Advice column: is it worth leaving because of a poor line manager?

Dear Ash

I have been unhappy in my current job for a number of months ever since a new line manager was appointed to manage my work. My line manager seems to constantly criticise me in front of others without just cause and generally demeans me in front of others. I tried to speak to the head of department about this a few weeks ago, but he seemed to think that the issues would be resolved in time once the line manager was able to get to know me better and advised that I should just be patient.

I have now been offered a new post in another firm and I am not sure whether I should take up the job; although the manager at the new post is known for being very supportive and there is a slightly higher salary on offer, there seems to be less scope for promotion due to the size of the department. To add to my confusion, when I confirmed the job offer to my head of department, he offered to match the salary I was being offered as an incentive for me to stay and advised he would be more supportive in the future.

Ash replies:

Although you may be confused as to the right course of action, you certainly should feel flattered! You clearly are highly valued by your current boss, despite the current tensions between you and your line manager.

It is down to you now to weigh up the pros and cons of staying or going, but it does seem that you are perhaps questioning whether you have given sufficient time for things to improve in your current job. I would say that everyone has different tolerance levels and it is therefore for you to determine whether your line manager’s behaviour is something that you just are unable to tolerate any further. I note that your head of department offered a better salary but I assume that the more significant issue for you is whether you can have a change in line manager? If this is the main sticking point in your current role then it may be worth raising in order to confirm whether a change would be feasible?

Changing line managers may not necessarily cure the issue, as the line manager will still presumably exert some influence in the department. It is therefore important for you to weigh up all your options and the potential implications before making any firm decision or burning any bridges.

Whatever your decision, be assured by the fact that your talents and skills are clearly recognised and valued by two different employers – in spite of what your line manager may have to say!

Send your queries to Ash

“Ash” is a solicitor who is willing to answer work-related queries from solicitors and trainees, which can be put to her via the editor:, or mail to Studio 2001, Mile End, Paisley PA1 1JS. Confidence will be respected and any advice published will be anonymised.

Please note that letters to Ash are not received at the Law Society of Scotland. The Society offers a support service for trainees through its Registrar’s Department. For one-to-one advice, contact Katie Wood, manager in the Registrar’s Department on 0131 476 8105/8200, or 

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