We’ve all been there: emails at 1AM and the heavy obligation to respond while bleary eyed and half asleep. We’ve all had orders barked at us from every direction. And we’ve all put somebody’s leadership skills into question when we have felt disadvantaged and undervalued.
While we all know that our employers are not there to enable our bad habits and be our new bestie, we also need to realize they are not meant to be villains, either.
There are the worst kinds of bosses; There are the obtuse, there are the micromanagers, and there are the impossible to please. Each one of these defines their own misery in the workplace, but each one can also have damaging effects on your own confidence and ultimately your work performance.
It has become all too common for a bad boss to have a lasting effect on employees’ careers. What can we say about Gen Y in this context except their eagerness to please? We try so hard, but sometimes it isn’t enough and we will need to save our egos from a devastating blow.
Are these bosses bad at their jobs, or are they bad at managing people? Then comes the question, are they bad at managing certain people? Are they workaholics who can’t clock off? Or are they so demanding that working for the entire Kardashian clan would look like a sunny vacation in the Bahamas? There are often incidences of unfair treatment and even bullying within the workplace, and the rise of the big bad boss is anything but fizzled out.
I had a boss who I found to be difficult. She would get involved with staff gossip, and I found my name carelessly slandered around as if I was in a real life Burn Book. As soon as she saw me a certain way the rest of the employees fell into place like obedient toy soldiers, while my own confidence and performance gave way like dominos. She set unrealistic expectations and unobtainable goals for me to achieve.
This brings me to my next point. The female boss. I desperately wanted a female boss that would inspire the best in me, and I wanted a woman to both be proud of and to admire. Unfortunately, this didn’t happen. I want a Sheryl Sandberg. I don’t want Miranda Priestly from The Devil Wears Prada, but I know I’ll have to deal with her. We know that we have a version of the notorious bad boss set in our paths, and we have to deal with them head on.
My problem with my boss was not because she was a woman. It was her treatment of other women because they were not male. If she could have run the business purely with male employees, she would have. Any woman with a voice was hushed out, and is there anything more silencing than your boss’s attitude towards your own perceived inadequacy? I felt incompetent, and I felt stupid. Chances are we have all been made to feel this way, but we can get past it.
How to deal with a horrible boss:
1. Assess your own work and behavior.
Look at yourself honestly, and don’t expect gold stars for good behavior. This can be tough to do, and tougher for your friends to do because they are far too close to you. But you need to see if there is a genuine problem, and once you know the answer, then you can start on fixing it. If you are doing the best you can, and you believe there may be discrimination or unfair treatment then you need to look at your company’s policies, your employment contract, and contact the relevant person while keeping track of any unfair incidences that occur.
2. Take the high road.
There is one truth about life, and you better start dealing with it: Not everyone is going to like you. That doesn’t mean you should suffer because of a personality clash. We are all going to have to work with people that we just can’t get along with, and bad mouthing them is only going to burn holes in your reputation — before you’ve even kick-started your career. A good bitch makes everyone feel better, but it has no place here.
3. Remind yourself of your skills and give yourself a pat on the back for a job well done.
Just because your boss can’t appreciate what do, doesn’t mean that nobody else does either. You have all of these skills, and you have talent. It is easy to become forgetful of your talent when no one shines a light on it. You’re here for a reason, so don’t let yourself get lost in the dark.
4. Remember the rules of karma.
The infinite loop of what goes around comes around. Karma is a feisty little thing. Sometimes I really wish it would work a lot faster, but ultimately we all get what we deserve. If we stick it out and if we try our best then maybe there will be some good to it all. Maybe one day we will be the boss, and we will know what not to do. Remember where you came from, and don’t mistreat those at the bottom of the ladder – you could just as easily tumble from it.
The devil does not wear Prada, but she does make a damn good fighter out of you.