Narcissistic boss

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999
Narcissistic boss
6
Thu, 02-14-2013 - 4:00pm

My boss has been driving me crazy lately.  I have been working here for 16  yrs and one of the reasons i could tolerate the job is that he was mostly uninterested, as long as I was getting results.  I liked being autonomous.  Well in the past 6 months or so he has suddenly decided that he is going to interfere with everything that I'm doing and make all decisions because he believes that his tactics will get us more money (that hasn't been shown yet).  We are lawyers and so far we have less money coming in because he doesn't want to settle any cases unless he gets the maximum dollar amount that he thinks is available--ok, so possibly we will get more in the future but right now we aren't getting anything and since part of my pay is bonuses that depend on cases being settled, it's affecting my paycheck negatively.

I was really upset this week because I told him that no matter what suggestion I make, he just has the opposite opinion and never listens to anything I say so I feel like I might as well never say anything.  Mind you, I have actually been a lawyer a few years longer than he has and I worked for myself for a while so I really do not need his supervision.  He hasn't seen the inside of a courtroom since I've been here so all this "knowledge" is purely theoretical.  Today I heard him talking to another lawyer in just the same way--he was pointing out problems in a case and my boss just said "oh that's not a problem" so I realized it's not me, it's that he's a narcissist who is always right and can't take suggestions from anyone.

Obviously I am looking for another job but it might take a while to get one.

Avatar for lizmvr
Community Leader
Registered: 06-06-2001
Thu, 04-11-2013 - 12:04pm

"Dont expect anything more from him than what you have already seen. Emotionally remove yourself from him as much as possible. Dont put much energy into thinking of him or ruminating on his short comings. Keep your eye on the prize (new job) and focus instead the positives about your job and getting yourself ready for your new job."

That's good advice, Laurie! Thanks!

Liz


Clinical Research Associate


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iVillage Member
Registered: 04-26-2010
Sat, 04-06-2013 - 9:37am

Hi Music. Its Laurie. I feel your pain. I have the same issue with a coworker. And I thank my lucky stars he is not the boss. Sorry yours is.

Unfortunately with narcissists there is nothing we can do about it. We cant change them. In their eyes they are perfect, hence no need for change. When I realized my coworker was a narcissist I did much research into narcissism and found out a lot of things. They are emotionally immature people. They cannot feel empathy for anyone. They see themselves as superior to others and therefore special and entitled. But deep down this is all a front for their low self esteem and other emotional issues. They make few friends, never lasting ones. And most people eventually just learn to stay away from them.

Many people outgrow it though. But if your boss is older, like my coworker (60s) most likely he will never outgrow it and refuse to change. So the best decision is to just leave and work elsewhere. Which is what I intend to do eventually. Until then I will suck it up as my coworker has announced possible retirement by next winter.

People like this suck the life and energy out of everyone else. They make work miserable. I have only survived this long by focusing on this man's 2 positive traits. He has only 2 that I can tell. One is he is friendly. Two is he is nearly always positive. Those sound pretty good but compared to his bad traits its hard to take the good with the bad. Everyone at my work has this guys 'number' even our boss. But our boss refuses to fire him even though the narcissist makes huge errors all the time. I think the boss is just waiting it out too until he retires.

So what might help you in the mean time is to know that your narcissistic boss is mentally ill. He is a sick person. He is not capable of empathy towards others. He will not show interest in others. And most likely he cannot change. Dont expect him to act or behave like other emotionally mature humans do. Dont expect anything more from him than what you have already seen. Emotionally remove yourself from him as much as possible. Dont put much energy into thinking of him or ruminating on his short comings. Keep your eye on the prize (new job) and focus instead the positives about your job and getting yourself ready for your new job.

Laurie

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999
Sat, 02-16-2013 - 11:23am

We don't seem to have that much of a problem in getting clients.  My boss is of a particular ethnic group and is probably one of the better lawyers in that group where people who don't speak English can come in and have staff members who can translate, so he has kind of a built in niche there.  He doesn't have that many clients from the English speaking community--I kept suggesting that he should branch out and not just try to get clients from this group, but he doesn't really seem to be open to any suggestions.  But it means he's probably doing better than small firm lawyers who are all competing against each other for a limited share of the same group.

Avatar for lizmvr
Community Leader
Registered: 06-06-2001
Fri, 02-15-2013 - 1:05pm

Thanks for chiming in, Thardy2001! It's great that you understand ML's situation better than I do.  Glad you're part of our community!

Liz


Clinical Research Associate


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iVillage Member
Registered: 09-01-2002
Fri, 02-15-2013 - 10:31am

Hi Musiclvr.  I had a job like that years ago ~ salary, benefits plus a 10% piece of the 1/3 of the settlement brought into the firm.  (And the same with a case I tried and won, through all appeals.)  It's exhausting and you have to keep your list, keep watching the mail for settlement checks the boss might not even be telling you about. Surprised  I had the opposite problem ~ the boss wanted to settle everything so long as he could justify his retainer (plaintiffs side, civil rights cases, thus a $10,000 retainer).  He had a high volume of clients.

In your situation, your superior may not have a revolving door of clients and is worried.  You suffer for it and there's little you can do about it.  You're wise to start looking for a new job, one not dependent hopefully on keeping track of cases you've tried/settled.  It's aggravation you can do without in exchange for a set salary and benefits ideally. 

Sadly, a law firm is a business not a profession anymore.  And whoever brings in clients is bringing in the money.  If an associate had a bunch of clients, he wouldn't need this particular boss.  Many lawyers are at the mercy of the attorney who has a client base.

I hope you keep looking, interviewing and make getting a new job in 2013 your priority.  Good luck.  Please update us.

Avatar for lizmvr
Community Leader
Registered: 06-06-2001
Thu, 02-14-2013 - 5:43pm

"We are lawyers and so far we have less money coming in because he doesn't want to settle any cases unless he gets the maximum dollar amount that he thinks is available--ok, so possibly we will get more in the future but right now we aren't getting anything and since part of my pay is bonuses that depend on cases being settled, it's affecting my paycheck negatively."

I tend to think if I was a client, I would want a lawyer who wants to get the maximum dollar amount he feels is available.  That seems like a valuable selling point to help your organization get more money, and in turn, get you more money as an employee or partner.  How long has his way been negatively affecting your paycheck?  Could it be that you just haven't given this new approach enough time to prove it's good?

I would like to know some examples of him contradicting you.  Sometimes perception among individuals differs.  I'd also like to know why he was ok with the way things were running till recently.  Did your work change somehow about six months ago that led to him wanting to be more involved?  Did he have some life change?

"Mind you, I have actually been a lawyer a few years longer than he has and I worked for myself for a while so I really do not need his supervision.  He hasn't seen the inside of a courtroom since I've been here so all this 'knowledge' is purely theoretical."

I am thinking that if your bonuses are coming from settling cases, the tone of your workplace probably is lending itself to not be heard in a courtroom.  I can see that you don't respect him, but he is your boss, right?  Somehow, if he's above you in authority, someone is respecting him.  Would you rather have your boss's job than the one you currently hold?

I'm thinking that you are more venting than looking for advice, but if you are looking for advice, please do share some additional details about your situation. I'd like to get a better picture before offering you tips to better handle it.

Liz


Clinical Research Associate


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