What Would Shawn Do? How to Handle an Abusive Boss


I’m a new receptionist at this hospital, though I was at another clinic for two years before I took this job. The owner-doctor talks down to me in front of clients and other staff, but I’ve never seen him do it to anyone else. He uses a condescending tone, points out my mistakes, and never says one nice thing to me–not even, “Good night!” I’m not sure what I’m doing wrong, or how to handle it. Help!


This is a classic example of allowing other people to affect you negatively, and it’s all excused or justified under the, “He’s the boss,” statement. Remember that we teach people how to treat us.

Confront the doctor (respectfully) about which behaviors are making you uncomfortable and how those behaviors are affecting you and the hospital. Tell the doctor that you want to do a good job and be of service, but you must be respected and not abused or put down in front of your peers.

If you don’t receive an apology and a response that indicates self-awareness and remorse for mishandling the communication, leave that hospital immediately. They don’t deserve you, and they don’t want to change.

Good luck!

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