Don't blame your boss, blame yourself for staying in your current situation. It's like buying a house near the airport and complaining about the noise.
With all due respect, many folks get caught suddenly in these situations. I did. My fix? 11 months of unemployment, emergency accts wiped out, a new job paying 75% of what I was making, and an hour commute. However, it took about 1.5 years to accomplish this. However, it shouldn't be that way. If you're doing a good job, like what you're doing, & the people you work with, why is a supe letting one ass run roughshod over his/her "reports" the fault of a worker who is trying to stay in a job he/she likes otherwise? My worst-nightmare supe was being handled up to the executive director and the situation became untenable and I couldn't risk a poor eval with an upcoming job search.
Sometimes a really incompetent boss is the result of management misjudgement and once that misjudgement is discovered, the boss is replaced. . . but this is rare.
Usually you need to remember a couple of things:
1) Your boss was selected and promoted to that position by his superiors in the company. They believe in him/her. They would have to admit that they were wrong to go against him/her. They are not likely to side with you. They may pretend to listen and feel sympathy, but chances are they are really figuring out how to get rid of you.
2) HR is hired by and works for management -- not for you. Their real job is to make management happy. They are not likely to side with you. They may pretend to listen and feel sympathy, but chances are they are really figuring out how to get rid of you.
This is REALLY on the money. I've been in situations wherein I was able to outlast them (eventually everyone discards their trash...promote them into someone else's problem, etc.). My dealings with HR also reflect the statement above. The trick is determining whether it is a situation you can outlast, or whether to move on. However, as the original poster is an engineer, it would seem options abound...don't know what market she's in though.
My former organization of 700+ people was basically driven into the ground. I was there 14 years and when I talk to folks today (2.5 years later) they're ALL miserable. My own workgroup was tight and ran well...until the new one was promoted ("handled"). They sent her to $50,000 worth of pop management classes over a few years. This allowed her to promote herself as a change agent...specifically a "reformer". However, she was put in charge of a group of crack pros, the best I've ever had the fortune to work with, and she proceeded to suck the life out of the team, the consultants, and anyone working interdepartmentally. Presently, a few of us are gone, the team is split over several areas, and some still have to work with her, but the mgmt problems spread to the whole organization. To be fair, not all problems are her fault, but her handlers also have a wide reach. It is rare to see ANY private discussions more than 5 mins in length not turn to retirement, job hunting, etc. And when you see folks from the organization, they consistently remark that the only people smiling are those who left.
So, if you're like me, and each time you walked in the front door in the morning, and as soon as you hit the elevator button, a wave of dread comes over you and you ask you'reself, "What am I DOING
!!!", it may be time for you to move on, damn the cost. All jobs have some crap, but if you can gain back some joy, go for it. Your health is also a part of life AND retirement.
Then he turned back to the subject and said the company needs to keep around lazy and incompetent people, because that always motivates the people around that lazy person to work harder to pick up the slack.
How is this a good thing? The company loses...they pay someone not to work, which in turn hampers those taking up his/her slack from being more productive. Those taking up the slack are put upon, constantly. Not much reward either way. I do agree there are always slackers. I don't agree they're needed nor that they are motivating agents. People miserable over having to carry someone don't exactly have cutting edge creativity and you stand to lose them to better working groups/companies/etc. You always have good folks sticking out tough moments. But you also commonly see good folks leave early in a cycle and go elsewhere.
Hell... maybe I owe mine a thank you. I lost 25% of my income, but focused hard on retiring early in order not to have to deal with her type every day.
BTW, more random thoughts... what Ginger said is true. Document the hell out of anything and everything. If it hits the fan, they will have and you'll be stammering for answers if you don't. I prepared a 13 page response to a 1.5 page document in a grievance (my one and only). It took 3 months, but I won. Ultimately, I also lost because I was marked. However, it could have gone much worse, so the damage that was done did not reach into my new position. BTW, I was the first to actually make a challenge. Others stepped up in the couple years since and there has been public admonition by higher ups in meetings. She's still there, but doesn't have as large a reach as she once did...so at least some folks benefit.
In my situation, it probably doesn't help that immediately preceeding my "evil one"
, I worked for the absolute best supervisor I've ever seen, heard of, or even thought about. She was as exceptional as the latter boss was incompetent. Pity...the agency lost a real asset in her...as the agency that picked her up already knew. Others are still poised and leaning for the jump.