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Mr_Saturn512's avatar

Do you think my boss is bipolar?

Asked by Mr_Saturn512 (558points) June 13th, 2014

(I work at a science laboratory)

-His mood definitely dictates his attitude on work. When he’s happy, he’ll sign off any form without really reading it. When he’s frustrated or mad, he’ll scrutinize everything to the nth degree, often going into tangents like why is there dirt on the floor or why is that machine making an odd noise, etc. In short, when he’s content he’s blind and when he’s frustrated or otherwise unsatisfied he locks onto every detail.

-Nothing ever gets done. He always has 35325325 ideas and even after all this research and work he is never satisfied with it and the work gets forgotten over the years and is never finalized. He tends to lose a lot of important documents.

-Randomly, if it’s a sunny day, he’ll leave work to go bike riding. I haven’t had a real job before so I don’t know if it’s normal for a boss/CEO type to do that sort of thing during work hours. I understand that he owns the company but sometimes he does it while we’re in the middle of something and I’m kind of wandering around trying to find him to report back to him.

-He seems to have a really, REALLY poor sense of time. For example, he knows a certain procedure regularly takes a couple hours. But within 30 minutes he asks if it’s done. Or, conversely, you can trick him into thinking something is done when it should have taken much longer.

-Very short memory. He tells you directions and then when you report back to him he doesn’t remember what he told you

-Constantly criticizes other people for traits that he himself has (I don’t know – that could just be plain hypocrisy)

-Lastly, might just be my opinion, but his sense of reality seems warped. He labeled Europeans as backwards compared to Americans. Not just in science but practically everything else in life. Sometimes he says seemingly outrageous things, or things that just make me raise a brow. It could just be some bits of racism and (sometimes) sexism.

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10 Answers

Judi's avatar

This sounds more lie ADD than bipolar with a little personality disorder thrown in.

anniereborn's avatar

It’s possible SOME of those things could be bipolar symptoms. But what exactly does speculating whether he had it or not do for you? Are you going to confront him with a fake layman’s diagnosis?

whitenoise's avatar

His remarks about Europeans surely qulify him as a sociopath.

Run, now! ... While you still can!

jca's avatar

I hope you have a good job and/or like your job a lot, because it sounds like it would be hard to tolerate working closely with somebody like your boss. I would try to be as independent as possible at work, if I were you. It sounds like a good thing that he goes out for long bike rides!

CWMcCall's avatar

History is littered with leaders, inventors and CEO’s whose actions and behaviors are often way outside the norm. Since your boss apparently owns and runs a lab, I would expect he is an intelligent critical thinker type and there again you can find ample evidence that these high intelligence critical thinker types do often have mental or emotional issues. ADHD and Asburgers syndrome is often linked to very intelligent types. If his behavior is consistently inconsistent it may be you just have to deal with his quirkyness. If this is new and increasingly aberrant behaviors you may be witnessing a developing mental issue that may need professional assistance.

Mr_Saturn512's avatar


Couple reasons why I’m asking. One for plain curiosity and the other is because I’m actually considering quitting.

I’ve been here for a while now and this is a very small company (less than 15 people). While I have learned so much and was very grateful to have landed something so quickly after college, I think I’m starting to realize how horribly unorganized this place is. The other day, it was revealed to me that the person who trained me actually trained me wrong this entire time. Not wrong in that all the numers and results are bad, per se, but wrong in that the technique was “not in line with how my boss thought we were doing it.”

It may seem innocent, but when I was going there as a new employee, my expectation was that everyone who works there is on the same page and is aware of the kinds of things, even at a basic level, everyone else does. It turns out NOBODY is in agreement on what to do. One thing is to question the current method. Yes, we could always research more to get better data. But another thing is to have everyone doing something different and not having a set understanding of what is currently the paradigm.

As I was realizing this I thought, “Okay, this place needs help. I’m young and have the energy to do all this.” And I DID help with a lot of things, but there’s an incredible amount of crap my boss reveals almost everyday about shit that never gotten done and then, like in my one point, never finalizes. I’d love to fix this place up, but someone’s gotta work with me here, and if it looks like people are just set in their ways then I think it’s better to move on.

The ironic thing about all this is that they absolutely love me. And meanwhile I’m like “Hahahah No.”

jca's avatar

@Mr_Saturn512: You should take a bunch of things into consideration before you quit. How much you like it, how well it pays, the hours, the commute, etc. Maybe you can stick it out for another year. Maybe you can discuss with coworkers and boss about trying to organize the place. Do your coworkers complain about the boss or do they turn a blind eye?

Mr_Saturn512's avatar


Well yeah, I was considering staying another year. Everyone bitches about my boss the second he steps out of the building. I never take part in it becuase I honestly feel weird about it. I don’t want to go into further details for the sake of anonymity but there’s really a big lack of people who actually can do science in this company. A good bulk are production/office people,versus FOUR people who actually do labwork, including me and the Boss. It’s really down to a thread here.

What does make me step back about it is the monetary issue. The other day I realized “Fuck, I won’t have insurance and crap.” I am the only one in my entire family with a job. That’s a whole ‘nother issue I won’t get into. But yeah.

The other thing was though that when I started this job, I suddenly got calls from other places that were interested in my resume and online profiles. Unfortunately, I had just started and had no idea what I would get into here. I also don’t know how it would work switching between jobs – how people usually coordinate that and all.

The commute is insanely fortunate. In short, on one half I actually am worried that I am getting spoiled by this place because it’s essentially crap and one can get away with a lot of things – which is horrible but like I said it spoils you. One of the secretaries even told me that. For landing my first legit job, it was great. But on the long run I actually believe this is where “scientists go to die off”

jca's avatar

@Mr_Saturn512: I would stick it out if I were you. It sounds like more pluses than minuses. The devil that you know is better than the devil that you don’t know, and if you learn your boss’s moods and can deal with his eccentricities, that sounds like half the battle.

snowberry's avatar

Scientists are always in demand in industry. It’s possible that when you got this job it took about the same amount of time for people in those other companies to get the OK to contact you. You could do some preliminary work, just exploring what other jobs are out there, and see. Don’t burn your bridges, but try searching online or check with friends from college about what’s available.

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