Surviving Abusive Work Environments / Bosses

Curious if anyone has ever experienced an abusive boss or work environment? Interested in hearing peoples stories and shared experiences.

Private Equity Interview Course

  • 2,447 questions - 203 PE funds. Crowdsourced from 750k+ members
  • 9 Detailed LBO Modeling Tests and 15+ hours of video solutions.
  • Trusted by over 1,000 aspiring private equity professionals just like you.

Comments (13)

  • Associate 2 in PE - LBOs
Sep 8, 2021 - 6:43pm

I was pretty seriously depressed because of a particularly nasty combination of both.

I didn't want to bother my friends and family with my issues but knew I couldn't keep it bottled up, so I used one of those digital text-based therapists for pep talks throughout the day. It helped me bridge a couple of dark months until I got restaffed. Things got better from there.

In case getting restaffed isn't an option for you and you need a more permanent solution, you can either either find a new job or just become so dead inside it doesn't really get to you anymore. I got re-restaffed onto the initial issue team but I fit the latter camp now so it's all good.

Most Helpful
Sep 8, 2021 - 9:35pm

I had this happen to me in PE. I half expected it since I was going into a MF and knew that the culture wasn't going to be rosy or anything like that but it ended up being way worse than I, or any of my colleagues, could've imagined. Things like constant verbal abuse, constant gaslighting regarding deliverables which "weren't up to expectations" despite having done the ask originally assigned, throwing associates under the bus when things in IC didn't exactly pan out the way we thought they would, and generally making the work environment hostile and toxic were just some of the highlights of how shit life was for two years. 

Unfortunately, I could've dealt with it better and I didn't when I was there. Instead of recognizing when the environment was basically not workable and making a concentrated effort to get out, my type A side decided that it was a better decision to stick it out as much as possible until I reached my absolute breaking point. And after taking a week off after reaching said breaking point, I became permanently disgruntled and borderline depressed until I recruited into my next role.

Takeaway here being, it's important to recognize when you're in an environment which is fucking you over and get over your ego and focus on getting the fuck out. Life is too short to spend time with people who make you unhappy and you owe it to yourself to not only crush it at work but do so while surrounding yourself with people you actually like and feel empowered by.

  • 9
  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
Sep 9, 2021 - 8:57am

I have not experienced it but I witnessed how cruel my boss was to my colleagues who are offshore employees. It was basically like modern slavery. I wanted to help them so bad to get another job but I just don't know where to start. I must say... they are survivors who endured everything just to make ends meet.

  • Principal in PE - Other
Sep 9, 2021 - 9:01am

Thanks to everyone who has shared. I recently went through a very abusive work situation - it lasted for years. My boss would routinely gaslight me in front of co-investors and call me fat, inept, mental issues, unskilled, toxic. I had nothing but glowing feedback from my staff, colleagues, and investors. In the end I had to make a break but it shows you that money and power can attract very sadistic cruel people - effectively corporate psychopaths.

Learn More

300+ video lessons across 6 modeling courses taught by elite practitioners at the top investment banks and private equity funds -- Excel Modeling -- Financial Statement Modeling -- M&A Modeling -- LBO Modeling -- DCF and Valuation Modeling -- ALL INCLUDED + 2 Huge Bonuses.

Learn more
Sep 10, 2021 - 12:04pm

That sucks, am really sorry you went through that.

I had an abusive senior associate once, nowhere near that level but damn it hurt. Was when I was starting off and it took me a long time to push through a lot of the habits I was forced to adapt with. It robs you of your perception of value to your firm. I later learnt he was just treating us the way he was treated.

It did teach me grit, to adapt and work with extremely arrogant and difficult people. Though a bit late, I learnt to appreciate my value to my employer and push back. To put more value and respect on the individual than the title. I try to pass all this on to the young'uns in my team as best I can.

  • Associate 2 in PE - LBOs
Sep 10, 2021 - 5:35pm

Your Biology teacher only giving you D's no matter how hard you try? Chin up champ

Sep 10, 2021 - 8:35pm

This happened to me after the family office I was at brought in a new CIO. Started seeing a psychiatrist and now have anti-anxiety meds. Multiple other people in my group started seeing therapists or got put on meds too before quitting to nobody's surprise. Ability for 1 person to destroy team culture should not be understated at all. At some point it's just not worth it anymore and leaving ends up being the best thing you can do for your mental health.

Sep 12, 2021 - 7:16pm

Velit tempore esse voluptas ut voluptate sunt. Cum consectetur quaerat eaque. Cum et iste nesciunt aut rerum a. Recusandae ipsa error impedit ad. Provident quibusdam enim fugit. Id voluptatum placeat provident sunt molestias ex vitae. Voluptatem impedit similique reprehenderit.

Voluptate explicabo sint rem quae in eius et. Omnis explicabo fugit repellendus molestiae labore. Error incidunt consequatur quae. Quam aut eos saepe aut perferendis pariatur et.

Start Discussion

Total Avg Compensation

September 2021 Private Equity

  • Principal (7) $694
  • Director/MD (18) $575
  • Vice President (68) $367
  • 3rd+ Year Associate (68) $270
  • 2nd Year Associate (139) $254
  • 1st Year Associate (284) $219
  • 3rd+ Year Analyst (26) $159
  • 2nd Year Analyst (61) $135
  • 1st Year Analyst (185) $118
  • Intern/Summer Associate (20) $67
  • Intern/Summer Analyst (219) $59