A Money Coach in Canada

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   photo credit: DavidCrow

There’s office politics, and then there’s office politics.

I suppose because most of my career has been spent in the education sector, which tends to attract people with an altruistic streak in them, I have managed to escape truly nasty work situations, with one notable exception.

In addition, having several years of entrepreurial income has given me a real sense of possibility, ie.,  not being locked into something because of a paycheque.

Some people are not so lucky.   Workplace mobbing by coworkers,  bullying bosses, and corporate cultures who haven’t yet created their “No Asshole Rule”  (if Harvard Business Review can publish the word, I’ll use it just once on my blog).

Women and men, competent, caring and fundamentally decent human beings, stay in work situations that destroy their morale, take sometimes tremendous tolls on their health and spill into their private lives.

Readers:  have you experienced a job situation from hell?  Did you stay, or leave?  Why do you think people put up with these situations for so long instead of moving somewhere where they can contribute and thrive?

About the Author

Imagine if Canadians were known for being all over their money. Engaged. Proactive. Getting out of debt. Savvy. Saving. Generous. Nancy wants to help. Nancy started her own journey with money over 15 years ago, and formed her company “Your Money by Design” in 2004 to help others along the same path. It’s not the usual financial advising/investment stuff. It’s about taking control of day-to-day finances –managing monthly cashflow effectively, spending appropriately, getting out of debt, saving. If you're ready to take control over your finances, pop by her business site, YourMoneybyDesign.com


  1. I’ve worked in a few situations that were less than ideal, though I’m not sure I’d call them hellish. I think that safety is what keeps most people where they are. At their current job, they know how much money is coming in and they know that they can do what needs to be done. If they quit and don’t have something lined up, then they are suddenly in a situation where they don’t know if/when they’ll get another job and if it’ll pay as well, have benefits, etc. If they have something else lined up, then they skip a bit of that insecurity, but will have to take time out of their day in order to find a job that would be better. After a day of stressing out at a bad job, they probably have a hard time motivating themselves to spend another hour, or even 15 minutes, looking around for something else.

    As an example, I used to work for the same company as my sister, who still works there. I immediately recognized that in that particular company, I was working in a division that was very low ranked, got the worst funding, paid the lowest, etc. And, the management was content to leave it that way, even when I thought it could be different. Plus, the prospect of moving up in the company and getting into positions where I could effect change were extremely slim to none. Also, I didn’t think they had the best business sense. When they want to change things, they talk to the marketing department first. They generate the basic ideas and timeline and then they hand that to the people responsible for making the change.

    Anyway, I decided about 3 years ago that I wanted to go somewhere different and do more with my life. Now I work in a completely different industry that isn’t exactly what I’m passionate about, but it’s heads and above better than my former position in terms of career and business potential. My sister still works there and is only now starting to realize that this might not be the best job in terms of the long haul. But, she hasn’t spent any time preparing herself to move on to something else. Hasn’t gotten a resume ready, hasn’t looked for any jobs, hasn’t spent any time or energy on it at all. Instead, she spends her time and energy complaining about work.


    Oct 03, 2008
  2. before i post a long comment, i’m going to see whether your blog likes me today …


    Oct 04, 2008
  3. okay, your software and my software are on speaking terms today, good 🙂

    as you may remember, i have a whole series on the topic of recovering from bad work experiences.

    i had a situation once where i wasn’t very happy at the job. i don’t like it when people keep looking over my shoulder. it was at a publishing house, mostly for plays, and part of my job was serving coffee (and stronger stuff) to my boss when she was hosting visits by playwrights. and sometimes i’d serve coffee to her. that part was fine with me. but my boss’s attitude wasn’t. so one morning, i brought in the tray with the expensive gold rimmed china cups and said to her, “you know what, before i throw this tray right into your face, i think i better quit.”

    i am very lucky; this was by far my worst work experience, and i didn’t let it last past a few months. the downside of that is, though, that i need to go through a hell of a lot of interviews before i find the right job. it’s a downside that, all in all, i’m happy to put up with, although it grates on the ego while i’m going through the process.


    Oct 04, 2008
  4. brad

    Everyone has different levels of tolerance; things that bother other people may not bother me and vice versa. I often seem to end up working for difficult people, and I last much longer than most of my colleagues because I am used to dealing with difficult people so it doesn’t seem so hellish to me. Not to put too much of a pop-psychology spin on it, but those of us who had difficult parents may be better equipped to deal with difficult bosses. On the other hand, difficult bosses may bring up past traumas for some employees and put them in a survival-instinct mode. I do find that I employ defense mechanisms that I learned or developed in childhood when dealing with abusive bosses, and that helps some of the abuse roll off my back.

    All that said, there’s no reason that I have to stay in a difficult work environment simply because I can tolerate it, and I’m well aware of my tolerance limits. I tend to weigh the pros and cons of my job, and as long as the benefits outweigh the aggravations and it’s a good job overall, I’ll stick with it until I find something better.


    Oct 05, 2008
  5. I worked actually for an association that serves the Canadian DND. The main director was a bully, and all her underlings had to kiss her ass or find themselves ostracized. I do no bow to office politics, I had the equivalent amount of education as she did so I refused to kiss her ass, not that I do that to begin with anyway. Where I lived, the jobs were scarce, so I stuck it out. I also LIKED the job, just hated the people I worked with. After several months of my biting my tongue and getting migraines and basically being in hell from the various things going on, I quit. It is the only job that I have ever walked away from without giving notice.

    I also sat down and wrote a 14 page letter to the regional manager detailing unethical and harassing situations, I also started harassment proceedings with their governing body. I met with the manager and discussed the situation, as to why I left. I feel like he was “humoring me”, but the way I looked at it, a good manager would take what I told him and act accordingly to stop the very high turnover that was going on in that particular division. If he did nothing, then it’s not my problem anymore.

    I have since discovered that I am much better at being my own boss. I run my own business making soap and body products. The money is not consistent, but I think that my recent experiences with being a paid employee tell me that I am not cut out for that.


    Oct 06, 2008
  6. Angela

    Jennifer I sympathise. I too have worked with several unpleasant work colleagues and stuck it out because jobs are scarce. In my last job I was constantly harassed by a co-worked. I went to the union and was told nothing could be done until I passed my 6 months probation! I’d worked for this organisation for a while as a temporary worker but that experience didn’t count when I encountered the work problem. It affected my health terribly and I ended up in a personal office interview where – having told the office the cause of my sick leave – I was told that if I couldn’t cope then I’d have to resign and go back and work on the temporary bank. I’ve never been made to feel so demoralised in my life. And so undervalued. I left – it affected me profoundly financially but several years on, I’m retraining for a different career and doing a little self-employment. To be honest, I think too many organisations and people choose not do deal with ‘problem people’ /bullying. I know in the situation I was in, the individual who made my life hell had been acting that way for a very long time. In fact, when I announced I was leaving, she said ‘are you leaving because I was mean to you?’ – so she knew what she was doing all along. I was good at my job – and had been good at the temporary work I’d done – one of the other bosses within that organisation has told me he will give me good references because he thought I was ‘fantastic’. So I’m extremely sad when I look back and realise how good I was at what I did and how the bully’s abuse completely stripped me of believing that I was doing OK with the work. The thing is Nancy, when jobs are scarce, it’s very hard to walk away. I think when jobs are plentiful, you always have a choice and employers have to try harder. Personally, I’m hoping after I complete my current qualification, to work p/t for someone else but to also develop more self-employment (the qualfication giving me an extra edge). I have certainly lost all faith in finding employers who really give a damn about their staff and I think that working for one’s self sometimes is the only option.


    Oct 07, 2008

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