5 ways to deal with a bad boss
Tuesday, June 21, 2016
What do you do when the person responsible for directing the activities of the majority of your waking hours is an idiot? Or a jerk? Or not the person you would follow if you had any type of choice?
Here are five ways to fight the frustration.
1. Use idiosyncrasies to your advantage
If you know enough about your boss to create a top 10 list of annoying things, use that information to make your life easier. Maybe he has a bizarrely specific coffee order, a thing about pens or a way TPS reports must be submitted (see video above).
Instead of getting frustrated by the lack of logic or sheer frivolity of the requests, do them. You will look like a genius, and your day will run smoother. And if you're worried about wasting too much time on those items and not spending enough on your real work — don't.
As you have undoubtedly noticed, your boss pays a disproportionate amount of attention to these little things. This is part of what makes them so annoying but also why when you do them he will notice your attention to detail, how well you listen and subsequently cut you more slack in the other areas you mistakenly thought were the more important real work.
2. Ask for forgiveness
If you know your boss is going to say no but you are set on doing something anyway, don't ask. It may be the case that you know more or better, and if you understand the risks — or more likely believe she won't even notice if you do it — then why ask for permission?
Everyone who works a full day should take at least two 10-minute breaks, exempt or not. Medicine, science and your own experience have shown time and again that even a break for a few minutes of deep breathing can change your physiology, attitude and perspective.
No one is too busy for that.
4. Find humor
Make the list from the first example above and find someone who can see the silliness in it. Even better, find a way to amuse yourself with it during the day.
If you don't have a compatriot at work to share humor with, find someone who has a completely different job to commiserate with. When I talk to my teacher sister about the things that happen in the office she has a fantastically different take on their ridiculousness. Similarly, when she shares the challenges of teaching ninth graders I can't help but find a lot of it funny.
5. Taste a reality sandwich
I often advocate to people who are miserable at work to find another job, but the truth of the matter is there are any number of reasons why that might not be possible. And the bigger truth? Bad bosses are everywhere.
Unless you own your own company, which can come with another set of headaches, you will always report to someone else. Develop the life skills to handle even the worst boss, and you will have an easier time regardless of where and for whom you work.
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