Save Your Job: How to Deal With a Bad Boss

Save Your Job: How to Deal With a Bad Boss

Odds are that you will have at least one bad boss sooner or later. It can be a very challenging situation without obvious solutions. But there are things you can do to make your life at work more positive or to at least buy yourself some time.

Keep an open mind and maintain your composure. Staying calm might be the most important thing you can do.

These tips can help you to navigate the challenge of dealing with a bad boss:


1. Consider finding another job. That might not be what you expected to read, but sometimes leaving is the best idea. Consider your circumstances. If your boss is firmly entrenched and isn’t going anywhere soon, it might be in your best interest to find alternate employment.

2. Consider your own contribution. Are you certain that you’re not at fault? Sometimes we tend to put all the blame on the other party. The good news is that if it’s your fault, you can fix it!

3. Keep your cool. When your boss is mistreating you or being unreasonable, your first instinct might be to respond in a similar fashion. This is frequently a mistake. It’s an excellent opportunity to show others that you’re reasonable and professional. Maybe your boss’s boss will be one of those to notice.

  • It will also reduce your boss’s tendency to bully you. Bullies tend to stop if they see their tactics aren’t getting a response.

4. Touch base with human resources. This can be a good idea, but it depends on your work environment. HR departments tend to either support the “little guy” or the manager, depending on the company. Be careful.

5. Network, both within and outside the company. It’s important to stay active and communicate with your network of people.

  • You’ll be sure to find out about any potential job opportunities.
  • Staying sociable is also good for your mental health!

6. Consider talking to your boss’s boss, but beware. If you do say anything, focus on the behavior, not the person. Remember that they may have been the one that hired your boss. People don’t like to admit they made a mistake.

7. Keep a sense of humor. It’s easy to spend all of your time thinking about work and your boss. Try to laugh about it and move on to other things.

  • You’re already at work most of the day. You probably don’t want to spend your free time thinking about it, too. On your own time, it’s important to let go of your work challenges.

8. Get some clarity. Find out exactly what your boss wants from you. If you can get a list of specific performance measures, preferably in writing, you can protect yourself. If you can hit those performance numbers, it gives your boss less flexibility to fire you. You might also find that you’re making them happy!

9. Keep track of your successes. When you’ve done something worthwhile for the company, write it down and keep records. If you do lose your job, it gives you a lot of leverage when it comes to negotiating an exit package or potential settlement.

Dealing with a bad boss is something that we all have to do at some point. There is no set formula for getting through the challenge successfully, since circumstances can vary so much. Take a careful look at what’s going on and decide on a course of action. Sometimes the best you can do is hold on tight until you can find another job.

Remember that at the end of the day, you’re working for yourself and your family. It’s important to do the best you can to create an environment that supports the life you desire.

[Image Credit: Benjamin Watson/Flickr]

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