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My Boss Makes Me So Mad!

Dear Work Coach,

I just read I Hate My Boss – So Now What? 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!

Amy

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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 (all that gossiping could easily come back to bite him), but there’s no way you’re going to change him or make things better for yourself by matching his behavior.

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. You can only bite your tongue so long before it starts to eat at you! (-;

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

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Note: This post comes from a comment and response found in another Work Coach post:

I Hate My Boss – So Now What?

 

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. Dear Work Coach,

    I read several articles and stories here and decided to tell my story as well.
    I moved to a new country five years ago, and, although I already have worked for two years back in my home country, decided to take another education in my new new homeland. I also took placements two times during my study and got excellent recommendation letters from the both employers. I hoped to find job quickly as I learned good skills both during my previous successful work places and my education as well.
    It did not happened that quickly although… I guess my job experience from my homeland was not considered as valuable in the new country; and my placements, although very successful and in the great companies were still internships… Finally I was lucky to get a job in a one of the largest international companies, but I made a compromise taking a job that was far below my level – administrative coordinator; although with opportunuties to grow.

    The problem now is that my boss have got a strange impression of me – that I am somewhat shy and avoid communicating (which is absolutely not true). She based her assumptions on the fact that I did not attend christmas party (I could not due to family reasons) and that I often communicate per mail / phone instead of approaching people in person. But I arrange meetings with people when there is a need for that! To ask a question – is it that efficient to go 500 meters (the company is really large) forth and back without knowing if a person got time for me? To write an email og call and ask about on beforehand is wrong! – “Just go to people and ask”. I just find this way ineffivient (oh, we have an awful communication in the company, difficult to find the ends); but she takes it as if I am avoiding to communicate to people and do not learn the organisation. Although, believe me, I am a responsible person and definitely know orhanisation more, than she thinks I do. We discussed it several times, I explained that no, I am not avoiding communication, but she still have not changed her opinion. The trouble is that we are sitting far away from each other and do not see each other every day. I do my job properly and even more than that, but she never have told me a single pleasant word. All I hear is her doubts. I am for the first time in such a situation… Do not want to leave the company, but feel that we do not get along with my boss, I would like to have more autonomy about what I am doing and see that I could have problems to move on with my career in the present situation. I am slowly trying to search in the other departments, but slightly afraid a kind of recommendation she could give to me in case i find another position – and the worst is that her opinion is only based on her wild assumptions…

  2. Hi Natalia!

    Wow. I’m sorry you’re going through this. Have some things I can share that might help, but hope you can give me a day or two to get back. Swamped! :)

    Back soon as I can…

    Ronnie Ann

  3. Hi again Natalia!

    First let me compliment you on the courage it took to make the move you made. It’s hard to move to a new land and even harder sometimes to adapt to new cultures – including work cultures.

    While I respect that you are good at what you do and admire your interest in efficiency, in the world of work there are other even more important factors that come into play if you want to move ahead.

    I know you think that e-mails are efficient, and in some ways they are; but I have to tell you from many years of experience, MUCH is gained by in-person communication. Team building for one. Interpersonal relationships, which will serve both the work and you in the long run, are another.

    There is so much you can learn from meeting with people and reading communication cues, body language, etc. Plus, you gain little helpful tidbits you never could get from e-mail – or even phone. Did you know that in many companies new ideas and new opportunities arise almost exclusively from in-person communication? It’s a trick successful people know well.

    So it’s an important skill for you to learn no matter where you wind up…if you want to move up the ladder. It’s part of corporate culture in most places – and clearly where you are. Successful people learn to respect and take part in the corporate culture of both their company and those they do business with. And I can honestly say almost every job I’ve had in the last 10 years or so has come from someone I knew because of prior work relationships I built up slowly – in person!

    One other key to success is listening to what your boss wants from you and seeing the value in trying to comply. ;-) If your boss tells you you’re avoiding communication, it doesn’t matter how much you know or how smart you are…work is mostly NOT about just the task at hand. It is about the relationships and building a reputation for knowing HOW to get the job done – and that includes how you work with people. And whether you show your boss you respect what she wants from you.

    I know that may not be what you wanted me to say, but it is the best advice I can give you. Go to your boss and tell her you have thought long and hard about what she’s been telling you and understand now that there is much to be gained by improving your communication skills and you intend to work on it. And then smile and THANK HER.

    Of course, if you dislike this type of environment and want more autonomy (as you mentioned above), then maybe you need to think about your professional goals. For instance, I work with technology and the business analysts have to be good with people but there are some technical people who happily keep to themselves.

    Think about where your career is headed and try to match it to who you really are. But if you can manage to get yourself to reach out more to in-person communication and actually learn to enjoy it (it can be fun!), your career path is limitless – especially in an international company with much room for growth if you just learn to flow with the preferred culture!

    I wish you much luck, Natalia, and have faith you will decide what makes sense for you. We’re all different. :) Please let us know how it goes.

    Ronnie Ann

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