Unemployed Government Worker Suffers From PTSD
I worked for an elected official, several in fact for many years. My former boss was very nice personable man. He was also ineffective, a boss in name only; a figurehead that has delegated away his power. He didn’t know many of his own policies. He put his faith in what his administrators told him. Employees reported feeling disenfranchised and alienated.
My former boss has been disconnected from the needs of our taxpayers for a long time. I have seen the word "autopilot" used in reference to my former boss's approach. He did indeed have things on autopilot with one particular administrator and her posse in charge.
She has made a lot of enemies due to her treatment of others. I have observed the administrator’s tacit approval and in many cases, active participation in what can only be described as workplace mobbing. I have read that one of the side-effects of this type of prolonged treatment is post-traumatic-stress-disorder and is frequently misdiagnosed. This type of treatment is costly in terms of usage of sick time (for anxiety, insomnia, headaches, depression, substance abuse, etc.), apathetic and dysfunctional workers as well as the turnover associated with this administration.
I have also observed an air of desperation from colleagues because they have no recourse. Who are they going to complain to? They need their jobs. They stay as long as they can. Many do not leave with good feelings for this department. This is not good business. During the primary election, my former boss publicly claimed that there weren't any morale issues. He told the public he has an open-door policy and has never heard a single complaint. The problem with this is there is also a policy in place that requires going up the chain of command before taking advantage of his "open door policy". Nobody in their right mind would have done this as the issue would have been given back to the offending party to deal with.
The turnover associated with this department is unreal. It appeared to me and others that the objective was to take a person's pride and this was usually accomplished because of the target's systematic isolation and victim's integrity and loyalty to the department.
These behaviors are hard to prove. I had even thought about carrying a pocket recorder. I have seen many abuses of power, large and small. Out of fear of retaliation, I have kept my mouth shut. This administrator has had complete power for so long that she is completely corrupted. She doesn't have to conduct herself in a reasonable manner as she answers to no one. She has caused a lot of problems for her staff, past and present.
This administrator’s demeanor can be cold, disinterested, with a flat affect. She will give eye contact to everyone in her vicinity except the person who has fallen out of favor. She has often denied giving instructions to her supervisors if negative results are obtained. She has disciplined officers for following these same instructions. She is very often unavailable due to personal business. She disciplines for behavior that she herself indulges in. She would "hold court" with her favorites while the rest of us were hard at work. I was told by an employee in the "inner circle" that from the beginning of this administrators reign I "never had a chance".
This administrator arranged it to where many times I had to work unreasonable hours, double shifts, or 16 hour days. She would withhold vital information from me resulting in reprimands when things went wrong as a result. I have seen her avoid or even run from employees and the public if she found them distasteful or didn't want to deal with them. She left a written reprimand for me in a common area in an unsealed intra office mailer. Anyone could have read it and probably did. Normally our supervisors would sit down with the employee and go over the reprimand face to face. However, I was working late hours at that time and she did not want to have a late meeting with me nor did she schedule a face to face meeting at her convenience. I know for a fact she would given me a reprimand for doing what she did.
I could go on and on. I loved my job and sometimes yearn to go back and restore my reputation. However, I believe I suffer from PTSD. I cannot bear to even drive by my former place of work. I've had panic attacks the few times I've run into this lady. Even though I resigned in 2002, I still grieve and just can't seem to get over it. I have been unable to even try to work again due to trust issues.