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Career Tips: Dealing with "Horrible Bosses"

Post Author Lacie Rhoden
Feb 9, 2015 11:13:31 AM
Career Tips

You’ve scored the job but a few weeks in, you realize your boss is a holy terror. Should you quit before you’re too invested and scour the job market once more? Or should you swallow your pride and stick with the job even though it is not particularly pleasant?

You may have heard of or seen the 2011 film “Horrible Bosses.”  The film’s ironic humor and vengeance against bad bosses makes us laugh in the theater but here are some tips to help you deal with “horrible bosses” in a more appropriate way.

  1. Is she really a horrible boss? Identify if your boss is truly a negative supervisor who yells, condescends, or demeans employees. Step into her shoes and monitor her for a week or so and  try to understand her perspective. Is she being pressured by her superior to meet a certain deadline? Have you noticed her seeming down when she gets a certain phone call? Maybe she has some stuff going on in her personal life or perhaps even her own job is on the line. If you’re able to identify the motivation behind her behavior and if you think you might act in a similar way, it will be easier to have empathy towards her.

  1. Stay one step ahead. Do you have a weekly report due every Wednesday morning? If so, do it on Tuesday and send it to your boss before you go home for the night. Knowing you have certain responsibilities, especially when they are on a time frame, can be stressful for you and for him. They don’t have to be. Purchase a simple planner to plan out your day at work so that it corresponds with various deadlines. You will feel the pressure lift, and your boss will breathe a sigh of relief for getting a report in advance. Anticipate what your manager wants and be proactive. Beat him to the punch.  He may just come into work on Wednesday a little happier.

  1. Adapt to their preferences. There are so many different businesses and along with that come many different types of bosses. Take the time to learn about your supervisor. Make it a goal to find one or two things he loves, as well as with one or two things that gets under his skin. Does he show agitation when you show up late to work but love it when he knows your progress on a project? Then use that to your advantage. Get up early enough to be on time for work and proactively send him a weekly update on your progress. Make it hard for him to find something to complain about.

  1. Take the high road. Entitlement is a dangerous thing to possess. Your boss is your boss for a reason. Whether it is experience or knowledge, she has reached a supervisory position because she likely knows more than you. Feeling entitled to a raise or a paid vacation only adds tension between you and your boss. Respect her and the work she has put in to get her where she is. In the event your boss is just impossible, kill her with kindness. As long as you are capable of completing your responsibilities and don’t stir up trouble at work, your employment is likely secure. Don’t burn your bridges and don’t let someone else’s bad behavior be an excuse for your own.  

  1. Leave work at work. You’ve had a horrendous day at work. Instead of coming home and complaining about your spouse or snapping at your children, take a breath and try to understand why you feel this way. Are you really angry that your spouse left the wet laundry in the wash or are you stressed because your boss made a negative comment to you today? Instead of taking out your frustrations on those directly around you at home, sit down for five minutes every day after work and write down the things that irritated you, stressed you out, or just left a sour taste in your mouth that day. Read over them. Take a breath. Then, crumple up the paper and trash it, or use it as kinder to light the grill for preparing dinner with your family. Let work be a place of work and home be a place of security and positivity.  Filter out the negativity thrown your way.

The difficulty level of bosses range vastly. Identify they type of person your boss is and use these tips. Alter them to fit your situation so you can work towards a more happy work experience.

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