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What to do if your boss is an a**hole (Part 1/3)

What to do if your boss is an a**hole (Part 1/3)

It’s a kind of sport to complain about our bosses. Many of us complain a lot, at the dinner table, on the weekends, in our texts and social media posts, and in the angry conversations we have with ourselves as we drive home after a long day.

Now, if your boss is genuinely an irredeemable a**hole, there may be nothing you can do. But more on that later.

In hopes that this relationship between you and your boss isn’t hopeless, I’d like to offer some advice.

My first piece of advice is to stop calling your boss an a**hole. Giving a human being a label like that does neither of you any good. The name-calling creates unproductive thoughts and reinforces and strengthens your negativity towards the person. It closes you off to possibilities.

The power differential between you and your boss is in itself a source of discord. Our boss has more power, and we don’t always like to admit that this imbalance is at the core of our negative feelings towards them. But calling your boss an a**hole gives them even more power over you, because the emotions these angry words bring forward for you block your creativity and curiosity, and decrease your resiliency and assertiveness in your dealings with this person.

There’s power in reframing our words, especially in a difficult situation. Instead of calling your boss an a**hole, think about using this kind of language:

  • I want to have a better relationship with my boss despite the difficulties I’m currently experiencing.
  • I find my boss challenging to work with because… (and no, don’t finish this sentence with “because they’re an a**hole.”)
  • My relationship with my boss would improve if… (again, it won’t work saying “they would just stop being an a**hole.”)
  • Here are some things I will try to make things work better between my boss and me.

None of these statements let your boss off the hook – but they do change your mind about how you’ll show up with him. Stop the name-calling and see if it frees your mind and spirit to take a more enlightened approach to this challenging person in your life.

About the Author

Sarah Thomson

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