What to do if your boss is an a**hole (Part 3/3)

In part 1 and part 2, I suggested that first, you stop calling your boss an a**hole, and second, that you learn to talk to your boss about what’s bugging you.

In part 3, I’d like to suggest that you become the best possible boss you can be to yourself.

What does this mean?

  1. Even if you don’t communicate well with your boss, learn to communicate well with yourself. This inner conversation, if it’s positive, honest, and supportive, can be more important than any conversations you do or don’t have with your boss. Be a good boss to yourself in this inner conversation. Create clarity, encourage, be kind, be thoughtful, and be mindful of opportunities.
  2. Set your own goals and standards. If your boss shows up grumpy every day, set a goal to balance their grumpiness with your positivity. If your boss doesn’t set an agenda for the weekly meeting, do it yourself. (So what if it’s their job to set the agenda – will you continue to go to disorganized meetings and not try to do something about it?) If your boss raises their voice and uses abusive language, set your own goal always to do otherwise. Be the better person if that’s what the situation requires.
  3. See if you can make the changes you’d like your boss to be making. Don’t be angry at your boss if you must operate at a level above your title and your pay grade. It might be good training for that promotion you’ve been looking for. Get out from your bosses shadow and look for ways to differentiate yourself from them.
  4. Be patient. Or not. You may simply be challenged to find a state of grace about the situation you’re in, but if there are other opportunities in the organization, pursue them if they’re appropriate to your skill set (or even if they’re not!). Write up a letter of resignation and see how it feels to hold it in your hands, confronting the reality of moving on. Often, by permitting ourselves to move on, we find that we have more positive energy to give to a situation that no longer feels like a permanent trap.
  5. Skip the hierarchy and register your concerns with the level above. Yes, I said that. There are risks, of course, to going above your boss’s head, especially if your boss’s boss is also an a**hole. But you may earn a lot of respect for stating your concerns thoughtfully and professionally. I’ve done it, and it worked. Just be ready for Plan B if it doesn’t.


About the Author

Sarah Thomson

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