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I Hate My Boss - How to Live With Them or Leave Them

By Edited Jul 24, 2016 5 9

I hate my boss

If you wake up in the morning thinking "I hate my job", then you are not alone.

We spend one third of our day at work – and that’s half the time that we are actually awake. A 2012 employee survey by the ManpowerGroup reported dismal satisfaction at work, with 66% of US employees being unhappy at work and 32% wanting to find another job.

Sometimes we are lucky enough to have a great boss - one who motivates the team, supports us, understands when we need to go and fetch a sick child, or can give criticism in an honest and objective way. But we are not always that lucky, so let’s start there!

Horrible bosses

Horrible bosses. They have made websites, ranting forums and even movies about these people who exist to torment us. I think we have all had at least one, while I have been graced with a few.

Horrible bosses were the reason I quit my office job to go out on my own and start freelancing. Unfortunately, no one warned me that as a freelancer each and every one of my clients is technically my. So now instead of just one manager to report to, I have five bosses. Four of them are nice, one is not.

I have never actually met him in person (we do everything online and have done so for five years now), but I recently watched Horrible Bosses again and Kevin Spacey is exactly how I imagine this guy. Here’s a “clean” clip from the movie:

Horrible Bosses
Amazon Price: $2.10 Buy Now
(price as of Jul 24, 2016)
This is a very funny movie - whether you have a horrible boss or not.

Interestingly, a CEB survey revealed that the top five things employees are looking for in a new job are:

  1. Job stability
  2. Fair compensation
  3. Respect!
  4. Health benefits
  5. A work-life balance

Anyway, the idea is not to rant and rave but to find out how to deal with such people and leave if necessary.

 1.       Leave your job

Yes, sometimes you have to just cut your losses and leave for greener pastures. If things aren’t or will never get better, then I suggest choosing door number one here. But don’t make a plan; make opportunities for you to choose from first. Do this by saving some extra money, writing a smashing CV, and applying for jobs BEFORE you quit. Never badmouth your boss in an interview at another company because this just makes you look bad. And don’t just take any job – wait for one that’s better than the one you already have. You want to move up, not across from your problems.

In the meantime, follow steps two to five below.

2.       Find a way to get out your frustrations and have fun

I hate my job

Start scrapbooking, karate, skydiving or knitting – whatever takes your mind off the boss and back to the activity. Deep breathing techniques help and there are great free resources on the internet. Don’t let your boss into your personal space. It will ruin your personal life and relationships when you bring “work” home every night. Don’t give the boss that satisfaction!

Leave the boss at the office, and spend your evenings doing fun things ad creating the opportunities we talked about above.

3.       Treat yourself and others with dignity and respect, no matter what the circumstances

This is not a maybe, but a must (even though respect is only third on the list of what job hunters seek). Know who you are and what your morals are. Always be true to yourself and don’t let your boss bully you into things. Now, I’m not talking about starting a worker’s union or protesting outside the building, but communicate calmly and firmly when you are not comfortable with a task or the way that you are being treated.

You are an adult. If you act like one and learn to communicate your needs clearly and reasonably, then you will more likely be treated like one. Don’t get emotional and scream out everything that has been racing around in your head for the past 6 months. It won’t help. Trust me – I have tested it and it doesn’t!

Being respectful to yourself and others, even the more difficult characters, will let you walk away with the upper hand. Nothing can come back to bite you in the butt and your boss might even calm down and give you a good reference! I have heard nasty stories of people deleting all the files off the company server before quitting and things like that. Anger makes us nasty – and nasty doesn’t help anyone.

 4.       Make a plan and see the bigger picture

I set goals to create those opportunities. Ask me at any time what I am working towards and I will tell you. This way, when my client is difficult, I can tell myself: “I only have 16 more months of this before I am set to leave him to achieve my greater goal. He is helping me to get there.” This is what I told myself this morning – and what I tell myself pretty much every morning. It helps me get through the day when I know that this is just a stepping stone to bigger and better things. But sometimes you have to crawl before you can walk, and walk before you can run (right out that office door).

5.       Ask yourself: “Am I being a good employee?”

A little introspection may help you to control that which you can control to improve the situation. You cannot make your boss or anyone else treat you or act in a certain way, but you can control your behaviors and reactions to circumstances.

 Ask yourself if you are doing your job well, or if there is merit in what your boss is moaning about. Are you expecting too much for yourself and not thinking of others? Are you being a good team player? Is there anything that you can do to improve the situation and make life easier for yourself and those who work with you?

As a final thought, I am grateful

Bye boss
for every difficult boss I have and have ever had. There, I said it! Because if everything was easy and worked exactly how I wanted it to, I wouldn’t set greater goals or get up and make things happen. I would be stuck in my rut forever. So a horrible boss is doing you a great favor – just say thanks and use it to your advantage.


I would love to hear some horrible boss stories from you all! Feel free to share and brighten our day.



May 13, 2013 2:07am
I like your attitude towards horrible bosses,namely.
understanding them,accepting them as they are and asserting your freedom.
May 13, 2013 2:09am
I like your attitude towards horrible bosses,namely.
understanding them,accepting them as they are and asserting your freedom.
May 13, 2013 2:10am
This comment has been deleted.
May 13, 2013 2:14am
Thanks Januarius!
You managed to sum up my article so nicely :-)
May 13, 2013 2:09am
I like your attitude towards horrible bosses,namely.
understanding them,accepting them as they are and asserting your freedom.
Jun 12, 2013 12:13am
I have been lucky to have great bosses but I have heard stories from people around me and I am always wondering why some people are so horrible.
Jun 12, 2013 1:58am
I have had to many bosses to count and only 2 good ones in 40 years. I think the bosses who choose subordinate bosses must all be the same kind of people, who just choose to employ bosses like themselves.
I now employ other people and like to think I am a good boss, naturally.
Jun 12, 2013 6:02am
This is all great advice. Unfortunately, workplace mobbing or bullying is now so prevalent that many people don't like going to work.
Jun 12, 2013 12:33pm
Very well written article and great advice. It's always important to, as you say, look at the big picture and make sure you don't do anything that you'd regret or that could tarnish your working reputation.
Jun 12, 2013 4:38pm
Many people settle for a job or career instead of pursuing their passions. This contributes to their unhappiness. Starting your own business or becoming self-employed is something that more people should consider. You should remain professional and leave the first chance you get. Staying will just allow to remain miserable.
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  1. "Majority of employees dissatisfied." Forbes. 10/05/2013 <Web >
  2. "The top 5 reasons employees wil quit in 2013." Forbes. 10/05/2013 <Web >

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