What To Do If You Hate Your Boss But Love Your Job

Posted by in Career Advice

You finally got the job of your dreams. The one where you can’t wait to get to work every morning. But then the unthinkable happens. Your great boss leaves and you get the boss from purgatory. The new boss may lose control, yell or scream, even throw staplers. Or they may simply be underqualified for the job and blame others for their mistakes. 


What to do? You can’t exactly leave during these tough economic times. You've got bills to pay. You'll have to “suck it up” and make it work. Some survival tips to do just that:


Keep emails, memos & phone messages. If your boss insists you forgot to do this or that, you’ll have proof. Sooner or later, it will dawn on them that they're the problem, not you.


Anticipate and prepare. Learn your boss’s behaviors and routine and develop strategies to anticipate their needs. Stay a step ahead and you won’t feel so stepped on rushing to meet seemingly unreasonable demands. 

Improve yourself if necessary. Nobody’s perfect. Maybe there are things you can improve about yourself or your performance that will defray some of your boss’s frustrations. Take note of your attitude. Ask a close co-worker how you present yourself when dealing with the boss or others.

Wait it out. The new boss may be so inept that upper management may give him the “heave-ho.”  Or they may “kill him with kindness” and put him where he can do as little damage as possible. If the new boss has a protector in upper management, he or she may be promoted, rising to their level of incompetence (Peter Principle).  Finally, if the new boss is old, they may soon retire. Waiting for your boss's gold watch may be your golden opportunity to survive a bad situation. 


Confront the boss. This can be risky. So you must be politic about it. Try to find common ground and state your expectations. 

Request a transfer. If the company’s big enough, you might be able to find a job that’s close to yours in another department.  You’ll have to make up a believable reason for the transfer—“…expand my experience in the company’s other product lines or services,” etc.

Commiserate with co-workers. Get together after work and share your horror stories and complaints.  Support each other on how to deal. There’s strength in numbers. Don’t do this in the lunch room, break room, around the water cooler or in a “cubicle huddle.” Spies, backstabbers or even the boss may be listening. 


Take it to HR. If other employees working under your boss encounter the same problems, consider taking your complaints to your Human Resources Department. Be sure that everyone is on board with this, and that they have documentation  to back up their complaints. 


No job is perfect, but if your boss is making your life at work miserable, there are things you can do short of leaving.



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