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What to Do When Your Boss Is a Jerk

Career & Business

A dream job could turn into a nightmare when you have a boss who seems to go out of their way to be a jerk to you. Sometimes, they seem to get some twisted pleasure in making you miserable. Some environments have such a toxic culture; the employees have come to think it’s normal for their bosses to behave this way. Worse still, they believe it’s a rite of passage.

Dreading Monday

It can be so bad that you get depressed the moment you realize after a beautiful weekend that you have to resume work on Monday. The thought of sharing the same building with such a boss is incredibly depressing and can ruin your mood for the rest of the day or the whole week. You even get the feeling your boss hates being at work almost as much as you do.

My boss is a jerk

You know the one: No matter what you do, it’s never right or enough. You could be on your own, doing your own thing, or you could be asked to perform a task. You give it your best shot, but all you get is a barrage of complaints and criticism at the end of the day. It doesn’t matter what industry you are working in; jerk bosses can be anywhere.

Then there’s the one who probably has no life of his own and expects you to stay after hours to do things that could quickly have been done during the workday or are entirely above and beyond your job description AND pay grade! 

To put things in perspective, Robert I. Sutton provided a robust definition of who a jerk boss is. He is quite knowledgeable in this field as he’s a Stanford University professor and New York Times best-selling author of The No-A$$-hole Rule.  He is referring to the manager who leaves you feeling de-energized, disrespected, and demeaned. 

In a perfect world, you have a great boss and love going to work.  If you don’t, you might want to consider a career change.   In the meantime, when you have no other option than to go to your hellish job so you can survive and pay the bills, consider these career tips to make it bearable.

 

Take it in Stride and kill them with kindness.

Usually, when people treat others poorly, it stems from deep insecurity and fear they have of their leading potential.  They somehow confuse intimidation with leadership.   Meeting them with anger and resentment only makes things fester and get worse, especially when they have the power to make your life miserable.  According to Sutton, in such a situation, treat them with respect, kindness, and give them genuine compliments.  At the very least, you’ll confuse them, but chances are, you will gradually soften their brashness and create a better space for yourself. 

This move may not work in all instances if your boss is a power-hungry and derives joy in treating people like dirt. In that case, it’s a defensive move—think of them as the miserable person they are, feel sorry for them,  smile, and move on!  Or, in your mind, see them as a comical figure. By doing this, you create an emotional distance.  It’s not worth getting upset or angry at The Joker so just laugh (to yourself)  at their irrational behavior. 

Limit interaction to the minimum needed to do your job.

You tried. Remember, you only have control of how you act and react, not how other people receive you.   Their attitude is not going to change, and there isn’t a thing you can do except take care of yourself.

You have to figure out a way to survive, and we recommend space and distance.  Create as much of it as you can so that their negativity does not pollute your psyche.

Give yourself kudos for not stooping to their level. Be graceful about the situation and act like their hurtful words little spit-balls that a 6-year-old would spew out.  In time, you’ll develop a thick skin, and it won’t affect you as much.

Consult with other colleagues or managers when you need help as the first line of defense.  When there is no way around dealing with them, be polite and respectful but get straight to the point so that your meeting is as brief and professional as possible.   

Take advantage of modern technology.

Here’s another easy way to create space and distance: instead of having face-to-face interactions, try to communicate electronically whenever it is useful and appropriate.   It’s much easier to brush off sarcastic comments when they’re online, and if you get heated, you have time to pull yourself together before engaging in any drama.    

If they send several unpleasant emails—don’t reply to them immediately. Get yourself together, compose a short and polite reply to that email. Try not to get into the vicious cycle where you keep getting angry and offended by everything they say.   

Know the situation and the jerk you’re dealing with.

Take a moment, sit down and do a thorough analysis, ask yourself;

  1. How much power or control do I have over the situation?
  2. How much am I suffering?  How can I look at this differently for my sanity?   

If you have a boss who is insulting you, dumping on you, and being disrespectful, try not to retaliate or fuel their anger.  Sometimes, when you look closely at the situation you find yourself in,  you realize your boss is criticizing you because the job is beyond anyone’s control, or it’s entirely a broken system.  Instead, approach them when they’re calm and express your irritation as polite as you can.

If you believe that won’t work, bypass him and go to their superior or directly to Human Resources to file a complaint.   It may be better to bond together with your coworkers experiencing the same problem, form a coalition, and try expressing how toxic and hostile the workplace has become a group. This way, it would become difficult to push people around or single out one person.

When you document and complain as a collective group, you’re more likely to get the problem sorted out than when you try to do it alone. Don’t rush, get your facts right, get concrete proof, and make sure there’s no dissent among you. Then present your evidence to an impartial person in authority.

Don’t quit in rage

Don’t hesitate to resign if you no longer feel safe at your workplace, or you’re being demeaned and insulted constantly. But don’t make any decisions in rage. Plan a departure so that you can leave the company on the best terms possible, you never know when you may need to use them as a reference, and if you storm out, you’ve burned that bridge.  

Consider your options and make a plan.   If you’re unsure how to come up with a sound strategy, consider working with a career coach.   They are skilled at helping you clarify your goals and putting into action a plan that brings results.   One of the most grueling experiences in life is the job-search, and having the extra support of a professional will help you stay focused and sane through this tedious process.

It can be so bad that you get depressed the moment you realize after a wonderful weekend that you have to resume work on Monday. The thought of sharing the same building with such a boss is extremely depressing and can ruin your mood for the rest of the day, or the whole week. You even get the feeling, your boss hates being at work just as much as you do.

You know the one: No matter what you do, it’s never right or enough. You could be on your own, doing your own thing, or you could be asked to perform a task. You give it your best shot, but all you get is a barrage of compalints and criticism at the end of the day. It doesn’t matter what industry you are working in, jerk bosses can be anywhere.

Then theres the one who probably has no life of his own and expects you to stay after hours to do things that could easily have been done during the workday or are entirely above and beyond your job description AND pay grade!

To put things in perspective, Robert I. Sutton provided a robust definition of who a jerk boss is. He is quite knowledgeable in this field as he’s a Stanford University professor and New York Times best-selling author of The No-A$$-hole Rule.  He is referring to the manager who  leaves you feeling de-energized, disrespected and demeaned.

In a perfect world, you have a great boss and love going to work.  If you don’t, you might want to consider a career change.   In the meantime, when you have no other option than to go to your hellish job so you can survive and pay the bills consider these career tips to make it bearable.

I Hate My Job! Maybe it’s Time for Change…

Career & Business

I hate my job!  

I’m going nowhere in this job! 

I’m overworked; underpaid; unfulfilled; bored; miserable; etc. etc. 

 If any of these sounds like you, it might be time to consider a career change.  

Certified career coaches suggest having a transition strategy before making any changes. Making this type of change won’t happen overnight and takes a lot of energy. To make sure you put your enthusiasm in the right direction, career coaches offer these tips to help you achieve success.  

Tips for planning a career change 

Have a plan… 

Before you embark on a job transition, make sure you have a clear vision of what you want. Zeroing in on this can be the hardest part, especially if you usually make decisions based on what you believe you should do instead of what you want to do. A great way to start is to get in touch with what you are passionate about. Passion alone is not enough. When making a career choice, you need to know what makes you tick, but then you must evaluate where your talents are. Look for the overlap between what you love doing and where your abilities are.  

Do some research… 

Do your homework to find out what job opportunities align with your passions and talents. A great resource is The Bureau of Labor’s Occupational Outreach Handbook. It will provide you with valuable information such as what fields are projected to grow and the current salary trends. Reach out to people who are working in your dream job and find out how they got there. Linked In is a great networking tool to find professionals in your chosen career track. Social networking could open doors that you haven’t even considered yet. At the very least, professionals in your field will be able to offer you valuable insights into breaking into a new career.   

Know your value… 

Everything you have done in your previous and current workplaces has some value to your next employer and maybe what makes you uniquely qualified. You probably already have skills that transfer to many different job descriptions, but you may need some education or training. Evaluate your strengths and weaknesses, so later you can present yourself in the best light. Find out what you need to get your foot in the door and build your skills.  

If you are unsure about what skills you have to offer or how to present them on your resume, investing in a career coach will pay dividends. They are skilled at homing in on your strengths and stay up to date in keyword trends to get your resume noticed. A coach or any mentor will bring a new perspective to your search and to help structure your plans. Building a network will help keep you focused on your goal when challenges arise and offer feedback that may be beneficial.  

Don’t be afraid to enlist professional guidance… 

Sometimes the notion of a career change can be overwhelming, and we don’t even know where or how to start. Online career coaches specialize in industry research and mastering job search skills. If you’re not getting interviews, have someone look over your resume. If you’re getting interviews but not offers, troubleshoot your interviewing skills with your mentor or career coach. It’s helpful to have someone supportive to vent to at times. Job-searching can be frustrating, and rejection is inevitable. It can be very stressful and discouraging. Having someone outside your social network will support you and give you unbiased advice.  

Be patient, persistent, and realistic… 

Remember, this is a process that takes time, energy, and patience, so you must have sensible expectations. Everyone has strengths and limitations. Everyone encounters challenges and setbacks in this pursuit. Letting the stress of job searching get out of control will only hurt your efforts and possibly affect your health and personal life. You, your family, and your next employer want the best version of you. Don’t let self-care lose priority. Be sure to keep up with decent diet and exercise habits and last but not least, get adequate sleep!  

Your next job may not be “the” job, but if it is a stepping stone to your dream job, consider it a success! Some people start volunteering or create a goal-oriented “side hustle” to get started. Either can be an excellent way to bridge the gap between where you are now and where you want to go, especially when finances are a priority. A change of this magnitude will take a lot of time, energy, commitment, persistence, and guidance. Investing even a full year or two will indeed pay off for decades to come.  

ACT… 

When you areready to take control of your future and embark on the journey to a more profitable and satisfying career path, why not see what a career coach can offer you RISK-FREE?.   Life Coach Library will match you with up to 3 certified coaches who will all offer you a complimentary discovery session. Experience the impact of working with a coach can have today!  

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