Love your job but hate your boss
We get it. It’s a tricky situation to navigate—and what are your other choices? Leaving immediately and riskingit all on the off chance you’ll find another gig tomorrow?
Having a troublesome boss is one of the most common reasons people start the job search, but leaving doesn’t have to be the only answer. And if leaving isn’t an option for you right now, managing the situation is going to be key. You’ll have to do some work to figure out how to deal with the downsides in order to stay at the job you love so much.
Take a Hard Look
Start with yourself. If nothing else, just to cross yourself off the list and confirm you’re doing nothing wrong. Is there anything you’re doing that could be aggravating the situation? Are you communicating patiently and clearly? When you’ve submitted work to your superiors has it always been to the highest standards? Are you such a good employee that your boss thinks you don’t need any feedback and therefore never is available for your questions? We’re sure you’re a great employee — the greatest. But taking a hard look at all of the reasons for your feelings about your boss, including your own behaviour, can help you to find a solution. Try to stay open-minded.
Now, have a think about your boss and try to create a firm list of exactly what it is about them that’s troubling you. If you can, remove your emotions and stay objective in order to ensure the points are clear. Are any of the points something you can address with them? Are any of them things you can change?
Chances are some of the things on your list are out of control. Your boss might behave however they want without consequence and no-one to step in. If this is the case you’re going to have to do some hard thinking about the positives and negatives of your job. Can you manage your emotions about your boss effectively enough that you can stay and still enjoy your job?
Can you manage your reactions to your boss’ behaviour? If your boss makes a ridiculous request, for example, by emailing you late at night to tell you your deadline is the next morning instead of next week, you’re entitled to be mad. But what you do with your anger could change the way your workweek plays out. Rather than send an angry reflexive response, take some time to breathe and wait until the next morning to reply. Take responsibility in the situation and assert yourself calmly and professionally. Set boundaries. Slowly teach your boss that you won’t be bullied or mistreated, and teach them how you’d like to be treated.
It might be hard, but you could also try thinking about your boss in different ways. Is there anything that’s positive about your boss? Is she supportive of you taking leave at times to suit you rather than the company? Does he encourage you to let your creativity run free on important projects? Do you think there are pressures on your boss that might be affecting their behaviour? Trying to understand your boss better might help you think more kindly of them and see your job in a new light.
Remind Yourself of Why You Applied in the First Place
Remember when you saw the job ad and thought it would be perfect for you? The moment when someone referred you to a new department? The excitement of beginning a new chapter in your life? Those early days when you were learning the ropes and your colleagues were happy to help you out? Have a think about the early days in your job and work out if there’s anything you can do to recapture the happiness you might have felt back then. It could be as simple as asking your boss for some new responsibilities to take on so you can keep learning, if that’s what you enjoy.
You love your job, right? So make a list. Grab pen and paper and write a list of all the things big and small that make you love your job — from the coffee machine to the projects you get to do to the customers you serve to the co-worker who sits at the desk next to you and makes you laugh. Or maybe it’s the early hours you work or the money it provides you to support the family you love. The reasons should come easily to you! When you’re done, put it on your wall or somewhere you can see it every day. Check it each day before you walk out the door. Try to remind yourself of it while you’re at work. Especially try to remember it when you’re dealing with your boss!
Patience is a Virtue
If you’ve taken a thorough look at your situation and come to the conclusion there’s nothing wrong with anything you’re doing and your boss is someone you can’t bear to be around, you might want to wait patiently a little while longer while you figure out what steps to take next. Avoid lashing out or getting rattled around your boss if you can — it could escalate and worsen the situation and increase your stress.
In the meantime, back yourself. It can be a good idea to prepare yourself for any possible confrontations by documenting everything. If your boss calls and makes a request, send him an email and confirm the request in writing. If she pops by your desk with a stack of files for you to manage, put a quick note somewhere on your computer so you’re keeping track. Avoid automatically cleaning out your inbox — keep any emails that show evidence of the type of behaviour that stresses you out. Keeping a paper trail like this might seem like more work and more stress in the moment, but in the long run it could turn out that you’ll be grateful for it.
If the situation doesn’t improve over time and you’ve tried everything in your power to make it better, you might want to consider moving on if you can. Sometimes workplaces are just not fixable — whether it’s due to a deeply entrenched work culture or HR refusing to budge. Having a stressful or toxic work environment can negatively affect your health in the long run, so it’s worth trying to find somewhere new. You don’t want to end up losing the love for the work you do!
Go back to your list of reasons why you love your job. Was it because of the type of work? The type of customers? The industry? If some of your reasons were industry-related you might want to look into similar positions at related companies. Chances are they’ll jump at the opportunity to hire someone with your experience! If you loved your job because of the company culture and your co-workers outside of your boss, you might be able to see if your employer would provide you an opportunity to transfer internally.
You deserve to work somewhere that brings out your best! Don’t let your love for your work be dampened by just one person. Take your troubles with your boss as a chance to do some self-reflection and change your work life for the better!