If you are having problems with your boss, you have to determine what is at the root of your frustrations. Is it that you truly hate your boss, or is the real problem that you hate your job? If you are dissatisfied with your profession and your job responsibilities, you may be misjudging your boss altogether. It is not his or her fault that you are unhappy with your line of work. You have to take responsibility for your actions. Do you have a legitimate complaint against your boss, or could it be that you are a bad employee? It is only fair that you give credit where credit is due.
Take a careful introspective look at your own actions as an employee to make absolutely sure that your feelings towards your boss are justifiable. Have you been a flaky worker — showing up late a few times a week, taking long breaks, and blowing off meetings? You may not like it when your boss comes down on you for being irresponsible, but the fact of the matter is that that is precisely what your boss’ job is. You can’t fault someone for calling you out for being a slacker – after all, your boss is getting paid to run a productive business. You might feel that your boss’ approach to discipline is too harsh, but unless the sentiment behind the reprimanding is unwarranted, you’re just going to have to accept it – and ideally, your goal should be to learn from it.
If you feel that you are pulling your weight in the office and yet your boss is constantly looking over your shoulder, try to understand that this behavior could simply be his or her management style. Some bosses prefer to micromanage so that they are certain that everyone is keeping up with their tasks and obligations, while other bosses have a more “hands-off” approach, giving more trust and responsibility to their employees, and checking in only when a project or task is completed (most bosses fall somewhere in the middle). Despite the fact that you may wish that your boss would allow you more freedom and space to get your work done independently, you may have to prove yourself to him or her over a long period of time and with great consistency before that happens.
If your boss makes a comment about an aspect of your work, look at it as constructive criticism rather than insulting negativism. You have to be able to deal with people who aren’t tactful or gentle with their opinions and observations. Your boss may be harsh and abrupt, but unless you are positive that what he or she is saying is blatantly wrong, you should try to heed the advice you get. Don’t be on the defensive; be proactive. You have the potential to turn a bad experience with your boss into the catalyst that makes you a more competent professional.
Certain industries are more stressful than others. The stress level in your work environment is bound to impact your boss’ behavior. If you work in a busy restaurant, for example, then you should expect to have some confrontations with your fellow employees and your boss. It may sound ludicrous that you should simply come to terms with that, but that’s reality: when people are in a pressure cooker environment, someone’s bound to explode every now and then. Therefore, you have to learn to be forgiving and compassionate. If your boss barked at you for something that was very trivial, you should be mature enough to let it slide. Grudge-holding has no place in the workforce. If your boss is relentlessly using you as a human punching bag, that is another story.
You have to know your limits – occasional bursts of aggression are part of life, but consistent verbal battering is out of line, no matter how much pressure your boss is under. If you boss knows that you will not hold the occasional outburst against him or her, then you will be seen as a more valuable and dependable employee – not someone who your boss is going to have to remember to walk on eggshells around so that your fragile feelings aren’t hurt.
Never fight fire with fire. If your boss is being mean to you (in your opinion), that doesn’t give you the right to be mean right back at your boss. You are at work, not on the set of the Jerry Springer talk show. You are not in the position to make a loud theatrical performance when you feel you have been wronged. If you want to talk to your boss about a problem you are having, don’t do it in the middle of a weekly staff meeting. Even though the devil on your shoulder may be tempting you to embarrass your boss before the entire office, you have to be mature and professional if you don’t want your job on the line. You don’t have to bite your tongue if you think that your boss has truly gotten out of line, but you should be enough of a professional to schedule a private one-on-one meeting so that you can calmly express yourself to your boss.
Another reason that you should set up a meeting is so that you have enough time to cool down and enter into the conversation without fresh aggression spilling out of your pores. Never try to tackle an issue of this nature right when it arises – the heat of the moment is not bound to be a time when your boss will be willing to see things your way. During your private meeting, you should try to spin the conversation in your favor by asking your boss for input on how you can improve yourself, rather than how your boss needs to improve. You will be giving your boss a sense of control over the situation so that you come across as a concerned employee trying to be the best you can be rather than a complaining pain in the neck with a bone to pick.
If you have made your best efforts towards building a better relationship with your boss, but it has been to no avail, then you have to figure out whether or not you should start looking for a new job. Your personal happiness and fulfillment should be your top priority, so if you are truly dissatisfied and unhappy with your job, you owe it to yourself to quit. However, don’t burn the bridge. Do your best to keep your composure so that you can get a decent recommendation from your current boss. Try your best to leave on the best note that you can – you will feel better for taking the high road than you would if you tried to exact some careful revenge on your way out the office door.