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I Hate My Boss – So Now What?

The time you spend thinking about how much you hate your boss or your supervisor or your team leader is time you’ll never get back. Whether you have a bad boss or a good boss or a boss somewhere in between, there are probably days your manager is going to make you scream.  And if you can’t stand your boss, maybe screaming is the best solution.

Well…not exactly.

All too often people tell me “I can’t stand my boss.” “My boss drives me crazy.” “My boss is so stupid.” And of course the oh so simple and yet every so popular  “I hate my boss.” Hardly any of us doesn’t know the agony of working for a terrible boss who drives us nuts in one way or another. The very fact that you have to have a boss – a person in charge of YOU – is enough to annoy the best of us. Add to that a bad manager who is also incompetent or insensitive or a perfectionist or countless other boss qualities…well, this is enough to drive anyone nuts!

Sure it feels good to get together with other co-workers and just let the complaints fly. In fact, sometimes you find yourself rolling on the floor as people imitate the ogre or tell one good “my boss is stupid” story after another. Release feels good. So it must be a useful way of dealing with a bad boss, right?

Well…not really.

Of course it feels great at times to vent your feelings about your stupid boss, rather than holding them in. I’m all for a good gripe session now and then if it puts you in touch with stuff that’s eating at you. But that said…what if every day you just bitch and moan about your boss or your job (whether to others or just to yourself)? Each and every day. Is that really getting it out, or just reinforcing your misery? What does all this time spent in anger toward your boss or your job actually do for YOU in the long run?

Truth be told…not much that wil help you like your job better.

As someone who early in my career was  the queen of the complainers, I can tell you it’s a hard habit to break. But I can also tell you, it can be done and it’s well worth it.

A friend of mine recently wrote me about her new teaching job. She remembers from her last job where her co-workers would sit around on breaks and just gripe about everything – especially the annoying boss. It felt good at the time to get it out and it made people feel connected – after all, they hot to hate their boss together.

But what my friend realized was she wound up connected to other miserable people becasue of what she was doing and that became a large part of her experience. In fact it shaped how how she felt about the job and, as a result, it shaped how she performed in the job – only leading to more negative feedback.  So instead, in this new job, to help her break the “I hate my boss” habit,  she now brings a book to read or works on her writing on breaks. She says she’s happier than she’s ever been on a job.

As for bonding – she meets people to talk to one-on-one about things other than how awful the boss or work is. And if she needs to bitch and moan about something that happened, well that’s what friends and family are for. Less is more when it comes to complaining in the workplace! (By the way…speaking up and offering concrete suggestions or sultions to porblems is very different than being a complainer.)

Gripe sessions at work not only keep you immersed in the misery, but also leave you vulnerable to snitches who like to tell the boss what’s being said. In the end, you spend so much time talking about the misery, that it’s hard to then go back to the job and find a way to feel good about the job or yourself. Time spent focused on how bad everything is  less time for you to make it better for yourself. And it’s certainly not the path to success.

And on top of that, if your work friendships are mostly about the agony, it makes it even harder for you to then become someone who enjoys what you’re doing. You box yourself into a misery circle that only reinforces the bad parts and does nothing to help you break out into a happier, healthier situation.

12 things you can do if you’re in the “I hate my boss club”

Rather than hating your boss or your job with so much intensity, take some of that energy and redirect it. A few possible ways to go:

  • Look for things you and your boss have in common (even bosses you don’t like may have one or two things in common with you to help you shift the way you interact)
  • Try to find things to talk to your boss about – a good start is things she or he is interested in, but you can progress to work things where your ideas can be heard
  • Find something that needs doing and offer to take it on
  • Come up with ways to improve the work process and maybe save the company money
  • Make friends with positive people (and if possible those on your boss’s good side)
  • Focus on the job and how to do it better
  • Go above and beyond in your work – and make sure your boss finds out about it (the true benefit of good allies)
  • Focus on what you have and not on those things you don’t have
  • Start to project a more positive and competent attitude
  • Check your the ‘tude at the door. You earn respect in each new situation; it’s not due you.
  • Be the person who says “I can” and not “Can’t be done”
  • If you see a problem, come with solutions (It’s ok to bring up things that bug you – but come with possible remedies, not just gripes.)

These are only a few suggestions you might try to help improve things. I’m sure there are many other things that also might help. You have little chance of ever changing your boss (unless she or he leaves), but you can indeed put effort into things that are in your own control – namely yourself and your attitude.

By the way…if you put all that effort into hating your boss, imagine how that affects how he feels about you. People can feel the hate. Conversely they can also feel sincere effort and respect. Which do you think is the smartest choice of action?

Boss hating is a waste of time and effort – seriously!

Sure it feels good in the moment.  Sharing strong feelings like hating your boss or co-workers can give you a false sense of power – in the moment; but they actually leave you weakened in the workplace. And all that anger only comes back to kick you in the butt. I’ve seen it all too often!

The less time you spend thinking about how awful things are and the more time you spend kicking up your own contribution to the workplace (both in attitude and effort), the better things can become for you and everyone. Your attitude and work style affects not only yourself, but those around you. And it’s amazing how different things can feel when you’re actually doing well and getting good feedback.

Being positive does not automatically make you into a brown-nosed, goody-two-shoes…in case you were thinking that. It’s just a lot more fun to go to work with people who pitch in, support each other, and find a way to smile – even in the toughest situations. These are also the people who most often eventually move up and out, beyond the reach of even the most aggravating boss. Or they get promoted and become the boss!

Of course, there are some situations that are so awful there really isn’t much you can do but move on. But in most situations, there is at least one thing you can do to improve the way you feel about your boss or your job. I challenge you to find something and tell me about it.

And if the first try doesn’t work, please keep trying. You don’t change around your own reputation in one day, nor do you easily break old habits of fixating on a boss’s shortcomings. It all takes time. Be patient. Set some realistic goals. And good luck!

 

About the author…

Ronnie Ann, founder of Work Coach Cafe, bases her real-world advice on her many years as an organizational consultant where she helped interview and hire people, added to a certificate from NYU in Career Planning & Development and her own adventures as a serial job seeker. She can also be found on her new blog, and on Google+.

Comments

  1. Don’t bother about things you can’t change….and there are a lot of things that we can’t change.

    I do agree that there are some people who hate bosses/jobs….and there are some bosses who are completely unreasonable….but it’s always important to have a positive mindset. If you keep focusing on the problems, you won’t have the energy to focus on the solutions.

    Think of what you can do to change the situation….if not, then time to move on. :)

    Remember to always be the “good guy”, not the “devil” in the office. ;) Having a good relationship (maybe not with your bosses) always benefit you.

  2. Nice summary of the ideas, Alvin. I’m a big believer in acting to improve the situation rather than just talking about the injustice again and again and AGAIN ad nauseum. Even a small change can sometimes go a long way toward helping you feel better about your job.

  3. antiquerain says:

    Thank you so much for these concrete and timely ideas. I’m a bit overwhelmed with a situation at work and am very happy for the positive advice to improve the situation rather than stew.

  4. Hope some of the ideas help. If not, at least I hope the article helps you think of some other things that can help reduce the frustration. A friend of mine just told me that he was able to stop himself from getting caught up in the cycle of resentment he’s been feeling at work. Nothing changed except that he decided not to obsess on how awful everything is and just get on with the work and his life, but that was enough to reduce the role he’s been playing in his own misery. Now this wasn’t the first time he tried, but this time he caught himself at the very moment he was adding to his own misery by obsessing and it finally clicked…and he managed to have a much better day because of it. Sounds small I guess, but for him it felt major.

    Good luck!

  5. It is rather difficult to focus on the positive when whatever innovation you come up with, gets completely ignored or turned around into something sinister against users. I am in IT by the way, and my manager still gets roped into believing whatever a salesperson says, which always ends up with him making bad decisions, leading us into constant panic mode. My boss will decide on things that should be discussed within the team by himself, as a result no one in the department knows what’s what.

    Imagine on a daily basis being asked by the staff that you support if your boss knows what he is doing. It is even worse when this person gets paid over five times than you are, but cannot even connect himself to a network printer.

    Not to say I am forever harping on this it is just that today, he has done one more stupid thing as if he is trying to annoy me. I just could not ignore it.

  6. Hi ZJ!

    I feel terrible for you. I’ve worked in IT for many years and once had a boss who was a lot like yours. It feels like being trapped in a bizarre world where up is down and down is up. In a situation like yours, even when you are doing your best for yourself and your team, you still are subject to your manager’s whims. The fact that you feel responsible for how all this affects your team makes it even more frustrating.

    Sometimes bad bosses happen to good people. The only choices are: (1) to try to gain his trust and get in on some of those decisions if at all possible and “manage up” as much as you can – sounds like he might actually know he needs help but doesn’t know how to engage his staff well; (2) to wait it out until a new boss comes along (I’ve had this happen a few times and things turned around; it seems the people above my boss were very aware of all his screw-ups); or (3) if it looks like the screw-up boss is in it for the long run, then it’s time to start brushing up your resume.

    But all that said, if you find yourself in a dark mood day after day and leaving is not an option, then you need to find something – anything – that you can do to help lighten up things for you and the rest of your team. And sometimes that includes things like continued discussions with your boss where you approach as an ally and ask to be more involved and also coming to him to discuss things with clearly thought out alternative approaches. Don’t expect immediate acceptance of all ideas, but it starts an ongoing dialog and possibly shows him another way to manage. And if none of that is possible, then it may be time to approach other team leaders and ask for a regular meeting for airing problems and coming up with solutions. There may be no way to “fix” this kind of boss, but there are usually ways to help make things a little better.

    And by the way…a positive attitude doesn’t mean all smiles – that would be impossible at any job! It means continuing to look for ways to make things better or at least, in your case, more tolerable for your staff.

  7. Great Article, just got done reading some funny stories from blockheadboss.com ( not sure if I can put links on here ) good place to let out some frustration. Anyway Thanks for the great read! :)

  8. Thanks John. I’ll add the link to your comment if it’s your site. Otherwise, people can find it easily enough, I think.

    Reminds me of a term we had for a boss I worked for many years ago: Living Brain Donor. But later on I learned that I got much further looking for what the boss has to offer (come on…there’s always SOMETHING!) than focusing on what an idiot he could be sometimes. Still…we can all use funny work stories we relate to as well as places to vent!

  9. It’s a good thing the author mentioned moving on. Honestly I would “move on” in more situations instead of trying to work out issues you can’t solve. Trying to see things too positively in a job can potentially be the same as nurturing an abusive relationship.
    Sure, you can volunteer to take on new tasks, and consequently more work. In a bad company your work plus the extra will all of a sudden become your standard daily load. If you play “being positive” all wrong, you’ll soon notice that your boss will greet you with a happy smile every day when you’re the first in the office and the last to leave.

    Think about whats more important to you. Are you going to live to make your family and yourself happy, or are you going to live to make your boss happy? People hate other people for a reason. And your boss isn’t going to turn around from all of you positivity and give you a raise.

  10. Thanks much for the excellent perspective, Mike. You’re right. Odds are, you are never going to change a horrible boss to be anything she or he isn’t. And I’m definitely NOT advocating smiling in the face of abuse, but rather looking for ways to make the job better for yourself.

    Still, it’s worth trying, because sometimes the way we feel can be changed when a boss, who at first seems awful, turns out not to be all that bad. Not always of course. Just worth a try.

    But thank you SO much for reminding me to say that when you look for new projects for yourself, this is not in addition to a full day’s work you already have. When I’ve done this, it’s been because I have extra time or in exchange for some other task. Negotiating this for yourself is part of the deal (-;

    Mostly this change in attitude is about helping to make yourself more comfortable. For people who see no hope and have the option to get out…more power to them. But some people get stuck, not only in a job, but in how awful everything is to the point of being obsessed with it. I’ve seen it again and again. And so often the person they see as the enemy is not as bad as they think. Lots of personal issues get mixed up in these situations.

    But, to follow up on your point, if the boss really is an ogre, then just smiling and saying “beat me some more please” is not what I advocate. I advocate taking the power into your hands as much as possible – and that sometimes includes finding a way to make the best of where you are – as well as what we call managing up! But if it’s really bad, I agree you should do what you can to get out.

    But if 5 jobs in a row are all bad and you always are finding fault with everyone else, then a person needs to ask themselves if it’s really the other guys or is there something they can learn to do that will help change things for them for the rest of their work lives. This is not just blowing smoke. I was that person I’m talking about, and once I learned how I could make things better for myself, I met a lot less ogres. (Still…in the presence of a true ogre, run don’t walk to the nearest exit.)

    Thanks again for a thoughtful comment.

  11. To ZJ and Ronnie Ann, sounds like you could do with some Dilbert therapy!!! http://www.dilbert.com/comics/dilbert/archive/index.html, in my experience it depends on how much you like/need the job, if you don’t really like the job itself and could find another one, perhaps even doing something different for a change, then in my opinion, find another job, life is just too short to be miserable or put up with anybody’s crap lol. If you really do like or need the job at least for the time being, then the above strategies seem pretty good although maybe with a little less sucking up!!!!!

    Take care.

  12. Good advice, Mel. And thanks for the non-sucking up approval. :)

    And by the way…I don’t think I’ve ever sucked up – just ask my bosses. But I do try to find a way now (not always in the past, I must admit) to respect who they are and not focus on who they aren’t. And within that framework, I try to build a relationship. Good for me and good for them. But I have worked with people who REALLY suck up…I can see the face of one particular person right now…and there is nothing more self-defeating if they don’t deliver. If they do deliver, then it’s just really really annoying. ;-)

  13. Thanks for the great article!

    I just had a horrible experience with my boss today and was really doubting if I could continue to work with him. My boss is consistently negative about co-workers, the executive director, and the organization as a whole. He is the office gossip, and when I tell him I don’t want to talk about people behind their backs, he says he’s not gossiping, he’s just talking about their actual behavior. I’m not sure how that’s not gossiping, but I let it go.

    Today my boss asked for my opinion about a project in front of some other co-workers, and then proceeded to shoot down my opinion. When I tried to defend my opinion, he told me we needed to talk about it private. Then later he scolded me for challenging him in front of other people. I stood up for myself and said I didn’t appreciate how he addressed me in front of our co-workers. I also (maybe a little rudely) said that if he had already made up his mind on this project, then he shouldn’t have asked for my opinion. When I left work I was fuming! I really don’t want to work for someone where there is so much animosity between us.

    But after reading your article, I’m going to try and change my attitude toward the situation. I’ll work on biting my tongue a little more. I will really have to work on not thinking of him as a jerk, but I will work on my behavior.

    Thanks again for the article!

  14. Hi Amy!

    I love your attitude and want you to know I really feel for you. And truth be told he may very well be a jerk, but there’s no way you’re going to change him or make things better for yourself by matching him. You didn’t do anything wrong. In fact, you were right to tell him what you did. It’s just he’s in charge and your best bet is to find a way to work with him as long as you’re there. It’s all in the way you go about it. You never know…he may need and appreciate allies. And some tough nuts are sweet when you get behind the bluster. I’ve had bosses like that. (Although I’ll admit some had me at the edge of my patience and beyond before we made any progress!) But even if he has no sweet (or even semi-sweet) core that you can find, my experience has shown me that your best bet is to find a way to work with him. ;-)

    My basic rule is to do all you can to make the best of a situation – and that doesn’t mean being walked on. It means taking charge as much as possible of your own fate by being smart in how you handle things. But, if your boss is continually abusive and makes your life miserable even after you’ve attempted to help yourself (and him), then you really do need to find a new job.

    I hope in this case you can help the guy learn he’ll get much more from his employees if he treats them with respect. Dictator and/or bully bosses only look good for so long and then they either have to modify their ways or they get overthrown.

    Good luck!

    Ronnie Ann

  15. issues@workplace says:

    Thanks, Ronnie Ann and all you bloggers, for your practical suggestions.
    I’m going through a bad patch in my professional life. I’m in the elearning industry, which is more or less like the IT industry. My boss is an accomplisher in the eyes of the management and other people and has a high ratio of turn around time. I do not completely deny these things, though I’ve found her floundering on some aspects of work at times. But when it comes to people management, she scores a very low mark. She does not transfer knowledge transfer needed to accomplish a task. And when we went back to her for more inputs on doing the task, she would chide, tease and scoff at us. She would also yell at us and get irritated with us the first time around. Though she would give us motivating lectures, she fell short of giving us room or the knowledge to accomplish more.
    She always wanted to find out what we didn’t know, rather than building on our existing knowledge or strongpoints. We’re just a twosome in her team, and it was lull period at work, so there’s no excuse that she didn’t have the time for that. One day, with just 2 hours to go, she asked me to do something that would take around 10 – 12 hours to complete. She didn’t give a deadline or timeline. I completed part of the work and left for home. The next day, I came in early and started working on the task. As soon as my boss came in, she called me over the phone and spoke rudely to me. I told her that I needed to discuss this issue with her. When I went over to her place, she started piling the blame on me. I told her that her rudeness was closing the communication line and also came in the way of our work. She then started accusing me of having communication problems with all team members and that the problem was with me and not her. The boss also told me that my co-worker didn’t seem to have any problems. But, after this discussion or rather, confrontation, I saw a marked improvement in her dealings with me alone.
    Another issue with her that I’m unable to resolve is that, she goes back on what she says. She is not steadfast to her words and twists them around to suit her. So, I’m worried about the way she would represent any of my issues or problems to the management. My co-worker also faces this problem with our boss, but she is a fresher from college and doesn’t want to create problems for herself.
    After deciding that enough is enough, I approached our Functional Head requesting her to transfer me to another team. She first agreed to explore the possibilities and help me make the transition. But, my immediate boss would not let me leave the team, since I’ve been trained by her for the past few months. So, I’m stuck here and don’t like it one bit. I’m planning to approach the Functional Head again, and tell her the reasons I want to shift to another team. Do you think I’m making the right move?

  16. Hi issues@workplace!

    I’m so sorry you’re going through all this. Sounds like a really uncomfortable situation and I applaud you for trying to do something to make it better for yourself.

    I think it would be fine to approach the Functional Head again, but first, if you are willing to give it one more shot (and of course only you know if this is even worth trying) you might try sitting down with your boss to discuss all this very openly. Remember to be calm and look her in the eyes when you speak to her. You are looking for a solution you both can live with.

    If she starts right into blaming mode, just listen calmly and carefully to all her words until she is done. Then calmly thank her for explaining her point of view and tell her you understand how frustrating this must be to her – but it’s also frustrating to you, so you’d like to work with her to come up with a new way the two of you can work together to try to prevent misunderstanding in the future.

    Part of what you would like from her from now on is for her to tell you exactly what she wants you to do, including any deadlines. (If she forgets, then you should make sure to ask these things yourself). And also explain that you prefer not to be yelled at any more. You will show her respect but you expect to be treated respectfully too. (Keep calm and continue to look her in the eyes when you say this.)

    Also, if you think this would be ok, tell her you want to establish a temporary process where you get things in writing as well as in person and then you can e-mail her back any questions. This would be good for both of you, even though at first she may say this is too much extra work. Hopefully after a while, when you get to understand each other better, you wouldn’t need this any more. You can explain that to her too.

    Try to come to an agreement you both can live with before leaving the room if at all possible. If not, ask for a follow-up meeting.

    After the meeting, send her an e-mail detailing what was discussed as you saw it, asking her to correct anything you misunderstood. This way it’s all in writing.

    Now I’m not saying this will work for sure. And maybe you can come up with your own variation of this, since only you know your particular circumstances. But if you can get her engaged in trying to fix things, than maybe the two of you can find a peaceful, more effective way to work together.

    If you don’t want to even try again – and I can certainly understand that you might feel this way – then approaching the Functional Head again may be your only choice.

    I wish you luck, issues@workplace! Please let us know how it goes.

    Ronnie Ann

  17. stuck and sad says:

    I just found your website today, Ronnie, and I have to say it’s really helpful to me. I’m not sure I can take this advice completely to heart and turn around my daily situation, but I definitely understand the idea behind it and agree that I should make an effort to be more positive.

    It sounds like ZJ and I are in a very similar situation, except I’m not in IT. My boss is constantly acting on whims and it seems like half the time I’ll be in the middle of something that seemed urgent, then it’s like, “what happened to this project?” it just floats off into thin air as another urgent whim takes priority, only to be abandoned a week later. Random seemingly important decisions are made without others’ involvement, and a myriad of other rage-inducing things I could elaborate on but won’t right now.

    Point being, it seems that all of us at the company are miserable. I approach requests and interactions with a smile, and try to up the morale by baking things or bringing in snacks for everyone now and again. This guy’s the CEO so there is honestly no ‘waiting it out’ with this one.

    It’s come down to my emotional wellbeing suffering, and I know I need to leave, but I’ve been sending resumes and interviewing for a year now and haven’t found anything that seems to suit me. I’m terrified of having another job that appears all happy-go-lucky during the interview, then is like a horrible trap once employed. Sometimes I actually daydream about working at a cafe for minimum wage so I could just be free of corporate clutches for awhile, but even full-time at a place like that wouldn’t pay enough for rent. I’m making a decent salary and I’m only a few years out of college with lots of executive-level responsibilities, but having those perks is truly not worth sacrificing happiness and mental health.

    Also your statement “You earn respect in each new situation; it’s not due you.” I want to challenge it just a little bit! When I approach people, I generally give them respect unless they give me reason not to. I’ve encountered this whole “work your way up” “prove yourself” type mentality in the workplace and it makes me feel horrible. It’s like, “trust me, and if you thought I was competent enough to do a good job and hired me, continue that attitude after the fact.” That’s just my two cents though!

  18. Oh how your name “stuck and sad” makes me sad! Welcome.

    Thanks for your GREAT comment on earning respect. You are so right that that’s the way it should be. It’s certainly the way I operate. I guess I was just trying to let people know how it really is in far too many situations. Your two cents much appreciated.

    Your comment tells me you’ve thought about this from many angles and this really doesn’t sound like a good match for you. Not that I’m telling you to do this, but when I was in a job I couldn’t stand early in my career, I chose to get out anyway. Sometimes if you wait forever for the “right” job, the wrong one eats away at you in ways that don’t help you interview well.

    It’s true, there is a corporate way and you may not be cut out for it. But not all corporations are exactly alike. You never know when another one might fit you better. And don’t forget non-profits (Idealist.org may have jobs in your area) or academia (if you’re near a local college or university, go to their website and see if there are openings).

    Please keep trying. Sending out resumes is not enough. Network. Do some volunteer work that you care about. (Might get you to a non-profit job you never imagined.) Let everyone in your life and everyone you meet know you’re looking. Be creative in your search. And make it a fun thing – less time spent on thinking/talking about how bad your current job is (not that I’m saying YOU do that) and more time thinking about what you REALLY want and expressing how excited you are about finding something you could really sink your teeth into. I found some of my most interesting jobs this way.

    I rarely say this, but…if you have the funds to afford it, maybe you’d consider letting your corporate job (while you have it) pay for a career/life coach. There must be some good ones in your area. Although they don’t have THE answers, they can help you see things you might be missing and help you set and follow goals towards what you really want. Why keep doing what’s not working?

    Another idea – from my own files – is to save every single penny you can for the next 6 months and then let yourself do some lower-paying temp jobs, just to see what else is out there. It’s also a great way to be seen by other companies. If you are sharp and good at networking once you get in there, jobs often come your way. I’ve had that happen a few times.

    Even after I had my MBA, when I wanted a change, sometimes I’d just go do temp work. (Also gave me a great amount of material for this blog.) A few times I turned a temp job into a full-time gig at a much higher level. I always smiled, did my job the best I could, let people know a little about what I really do, and looked for opportunities to arise. And they did. Not EVERY time. But often enough. (Of course, if the temp job sucked, I asked for a different one. But I always made sure I did my best.)

    If any of that speaks to you….great. If not, I have a feeling you have enough creativity in you to find a solution.

    Good luck!

    Ronnie Ann

  19. issues@workplace says:

    Thanks, Ronnie Ann, for your kind advice. Will keep you all posted about the turn of affairs and how things go.

  20. Hi again issues@workplace! You sounds like a person any employer would be happy to have.

    Good luck with everything. :)

    Ronnie Ann

  21. issues@workplace says:

    Hi Ronnie Ann,

    I’m back just as I had promised. I finally managed to find a solution to my problem. I’ve switched teams. Sincerely hope that things work out for me in my new team. But first of all, let me tell you that I like your new website.

    Try what may, my boss wouldn’t arrive at a consensus to resolve the miscommunication issues. Worser than that, she misquoted me to her manager. This came up when I was having a discussion with her manager about switching teams. When I spoke to her about this, she denied it all and went to the extent of saying that her manager might have been busy and misunderstood her. Then I told her that the three of us might have to sit down and talk to clarify things. She brushed it off.

    After that, in two other incidents she put me in a fix by first giving me the wrong information and then by denying that. She even went to the extent of asking the HR Mgr to sack me. But the HR Mgr said that that was not possible as she had not been privy to our conversation. The HR Mgr kept advising me about communicating properly. But I could see that she had a difficult time as to whom to believe out of the two of us.

    I decided enough was enough and told the HR Mgr and my boss’s manager that since I was only encountering problems with this one person, they should switch me over to another team. And I also told them that it would help me vindicate myself. But it looks like the lady has always been carrying tales to them about all the petty incidents that had happened in the team.

    My boss’s manager did not totally accept that my boss was in the wrong. And she told me that I cannot be moved into another team that easily and may have to take a test [which is unheard of in team transfers for other employees like me in the organisation :-( ]

    All the same, I took the test last week and the mgr of the other team liked my work. And I’ve been moved to my new team this week.

    I need your suggestions as to how I should conduct myself in my new team and with my previous boss from now on.

    Thanks in advance.

  22. Hi issues@workplace!

    I applaud how well you stood up for yourself. I think you did the right thing by giving your boss another chance, and admire that after you saw there was no way to make it work there, you took action and got yourself to a new team. Congratulations!

    Basically, although there seem to be some things going on behind the scenes and one never knows what mischief the old boss can make, at this point your best course of action is to simply be the best member of the new team you can be. Focus on your job and don’t worry about the other stuff, since it’s out of your control anyway. Your new manager showed a willingness to give you a chance and, probably, a willingness to stand up despite all the background noise. That’s hopeful. If you’re good, s/he may be your best ally.

    It might be a smart idea to sit down with your new boss and let him/her know how happy you are to be part of the new team and that you want to do the best job possible. Then you might ask for his/her help by letting you know how you are doing and, if anything comes up, please let you know right away. And then again, thank your new manager, and just get back to doing your best. This helps make sure you create an open communications channel with your new boss and also helps increase the chances that s/he will come to your defense if your old boss says anything.

    As for your old boss, no matter what’s gone on between you, your best course of action at this point would be to simply smile and let it all go the best you can. Not for her sake, but for YOUR sake. No sense harboring ill will for someone else’s problems. And anyway…she did you a BIG favor. She got you to a better boss! :)

    Good luck in the new team. I wish you all the best. Congratulations again for having the strength to stick up for yourself and get to a better place.

    Ronnie Ann

  23. This is such a helpful article, however I have a few curve balls to dodge.

    I graduated college 2.5 years ago with a BS in Design. I a job as a product designer the november after I graduated, so pretty much right out of college. I did have experience in retail, management, teaching design as well as producing it; so i wasn’t COMPLETELY new.

    However, my boss apparently saw me as just an assistant designer, even though I am the company’s ONLY designer. It has been almost 2 years since I have been at this job, and he still treats me like an amateur. He trusts that I can do all my work, and get it done well… but he doesn’t not respect or appreciate me. He rarely listens to my opinions or comments, and constantly complains about stupid, non-important things to my co-workers. I approached him about this issue and he denied everything, basically pinning everything on my co-worker. However, he doesnt really understand that she and I are much closer and work/communicate the best of anybody else in this company. We trust and respect one another completely, so we know he’s lieing. Plus this isnt the first time this has happened.

    Like I said before, I have confronted him and told him that I did not appreciate him talking behind my back, to let me know if there is a problem. But it continues to happen. I have even gone to the GM and stated I was confused as to where my future was with the company as I was feeling unappreciated, disrespected and not sure of possible future positions which I could work towards. The GM was very understanding and assured me he wanted me to stay. However, the next day I got chewed out by my boss… catch 22…

    I guess my main problem is that I am treated like an amateur, get paid like an amateur and do the job of a 7 year experienced senior product designer. When you are the ONLY desinger… you do it ALL. And I’m trusted and told well at every review that I do my job well, and then some. So NOW what do I say? No conversation has brought me any closer to gaining the respect, appreciation or promotion I deserve.

  24. Hi Jess!

    I totally feel for you. There’s almost nothing worse than doing a good job, trying everything you can to make things work, and still not getting the respect you deserve.

    It’s a little like having a parent who, no matter what you do or how much you accomplish, still treats you like The Baby.

    I respect how much you’ve done to try to make this work. The tips in this post are only helpful to the point that the boss is willing to bend a little or at least give value to the points you’re making. In this case, your boss may be closed to any change on his part; and, wish until the cows turn blue, he will never be the way you want him to be.

    Since you’ve already tried pretty much everything a person can do, you have two basic choices: to stay or to leave.

    If you choose to stay, and assuming there’s no way to get to another boss, you’ll just have to accept that this is who he is and stop waiting for him to be different. If there is enough satisfaction from your job itself and the respect of your co-workers, then really think about how you are letting your boss’s reactions color your experience there.

    Oh…not that I don’t understand why you feel this way. Just think about whether you could find a way to lessen the impact of his behavior. In other words…this is who he is and he has to live with himself forever; but is there any way you can learn to just say “Oh well, that’s him!” and let the lack of appreciation slide by you, focusing instead on all the accolades you get from others? (If we can’t change others – and we rarely can – how much can we change what we focus on? You might want to read my August 18th post on zen and the workplace.)

    Now if you really can’t take it any more, you might just have to look elsewhere. The old saying about not being a prophet in your own land may apply. Sometimes in our careers, as much as we might not want to do it, we need to look elsewhere for the raise or promotion or, as in your case, the respect that you should be getting. At the very least, you could start to look and see what else is out there.

    I’m not sure any of this was helpful, but I hope at least it gives you some new ways of looking at the situation. Please let us know what you decide to do and how it turns out!

    Good luck!

    Ronnie Ann

  25. heating my boss every day… thanks for these advise they do make sense

  26. This happened last year around this time, but it’s still funny as hell.

    This morning my boss presented the company 2011 pro forma in powerpoint. The first slide should have had the title “Charting Our Financial Future Through 2011″. Since my stupid boss knows everything and NEVER listens to anyone’s advice, I guess I should expect him to ignore the advice of spell check too. Ever notice how close the C and S keys are on a keyboard? His plan is for us to be “Sharting” our way to financial success next year.

  27. Ha! Thanks for sharing that. Then again…maybe that’s the best plan he could come up with. ;-)

  28. I don’t hate my boss, actually I only hate the man who abused my son (ex-wife’s boyfriend) but my boss is horrible in the fact that she thinks of me as nothing other than a robot.

    I am human.
    I have needs.
    I fulfill my duties 100%, albeit sometimes late.
    I’m prompt 99% of the time.

    Because of how cheap my boss is, I’ve lost my teeth (no health benefits), I’ve lost my home (living in friends basement) and soon I will lose my sanity.

    My past bosses would slip me $50 here and there for job well done, but my boss will clock me out 3 minutes early to save a penny – that’s how cheap she is.

    I feel as though I’m not making my point, so I will elaborate slightly:
    -She dumps all of her work on me
    -She’s rarely at the office
    -I’ve received only ONE raise since starting work here, nearly 4 years ago
    -I’m pleasant and handle more than my share of the work on a daily basis
    -I PROVIDE A SERVICE THAT VERY FEW ARE CAPABLE OF AT MY WAGE LEVEL: Architectural Design! (I make less than $30K per year!)

    • Markis,

      I am sorry that you feel so upset with your boss. That said, I also should tell you that it’s also okay — and it sounds like you should certainly — look for a new job.

      Before you do, make sure you do something you truly enjoy in your spare time — and that makes you smile. If you go into the search with a downtrodden attitude, you may find it much harder to get hired. People generally prefer to hire and work with positive people. It’s hard when you feel like you aren’t being treated as though you would like to be, but I encourage you to feel better nonetheless…

      Good luck,
      Chandlee

  29. I work in a two person business which is composed of my boss and me. We both are paid well and have amazing benefits. My boss has chosen to start his own business and uses the office of the business and all the business supplies, including software programs, to run his personal business. He has his wife as an employee, although she works from home, and pays her and her social security payments out of this personal business. This personal business consumes close to 90% of his time, so I am left to operate the business which is paying all the expenses which my boss uses for his personal advantage. My boss is a Trustee in this two person trust (of which I am an employee).. The decisions about the Trust’s operation are determined by another Trustee, the Trust’s attorney and the Trust’s accountant. I have told my boss that I do not think it is right that he runs his personal business out of the office, etc. His reply is that he is only trying to earn an income for his family. I have talked to my boss and the accountant and the accountant suggests that my boss pay the Trust for the office space, the supplies and the use of other expenses. There are many days that I can work around thinking about this, but my bosses office is right next to mine and I can hear him use the phone for his personal business and spend the time on his personal business. I really do not want to communicate with my boss, which most of the time I do not need to. But I do want to be able to be happy in my work. I love my job and as next year I will be 65, it is smart for me to keep it. Please help me figure out what to do about working with someone with whom my idea of right and ethical is different from my own. Our company is audited once a year..should I think about talking to the auditors about the Trustee ( my boss) running his personal business using the Trust’s resources. Thank you so much!

  30. I work in an MNC as an Asst.Manager-Operations.Since the last three years,i am managing my two team members in pacing up with the work flow even after office hours.Till the time,three of my subordinates had left the organisation due to staggered timing of work flow.I had repeatedly asked my Boss to have the schedules done as per the normal office timings of 8 & 1/2 hrs.BUT All goes in vain.
    Even in Off days,i used to get calls from my BOSS and without listening my opinions/suggestions/possibilities/situations, he will rather go as per his head and makes me feel like instrumental.I am now so much devastated and frustrated with my work that i feel no more gain in my social life. Literally,me & my team used to start at 09:00 hrs and ends every evening at 21:00 hrs.
    In mostly every meetings,my Boss will never be mutual and will drag to every corner (It feels like getting ragged)..Most of the surprise thing is while other Dept colleagues used to stand up in support of me for the appraise.In most of the other branches,my dept colleagues had left the organisation for the only and one filthy situation.(They had opted for quiting rather than getting the same with HR)

    Please suggest me..What Shall i do..?

  31. Hello there.

    I am indeed in the I Hate My Boss Club. I feel for people out there who are at the edge of sanity over having to deal with a boss they hate. I would pep-talk and say that bosses are only human whatever they may think of themselves, but because I’m struggling with my own boss too, I know that’s one platitude no one likes to hear at this point.

    My problem is with my team leader who, for as long as I’ve been with the company, has never taken ownership of his own team. He himself came from another department and our team of 12 was his first admin job, but clearly he’s more eager to help out his previous department than he is with managing us. He’d go through the motions, sure, managing our workload, hiring and firing people, performing QA roles … just to keep productivity barely beyond the minimum. I mean it’s fine with him if we’re more productive, but if we scrounge around and slack off, it’s fine as long as we meet our targets. Isn’t that nice. Huh. It would be, but if it was his previous department in need, he was more driven, eager, focused … sometimes at our expense.

    He never really let go of his previous job and was just messing around with us because at least he gets to be referred to as our manager – a manager. This works to his advantage because he gets to boss us around over what trifle of a team vision he has, but if our team fails and we get dissolved, most of us will get retrenched and he gets his old job back.

    He never volunteers any new prospects for our team. He has no plans to make the team more profitable or competitive. He doesn’t interact with us in a way that makes us feel that our work is welcome or appreciated. When upper management makes decisions detrimental to our team, like taking the best colleagues in our team and putting them on other teams, he never argues for our benefit. I know all this because he and I are the most senior members of the team. We speak frequently, even have a few beers every now and then. I think he’s a nice guy but a total wuss. And because of his attitude, our team already feels like a dead end.

    It’s not like I didn’t try to do anything for the team. He didn’t have any plans for the team so I pitched my own. I’m a management graduate, he’s a nurse; so I think I know what I was pitching. I was the one who mingled with everyone and tried to rub on some sort of team spirit or ethos. But as upper management kept on making decisions for our team while my manager just looked on, I myself have given up myself. I did what I could; I didn’t get any help or support from my manager. So just to stop the madness, I handed in my resignation letter early this morning.

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