When your boss breathes down your neck

Published: May 16, 2013

I didn’t know what I was doing wrong, but nothing I did seemed right.

It’s not fun. It’s not helping, and no, it’s not okay. Please leave me alone.

I did a sales job about a year ago. It was probably the worst experience ever. It galls me to even speak of it as the memories haunt me till date. But, after being in denial about my skills for a good five months, and falsely assuring myself, “If he can do it, then so can I” or “If she can do it, I can definitely do it”, I finally realised, it wasn’t my cup of tea.

Dealing with customers was not painless; it came down to crushing my ego, being super clingy, persistent and being mentally exhausted, along with several other vile things and still not doing too well.

I didn’t know what I was doing wrong. But all these nerve-wracking things were not enough.

I had a self-proclaimed superstar breathing down my neck to make matters even worse. My boss. I felt a bucket-load of emotions: suffocation, rage, misery, and above all, stress. I wanted to run away or jump off the roof (or maybe push him off the roof).

“You can do it. Here, listen to me speak to this customer over the phone. You will then understand the art of talking to clients.”

“Come here, let’s sit together and discuss tactics. We can do this.”

“Oh this client is a 10-year-old. Eiman. You must turn into a kid and deal with him. You can do it. Bachi ban jao. Become his friend.”

He was probably just trying to help and be constructive but sadly, the ‘motivation’ and ‘encouragement’ he was providing, just wasn’t working. It had the opposite effect, if anything.

Unfortunately, this species of bosses holds a large percentage in society. At some point in life, you will come across one and know this: it won’t be easy and one person might just come out dead the other end.

Sometimes, I feel like I’ve been scarred for life. But, on the other hand, one good thing did surface — no matter where I go and am in life, I appreciate (normal) people more. I’m able to overlook their flaws because I know, things could’ve been much worse.

Read more by Eiman here


Eiman Masroor

A sub-editor for the Life and Style pages at The Express Tribune eiman.masroor(AT)tribune.com.pk

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • black

    so basically you blame your boss for not doing well at your job (which btw, you accepted was not your cup of tea) ? i’m a lil confused here lol…Recommend

  • Insaan

    Author “I did a sales job about a year ago. It was probably the worst experience ever.”

    You are not meant to be a Salesperson. Your boss was just trying to improve your performance.Recommend

  • GhostRider

    @author welcome to the practical life…school is over…just a piece of advice, Stop whining and you ll be great in a very short time.Recommend

  • BlackJack

    I don’t think that the title suits the content – your boss just seems a bit more hands-on, and would probably give you more space with time if he felt that you had developed your own style of managing and delivering success. And since you don’t seem to have been very good at the job, I think that the extra help and guidance would have been useful, if you had chosen to see it that way.Recommend

  • Noman Ansari

    Complaining about an ex boss in a very public way is not a good idea unless you have found your life’s job. More and more bosses Google prospective employees. Your online persona is your new resume.Recommend

  • soniya

    still wondering why on earth did you write this piece?Recommend

  • Nandita.

    You went from being in sales to being a sub editor – Wow, you’re really lucky.
    Changing industries in India is not that easy or common – which is rather unfortunate. Even taking a break can prove to be detrimental to one’s career.

    Your boss actually comes across as supportive. Sales is a very competitive field – There’s no dearth of women who’ve had to sleep with clients to strike a deal, More often than not bosses abuse and humiliate their team members who fail to deliver. Trust me, you were luckier than most.Cross over to the other side of the border,take up a sales job in the Banking industry- maybe then the import of my words will dawn on you.Recommend

  • Itrat Batool

    I worked in the sales department for one and a half year; and I have had a similar experience as yours. You have articulated that your boss has been a pressure on you; I totally agree with you. Yes, bosses follow and chase you all the time because they have to meet sales target or to increase sales. These people are themselves under pressure from the upper management and so they have to make their teams competent. Bosses are normal human beings like us and considering the weak human resource hiring methods followed by private and public sector organizations; these people just cannot help going imperfect and illogical. They lack leadership and management skills; they are unable to make their teams productive– neither they know how to work in conflict-environments. In my view, the solution is not to be whistle blower in a Pakistani environment. People will not like it and will get a perfect tangible chance to back-stab you.Recommend

  • Someone

    naukri ki te nakhra kiRecommend

  • Sabah Siddiqui

    Please inform the author she did a bad job writing this too. I don’t get how you published this. She’s totally confused. First she admits it wasn’t her cup of tea and then transfers the blame to her apparently much helpful boss. This article sounds more like a self consolatory vent.Recommend

  • !


    Check emailRecommend

  • Fareedullah

    I have done sales engineer job and i know how my self respect was ruined by clients.who even not interested to know about the products. Also boses they always ready to give you advice about the productvity and enhance his business.
    In short i will never sugest any one to do sales job.its more better to do own business or just open a general store even. Recommend

  • Hirra

    It is not your boss’s fault. Everybody has something they are naturally good at and sales wasnt your cup of tea simple. Since you lacked in performance your boss was trying to help you. Sales people are always highly energetic and hyper and love their job so thats why your boss is like that. Now i was thinking this article was about a boss breathing down ur neck :/Recommend

  • sundus

    this was just a failed attempt at seeking attention. the author needs to grow upRecommend


    ET! since when has this space become people’s daily diary? It seems to me someone’s just venting their frustration for not knowing how to do their job. I however did not get one thing…what did your boss mean by “Bachi ban jao” that’s the only negative thing I found but even that did not bother the writer.

    Sales is a skill not everyone is born with or learns from school. BUT you CAN be trained for it provided you have a good trainer and you have a lot of practice. I would have appreciated this article more if you had managed to overcome your experience and had shared some good advice with ladies new to this field. There are thousands of women out their doing even door to door selling because they HAVE to, these kinds of articles just de-motivates them and discourages more women to get in this field. Recommend

  • ali khan

    Instead of being so negative about, look at what she’s really ttrying to say people ! and if she wanted to embarass the guy, i think we wouldve seen him name here ! she didnt mention any n ame or company so its not liek she is trying to be a whistle blower

    And secondly, blogs are a place to vent. go check out the other blogs which are beign written these days.Recommend

  • Jude Allen

    First of all, you have no idea what the real definition of BAD BOSS is. It seems your boss is an angel when compared to bosses I know of. Imagine a boss who specializes in cheap language from the time he arrives in the office till the time he leaves; imagine a boss who feels only he is right even though he is highly incompetent and you are miles ahead of him. Imagine a boss with no business acumen and treats everyone unfairly; imagine a boss who is a womanizer and will favor the opposite sex over you even when you are absolutely right; imagine a boss who only implements discipline over you while ignoring major issues because he is just too incompetent and lazy; Imagine a boss who deprives staff of their rightful bonus’ but loves to squander money on alcohol, women and cars… You have just got to stop whining and look for a better job (if you can find one.) Recommend

  • Fareedullah

    So what kind of topic you will sugest.She just shared the experince of that pathetic job. Recommend

  • Fareedullah

    did you ever done this kind ov job.in pakistan its not a cup of tea.Recommend

  • Amina

    The title and content doesn’t match. Nothing to do with your boss here, the issue is it wasn’t a job meant for you. I have seen some really good people in sales who know their art. I think you were just in a wrong place.Recommend

  • Sane

    Although you did not write so, but this generalizes all bosses as the perception developed after reading your blog. While mostly bosses are not like this. Females in job always want to be treated as ‘female’ not sharing that responsibilities and burdens like a male do. But, always want to be equal in perks and benefits like a male. By the way why females want a separate queue in banks and other places and need separate seating in public buses etc. etc, when they want to have equal rights.Recommend

  • shah jehan

    @Sabah siddiqui stop being so negative. i thought girls are support to support girls in this country. and help eachother. stop criticizzing your own species for crying out loud ! it’s girls liek you who don let other succeed ! Recommend

  • noor ali khan

    @Jude allen. this is a public forum. im sure this boss was a creep. why would u want to openly say all that about a person. it’s pretty obvious she held back. stop being such haters. dont comment if you dont hav eanythign nice to say !

    @eiman. i think this article is hilairous. dhere youve called him a self proclaimed superstar it just cracked me up. its funny because there are so many people like this. they thinkt hey are soo good at what they do when thhey acctually arent. this was probably his way of venting out his own frustration. make feel others pressurized Recommend

  • noor ali khan

    and yes nandita, pakistan is liek that ! we rock. you should move hereRecommend



    Yes I have & believe me it was not easy for me too, being a girl I had to interact with all kinds of people including some “tharki” retired army officials…I always used to go out in the field with a male colleague for that reason but I learned that you need to know your product very well & have to have good convincing & sales skills to get business….I have also worked in Telco & dealt with walk-in customers, and you get a variety of them; some linger just to feast their eyes & waste their & our time…I have been fortunate that my bosses were pushy but very protective as well & were good trainers & mentors. I learned many things from
    These experiences & the most important being that in sales:
    1) know your product in & out & know your rebuttals
    2) be persistent
    3) be bold….don’t be afraid of the reaction or rejection
    4) be consistent & have an attitude that if the person is not buying your product he’s a loser :-)
    5) learn from good & bad people around you ;good things on how to improve yourself, bad things that you should never do & that hinders your success!Recommend

  • Jude Allen

    @Noor Ali Khan: With due respect to you and the writer, I admit I was harsh in my words but did not aim to water down the article. I feel that the write need to be exposed to harsh realities of the corporate world be it here or outside Pakistan. Most bosses are not just egoistic, they are down-right horribly incompetent. We unfortunately have three clear choices. 1) Put up and shut up, 2) Take the stand and tell the boss to stuff it (and risk loosing the job), OR 3) Be intelligent about it by drinking up what we can take until we find another job. Make no mistake, I have walk in the writers shoes and sympathize. But a bad boss is a bad boss. You cant change that by whining or Id be writing Books not blogs.. lol We need to be intelligent and know when its the right time to get back at the boss. Lastly, as idealistic as it sounds, we NEED to find a job that we love with a passion and pursue the dream. We cant be stuck in negativity of other peoples flaws or it will bring us down. We need to be strong and a few steps ahead. Hope this helps clarification. I’m on the writers side winks Recommend

  • Asjad

    My friend you have NOT seen a real boss yet.Recommend

  • Historian 1

    The westerners/ whites in the above picture shows how much Pakistanis ( even the media) are obsessed. As far as sales job is concerned you have to practice begging ( on a local street) to learn and place ego aside. This is how sales job works.Recommend

  • noor ali khan

    @jude allen. I’ll agree with you on that. But i guess at times you cant just suck it up because in a sales job, theres alway this sword hanging down your neck. and when there’s already so much stress, a boss like this would probably suffocate a person.
    and its true. we all need to fgind jobs we are actually good at and passionate about. if u cant do sales, then leave the job. if u cant teach, dont be a teacher and if u cant write dont be writer. but ggiving up is nto always teh answer. sometiems u have to find other ways too. so usigna forum to vent, is ok. i dotn get why peopel are gettign so aggreesive about. and i read a lot of blogs. this si the problem in pakistan. they never wanna appreciate anything. they always have negative views abotu everythign for some odd reason. i’m sure you will agree with me on that =pRecommend

  • Ata

    Isn’t someone supposed to review these blogs before they are published and proudly advertised on facebook? Its probably the most idiotic piece of content I read all day and I work in a software house; idiotic content always surrounds me. Recommend

  • eminem

    This is a weird articleRecommend

  • Shah (Berlin)

    Dear Author,

    Title is wrong and a real weird Article.

    You were just not a salesperson simple….no need to blame your boss. Sales is not every ones job and some goes for many other professions…

    Still thinking why did you write this article….???Recommend

  • Hassaan

    @Itrat Batool: Excellent Consolation and Answer based on personal experience and common observation.Recommend

  • hira ali

    @hirra it is about a boss breathing down your neck? how is it notRecommend

  • hira ali

    @shah. It doesnt really seem liek she’s blamign her boss for her lack of skills at sales. i dnt know why everyone is saying that. she wasnt good. shes admitting it wasnt her thing. but the creepy boss just seemed to make matters worse and more difficulytRecommend

  • Shah (Berlin)

    @hira ali:

    Yeah tht makes him a good boss….some boss wont even care and fire her or just wont promote…..Recommend

  • Parvez

    This looks like a case of ‘ stirring up a storm in a tea cup ‘. You are obviouly a sensetive person, doing the wrong job………..nothing more.

  • Kulsoom


    All I can say is HAHAHAHAHAHA! :PRecommend

  • Insaan

    Are you talking from your own experience? How do you know things you mentioned don’t happen in Pakistan? Recommend

  • Sarah

    something is missing in this piece of writing…you are confused here..you hated sales job? you hate your boss? or you were simply not for this job?

    from the instances you mentioned, i understand that he was a boss who wanted you to learn…so whats wrong in that!Recommend

  • Erum

    So the point of the article is?Recommend

  • noor ali khan

    I agree with parvez. It is about doing the wrong job and that’s all it isRecommend

  • shaan ali

    @noman. I’m sure she has resigned. Who would write about their current boss. And if she’s still working there, then she must really really hate how things are

    @sarah. The boss is clearly strangeRecommend

  • Baber

    freedom of speech is everyone’s constitutional rite…
    the young lady is just practising her right, and that’s it….Recommend

  • Hina

    After reading your article, I feel sorry for your boss. The statements that you have narrated (must be the worse ones that you chose), sound like mentoring statements. What did you want him to do? Sit back and watch you messing up with clients and hence the business. It is his job to mentor.
    You need to grow up and admit that sales was not meant for you and just move on, rather than finding someone to blame for your lack of skills. Sales is not meant for everyone and having experienced sales myself, I think your boss advices are quite helpful.

  • noor ali khan

    @hina wow. Did you even read the article? She said herself it wasn’t her cup of tea how else do you want a person to admit it. It says the boss made matter worse. And maybe you are a baby who needs minute to minute guidance like that. Everyone doesn’t require it. In fact I’m doing a sales job. This kind of “advice” is really annoying. You learn on the job. Someone constantly reminding you that you suck, doesn’t let you work properlyRecommend

  • hira ali

    @insaan. nandita has a positive image of pakistan in mind. why are you trying to destroy it wowRecommend

  • hira ali

    @ shah. how is this caring attitude???? please explain. this is being annoying and clingy. u you need to give your empolyees space. yes have meetings every now and then. but other than that uhave to give a person some space to work in. if u keep breathing down their necks, then how do u expect a person to improve and work. and not be distracted by you. i get what you are saying. but the point is. when u intervene and how u take action is what matters. have meetings. but dont annoy a person so much they want to kill themselvesRecommend

  • anastasia

    hahahaha WOW ! i agree with eminemRecommend

  • anastasia

    oh yay lets vent on blogs. thats the only purpose of themRecommend

  • white horse

    i think this is a really nicely written blog. i dont get why people are always so negative. she wrote wat she wanted to rgith about. and its hilarious.

    And to be honest, bosses liek these arent just at sales jobs. they are everywhere. i had a really weird boss too where i was working a coupel of years ago. and female bosses are the worst ! if u then men are bad, then you have no idea what women are capable of.

    They are insecure, jealous and always have female issues. you ave to deal with their mood swings too. females are just much worse. the power gets to their head. so i guess we should be happy with watever bosses we getas long as a girl doesntr get a girl boss, rtrust me you have no IDEA HOW LUCKY you are !Recommend

  • Toast

    @ author

    You are lucky to be a sub-editor; it is such a confused piece; may be straight out of your diary. You were probably tired of your job and this person was only augmenting your misery. So, he is not to be blamed. It could have been written as: why sales person job is not my cup of tea and you could have cited different experiences, with that of your boss, one of those.Recommend

  • saleem ahmed

    Very nice article. and good decision to leave the place. sales was probably just not your thing. very hilarious!Recommend

  • nazrein

    @hina messing up work and clients? she just said he wwa smakign matters worse by beign too involved. and that his motivation had the opposite effectRecommend

  • Hassan

    hahahaha love it !Recommend

  • naveen

    This so dumbRecommend