In a world where your manager changes more often than your address, at some point in your career, you will end up with a manager you hate. Hating your boss has all sorts of side benefits. Like making your life miserable, adding to your stress, and probably lowering the quality of your work.
The situation is ugly. But, it’s real. What’s a Cubicle Warrior to do?
If your manager changes every twelve months — or three — the easiest option to do is simply wait out. Keep doing excellent work and wait until the next reorganization. At least you keep the rest of what you like about your job — your coworkers, the company and the work — while waiting for the idiocy to go someplace else.
Never vent about your boss at work with your coworkers. You don’t necessarily know the relationships your boss has with other people or where the connections are that will lead back to your poor taste. There is simply no percentage in venting about a boss you hate and having the boss find out about it.
Vent, instead, to your spouse or partner. Vent to your closest friends. And that doesn’t mean venting on Facebook; my saying is that “what goes on the Internet stays on the Internet.” You don’t use social media as an opportunity to screw up your career.
Instead, venting means you vent face-to-face or over the phone. Express your frustration, but determine how you will approach your boss in your interactions to keep your frustration in check.
I call this “transactional” relationships. A transactional relationship is where you work with someone on specific transactions that need doing, moving all personal feelings aside, and when the transaction is done you go on with your life. This, of course, is easier said than done. But worth getting to since it will lower your stress levels about working with someone you hate.
As well, the interaction with your boss needs focusing on your work and how best deliver what is needed to your manager. Focusing on how best to deliver your work to your manager usually translates into a manager shifting into a “helping” role and gets rid of a lot of bad behavior. You do this even though you don’t need the help. It is just trying to figure out a best way to work with this person.
These three actions are all temporary. They assume that at some point down the road the circumstances and reporting structures will change. But the decision you need to make now is how long you can stand to work for a jerk before the jerk ruins your reputation in the company and your work quality falls.
You need to lay out the conditions where other actions are warranted — like looking for a different job. But you need to decide that line in the sand now because it is easy to simply put up with the situation and, suddenly, a year has gone by and nothing has changed. Decide where the line in the sand is so that when you get to it, you can evaluate what needs doing next.
What have you done that was effective in dealing with a boss you hate?
Scot Herrick is the author of “I’ve Landed My Dream Job–Now What???” and owner of Cube Rules, LLC. Scot has a long history of management and individual contribution in multiple Fortune 100 corporations. In 2005, Scot started sharing these hard lessons at CubeRules.com, a site devoted to Career Advice for knowledge workers, whom he calls Cubicle Warriors.