When You have a Bad Boss and Cannot Quit

Having a bad boss at work can really mess up your mind. Not being able to just throw down your resignation and quit makes things even more of a nightmare. But take a deep breath, relax and take comfort in the fact that you are not alone. A report this year from market research firm. Gallup finds there’s still plenty of truth in that old cliché. The survey found that about half had left a job at some point “to get away from their manager.” Gallup has also found that sadly only three out of ten bosses have the natural or coachable talent to become great at managing people.

It can become next to impossible to perform well and be happy when you don’t get along with your boss. You lose all motivation and desire to perform well, and hate waking up and dragging yourself to work. You know your boss is making you miserable, at the same time simply cannot afford to quit the job or like the company too much to give it up without a try. For those of you who are yet to get to that point, reading this post will help you brace for that eventuality. For those of you who are already at that point, given how frustrated you feel, you may as well read our post on how you can deal with the bad boss situation better. Here are 5 ways of going about it that can make the going easier:

1. Strengthen your internal networking

If one thing can make things bearable at work when you already have a bad boss, it is having good company around you. Even if you are an introvert, go out of your way to socialize and network, however, be careful to not appear as desperate or attention seeking. By strengthening your network within the organization itself, you earn good friends and may also come across similar horror stories like yours [do not gossip about your condition, at any cost, it’s one of the worst mistakes you can make] or get support from unlikely quarters. Besides, it is a great way to earn reference for the next job you’ll be moving on to.

2. Don’t let yourself be pulled down

Yes, your boss is horrible, yes (s)he will do anything to pull you down, (s)he might even be getting sadistic pleasure in doing so. But remember, you get bullied only to the extent you allow yourself to be bullied. We are not asking you to get all rebellious, but practice being happy at work. Proactively engage yourself in things that make you happy, as much and as often as possible. Remember, work is just part of your life and not your whole life. So, make time for other areas in your life that can help you stay balanced. For example, indulge in some ‘me-time’, read often, listen to music, garden, get involved in doing meaningful volunteering work over the weekends. All this will make things at work tolerable.

3. It is okay to blow your own trumpet, specially at times like these

When your boss is going around dissing you, but you know you deserve much better, don’t be afraid to voice out your achievements. However, do it in a way which is diplomatic and it doesn’t appear as though you are bragging, else you might earn more enemies than friends. The point we are trying to make here is, if you deserve more credit than you are getting for your work, go get it. Be your own PR machine. Make sure that people other than your boss know and value your worth.

4. Don’t be afraid to seek help

Never be afraid to seek help, take advantage of your organisation’s wellness programs. If your organization doesn’t have them, reach out to close friends, family and even consider therapy if you are that miserable. If you at all end up considering therapy, which of course you would do when things get extreme, analyze if there is at all the option of you quitting. Remember nothing is the end of the world, moving on to a better job is the best thing you could do for yourself, that is, if you have that option. You may save your life. There is a huge health cost to having to deal with a bad boss day in and day out as Christine Porath points out in this NYT article. Robert M. Sapolsky, a Stanford professor and the author of “Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers,” argues that when people experience intermittent stressors like incivility for too long or too often, their immune systems pay the price. We also may experience major health problems, including cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes and ulcers.

5. Plan your exit plan down to the last detail

Plan it meticulously, make contacts, do things to build your CV that will take you closer to your dream job and a better work environment. Read our two part checklist on the skills that you need to build on to always be kickass and ready for almost any job that comes your way. Spend a considerable amount of time preparing for the better things that are about to come. When you do so, you invoke the better days, and you have something amazing to look forward to, even on the worst Monday mornings!

Remember that such things are quite common out there in the ‘World of Work’, and while we do understand this is always easier said than done, this too shall pass! For some more pointers on how successful people overcome toxic bosses, read this post by Travis Bradberry on Inc. If you are a boss yourself, read our post on leadership or management styles that block progress and help no one – not the managers or leaders nor their teams and certainly not the organization. Also check out the bonus infographic from Officevibe below on some of the signs of a bad boss (nod your head and vent a bit ;))

We hope you find our advice helpful and are able to use it, starting now! Do tell us if these tactics bring about any positive change in your situation, we always love hearing from you!

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