Job Stress: Two Bosses, One Victim

By: booksbyrobert
Marilyn had a most unusual situation. No one intentionally put stress on her. Marilyn had worked for her company for two years. She held an assistant manager's title and she was extremely competent at her job. And, she was popular with the other employees.

However, she was seriously considering quitting. She was earning a very nice salary and the company offered excellent benefits and bonuses as well as special trips and social gatherings. But Marilyn had an unusual situation that caused her a great deal of anxiety. She had two bosses. They had been college frat brothers and were very competitive. And she was the one they competed over. Not in a social or sexual way, but in a business way.

It seemed that neither one liked it when she was working for the other. And instead of settling it between themselves, they left it for her to make the decision as to whose work came first. When she was helping one with a project, the other made it very plain that he felt she was favoring the one with the project.. And if an emergency arose and she had to stop something she was doing to handle it, the one whose work she put aside would be miffed.

Marilyn was under a great deal of anxiety and stress. She could not relax at her work. She was constantly on the lookout for anything she did that would upset one or the other of her bosses.

She tried talking to them, both separately and together. She tried to point out how childish it was. She suggested one of them hire someone to do just his work, but neither wanted to take someone new. They both said O,K. as long as the other one got the new employee.

It got to be a contest that Marilyn couldn't cope with. She went to upper management, but got no support. They told her she should be glad she was so much in demand. But this didn't cure her headaches or her anxiety.

Finally she took it in her own hands. She decided to stay home from work until her twobosses worked it out between themselves. She knew she was taking a chance on being fired, but she also knew she couldn't work under those circumstances again. On the fourth day, she got a phone call to come back to work. Both of the bosses had been transferred to another department. Sometimes even job stress problems solve themselves.

Copyright 2006 Robert T. Lewis

*The above case has been fictionalized and neither the persons or the incidents are identifiable to any real person or situation.
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