We’ve all heard of ’em… THE BOSS FROM HELL! Screaming and yelling in an open office environment, placing unrealistic expectations on employees, taking credit for the success and accomplishments of others, constant criticism and denigration of employees, working employees until all hours of the night, lack of appreciation. The list of goes on and on.
Perhaps you’ve had one in the past. Perhaps you’re dealing with one now. Regardless of your current situation, bosses are a part of life, and if you’re lucky enough to have a great one, GREAT FOR YOU! If you are like the majority of the population who hate their bosses, “welcome to the club,” as they say.
Now I have to say, I haven’t been too unlucky in this arena. I worked a few part time jobs during college, and my bosses were all pretty okay (plus or minus a bitchy one in clothing retail). The bosses in my full-time job after college were pretty nice too (plus or minus some of the annoying schtick they had). But I know a lot of you have not been so lucky in this department, so I needed to address it, and get you off the fence.
To digress for a moment, I had a funny encounter with one boss I thought I’d share. It was a business trip to Boston, and we travelled as a group of 6 women. The company policy was two in a room, and lucky me, the boss put me in her room!!
I’ll never forget, we worked all day from 7am to 11pm. I was so tired, I just wanted to be alone by the end of the day. I couldn’t stand the idea of working with people all day and then having to be nice and make small talk again in the evening.
Anyhow, it was 11:30 pm, I had already washed up in the bathroom. I was now sitting watching TV on my double bed in a pair of pj’s I had purchased for the trip. For those of you who don’t know, I sleep in the nude 365 days a year, so I had to buy something respectable for the trip… I was sharing a room after all. So here I am, in my cozy flannels pyjamas, and out walks my boss from the bathroom…. IN A SILK NEGLIGEE! Pink with lace! I’m dying people! She walks over to the bar fridge and pulls out a bottle of sherry and starts DRINKING at 11:30PM. “Would you like some?” she asks. I couldn’t contain my embarrassment! Who does this? Negligee and sherry at 11:30 at night with your employee??
Top that off wither her snoring. She snored all night long! I actually blurted out, “stop f*cking snoring.” I did. I yelled out of desperation some time around 3:45am. I was so tired, I just wanted some sleep. She then told me I was “talking in my sleep” the next morning… I turned purple.
I’m sure most of you have some funny stories as well to offset those hellish ones. But, back to the boss. Going to a place you spend most of your waking hours should not be a place of abuse and belittling. You should be able to spread your wings at your job, not worry about a boss trying to clip them.
So what do you do if you are living with a boss from hell? Finding a truly satisfying job with good pay can be quite challenging. It’s a bit of catch 22, but I will try and help you at least make the best of the hand you are currently dealing with:
- Make a list of the all the things your boss does that make your day unbearable. That make you scream. Sit on the list for a few days, and come back to it to add more or delete key points. Once your list is ready, schedule a meeting with the hellish boss. Perhaps even meet outside the office environment, over coffee or breakfast. Leave your own emotions at the door, but definitely be prepared for your boss to blow off steam once you tell them just how hellish they are. Maybe, just maybe, your boss hasn’t fully realized his/her actions and how they have been hurting you. Honesty is always the best policy here. And there’s always a nice way to say the mean stuff. And this may finally change the work environment for the better.
- Find a mentor in the company. If you love the company, but hate your boss, this person can be a great sounding board for you, and offer good advice on how to deal with the hellish boss. Connecting with other people in a discreet way is often very helpful.
- Keep a journal of incidences. DO THIS. If your boss is not the owner of the company, this is even more important. If you have ammunition, documented and dated, you will have a strong case if things get ugly. Perhaps you may even find yourself in a harassment case, and having everything on paper is key here.
- If you truly feel your boss can’t or won’t change even after speaking with them and making an effort to reach out, ask for a department transfer. Which leads us to the next point.
- Don’t sacrifice your health or self esteem. You are being marginalized at the office. Your boss has taken away responsibilities, and you are being treated like an invisible woman. You are no longer invited to meetings, and suddenly find yourself on the “outs.” And you’ve spoken to your boss to no avail. Your work should be a place where you can grow and flourish. Not a place where your wings are being clipped. Nothing in life is worth your health or emotional state. Not a job, not a boyfriend, not a friend, nothing or no one. You’ve gotta take care of number one. If things don’t improve within the company, and you are continuously being attacked and criticized, consider looking for another job. In a perfect world, you discreetly find the new job first, and then give the boss from hell your notice.
I wish you the best of luck in making your day job an enjoyable place to be.
And I ask you ladies, can any of you share tips with our readers on how you dealt with a boss from hell? Are you still at the company? Did you leave in the end? Please help out our community of fierce women. And as always, please feel free to comment anonymously.