I AM A CAREER woman in my mid 20’s. I work with a Bank in Georgia.
I was recently transferred to a different department with a female Boss in her early 50’s.
What has come as a wonder to me is that this Boss keeps wearing the same clothes as me. When I change my wig, she goes for a similar wig.
When we first both appeared in the office with the same uniform from Macy’s, same color, design, and even shoes, I discretely sneaked out of the office and rushed to a nearby clothing store where I bought something different and wore it back to the office for the rest of the day.
In the afternoon, after seeing what I wore, my Boss went to the same store and picked exactly what I had bought and wore it back to work.
I asked my colleagues if this had happened before and they said they’ve never seen anything like that.
I confided in some women friends and one of them introduced me to her tailor. I started wearing my tailor’s designs.
After three weeks my Boss showed up with exactly the same design as my tailors, from a different tailor, same colors but different materials since she could not get the exact material from my tailor.
She has continued doing this, every time I buy shoes, she goes and buys the same shoes, every time I make a new dress, she goes and makes same dress.
Of late it has become so extreme that she wears same scarves, earrings and even handbags. She has even started imitating the way I walk.
I am feeling very uncomfortable and stressed at work and I fear for my job. Should I quit?
Worried Banker, Yvonne
Thank you for your letter.
I am very sorry that you are in such an awkward, unprofessional situation at your place of work.
Your Boss is making you uncomfortable and is intimidating you through lethal means.
This is unacceptable and you do not have to enable her by buying different clothes or getting designer clothes and shoes to appease her.
Your are in a very hostile, toxic working environment which is very bad for your mental health. With such a boss, your career life is definitely in stagnation and you most likely will not advance if you continue working in the same department.
Have you addressed the matter with your Human Resources Department?
Many employees often opt to quit as a first choice but there are other alternatives. You do not have to quit. That is not her personal office and she should not drive you off by her uncouth behavior.
I hope you have documented this soap opera series to build up a strong case against your Boss.
Your Boss seems to suffer from low self esteem and projection. She envies you and wants to be you. That is a dangerous person to be around. She is quite sick and needs help.
Projection in psychological terms is defined as a defense mechanism people subconsciously employ in order to cope with difficult feelings or emotions. It involves projecting undesirable feelings or emotions onto someone else, rather than admitting to or dealing with the unwanted feelings.
Talk to your HR urgently and ask to be transferred to another Department as soon as possible. Talk to a therapist and ask them to recommend that you be removed from that department to a safer location of work.
People treat us only how we allow them to. You should not have given her the time and pleasure to engage in this kind of shenanigan. It is not too late to do the right thing and move on.
All the best.