due respect, my bosses are men who have weak personalities and do not like females who are assertive, or who question their perspective on any issue. They are very petty, stingy people.

I discovered this rather early and learnt to stoop to conquer. I became quieter and in the process I learnt a lot from them; work and personality wise. I grew so much and would have been the loser if I had not checked myself. These bosses, however, still resent me, yet I am the one they come to when they want to get things done well.

I overheard one asking HR for a replacement for me some months ago and he stopped giving me assignments even when I went to ask him pointedly. This went on until our CEO complained last month, saying I was lazy and not willing to learn. Whenever I misstep, rather than talk to me, they go and report me to our CEO and other people who have no business with the issue. They make indirect snide remarks about my not being married saying it’s because “I do not have character”.

They complain when I take permission to attend Conferences (which are all self-sponsored). One of them in particular comes into my office greets everyone and pointedly ignores me, asking about their welfare, their husbands, kids, saying how some people (me) would never achieve them. Mind you, I am not even 30, which seems to be the sell-by date with these sort of people. If that didn’t make you laugh, don’t come at me in the comments section.

They also spread terrible, malicious gossip about me which I would rather not go into.

What has prompted this SmS (Save my Soul) is the rhetoric of respecting your elders even when they are wrong. I simply cannot abide these men anymore. I used to be able to hide my feelings and thoughts but it’s difficult to uphold the good upbringing I’m supposed to have.

I must add that my opinion of them is generally held. I just happen to be probably the only one whose “unamored” is obvious. When they talk, I adopt the siddon look approach, or what else would you do with someone who has said “I am happy when I see people cry. I am a sadist”? Or who blatantly ignores my degrees when writing my name, demotes me on paper or deliberating mispronounces my surname in meetings? For 4 years, kwa? Did I also mention that they like to use “Alternative Power Supply”?

My problem is that I have worked very hard to come into my own. I have accommodated all manner of identities, having lived most of my life thinking I had to be who people wanted me to be.

Something else happened today and I have come to my wits end. I don stoop sote e don become my permanent posture. I cannot continue to be less of myself and be saying “Hello from the Other Side”, but I also admit I do not want to be taciturn and silently contentious which I have become.

Even if I leave this employ, it should not be because of them. It should be because I want to. I mean, every organization seems to have people like these in them so what I am experiencing so far may not even be the frying pan for others. For how long will I keep running?

Photo Credit: Dreamstime |  Tatsianama


  1. super lady

    December 14, 2015 at 1:57 pm

    awwww…. I actually felt as if I sent this. Well, this is also what i have been going through for some time now. You just have it at the back of your mind that you can never satisfy anyone. When I’m quiet they complain, when I’m happy, they also complain. It even got to a point where one of my boss has to fight with me cos I am not keeping malice with whoever he is fighting with, which ain’t possible. I just ignore them so as be at peace. Set boundaries. Always keep yourself busy. It is well sweetheart.

    • Surely

      December 15, 2015 at 7:21 am

      Please, they will kill your spirit soon if you don’t leave U can find another place to work or look for someone with similar interests and go the entrepreneurial route. Ur exit day should be a determined one. Don’t stay in such rubbish. You’d be surprised how powerful you are and productive u can get in a positive environment. Misogyny is a real thing, Nigerian women are still in denial (I’ve already started seeing “keep urself busy” as if that’s good for your mental health. lol

    • Abby

      December 15, 2015 at 12:31 pm

      No place is easy , every new environment comes with its own challenges .Be Calm ,its a face .it will pass.

  2. Missunderstood

    December 14, 2015 at 2:02 pm

    Awww! A 10,000 hugs and kisses your way. Be strong girl! I understand where you are coming from. I have been there. I have been lucky as I have had super understanding bosses (All male by the way but not Nigerians) I have also been at the receiving end of horrible bosses (Nigerians unfortunately) who have made me cry in the past. The major problem has always been my assertiveness. It will appear that they have my interest at heart then an incident of fault (my fault) for them to turn to the devil! (on all occasions). In such situations I felt like I was being set up to fail. But I am glad I am the assertive gun slinging cowboy ( Yes! I said Boy not girl). I always spoke up against the injustice towards me. Most times they just conclude that I am a loud mouth that should be left alone. So if there is a need to speak up, please do.

  3. beebe

    December 14, 2015 at 2:11 pm

    If it is excessive don’t stay there, its like an abusive relationship ..don’t stay because you want to prove something unnecessary to prove , some battles are not worth any fight, the ceo is even against you, also have an honest conversation with yourself and acknowledge the things you could do better since we hearing only your side of the story . And pray about it..

  4. Banke

    December 14, 2015 at 2:25 pm

    Dear Poster,

    I empathise with what you’re going through but I’m sorry I couldn’t help but sense the feistiness from your write up. Perhaps you should actually take a look at yourself and try figuring out where you can work on in terms of attitude.

    As per your bosses, I know the worst thing is being in a place that upsets one’s spirit, however, I feel you should zero your mind to ‘I just want to work here and get out, I’m not here for enemies, neither am I for friends’. Once you have that mentality, you’ll handle the situation much better. Also, try and be nice regardless!


    • MEE

      December 14, 2015 at 3:43 pm

      REALLY???? For 4 years?? You don’t even know who she is, and besides what else is the post supposed to sound like? She made it clear she was ranting. Please let her express herself biko, it’s toxic pretending to be happy when you’re not. If she keeps being nice to them they will keep mistreating her abeg.

    • Surely

      December 15, 2015 at 7:23 am

      What’s wrong with poster being feisty??? U did not hear that her superiors are condescending and wicked towards her?

  5. Altraide Emmanuel

    December 14, 2015 at 2:27 pm

    The honest truth is that miss like you quite expressed yourself to be, from your letter I can highlight clearly three things from your job position.
    1)You seem to be put in a compromising emotional situation by your bosses and you feel it shouldn’t be so,then my advice is kindly leave the Job and try a good search engine that fits your job experience and package but always remember the grass isn’t greener as you think on the other side.
    2You also mentioned the fact that you seem to be constantly referred to as a lady whom cant get married and stay in my opinion although I haven’t seen you before but am quite convinced you are a very pretty lady whom overtly or covertly influences such oppressive looks that bosses cant tolerate(some call it beautiful arrogance or Pride associated with innuendos or swagger) and that quite frankly threaten lots of male bosses the earlier you step slow on that brake the better.
    3)Lastly, you clearly stated if you must leave your job it shouldn’t be because of them it should be because you want the truth is that don’t deceive yourself its definitely going to because of them especially if the lucks don’t run in concerning marriage and other things turns bad you will definitely feel unsafe emotional and physical to be in there midst. And I hope all these take on from your bosses is not as a result of failed relationships with them or failed attempt. If it is you better address it because it will stain you greatly if left untreated

  6. Sweetchy

    December 14, 2015 at 2:56 pm

    Poster, I feel your pains & I really agree with beebe. These might not be ordinary too, they might be spiritual battle on its own. Leave that organization if you don’t experience peace of mind. And yes, its same as being in an abusive relationship. What point are you even trying to prove by staying in a loveless organization? I left my former organization (Indian Company) cos it was loveless & i never experienced peace of mind. But see me now in a very comfortable place where I’m being valued & pampered as well. This might be God’s way of taking you out of misery to a more comfortable place.
    Above all, pray unceasingly for them bullies.

    • Sugar

      December 15, 2015 at 1:29 pm

      Working in an Indian Company is the worse place to be on earth!

  7. Princess P

    December 14, 2015 at 2:57 pm

    Some bosses are just wicked. They know that there are no jobs in this country that is no job so they frustrate you because of some petty pay. Girl, hold on….except you have a better offer.

    Thank God for my office o…I don’t experience such. My boss will rather push you to grow. God bless him

  8. belle

    December 14, 2015 at 3:04 pm

    Try Mediation or whatever the term is where you speak to HR and the person that is giving you issues whilst HR is present. Well in naija it might backfire but I will say SAY SOMETHING. SPEAK UP.

  9. Fake Aunty Bella

    December 14, 2015 at 3:16 pm

    Very Fake!

    People have been saying some of AuntyBella is fake but now i agree.

    There was a post about female bosses recently and what it generated in the comment section. These people know AuntyBella is the only post/article that generates a whole lot of comments and they wanna bring traffic.

    Fuck it.

    “my bosses are men who have weak personalities and do not like females who are assertive, or who question their perspective on any issue. They are very petty, stingy people.”

    1. A continuous bash of men
    2. They are your bosses. Whether you are aplha male (as you stated), thats your cup of tea. You listen to your boss
    3.”They are stingy people” How are they stingy? Are they your father? Are you not collecting your own salary? They should be giving you money free of charge? As what? a side chic, gf or what?

    4. Go do research of all male & female bosses. Out of every 100 terrible bosses, you know what the percentage is….

    • Tomisin Magz

      Tomisin Magz

      December 14, 2015 at 4:04 pm

      So if her bosses tell her to jump into fire, she should go ahead because they are her bosses??? Wow! I get you

    • ATL's finest

      December 15, 2015 at 6:06 am

      @ Fake Aunty Bella, please bikonu calm down for u sound unbearable right now. What’s this “pepperish” attitude for? Just for a post? Well I see your Inferior Vena Cava about to burst open through your heart of u don’t take it easy. Let the writer vent for she’s allowed to. #Onelove#

    • Surely

      December 15, 2015 at 7:25 am

      What an essay for a fake letter

    • molarah

      December 15, 2015 at 10:37 am

      She’s already said this is a rant, which is code for “ignore my strong language”. Yes she seems very critical of her bosses, but then the onus is on us (hehehe – who noticed that 🙂 ) to read between the lines and give her a honest feedback based on what we are able to deduce. You on the other hand, just sound like you came to this post with a preconceived agenda. Calm down.

  10. Nahum

    December 14, 2015 at 3:30 pm

    My dear poster, this happens in all work places and you will have to learn how to deal with this situation rather than running away. It won’t be better elsewhere. First of all, get close to your female boss, work closely with her. Second, approach HR and make a complaint. Explain your side to HR and let them document your complaint and leave them to come to a solution. Third, approach your CEO and have a discussion about your work environment. In all this, always act professional and PLEASE do not start crying and acting emotional. It will not help your case. Leave them to gossip and make snide remarks about you, it won’t kill you. Focus on your job. Just don’t allow their comments to get you fired. Always be professional but report them to people that can address this issue (HR and the CEO). Welcome to the world of working women. This is what we face.

    • molarah

      December 15, 2015 at 11:25 am

      Hmmm… report to HR, what happens when the people in HR are of the same mindset as the guys bullying her? Well, I guess it may work for some cases….

  11. Thatgidigirl

    December 14, 2015 at 4:21 pm

    It’s possible that your bosses are a bunch of jerks that find you intimidating, also possible that the culture in the organisation isn’t tolerant to women with your personality. Meanwhile before we tackle these men from the back, let’s also consider the possibility that you have not made yourself likeable…..not that “liking” you is a prerequisite for working amicably or respecting a colleague but it sure helps. In my opinion, and pls note that I said “my opinion” your rant comes off as uppity.
    First your description of yourself has a certain tone to it that made me adjust myself in my chair, and then you go ahead to “respectably” call ALL your male bosses weak. Perhaps you emote this disdain for them without knowing it, even in your stooped state and you expect them to like you in return? I know for certain that people who think they are doing all the work are difficult to work with in a team, so maybe you should look inwards and trace the problem before calling them out…..surely u’re not the only woman or single woman in the company
    I don’t see what the problem is here, you hate your bosses and they hate you in return…..including your CEO that pays your salary. With that kind of attitude, I doubt that you deliver as much as you claim to. My advice to you is to get another job, you hate that place.

    • Nahum

      December 14, 2015 at 5:21 pm

      How she feels about her bosses privately has nothing to do with the issue. She is being bullied by her superiors and that is what is important. Her “feelings” are irrelevant as long as she gets the work done, after all the workplace is not a school playground where she gets points for being popular. She is there to work, and if these men are hindering her work, then that is the issue to be addressed, not her feelings.

    • Thatgidigirl

      December 14, 2015 at 6:12 pm

      Nahum fair enough, but who is to say that these feelings do not affect her quality of work or her “work relationship” with her bosses? There are 3 sides to a story and I have chosen to play the devil’s advocate here, it’s easy to say these bosses are horrible…..there are in fact very horrible bosses no doubt. I am not asking her to be popular, but to check her attitude. If u spend 8hrs a day, 5 times a week (for 4 years so far), with these people it would do her some good to work amiably with them. You can be assertive and still know how to pick your battles.

    • larz

      December 14, 2015 at 6:05 pm

      Thank you!
      People say it is a man’s world but they lie. I don’t see anyone (man or woman) surviving in a work place with this attitude.

      This was an opportunity for you to sell your story and even you didn’t paint yourself in a good light here. Imagine, when you aren’t even trying. I would really encourage you to work hard on your emotional intelligence.

      I suspect all the hazing and snide comments about you being single is in response to the bad blood between you guys. You have no respect for your bosses. After 4 years of working in a place, if you don’t have ONE senior person that can vouch for you (and it doesn’t sound like you do) then it seems to me like wasted effort. I have seen people get turned down for jobs/ positions of authoriy becuz of a conversation that goes like this.
      Mr A: I interviewed John Smith, great guy. He used to work in ABC limited.
      Mr B: oh check with Mr C, he worked there too.
      Mr A to Mr C: What do you think of John, do you think he will be a great fit here?
      Mr C: well, he wasn’t exactly pleasant to work with. Very few people got along with him even if he was smart but I am sure he must have changed in the past 5 yrs.

      In some cases, Mr C is a junior administrator or secretary and in other cases, they were big bosses.

      Meanwhile, John Smith does not even know that Mr C works for that company or said anything about him.

    • Surely

      December 15, 2015 at 7:27 am

      I knew some cretin would take her strength for arrogance but “nicely” advice her to fix herself… No be naija pipo? Shio!

    • Easy n Gentle

      December 15, 2015 at 8:11 am

      I read an article on HBR recently, and in it, it was said that Nigerians prefer to do business with people they can relate to on a personal level (I had to think about that, and I agreed). You can find link below if Bella allows it. I’m making an assumption that you work for a Nigerian company. Thing is, no matter how assertive you are, you mostly have to work with a team and teams thrive on relationships built. The cordial relationship might not go beyond the office, and not necessarily with everyone, but I believe it is a key duty to ensure you’re on good terms with the influential people not necessarily the bosses. Admittedly, it’s not high school and like someone said, you’re not there to win a popularity contest but it really does make your life easier, kinda saves you from trouble, like the kind you’re going through at the moment.

      Even if you do change your job, what’s to stop it from happening again if you do not correct the underlying problem. There will be ‘weak bosses’ everywhere. You should also work on not being so judgemental. It’s not part of your job description. Accept that some of your bosses will not be as good as you, yet you have to work with them and get the job done; a praise here, suggestion there, assertive sometimes- not all the time- and letting them take credits for some of your ideas are all ingredients to achieve your goals. Yours is to deliver based on your portfolio and then some.

  12. Ephi

    December 14, 2015 at 4:32 pm

    Someone please enlighten me, what is, “Alternative Power Supply” referring to in this context?

    • Mabel

      December 15, 2015 at 12:34 am

      @Ephi, I am wondering the same thing. I thought maybe she meant the company was stealing electricity, who

  13. spoonfullofsugar

    December 14, 2015 at 4:57 pm

    I agree with thatgidigirl. I couldn’t articulate my thoughts on this but she spoke my mind. You need to look inwards hun. If they all have issues with you, it might mean you consider yourself too highly. Relax and live a little -even at work. Also remember not to appear to outshine the masters. A good relationships with your bosses will take you further than certifications.

  14. Grapes

    December 14, 2015 at 5:17 pm

    I didn’t want to bother dropping a comment but i thought otherwise. I have had my own share of not so good bosses and faced dislike which resulted in discrimination, bad appraisals and a lack of promotion. At the end of the day, when i shared my challenges with a friend then, she told me that no matter what, so long as people conspire against you, it will rebound to them. Long story short, God fought for me. One of them has left the work place quarreling with our oga and i was promoted in the ranks of the firm.

    My advice dear… hold firmly to God and as much as u can, do that which is right. God will vindicate u when u have done your best.

  15. eva

    December 14, 2015 at 5:21 pm

    I think you should complain to your HF. I see no reason why people should make mean remarks about you. what has your personal life got to do with your professional life? Your colleagues are not professional at all…even if you are ill mannered, they should complain to appropriate authorities rather than gossip about you. my dear, pls, if in a few weeks, things don’t get better, leave. God would provide a better one for u. All you need is faith.

  16. eva

    December 14, 2015 at 5:22 pm

    pardon, HR

  17. Tosin

    December 14, 2015 at 6:16 pm

    Good for you, really congratulations.
    If you’ve really really sucked every great thing you can out of the place, if it has nothing more for you, you should leave. If there’s still something left, wait and get/do that something.
    Some of what they’re trying to tell you with their petty behaviour is that you’re too good for them. Why do you want to argue that?
    Respect and more power to you.

  18. Anony Mouse

    December 14, 2015 at 6:56 pm

    I have not read the other comments so apologies in advance if this is repetitive. What you said in your last paragraph ‘even if I leave, it should not be because of them’ is actually what is holding you back. The reason you should leave IS because of them. You sound like you are well-educated, empowered and intelligent. As you navigate this world, you need to pick your battles and make changes when you can. It does not sound like you can change these people, so work with what you can change. You. Four years in one organization is more than good enough on your resume for potential employers…start to seek employment elsewhere where you will be better appreciated. They owe you a good reference so work to get that from them. When they see where you end up, they are the ones that will be coming up to you asking you for guidance. #speakingfromexperience. Please polish off your CV, update your profile on Linkedin and start job hunting. 2016 will bring a new adventure to you that will help you grow.

  19. Confuzzled

    December 14, 2015 at 8:01 pm

    If you don’t like your job, leave and get another one. Leave before you’re fired or irrevocably sabotaged. If it’ll be hard to find another job, then put on your best fake smile and do what it takes to survive. Its sad but such is life. Seek common ground. After 4 years you must have some allies in management. If you can’t find any allies, then you might not be as competent as you think. Develop deeper relationships with your allies. Not everyone must love you.

    Most importantly you need to think of what your objectives are in your job. Do you want to start your own business? Do you just want to collect salary? Do you want to move upward within the same organization? I don’t think you know what you want yet,. If you knew, you’d be focused on reaching your goal, while recognizing any adversity on the way is only temporary.

    In summary, you need to set your career goals. Once you do, your next steps in handling the current work situation will become obvious. Best of luck.

    • Tkum

      December 15, 2015 at 11:44 am

      gbammm!!! Thank You @Confuzzled

  20. [email protected]

    December 14, 2015 at 9:02 pm

    After reading all the comment I finally decided to add mine. I don’t know you but I feel you are a very pretty and intelligent woman. I have also had similar work experiences. I trained male colleagues on the job and they got promoted and not me. Once at lunch a male colleague just felt his should tell me how he felt about me and it was how he just didn’t like me because he felt I was too full of myself! And my reply? ” The feeling is mutual”! I didn’t think I was like that, all I knew is that I was hard working and wouldn’t put myself down for those men. One day I sat and complained to a much older male boss he listened and explained how most men viewed a woman who wasn’t married at a certain age (especially in Nigeria) he begged me not to be over ambitious, bla bla! But 1 thing he said that I will never forget was that – sometimes in life you should pretend to be a fool but know deep down that you are not a fool!

    Years have gone. I am more matured. I am no longer in Nigeria but I carry those words everywhere. I work to be a better person for myself. I try to live at peace with everyone ( I don’t have to like them). I know what it takes to get my job done, am friendly ( and that doesn’t mean everyone has to be my friend). At the end of work I don’t take work issues home I just relax. I wish you the best

  21. good for nothing

    December 14, 2015 at 10:00 pm

    please how do i submit my own story. I need help

  22. momo karbo.

    December 15, 2015 at 12:12 am


  23. momo karbo.

    December 15, 2015 at 12:27 am

    Let me put it bluntly, when is this sexual harassment going to stop, in our working environments. The sooner African men stop getting their machismo from their imaginary male deity and respect our creators, our African women in all sphere of influences, the faster we going to achieve our rightful place in the world. Our continent’s backwardness is simply due to this simple acknowledgment that women are more cerebral than men. We have to put an end to this archaic old boys club and fully employ the tremendous mental capacity, without allowing an ounce of misogynistic tendencies to come to the fore. For the benefit of the African children, even those yet unborn we must completely embrace the strength, and cerebral intellectual capacity of our women without any prejudice or malice. Big up to my African Goddesses.

  24. Mabel

    December 15, 2015 at 12:46 am

    You only have two options stay and stick it out or leave for something else. The problem with leaving is that if you need a recommendation from any of these ppl they will likely thrash you to pieces to the next company. If you have someone who can provide a recommendation from a different dept. within the company who you are close to, then look for something else. Alternatively, if you choose to stay go back to your personality, do not damper yourself and stay quiet and act like somebody you are not to appease these ppl, you went silent and up in a shell like a turtle and they are still stoning you, so what’s the point? When they come in asking about everyone else and not you hum a lil song, smile and be chirpy, don’t let them kill your spirit, as the saying goes, kill them with kindness. If they are telling tales to the CEO make sure every time the CEO sees you he/she sees you chirpy and happy and full of life, because if you are cloaked up it will make you appear as someone who is hiding something. Maya Angelou used to speak of ppl who were like birds of prey who would pick you to death, and I fear this is the situation you are in, these ppl are picking at you to see you crumble and fall, do not give them any such pleasure.

  25. fleur

    December 15, 2015 at 2:28 am

    Honey, you are at crossroads. In order to make a decision about staying or leaving, here is a strategy. First how easy is it for you to find a job? Second, if can any of those bosses guarantee you a glowing reference? If you cannot say a resounding yes to question 2, Start transitioning right away. They hate you for some reason you may not have explained and they will throw you out the minute they can find your equivalent. #toxicworkplace kills. It’s no farce.

  26. eva

    December 15, 2015 at 4:36 am

    @sisi, great thing you left this country. can you imagine?? “how men view an unmarried woman at a certain age”. what is their business?? this was what Chimamanda Adiche was talking about. A man is allowed to be overly ambitious and achieve his goals, while a woman is to tone it dowm and not be too ambitious. this is a stupid society.

  27. divine

    December 15, 2015 at 6:12 am

    you said one of your bosses stopped giving you assignments and that your CEO is complaining that you are lazy,I suggest that you report directly to your CEO about did not mention that your CEO was giving you attitude,so just go to him.

  28. Koffie

    December 15, 2015 at 7:47 am

    I couldn’t detect whether you work in Nigeria or outside it but from my little experience, I’d advice the following, most of which others have said earlier:
    Try to look inwards and be sure you exude the right type of confidence. When you’re given assignments and you kick ass at them, do you strive to take overall credit every time? Do you acknowledge your bosses’ parts as well seeing as it’s their projects? I learnt from my current boss how important it is to give credit to others as well and it helps to project team spirit. This man is not obliged to mention my part in his projects to clients but he always does and I also learnt from him how its good to see your work from the viewpoint of others since he (a director) would give associates his work to review saying it’s a good way to evaluate yourself as they may have good input but I digress.
    Your bosses are totally wrong and unprofessional for taunting you with the single girl jabs but I beg you, do not let it show on your countenance that it vexes you. It’ll get old soon enough but if you’re outside Nigeria, the personal life jabs are good reason to report them to HR.
    Also, it would help if you’re the praying type. A lady narrated her story/testimony on BN quite recently and she had basically ‘conquered’ intimidating superiors with prayers. It does sound like a rolling-my-eyes type of cliche, but tell God about it and confess out loud what type of work environment you’d rather have each morning in your devotions.
    Be wise as a serpent, even if you later leave, you’d need good recommendations and the general perception (to potential employers) would be “they can’t all (CEO inclusive) be wrong about you”. Harsh truth but you know more than I do that that’s how it is. So you could try to put your emotions at home, work harder and make one or two ‘friends’ amongst these superiors; the most objective of them. I’d put you in my prayers, you’ll come out of this victorious.

  29. Chi!

    December 15, 2015 at 9:35 am

    Hi dear! I empathise wit u cos I’ve been there but God saw me thru it. i advise u pray abt all these. change ur attitude for good. pray also to find favour in the sight of ur bosses n colleagues, pray dat they will love u n focus on ur work, learn it n do d job. dont ever stay idle, even if they want u to be idle, forgive ur colleagues n don’t let what they do to u affect ur peace n happiness. hav fun, go out, do what u love doing n ignore all they do to u. dats a strategy. ignore all,focus,be wise n selfish for ur peace sake. they’ll come around. pls do not quit ur job. office politics is everywhere. just do d right thing always. i wish u all d best.

  30. tonie

    December 15, 2015 at 10:50 am

    Your bosses are traditional men in a corporate world. Its everywhere, trust me i face the same thing at work and i plan on quitting very soon cause its affecting my ability to deliver effectively. Trust me you would know when to leave your job till then just try to ignore all they throw at you and probably try to even smile when they make a negative comment, it drives them crazy. I did that to my boss and the dude is respecting himself now that was after i shouted back at him once though 🙂 . It is well with you dear

  31. molarah

    December 15, 2015 at 11:20 am

    My own take is this.

    There seems to be a tendency among some people in our society to refer to women that are pretty, intelligent and career-driven as being arrogant, proud, full of themselves. My mom experienced this during her career years, and I’ve heard this sentiment expressed through different channels, so at least I know this happens. I don’t really understand the psychology behind this, but it is just the way it is. It’s almost like people can’t stand the triple-thread (beauty-brains-ambition) when they see it in women. It may be jealousy, it may be a sense of injustice (“why should she have it all?”), it may be something else – I don’t know. In fact I should probably go take up a psychology course on Coursera so I can do a proper analysis of this phenomenon. But I digress.

    Bottom line is, you are dealing with a stereotype that transcends who you are. It’s not even about you, even though the attacks may seem very direct at times. You mentioned that they come to you to get work done though they seem to despise you, so this fact makes it clear that it is beyond you. But the title of this piece “Horrible male bosses” is not very correct, because there are several male bosses in our society, in our country, that look to encourage, develop and mentor their female subordinates. So please see this issue for what it truly is – it may not even be about you, it most of the time is about their preconceived notions of who you are.

    Enough about stereotypes – how does all of this affect your current situation? You can decide to address it in two ways – by confronting the people involved. This must be respectfully done – zero emotions on display, use more of “I feel” than “You do” to avoid defensiveness, must be done in private, be direct in your communication (you can check google for additional tips on handling difficult conversations with bosses). Also ask if you do anything that offends them and respond by letting them know you will take action to correct yourself. This may only work with people that have good level of self-awareness: usually most people will use the opportunity you are giving them by opening up to them to bash you further, but if you choose this route, you must not compound matters by responding defensively but answer with “I’ve heard, I understand”. You might think these people have acted in such a disrespectful manner to you and do not deserve the right to a meaningful conversation, but it would really surprise you what you can learn from giving them the opportunity to open up about what they really think. It’s a small world we live in – let’s work towards building, not burning bridges. And try to see people as just that …people – not the monsters that they actually portray with their anger, maliciousness, pettiness. At the end we are all just people – with our loves, fears, cares, everything. As women, we have an innate intuitiveness and emotional intelligence that we can tap into to help us see things from other people’s perspectives and relate deeper with them. Let’s use that to navigate situations like this.

  32. molarah

    December 15, 2015 at 11:31 am

    Sorry for another one, after my epistle.

    Just noticed you mentioned you had one female boss. Have you tried talking to her about the matter? Maybe by way of asking her what she thinks of your attitude as a subordinate and if there is any thing you may be doing to cause others to perceive you the way they do? Since she has spent more time in the organization, she can give you valuable insight to guide your next steps. If she hints that this is the work culture (“That’s how they always are…etc”) then you may need to consider how long you want to keep working at a place with that kind of organizational culture.

  33. Abby

    December 15, 2015 at 12:32 pm


  34. cleo

    December 15, 2015 at 3:50 pm

    Dear Miss Horrible Bosses. I just read your Agony letter and i smiled.
    1st: Don’t leave the company on account of your bosses or colleagues as someone had commented earlier.
    I have just one male boss and the rest are female and i have experienced all of these you mentioned and even more. So i beg to differ that it is a male, it is a human thing.
    However i feel that as your superiors, make sure you learn from them what hey have to offer. No matter how they appear, they have experience and tact to offer. Learn it from them that your race might be swifter.
    Play divide and conquer. learn how to deal with them individually based on their personal traits it helps.
    Be bigger than them. Don’t see them as male or female. See them as humans with flaws. You have flaws too remember.
    Also note that it wont get better in another company, only the dynamics of the challenges will change.

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