The Deep Freeze


Most of the time my articles are squarely focused on the business owners or shop managers out there in the decorated apparel industry.  

Not this time.

After receiving an email advice request from someone with a very personal problem, this article is going to be focused on everyone else in the shop, but more importantly that one employee that is being ignored.  

Is this you?

Let’s call that attitude you are feeling “The Deep Freeze”.  

If you are in the upper level of management or an owner of a shop, please read this and ask yourself if you are guilty of behaving like this and possibly think about what you can do to change it.  Yes, your attitude matters too.

The Deep Freeze occurs when your boss for one reason or another just stops communicating with you in a meaningful way.  Maybe there is just too much going on, maybe there are bigger challenges on the horizon that need to be solved, or maybe the guy just doesn’t like you.  For whatever reason, that awesome feeling you had when you got the job has now turned to doom and gloom.  You are the mayor of Suckville.

You feel like you are being cut out of the conversation at work, and at the end of the day you start taking things personally.  That cold shoulder is just pushing you out the door.

Do any of these sound familiar?

  • During meetings your boss asks other people what they think about something but never asks you anything.  Ever.  This happens even when the subject is about an order you are directly working on at the time.  It’s like you don’t even exist.
  • Not once does the subject of your future come up.  What job in the company are you aspiring to, what professional goals you may have, what extra training may make you a better employee?  Nothing.  You are a cog in the machine.  Just silently doing your work.
  • The two most important words your manager can ever say…”Thank You” are never heard for anything you do.
  • More than one conversation was had in the past about setting some goals and priorities for your job.  Now, your boss never has time for you and dodges any meeting you want to set up.  Those big ideas you had a year ago that everyone was excited about?  The hairs on the back of your neck and arm are telling you that your involvement in the company just isn’t needed.
  • When you suggest things to help improve or solve a problem they are often ignored.  Worse, is when your idea is taken but you don’t get credit at all.
  • At one point other managers, and even the owner of the company, liked you, but now they are all acting a little weird towards you.  Something is going on, you can feel it.
  • Small, even insignificant, problems often trigger outlandishly huge reactions from your boss.  There isn’t proportionality to the challenge.  Other staff members with similar instances will always be treated differently.  You however, are publicly shouted at, ridiculed and criticized.
  • Your boss changes your schedule, gives you extra work that will make you stay late, even demands that you cancel obligations, despite the fact that these disruptions could impact your life outside of the shop.  There is zero empathy for your time away from work and your other priorities.  In fact, when you mention that you can’t do something things get downright nasty.  Other staff members though, get concessions so they can still handle their life outside of the shop.  It’s unfair.

If more than one or two of these statements above rings true, I hate to say it…but your boss hates you.  For whatever reason, you are on their mental pick-on list and believe it or not, probably on the “first to fire” list too.

Tune up your resume, pal.

But wait, isn’t there anything you can do?  Probably, but it’s going to mean doing something that is very uncomfortable and could possibly backfire.

Namely confronting the problem.  

First, if your manager is acting like this towards you but not anyone else, they probably don’t respect you at all.  They’ve lost that lovin’ feeling.  (I hate that.)  

Having a brief private conversation could dig in a little bit and you can find out what’s going on.  Maybe something a year or so ago just triggered that response and you didn’t even know it.  Maybe they are just a clueless dolt and don’t even realize how their behavior is affecting you.  Maybe the confrontation is the last straw and is all it takes for them to fire you.  

It’s a risk.

Is it worth taking? Believe me, there are other jobs out there.  Better companies and better bosses to work for too.  

Talk to them about what is bothering you.  Don’t make it a yell-a-thon.  Just mention that you noticed that you are being treated differently than other staff members and you want to find out if there is something you can do.  Be specific.  Before the meeting, write down a few points so you can remember them.  Have the conversation.  You just might learn something.

Who knows, maybe it was your actions that is the source of the attitude shift?

However, as I’m sure you have been talking about this at the dinner table, with your family, friends, maybe even your co-workers in the breakroom…if something doesn’t change your job dissatisfaction is going to lead you to the conclusion that you need to look for a new employment anyway.  Having a brief conversation might just be the thing to shake things up for the better.

How’s that?  Feel better?

If you are a manager, owner or leader in your company…look inward.  Are you treating people like how I described above?  If so, people notice and they talk too.  Don’t earn a reputation as a workplace ogre!  

Remember, most employees don’t leave their jobs because of money, better opportunities, or for other reasons, they leave because of bad bosses.  Is that you?

Don’t be a jerk.


“Act as if what you do makes a difference.  It does.” – William James

“Good, Better, Best.  Never let it rest, ’til your good is better and your better is best.” – St. Jerome

“Every day is a new day, and you’ll never be able to find happiness if you don’t move on.” – Carrie Underwood

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