How to deal with a bad boss

Bad boss

The uncontested, number-one reason why people are unhappy at work is bad management. Nothing has more power to turn a good work situation bad than a bad boss. Sadly there are quite a lot of them around. A recent British study accused 1 in 4 bosses of being bad, while a Norwegian study said 1 in 5.

According to workplace researchers Sharon Jordan-Evans and Beverly Kaye, when people quit, they don’t leave a company, they leave a bad boss. Surveys show that up to 75% of employees who leave their jobs do so at least in part because of their manager. In the exit interview dutifully performed by HR, employees may say that they got a higher salary or a shorter commute out of the switch, but in anonymous surveys the truth comes out: My bad boss drove me away.

The reason that having a bad manager is so bad for us is that managers have power over us. Managers can change our work situation, give us good or bad tasks, and, ultimately, fire us. This power imbalance is why a good relationship with your manager is so important.

The good news is that you are not powerless. You don’t need to quietly accept a bad boss – quite the contrary. If your boss is not treating you and your co-workers right, you have a responsibility to do something! And in many, many cases, bosses long for feedback from their employees – they want to know what they can do better.

Here are the steps you must take, to deal with a bad boss.

1: Assume no bad intentions.

While some of the things your boss does may make you unhappy at work, it is probably not why they do it. Until proven otherwise, assume that they mean well and are simply unaware of the effects of their actions.

2: Classify your boss

Which of these three categories does your bad boss fall into?

  1. Doesn’t know he’s bad.
  2. Knows he’s bad and wants to improve.
  3. Doesn’t want to know he’s bad or doesn’t care.

Most managers who make their employees unhappy are simply unaware of this fact—nobody has ever told them that what they do isn’t working. Some managers know that what they’re doing is wrong and are trying to improve—these people need our support and good advice in order to do better.

Paul’s new boss was constantly critical and never showed any appreciation for a job well done. In weekly status meetings, he would only comment on deviations from the budgets and demand explanations and actions plans.

Well, Paul doesn’t stand for that kind of thing. He kindly but firmly let his new boss know that in order to be motivated he also needed positive recognition for the things he did well. The result: Over the course of three months, the boss has come around and now freely and happily comments on the great results Paul is getting. At their last status meeting before Christmas, the boss even spent five minutes praising Paul’s department for the work they’ve done and the results they’ve achieved.

But this may not always work.

I used to be the Public Relations Coordinator and Editor for a local non-profit organization. A couple of months before I threw in the towel my grandmother became very ill. After a phone call from a family member I was told to come to her bedside, as death was imminent.

I told my boss that I needed to leave for a family emergency and explained the situation and how close I was to my grandmother. My boss replied, “Well, she’s not dead yet, so I don’t have to grant your leave.�? And, I was told to complete my workday. Suffice to say I did not finish my workday. (source)

There’s also the third category of boss: Those who steadfastly refuse to acknowledge that they’re bad leaders, or who revel in the fact that they make people unhappy at work. These managers are usually beyond helping and may never learn and improve. Get away from them as fast as you can.

3: Let your boss know what they could do better

Presuming your boss is in category 1 or 2, you must let them know what they can improve. This can be scary because of the power imbalance between managers and employees, but it needs to be done. Managers aren’t mind readers, and they need honest, constructive feedback.

4: Do it sooner rather than later.

If you have a bad relationship with your boss it’s vitally important that you do something about it as soon as possible. It can be tempting to wait, thinking that it might get better on its own, or that your boss might be promoted, transferred or leave. Don’t wait – sooner is better.

5: Choose the right time to talk.

In the middle of a meeting or as a casual hallway chat are not the best ways to approach the subject. Make sure you’re in a quiet undisturbed place and have time to talk about it fully.

6: Explain the effects on you and the effects on your work.

Be specific and tell your manager, “When you do X it makes me do Y, which results in Z.�? If you can show how his actions reduce motivation, hurt business, or increase expenses, you’re more likely to convince him that this is a serious issue.

7: Suggest alternatives.

If you can, explain what they could do instead and why that would be better. Suggesting specific alternatives makes it easier to make positive changes.

8: Make a plan and follow up.

Agree to follow up at a later date, to evaluate the new situation.

9: Praise your manager when he gets it right.

When your boss gets it right, remember to praise them. Many managers never receive praise because people mistakenly believe that praise should only flow from managers to employees.

You may be nervous about approaching your manager and giving them advice, but good managers are truly grateful for constructive, useful feedback, and will appreciate any opportunity they get to learn how to do a better job.

10: If all else fails: Get out of Dodge

If you’ve tried to make it work and can’t, it’s time to get away. You can go for another job inside the company (with someone you know to be a great boss), or in another organization.

And you?

What about you? Have you ever dealt with a bad boss? How did you do it? Write a comment, I’d really like to know!

This post is an excerpt from my new book Happy Hour is 9 to 5, which is all about making yourself, your co-workers and your workplace happy.

If you enjoyed this post, I’m pretty sure you’ll also like these:

109 thoughts on “How to deal with a bad boss”

  1. I used to have the greatest boss ever (Alexander and I already talk about that) but life is all about equilibrium, My next Job I had the worst Boss ever, and it falls in number 3 category. Definitely all employees knew(and still know) that She has no experience whatsoever managing people, but she always though she can, still does. I get out of there as soon as possible. I must say that the job was one of the best jobs I ever had, but that doesn’t matter. My boss always transform this beautiful work into a nightmare.

    I like to share something that I have seen in bad bosses all over my country(I think will apply worldwide). I like to use the term “Artificial Crisis”. Usually this people lack of knowledge and don’t have any experience in the position they are working on, so what do they do to remind the top chiefs in the company that they need this people. They create “Artificial Crissis”.

    Usually when my former Boss came back from a trip, she was expecting problems, The group was so good that we can took care of ourselves while she was away, I guess she feel some sort of threat(completely immature I know) so she started reporting to her boss that while she was away the complete group was a mess, that nothing was done and that they need to take actions immediately.

    Most of my colleagues were scared to tell that all was fake. They fear of being fired. I try to talk to her about how she can change they way she manages, and she once told me “You and your colleagues don’t know what you want or what to do, I’ll tell you”. What!!? I was speachless

    I tried to talk to her boss and explain the situation, but guess what, He was from the same kind :(

    As Alexander said, when nothing can be done, you can’t let yourself be absorbed by this kind of negative and bad influence. I leave the company right away. Since that day( and thanks to this website) I started looking for happiness at work, I haven’t reach the end, but I’m already happy and enjoying every step of the journey!! :)

  2. I think a great way to empower people and even the “power balance” as you were talking about is to allow people to fire their managers! Perhaps not from the company as a whole, but just fire them from being their manager or alternatively you can just not have any managers at all, which is what we are going to do at my startup soon.

    P.S. When i was in the corporate world i had plenty of bad bosses and i usually just left the company due to my low tolerance threshold for negative or ignorant people :)

  3. My situation is a little unique. My staff loves the way i manage and i have great relationships with everyone who reports to me. I am #2 in command for the organization as a whole. My only superior is the Executive Director of the organization. She feels so threatened by the loyalty and happiness my team shows on a daily basis that she barates me for my management style and tries to ‘teach me through example’ that being forceful and rude are better tactics than what i use.

    In our relationship we have weekly meetings that are supposed to be me relating my team’s work to her and getting her feedback and advise. Instead these sessions are based around what she feels she would have done differently than i am doing, and why her way is right. Normally i am confident enough to get through this sort of thing without worrying, but she made it personal by not allowing me to get to my prenatal doctor appoitments, calling my staff into her office so they could hear her tell me how i messed up, and a slew of other inappropriate things.

    When i confronted my manager she told me she was working on being less abrasive, but i need to learn her ways and use them. Honestly, if i was not pregnant and needing health insurance i would have left a while back, but sometimes life gets in the way of your plans in a sense.

    I also stay because my staff would be managed by her if i left, and i do not feel right about putting them in that situation. We work as a team, build off each other’s successes, and respond to both the good and bad almost like a family.

  4. At the beginning of my working life I had a bad boss. He was so bad to be funny! When I decided to leave, it was because I found a better job.

  5. Is George W. Bush a bad boss who doesn’t know he’s bad, or a bad boss that doesn’t care? Either way, I believe the U.S. has gone through steps 1-9 listed here to deal with our bad boss. I guess it’s time for me to “Get out of Dodge”.

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  7. I think one of the key points here is that, most of the time, your boss is not out to ruin your life. They may not have thought through how their actions are percceived, and they may have a lot of different things demanding attention. The only way to get around this problem is communication, not confrontation or complaining. I have found that every time I make an attempt to fix a situation with my superiors at work, by approaching them and explaining how the workers see it, the problems were alleviated and a couple of times I even got promoted!

  8. I’m a writer with CIO.com and we’ve assembled a handy guide to boss relations, including a section on how to deal with a “toxic” boss. Though aimed mostly at the IT exec, the guide also includes valuable insights for non-tech staffers, including articles on how to tell your boss you’re overworked, how to read his facial expressions–or anyone else’s–and a piece on how to tell you’re about to get fired.

    http://www.cio.com/specialreports/bossandyou/index.html

  9. John: Glad you liked it. Too bad your boss is nice, so you couldn’t apply the tips!

    Gerardo: Artificial crisis. I like it! And if you try hard enough, you can make a crisis out of anything

    Theo: I agree. Semco let their employees choose which manager to work for, so bad bosses are quickly left without people to manage.

    Sarah: That’s horrible! And her insistence that her way is right and yours is wrong is terrible. I admire you for staying

    I wonder if there is some way to approach her about this that would make her realize that your leadership style is more efficient. I mean, results have to matter to her, and you get better results!

    But if the root issue here is her insecurity because you’re a better leader, then it becomes difficult to tackle.

    Adriana: I like that – when bosses are that bad, a good defense is to laugh at them. Some of them do get pretty funny!

    Karen: It seems like GWB has been insulated from the very notion, that there could be something wrong with anything he’s ever done.

    Tim: Exactly. How will they know that they’re making mistakes, if no one ever tells them. Telepathy is not a part of most leadership training :o)

    Al: Thanks for the tip – that’s a great resource!

  10. I had a very unsuccessful battle with a bad boss. A new managment team came in and after 15 years of reporting straight to the Director of my Unit, I was now reporting to a new manager, who reported to the Director. My new manager was a woman and the new Director was a man (both were with the organization for a few years, just not with my Unit). This new manager would never meet with me, never ask me a question (would always just go to my staff) and spent a total of 10 minutes going over the one performance review she had to do on me (which was favorable). I went to the Director (who had an open door policy) who basically said that I needed to schedule meetings with her and she was not the chatty type. He further stated that she could be nervous about being in the new position and could feel threatened by me because she had never managed a staff larger than three people before and these three were office clerks. Nothing got better and after a year and a half I was laid off. I pursued legal action but was told it would cost me a lot of money for iffy results.

    I like to think that Karma is out there and will wreak havoc on those that deserve it.

  11. Thanks for putting up a website like this, perhaps this can be can be an avenue to post bad bosses names, and warn others not to work for them.

    At Wells Fargo, the bad bosses include Sylvia Reynolds and Deb Wall and Nancie Shelden – NEVER WORK FOR ANY OF THESE PEOPLE.

    Before accepting a new job, ask the hiring manager if you can talk to one of thier staff, so you may gain a better knowledge about the person you’re about to work for.

  12. This website is a great idea but I’d like to propose another idea: Let’s suppose I am in the process of looking for a job and I am looking at one of the branches of Wells Fargo in Los Angeles as a future employer. And let’s suppose I don’t know anyone in the company and so I cannot find out who are the bad bosses, who do I need to stay away from, etc. Wouldn’t it be nice, if I could go to a website where the “bad bosses” would be listed by company and where their subordinates could post specific comments about these pathetic individuals? (There would have to be some guidelines about the language used and requirement to write specifics, so that employees could not misuse the site by badmouthing someone for no good reason). Not only would a site like this help the potential job seekers, but if the site or link would become known, guess who else would read the postings there? Upper management! In essence, the “bad boss” would get a report card from the subordinates and that could be hazardous to his/her career! Eventually the employees could in essence make the “bad boss” irrelevant by leaving and/or not applying for a position if that person is in charge.

  13. The person who is head of where I work is the worst boss I have every seen. He acts like a baby. If someone doesn’t agree with him, he just doesn’t speak. (sometimes for as long as six months) What is worse, he is one man among a group of woman who have worked with him for years, and they all baby him. When someone behaves professionally and acts like a grown up, he doesn’t like it. Even though 99% of the employees agree he is bad, he is in class 3, doesn’t want to know and doesn’t care.

  14. After 9 years of having a strong but fair supervisor at a job I felt very rewarding, the bank sold. The acquiring bank had different views on the structure of the lending department, which required to change companies. My current supervisor is someone I knew from my previous employment. We worked well together, but she was not in a supervisory capacity. She contacted me when my current came available. My current position was the “my dream job”. This is what I have 30 years in banking for. Unfortunately, my supervisor is very abrasive in her actions. There are two other loan officers that she does not treat like this, however I am who she attacks on a daily basis. I am actively looking for different employment outside of banking. I am very disappointed with how it has turned out. This is work I have worked towards for 30 years. I achieve my goals, finally, and I end up with someone who if she has a bad morning, I receive the blunt of it. Discussing it with her does not good, this is a situation that requires to “GET OUT OF DODGE”. My overall performance has suffered from her style of management. Every Sunday afternoon, I have knots in my stomach knowing that Monday morning I have to enter into this negative workplace one more time.

  15. I work for a boss who is respectful to only certain people. She is very materialistic. She is rude and unfair to the new people and kisses up to the doctors. She thinks because she comes from another country that she is the only one who has worked hard and suffered to get where she is at. She won’t tell you or show you how anything is done because she is afraid you will know more that her and may get her job. She is so insececure about her position. She says that the big boss calls her in to work because they couldn’t find anyone else, but the truth of the matter is because she wants everyone else to stay untrained so she will be the only one to know her position. She gets the doctors coffee and babies them. Where here in America, we seldom do this. It is so difficult for me as most women have worked hard to overcome years of opression and, well, she continues to live the way she does here in America. She is so unfair. I confronted her the other day about some things, but It has not changed anything. She will continue to be the same. I have talked about it, read about it, prayed about it, and I’m not sure excactly what is next. I am afraid of not having a decent job with good insurance. The job itself is with good benefits and pay.

  16. I have just had a really bad day at work with a really bad boss & this site has cheered me up no end !!

    This guy that is my “bad boss” is new to the Company & hasn’t quite grasped the concept that he isn’t a Consultant anymore, he is a permanent employee & we are also not Consultant Droids from Accenture & at his beck & call. In a nutshell we have a life !!

    He hasn’t quite picked up on the work culture at our Company, we work hard but we don’t have to be at our desk from dawn to dusk to be productive….

    He has been there 6 months & has certainly made an impact the team in that it is turning over at a rate of knots, people are resigning or asking to be moved weekly…….

    & he just doesn’t seem to know WHAT he is talking about….he has the memory of a goldfish !! & you really wonder how someone so senior got past HR !!

    I am hoping that Karma plays it’s part & that he gets what is coming to him……eventually I am sure he will !! Bad Hire…Bad Hire !!!

  17. Michelle (London) are you sure that he isn’t one of my many bad bosses from Australia.
    Why is it that when a new boss arrives he/her has just invented all the RIGHT ways on how things HAVE to be done to ensure a good end result. Out comes his or her broom to sweep the Office clean!!

    Give me strength! Don’t these dip sticks remember when new bosses appeared in their work places and did the very same thing! I find all it does is turns one off and doing the basics to achieve very poor output results.

    I have also work with Bosses who have a go at you if you leave the workplace in the afternoon before them. So all that achieves is for one to bludge most of the day, and as soon as the Boss locks his/her door at 5.45 pm you are exactly 10 seconds behind him/her.

    Am I missing something in the BIGGER picture??

  18. I have a special relationship with my supervisor. On his first day he went on to tell me how he did not like working with engineers even though he is one as well. Later, the next week, he told me (ordered) to stop certain essential activities – I protested. My immediate manager had retired and I was acting – I went on to explain our processes and procedures. He was silent and then replied in writing that he would be reorganizing the Division. His first evaluation of me was very bad and soon he announced that a new manager would be hired for my section.

    His new man was a perfect fit for the perfect engineer manager except for the fact that he had NO EXPERIENCE in our field. I ended up doing my job and the new guy’s job. After about two years the new guy was caught for behaviour unbecoming in terms of bad money usage – never for the other things that all occured and would of landed anyone else in major trouble. He left under a black cloud that affected all in the Division.

    Guess what, I was acting again and even with working extra and working new initiatives and producing more outputs then the guy who got dumped – and I received yet another bad review. Again, a new competition was set-up for the manager’s job. This supervisor had reduced the experience requirements to four years only and removed the professional standing equired for thise position that manages three other engineers.

    So during the competition screening he vetted me out saying that I did not have enough experience running the office??????? I informed him that I had three years of management experience from my previous job and that in this Division I had over two years of experience while acting. I went on the remind him that his last hire was a thief and useless and that chopping me out of the competition was an insult and that it was time to approach the president. Later I found out that the new candidate had ZERO EXPERIENCE and no credentials — so the gloves came off.

    Needless to say I clicked to my already made arrangements for a new job but I made a gutsy but unique decision to got after this idiot. I made inquiries with the union, lawyers for me, potential lawyers for him, the president and others on the board of directors. I continued with a job review through channels to emphasize the engineering aspect of the job and the need for the experience that was unique to the Division. I went to the engineer’s association and the national engineer’s college to check out both this supervisor, the new candidate and the president and the moron who was on the committee that hired the idiot supervisor who was fired in the first place.

    It was a special feeling when after the news was out, the human resources person for my section approached me and made a strong suggestion that I should apply for a training position. A what????

    Obviously when I asked what the position was that I would be training for – it was the same position that I was already in. Some surprise for some people but not for this guy when I brought my application letter in. He did make a lot of noise about my performance review, especially the one that he submitted that was bad. I replied that I have reviewed my personnel file and made my own entries – he was not happy at all saying that I have a responsibility to inform him and any such activity.

    So here we are almost a year later and two more bad reviews that have been forwarded to my personnel file and I was told that they were both routine and okay. Lucky for me I have a stronger relationahsip with the HR section then with this supervisor and I am sure that he would made a solid example of me in that I can also have a working responsibility to myself but working for him I should not be able to check my own file………..

    Needless to say – I am now lining up those same lawyers and my appointment with the union is next Tuesday. I have also sent out several resumes but no calls so far.

    I will let you know how things work out.

  19. i have been working in this company for 6 months now.but when i got hired my boss told me that i will be on probition 3 months and atfer 3 months they will increase my salary.until now my salary is still the same they didnt increase it.so how do i approch my boss about this.because he is not a very goodperson .

  20. Yeah my promised a raise half way through the year of 2007 and we are in 08 now. He treats me like crap and doesn’t really care about any of the employees!! Do I even talk to him about it?

  21. this website caught my attention as i was searching for “how to deal with useless boss”. the new Director has came in with high hopes, but after 3-months, not only our sales target failed to meet, but also our works been dragged down by his direction-less leadership.
    We don’t know where we are going and even worse, we’re doing his job. attending conferences with him (because he have no idea what’s going on and unwilling to learn!); planning slaes & marketing strategies for him (which he needs to present to his boss) whenever he accompanies our sales manager to meeting the clients, all he do is just “hi, i’m xxx, the Director of xxx, feel free to contact me if you require assistance”. without helping to closing the deal, even get confused with the products we’re selling. All he often does is to brag to others of his position and in stead of using “I”, he use “Your boss me”, the whole team is just soooo fed up with his egoistic attitude, we can bear with such boss IF he’s really that powerful and worths the respect, but now we only want to throw up! As he’s such a ignorant guy, we think it’s useless to talk to him about the situation, should we go directly to his boss and express the real situation in our team? Of cos this is a huge risks doing this but i really enjoy what we’re doing (except being annoyed by this boss) and dun wanna leave or tolerate such situation (some of us already looking for new job) before he come, we’re such a great team, already stick together even without a leader.
    now we only feel depressed and the team morale is sooo low, it damages the harmony of the work and the productivity, what can we do? Please advise.

  22. Going over your immediate Boss’ head will achieve nothing but your demise. Bosses stick together no matter how useless they are. They will make excuses for the hopeless Boss and blame the employees for not giving the Boss support. My advice is change jobs or put up with it. Don’t accompany him to meeting or conferences. or if you are forced to go do not talk let him swim around in his uselessness and be shown to be a fool. GOOD luck cause you need it.

  23. Jaded: I’ve been here! We all have bosses and they have to be managed! You don’t sound like a self pitying soul – which is geat. Work through your options and decide a plan. Complaining without helping is negative. If you manage to change things, good, if you don’t, you still have options; so count your blessings, and don’t get bitter about the boss, he’s just an insecure man doing what he thinks will get him approval. You’re in a bad place but have a good attitude, best of luck.

  24. p.s. I can’t agree with chiefscribe .. withdrawing your contribution to the team is a negative act which would feed your own sense of helplessness, damage the business, and possibly destroy your reputation.
    Help to resolve the situation for yourself, and maybe others, you’ll be, and feel empowered!

  25. Mark

    As our English friends would says at a time lke this “Bollocks”!!!

    You are talking thru your bum.

    You are obviously a God fearing Christian lost in being good to every fool or you are a Boss!!

    Which is it??

  26. Very perceptive; I’m both mate.

    As for you – you’re frustrated and angry about everyone elses studipity, but can’t get everyone to dedicate themselves to behaving in a way that makes you happy, so you’re stuck? correct?

  27. I am, unfortunately, at the end of my rope with my manager. As a recent graduate when I hired in, I was expected to perform at a level well beyond my experience. This created an adversarial relationship on day one. I worked twice as hard to rise to those expectations. My manager however only focused on any and all mistakes I made along the way. These diminished as I gained experience, but those gains were ignored.

    We had meetings with HR on a regular schedule to “check my progression”, but usually ended up with my manager recounting my initial “lack of experience” as though no gains in performance had been achieved. When I defended myself, my manager would launch into a tyraid.

    I have recently received the national registration in my field and, as there is a lack of personel in my field, am currently taking a part time position with another facility concurrently with my full-time job in order to turn it into a full-time job (then leaving the old job) if the management is of a higher caliber.

    If my manager had his/her way, I would be jobless. However the professionals that use my work to perform thier jobs have had no complaints about my work, as well, HR has found no grounds for dismissal and has arranged it for me to work opposite shifts from my manager- to be assesed by others not associated with our department to see where the problem lies.

    I however, have come to the end of my patience with this manager, knowing full well that once it is cleared up, I will have to work with him/her again. As wide open as my field is, I refuse to subject myself to any exposure to this manager again. Relocation is preferable to that.

  28. I submit this as a warning to Bosses and Workers alike. I’m 41 and now disabled for the rest of my life Bad Bosses are to blame for a large part of this.

    I am one of a dying breed I suppose – an honest working man. Unfortuately I fell into the hands of people who wanted my skills but not me. I am an Enginner by trade – Radio, TV, Computers (including Linux), PMR, Mobile Phones…. I can fix anything it seems. And design upgrades too.

    I trained at the BBC, Then worked for Motorola Storno. Storno had just been bought out by Motorola, and I was the first Motorola employee in a Storno depot. I did 2 jobs at one point, but despite this, and with me doing most of the work, I was constanlty sniped at and called rude names. It was a small place and I was seen as an intruder. Period.I was soon the only person in the building without a car, the only one who had to buy his own tools (the rest were bought by the company, not me. The boss lost my request!) and given the nasty jobs to do and given all the abuse while everybody else got the praise.

    I left after 2.5 years and went to another firm. Great boss, same work but not as much basic wage. I made this up on a bonus scheme though, and was happy for 2 years. The new boss, after the old one left, was an person who decided that anybody who had been there 2 years was to be got rid of, and as I was over this, I was to be got rid of. Anything I did was criticized, and I was subjected to a daily bollocking. Often for Nothing or because a customer wanted me to break the law and I refused. One example was when I left a door open because it was hot. He complained. Next day he complained bacause the same door was closed and it was hot in the workshop.

    I left as soon as I could.

    The company I went to was into Cable TV, and for 4 years I was greatly in demand by everyone because I had the answers. Lots of people got on, using my skills to do so, but I kept the faith and thought that my turn would come. One thing I wouldn’t do, however, was help the new boss and his colleagues sack another employee. I was working in Speke, Liverpool but he went off to see his dog in a pound and never came back. I could do the job on my own, so I let him go. Favours for friends, etc.

    The supervisor turned up for something. I was finishing the job and my colleague was nowhere in sight. I was never a good liar, and he guessed what had happened. I had to make a statement, but the messages on my phone were ‘lost’ shall we say. He was severely bollocked though and took this out on me.

    I started to feel quite ill and I had an Umbilical Hernia. So I rang the company health scheme, and they would have done it but for my blood pressure being 200/140. This was due to a kindey problem. I was signed off immediately while it was sorted. I had Polycystic Kidney Disease and would eventually (60s) need dialysis. When I went back, not yet having had an operation on the hernia, everyone was different towards me. Two months later I was called to their head office and sacked for being late for work on a regular basis. I had a 2 hour trip to work, and I had been about 5 minutes late a few times. So had everyone else, but they used this on me.

    I went to another firm, but the boss here was a known bastard. He set me something impossible to do, and although I nearly did it (apart from Software) I was on my way again.

    Then I went to a TV shop as an Engineer. Or, as I found out soon afterwards, cabin boy. The workshop was non existent, and I did everything the sales staff didn’t want to do. Fetching, Carrying, Making Tea, Carting 30 inch TV’s on my own as well as repairs. When I didn’t get paid on time I got a little cross. The boss said ‘So What?’.

    I then went to a radio comms firm, and everything was great until the supervisor’s second in command sent me on the roof without a safety harness. The phrase he used was ‘Get up there or I’ll have you sacked.’ Minus the ‘F’ words that is. I went up and came down through the roof. Landed on my already dodgy kidneys. Could have been killed the ambulance man said. I returned 3 months later to the Sack.

    Various jobs followed until I went to work for a firm doing door entry for David Lloyd sports centres. My kidneys were getting worse, but I carried on, going all over the UK mending the Door Entry and I.T. systems. I would get home at 3.AM (My own car, by the way), and have to be back at work for 10 next day. And weekends too.

    Until I had a stroke and came round in hospital with half my body dead and kidney failure. That was in 2003. It’s now 2008, and I am sat here typing this with one hand, using a stick to walk now. I give advice on the net for free. Why should I go back to working after the way I was treated?

    The Warning – There are a lot of bad bosses. Don’t stay working for one, it’s not worth it. You have one life. Don’t waste it the way I have.

  29. Something a little different. I worked for a company for 6 years, mostly enjoyed it, however my boss was the type of person that thought he could talk a good talk, but really made no sense. No one in the company respected him, as well as his own group. He always seemed to belittle people w/o knowing it. Micromanaged on stupid little tasks, but gave no support on large projects that guidance was needed quickly. I ended up leaving the job and after a year have been asked by him to come back. I did enjoy working there and I have been offered a very nice increase in my previous salary. I did ask if I could be regarded as an equal to him and not a subordinate and now he wants a reason why. I have no problem telling him, just do not know how to say it w/o really hurting his feelings. Any ideas?

  30. I am an advocate by profession having an experience of almost 13 years at the High Court Bar in Pakistan. Last year I was offered to be an in house legal advisor to one of the biggest power sector utility in Karachi. My recent boss has least experience of Pakistan Law and Court procedures. Quite often I have saved her from making a blunderios mistake on legal issues, yet there is no imrpovement. At times it is felt that i was better off back in filed as litigator.

  31. New flash – Justice in Pakistan!!!!!

    Now who is kidding who.

    With the Government of Pakistan turning a blind eye to Terrorism & Madras making bombs, & you are worried about a female boss making you look bad.

    Take a deep breath and look at the rubbish tip that you live in called Pakistan.

  32. Hi chiefscribe,

    You make of lot of cynical, angry and generalised posts, but are never constructive.
    I must agree with Mark (and I note that you didn’t respond to his post!) when he said, and I quote:- ‘you’re frustrated and angry about everyone elses studipity, but can’t get everyone to dedicate themselves to behaving in a way that makes you happy, so you’re stuck? correct?’

    Your strife is always someone elses fault isn’t it? You’re at the worlds mercy, but who’s going to save you?
    You could do a lot worse than take a good look at yourself.

    Mark 2

  33. God fearing, tree hugging Boss kissers & you want me to LOOK at myself!! HELLO!!!!! I suppose all the yanks on here will vote for mcCain as well!!!!

    And I ain’t your mate, Mate!!!

  34. Im an electrician working in North Carolina, and the bullshit is everywhere. Even in my field of work. Bosses, managers, foremen whatever you want to call em, sometimes are cool or can really suck. In my field of work when they throw a dog a bone stay away or else it’ll bite ya.

  35. I recently took a position as Maintenance lead at a Hotel. The owners had purchased this hotel about a month before I was hired and fired the previous maintenance staff of three (which they neglected to tell me that I was now going to be doing the job of three guys by myself), as they weren’t getting the repairs done, (this place is in terrible condition). Since day 1 on the job I have worked tirelessly to get the repairs completed to this place in a timely and cost effective manner and have found that the new owners (a husband and wife team in they’re mid to late twenties) do not trust any of the employees, show not respect for any of us and, in my case, due to them having a tight cash flow problem, expect me to spend money out of my own pocket to purchase parts/materials to complete repairs etc… in order to keep the place in running order! When I inquire about repayment of these funds they assure me they will pay me back but sometimes that might not happen for the better part of a month! I have been doing building maintenance for 30 years and when I bring to they’re attention a big ticket item in need of repair they ask me to see if I can fix it with, as I call them, “bandaid” repair techniques which I know will at some point cause someone to be injured. When I mention that someone could get injured if repairs are not correctly done they say that they don’t believe me, which insults me and my intelligence, and puts me in a tough position when the local authorities come to do a property inspection, I have to try to cover for the owners while at the same time cover myself and my reputation as a legit maintenance person, not an easy thing, or correct thing, to do! I have never ever worked for anyone like this before and while I try to communicate my concerns to them my concerns are dismissed by them since they don’t want any “waves” made since they are new. I guess I should end here as I could go on and on but it won’t change the way they are. Anyone ever work for anyone who was on such a power trip like these folks that safety and well being of the employees is second to they’re owners/bosses wants and needs? I’m looking at other job opportunities as I don’t see a way to improve this situation.

  36. On March 3rd my boss came to my desk and inform me I am an acting supervior and get 10% of pay raise start from March 2nd (effective date) , and he said when this position is available you can apply for it, I will try my best to help you to fill this position but I can’t guarantee. I said thank you. After that I am working very hard and finished one project before the deadline. Until I got my last pay, I didn’t see any difference (10% pay raise), so I sent email to HR and HR told me they never got any request about my pay raise, so I sent email to my boss ask about it, he didn’t reply to me until the day after. He asked me to his office and said: oh, because you didn’t say yes you would like to take that position ( acting supervior ), then i said you have told me the effective date is March 2nd, that means I was an acting supervior since March 2nd. He then said right now no budget for the position, you have to wait until we have funding to give this position.
    Do you guys think this is a big joke to me? He is a cheater! And now how can I deal with him? He is a bad boss I have never met!!

  37. Pingback: What would you do?
  38. This in response to what the Anonomous Guy has written:

    o Why do you think is your boss ostracizing you? How long has he been your boss? What was your relationship with this person before? Does he have more than a Masters degree? Is he hoping “you’ll go away?”

    I am not getting enough info about the office dynamics.

    Usually people who micromanage are insecure and incompetent. Same with hypercritical people.

    If your boss appears perfect to his higher-ups, he is a clever operator. Is there an opportunity for you to confront your boss with direct questions? If not, how about an e-mail? Do you have any allies in upper management?

    Have you had your counseling session with your boss?

  39. It has been estimated that the cost of employee turnover in America is 1.7 trillion dollars annually. Studies have also shown that the biggest single reason people quit their jobs is the behavior of their immediate boss–they were either abusive, didn’t care about them, didn’t listen or appreciate what they did or were only out for themselves.

  40. Harry could not have said it better. I spent a few years in Madigan Army Medical Center, Tacoma, Washington. Many of the higher ranking civil “servants” there are known to be out for themselves only, and could not care less about their subordinates.
    How do you change culture in an organization where profuse *ss kissing and dishonesty is what is required for moving up?! How do you change culture where many of the decision makers and gate keepers are those very same bad bosses we have been complaining about? How do you change culture in an organization where the Chief of Quality Division is a known chronic liar?!

  41. It’s me again! First I want to thank everyone for their ideas and suggestions. I wish I had good news to report but my situation has gone from bad to worse. First on a personal note my health has taken a turn for the worse and I still come to work to be abused every day. The stress is not good for my condition and causes constant flare ups. Now on to the professional side. He has gotten even worse about how he treats me. He has taken away more responsibilities but refused to give me a formal job description. He constantly denies me the much needed professional development yet sends another person in the office to conference after conference (I have counted at least 5 this fiscal year). The woman who is now my supervisor (the one with no masters degree) constantly micro manages me the asks me why I have not sent her stuff, she literally will e-mail me a request for something 5 times as I am working on it. When Asked if I could pursue an important project and showing him my credentials for that project he denied me that project saying I have not met my expectations for the office. He even said if the job is to much for my health perhaps I should consider a leave because in his eyes it looks like I am not doing my work. My co-worker in the same boat as me had a similar conversation with him about her responsibilities he said to her he is reassigning them. Again I reiterate we are the only 2 in the office treated like this. During our peak season which just ended last week her and I were put in an area that does not get as much traffic and pulled aside and told we were to slow in front of the entire staff. I am truly at my wits end. I literally dread coming here in the morning. I am quietly searching for another job though, have applied for about 24 positions so far but many jobs are on a hiring freeze. I feel very pigeonholed and like I am stagnating here. It is amazing how much of a second class citizen I and for that matter my colleague in the same boat as me get treated. To further complicate things a client complained about me (it was an error she made) but she is trying to say I did not do my job. I just do not know what else I can do, I have no power and am getting less and less responsibilities. I really want to like my job but just at this point hate it. Any advice you can give again is appreciated. Thanks so much. Your site is great keep it up :)

  42. I love my job, infact I am passionate about it and I am very successful.

    I have one boss who is I think going insane because he is in over his head and another boss who is a born-again evil monster.

    I called my first boss and asked permission to move ahead with a project that has been sitting waiting for him and the other boss to move it foward. After getting off the phone, I did the task he gave me permission to do. He then emailed me and said not to do it. I called him and said I had done it. He yelled at me for ten minutes like a crazy person. Saying “Why do you do things so quickly.” ” You knew I shouldn’t have given you permission.” He is crazy.

    Two weeks back he asked for a quarterly report of all the things that I had done. He was annoyed when I gave him a two pages, he said he needed all the people in my position to have the same size list of accomplishments, one page.

    He often refers to me as tragic female characters in Greek myths, like Cassandra. If you don’t know the story she was the person who had the gift of being able to see the future but was cursed by a god so that no one beleived her. She was raped and murdered in the end. Nice.

    The second boss is threatened by me. He is systematically getting rid of people who he doesn’t like and replacing them with born-gain Christians from his church. He is dishonest but presents himself as a by-the-book. I won’t be alone with him because he says weird crap to me. He treats his born-again friends very differently then the other staff. He said to me in private that his staff was not available to help me with a project the other boss I told you gave me. The project was huge. I recruited fifteen volunteers and get the job done ahead of schedule. When board members were in the office he came up to me and said “If you need any help, anything at all, just let me know.”

    I am looking for another job. I am depressed, I thought if I did a good job I would be valued and happy, not so.

  43. Thank You Everyone. I thought I was alone….
    I was recently employed by a company in the middle east as a senior manager.
    I have a contract and expected eveything to be just fine. This is not the case, my boss has worked in the middle east for too long, he treats everyone with disrespect. This morning he walked in and I said good morning (just me and him in the office) he turned and walked away, not even a grunt. He drives me mad, he is a dinosaur.

    When I arrived the comapany didnt have any form of health and safety, or regard for its employees well being.
    We have no first aiders. No accident book, no fire procedures or assembly points. there was no first aid kit….I used the one from my car just to get us by.

    Every day is an up hill struggle,
    I have not seen my children for 6 months as they are still in the UK. I asked what was the plan for christmas, and I was told… He is on holiday over the Christmas and new year period…..I am working, including Christmas Day, New Years day..

    So I pointed out my contract says 30 days holiday per annum……he explained “you started in June, you get 30 days of next June”
    So he expects me to have 30 days off in one go, when my children will be at school, work 12 months(12 hours per day, 6 days per week) without a single day vacation day.

    Yes, I am demoralised and I miss my kids so much……..

    I know what i have to do………..LEAVE.

    But….HOW can anybody be so cruel to thier employees?.

    One more thing that makes my complaints insignificant……..

    I work with Indian nationals, they work 12 hour days 365 days per year (yes every single day) they work for 670 days and then they get 60 days off….. so yes they work for 2 years before thier vacation. The company pay them poorly, treat them even worse than me, and use them as throw away labour……….

    It breaks my heart…………

  44. So you work in India??
    What more do you expect from a country that has thousands of children under 12 years of age working fulltime in ship breaking up yards.

    If you have the ablility to get a Senior Manager’s position than you should be able to get a job that at least thinks in the 21st Century.

    Leave & to hell with this company.

  45. @Lindsay – He (Waterboy) clearly said he’s working in the Middle East, not India.

    There’s a different problem that he’s dealing with: the tendency of the Gulf States to treat their immigrant workers as third-class residents. Certain places (UAE and Kuwait, e.g.) have only a 30% native citizen population, so you have something like 60-70% of the country with little to no rights. When they’re brought over as guest workers–which occurs at every level from janitors to upper-management–then they’re at a much disadvantaged position compared to anyone who’s a citizen.

    The Indian nationals in question aren’t the people perpetrating this; they’re victims inasmuch as Waterboy is. Please don’t conflate the issue of child labor in India (which is serious, yet separate) with this one. (Personally, I know more people from Bangladesh and Pakistan who do work / have worked in the Middle East, but people from South Asia, Southeast Asia, and elsewhere are usually in the same boat. Although anectodally, I’ve heard that Europeans and Americans get relatively better treatment.) KF

  46. Kiz F…So what!! all those countries are the same…no respect for life other than their own.

    Surely a contract was initially sighted & signed prior to leaving his family from wherever Waterboy departed from??
    The obvious problem here is read the contract, talk with others & the old addage that if it is too good to be true then it usually is??

    Does the word greed mean something in Waterboys job adventure???

  47. I’ve had a few bad jobs. One was my first “professional” job after college. This particular company was unusual in that its former CEO had just been sentenced to five years for fraud. He was milking the company (multiple Ferrari’s, a jet, mansion, etc.). Not bad for a 100 person company.

    This “milking” was only discovered due to the stringent accounting rules implemented due to the Enron scandal. Apparently, the company had not been cash positive for quite some time, and ended up having to restate their earnings. This erupted into a scandal that eventually involved the former CEO’s stripper girlfriend and an article in a large local paper along with a national magazine.

    After this, the company’s stock collapses (bankruptcy), but somehow Warren Buffet comes into refinance the organization and help make it profitable, again. No joke. BUFFET interested in this 100 person company.

    Anyways, by the time I get on board the company is a bit schizophrenic. As an example, when I show up to work I find that my direct boss was not the man that interviewed me. My direct boss (the manager of my group) was also surprised to meet me. In fact, his first words to me were, “Who the fuck are you?”, followed by, “Oh fucking great.”, and “Do you know how to do anything?….SHIT!” This only got worse. By the way, the person I was replacing, surprisingly enough, went AWOL six weeks earlier. I wonder why.

    Every single coworker, in my small group, was either incredibly jaded and paranoid, or new. One of the first people I met, after having taken the job, told me, “Get outta here kid. You don’t want to work here.” Another actually told me, in a whisper, “I’ll show you how to do something, that way THEY can’t fire you.” What he showed me were a few lines of specialized code, and how to compile them. My fist manager eventually broke down one day and sobbingly exclaimed, “We’re the people who take all the shit at this company.” I could say more, but I won’t.

    This job was really TOXIC. Really, really, really toxic. There are a few more stories that happened later on in the job. I ended up having a total of three manager in one year. The last was just too aggresive. I was told that if I didn’t like him yelling at me, I could, “Fucking leave, just fucking LEAVE!” I think it was the stress.

    The things that went on there I could put in movie script. It is also nice to note that it was a professional job working with “industrial” scientists. By the way, I just walked out one day. It was the stress. I had done the best I could do. It was time to move on.

    B. Robinson

    P.S. This is just my cyncical viewpoint. I can’t imagine what the hell they though of me. It IS a great story though.

  48. I’d also like to mention that my first boss was demoted and replaced by two managers: a team leader and then, after a few months, a vice president over the team leader. Just to be clear.

  49. Wow. This page had given me some strength. I’m a student in college, and currently working part time at the clothing store. I just got hired, and thought things were going great… Untill my manager. See, there are three managers in my department. I’ve seen all of them, but one of them became “personally” my manager. Which I thought was fine. She is always around helping me…teaching me new things and strategies, in other words she completely took “over” me. Note: there like 100 new employees, and 5 managers. She’s incharge in most of the store…. Well, it’s been a lil over a month now, and I started to realize, she is always around me. Kind of like on my back. At 1st I knew she didn’t like me, because she never talk to me, other than what to do and how to do it. Even though she seemed like really nice to everybody else. Then she became suspiciously nice. Too nice. Always called me out for work, asked me to stay later, laughed at my not-so-funny jokes….So, with all this “special attention” to me only, I started getting confused and a bit uncomfortable around her. Everytime she is around me I would feel nervous. I would start screwing up, because she would always watch me and critique me. Everytime I would see her around me(all the time)!! Everytime I would look in her direction she would always be watching me. And recently I came to work one day, and I thought she wasn’t working, untill she came over to me and started yelling at me for every unpertect detail I did. When I was doing my thing she told me not to it, because I needed to learn how to do other thing. She was really rude, and that made me feel like a failuret. I couldn’t take it anymore, and on my break I went to my car and cried for 15 mind straight. After I came back, she already went home, and other managers were on shift. But what is funny is that, when I’m not controlled, set time limit and critiqued by somebody… I do it my own way, and actually do it much better, and faster! I don’t know what her intentions are. Why is all this special attention?? Other managers don’t care how I do it, just as long as I do correctly. And I’ve never seen her around any new employees… Because she always around me, pushing me beyonds limits. I don’t know what to do, or think…..

  50. Reading this has made me realize that I need to get out of my current situation. My boss has never respected his employees and does not show an ounce of caring. A colleague and I recently got called into his office and were reprimanded for being good friends outside of the office. I believe that he assumed we were bad talking him around the town and he was getting paranoid. We were told that we have one more warning or we would both lose our jobs if we did not stop chatting to one another. My boss is the one who just does not care. He is only 27 and is up on a pedestal with his mother as the office manager, and his higher authority is his best friend, so you can see my predicament. However this website has provided me with the strength to realize that I am in an immature establishment and it is bad situation that will not change no matter what I do, and I am resigning this week. Thank you for all your posts and comments to help people in my situation.

  51. I’m a custodian, and my employers have no respect for our department. I caught one employee in a compromising position and he did his best to get me fired after that, including searching my office with 4 friends in the middle of the night! A friend caught him and he blustered his way through it. I complained to my supervisor and was told basically, so what. Even though I considered it a huge invasion of privacy and I had not said or done anything about his behavior, he obviously thought I was going too and started trying to get rid of me. I was injured on the job and on Worker’s Comp and my supervisor tried to set up an unscheduled meeting with himself and HIS supervisor, our HR person, the Vice President and President of the institution I work at. I told my Worker’s Comp rep and she called them, showed up at the meeting and surprise, they said they called the meeting because they “missed me and I never visited them or brought cookies?” PLUS the HR person and VP and Pres, didn’t come to the meeting? Now they’ve put me on Day shift and my mate on Night shift, I work 7 to 4 he works 3 to midnight. I can’t help feel they are using him to get even with me again. Complaints all the way to the top had no effect and my supervisor just smiles smugly at me when he sees me. OH and by the way, not one complaint about my work, and people AT my job have went out of their way to tell my boss how good a job I do.

    I think it’s time to go, but then what, smaller city, no jobs, can’t live on nothing. Getting about 4 1/2 hrs of sleep a night isn’t cutting it.

  52. WHAT CAN I DO? I’m at a loss! My new boss use to be quite friendly with me, we have always had a really good working relationship. Now he has been promoted and manages me it has all changed and I understand it has too. The problem I have is the other in my office. I manage one person, but we are in an open office, therefore, whenever I have to discuss something with my team, others in the office make comments, almost mocking and say I’m wrong and things should be done in another way. I am following my Line Managers instructions by saying what I do, therefore, whenever this happens I obviously give feedback to my Line Manager. He always ends up blaming me saying I shoot from the hip! How can I be doing this when I am following his instruction? It seems to me that he doesnt want to deal with the issue of the others making these comments and decides the easy option is to blame me. I am sick of it! Has anyone got any advice?

  53. I must be on a run of bad luck with bosses.
    The 1st had bipolar which I sympathize with but signing one day and shouting the next because I stapled the paper on the top and not the side. Tried talking to her several times nicely but it didn’t work, went to her boss, bad mistake he needed her more than he needed me 8 years vs 1 year at the company I left. Next one was 20 year marine vet which I respect but she was an over achiver and expected me to follow her lead nights and weekends, micromanaging, pushing me to be aggressive with other employees. Calling every 20 minutes stressed me out so bad I started getting sick. I left went to a smaller company laid back envirornment and mind you I do work really hard and want to do a good job, team player,its not about me the whole thing, I want everyone to do well, now my boss is threatened by me we are about the same level and theres no feed back nothing. I’m tired of moving. How do I make her feel comfortable with me I don’t want her job I want the one I have.

  54. I’m facing the same situation as Katie’s…my supervisor is such a weak guy..can we get some advise?

  55. I have been reporting to my boss for 2 years. She is absolutely the worst I have experienced. She micromanages me, and is very critical of my work, the way I write, talk, and communicate. English is my second language.

    Last year I received the worst performance review in the 8 years that I have been with the company. People I work with respect my expertise and professionalism except her. She also discredited me a few times during my meetings, therefore damaging my credibility. I feel very unsure whenever she is around but I am very productive, creative, and confident when she is out of office. I couldn’t recall a time when she gave sincere recognition; however, I hate to think of her as a bad person, so I was undecided for a long time on where to place her. Many times I tried to be pleasant and upbeat in her presence but such efforts did not improve my sanity at all.

    I was very vulnerable for one and half years and finally decided to seek professional help–I have the symptoms of depression, and that explains why I stopped reaching out to people from work and outside of work, stopped maintaining connections with things that I enjoyed doing. It’s a vicious cycle because I was like a plant being cut off the water supply.

    Right now I am actively looking for other positions while still working for her. I know the economy is tough but I’ll never get out if I don’t rebuild the network and emotional support.

    So my key takeaways are–a bad manager is a bad manager is a bad manager. Even star performers will encounter a few of them at some point! Don’t ever let a bad manager affect your confidence, and you’ve got to force yourself to rely on your support network. And while you are struggling to get out, remind yourself that bad managers help you build resilience, endurance, and you will end up in a better place :)

  56. Simple resign and find new employment. You can’t buy your sanity or your peace of mind. Get out now!!!

    But before you do take a very sharp knife to all 4 tyres (tires for you yanks) of her car just to piss her off.

  57. To Sarah, who who wrote on the 9th of May, 2010.

    I was in a similar situation a couple of years ago; your description fit my supervisor almost to the teeth, except that she was actually my senior rater. The person below her, my supervisor was a no balls, no spine, no interity, lame guy who kissed her butt and was only concerned about himself. So, imagine this; having not one but two “bad bosses”! My weakness is low tolerance for incompetence and dishonesty and in no time I had to challenge both of them on different issues. The two had no respect for each other but (being as phoney as they were) acted cordially to each other. Once I challenged them, they ganged up on me. The problem (for them) was, at one time I had a pretty high position in this company. I took a pay cut to take my position because I liked the job of Patient Advocacy very job and by all measurements of of feedback, was very successful. I decided to take these pathetic oxygen thieves on and I went to their boss with my complaints about them (they are worthless managers, dishonest, untrustworthy, etc) and made the recommendation to realign our shop so that my office (I had a staff of two) will no longer come under them. It wasn’t easy to pull this off because their boss not a straight arrow either, owed my senior rater favors, etc. But on the end it worked; it came off as the big boss’s recommendation – to spare them the humiliation of being “fired” by me – and we were realigned! On the first day when it became effective, we had a huge party in the office, decorations of flowers, etc.
    What comes around, goes around Sarah. If you leave, leave on your own terms. Make sure the CEO or big boss learns the reasons you left. Believe in yourself and you’ll be fine!

  58. Hi Sarah and Hi Pablo and Hi Lindsay
    I so totally understand you about your bosses. I am activly seeking another job and I will tell you that the day I find one and it is secure I will definitely quit and tell the company why I am leaving. The other day the boss that I wrote about (above) made another girl in the office cry for absolutely no reason. She is a tough girl and never cries and it shows how bad he is that he did this to her. He did it to me plenty of times. Well he will learn his lesson when he comes in one day and sees nobody working for him. He can do the work himself. He is so conceited and sure of himself he walks around like a peacock and criticizes everything we do (especially when he has an audience) he looks like an idiot to his audience and he doesnt even realise it. He should not have a company like that and have it successful with an attitude like that. Just not right. Seriously It isnt right.
    Hope you all work things out. I know I am stuck here until I find something else as I am a single parent of two kids but in the meantime I am stuck working there.

  59. My situation is that i have joined a new company and my boss does not let me have my say in my work. He keeps on changing the requirements from time to time and wants every thing done according to his wish, even though that may not be correct. When he is wrong and i try to explain him that, he does not want to listen and say that he knows it. This takes a lot of time in finishing a task. Sometimes, i just listen to what he says even disagreeing within myself that this approach is not correct. In my previous job, i had tremendous freedom to do things. There my boss would pass on everything to me. I did it my way. Is it okay, if i follow the phrase”Boss is always right” and do wahtever my boss says. The problem is that he changes his requirements from time to time. Please advice, how to go about it.

  60. Hi Ahmad
    Hmm You have a tough situation there. My advice to you would be to do what your boss says for the most part and make the corrections on the way where your boss does some things incorrectly. Eventually as you are there a longer time maybe he will see that you indeed have a lot more to offer. You almost have to prove yourself to him. In your other job you had already shown what you could do when your boss trusted you with everything. Maybe talk to your boss again and use lots of *I* statements. Tell him how you cant show your trust and empleccable workmanship until he gives you that opportunity to be trustworthy. It is like giving him a change to let go a little bit at a time. Let me know how this all works out. Good luck to you.!

  61. Hi I would appreciate some advice from anyone…really..PLEASE!

    My company just got a new manager, my old manager was bad..he was verbally abusive but he had his good sides in his organizational skills and neatness. When I found out there would be a new manager I became excited as I wouldn’t get yelled at anymore.

    When she got hired I became assistant manager. I became even more excited because I felt like I could finally exert my potential and really help out in the workplace.

    Well that quickly became crap when a girl that hates me befriended my boss. My boss quickly began gossiping about me to my coworkers, asking them to not tell me anything, saying that I want her job, saying that I’m the one who gossips about her and…I give her attitude. Hearing about this was harsh because I tried to be as nicest and as helpful as possible. I tried backing off and letting her take the reigns so she wouldn’t feel threatened by me (I have more experience in the facility). .but nothing has worked, she seems to be gossiping MORE now.

    The people that I have asked for advice tell me to let it go and that my hard work will shine through in the end and she will see that I”m not a bad person and all the rumors she hears will all be disproven.

    I don’t know what to do, I do’nt now if I should approach her or how to solve the problem. It’s become quite stressful. My company doens’t really work closely with HR and its an “at will” company so she is pretty much able to “can” my ass if she wants to. I hate it when people talk about me and it’s been hard holding back.

    Can anyone give me helpful advice. PLEASE??

  62. I have a bad boss, I work with 2 older women, 55 and 58 I am in my early 40, my boss is the consin of the 58, she get her way, sleeps. what ever, I come to work I say good moring they don’t even speak to me I sit there I don’t mess with them I am not a gossip or talk about people, I come looking like I always have dress, I feel good dressing, When I leave to go to the restroom all three of them get together and talk I come in the go back to there seats, when the boss talks about what needs to be said about the job she has her back towards me, so I can’t hear, like I am not here. new person came on the job a younger guy, he only been on the job for 3 weeks he ask like them because he see haow they treat me. yes I am praying for a change, I need my job, I will not let them run me away, I think sometime badly, like I hope things happen to them like a heart attack, car accident, but I then say I am sorry for thinking that way Lord. I get called in the office for little silly stuff, one day it was this- my boss says I calling you in the office because your two co-worker says you are giving them a look, NOW can you belive that, I really don’t even look at them I come in and say goodmorning go to my desk, I could not even tell you what they have on, Can someone tell me what can I do, its hard when they are consins.

  63. Hi! I am currently employed in small resort. My co-workers and I have a big problem with our officer-in-charge. She says bad words and yell at us every time she is in pressured. she is always yelling at the top of her lungs. She keeps on saying bad words at us in front of our customers. And the worst part is that she can manipulate our boss.and she’s always saving herself everytime our boss calls her attention. so what should we do?

  64. i believe that some new managers that have been promoted from within sometimes feel that they need to show their authourity, or have a “power trip” because they have new power and wants to see what they can get away with. i believe this to be bad managment. if they have no previous experiance they should be sent on courses or shadow another manager to see how things shouls be done and by doing this leran how to be a good manager. sometimes they do things that normally as an employee would be fine to do however as a new manager or boss its seen in a different light and they do not realise it. i think that giving them feedback is crucial to the way learn and if they do not take it constructivly and impliment any changes to the way they work then they should not be managers.

  65. If you know you have a bad boss, you are already halfway there. Acknowledging the problem is a giant leap. I’ve had so many bosses, some bad, some excellent, and I’ve come to realize that you will never change the bad ones, and you will not be happy until you get out of that situation. Find a new path!

  66. I don’t think these tips would work with all kind of bad supervisors or managers. Some of them would act friendly in a week and different in another one. I do have a bad boss who want to control anything/everything and want to know what are we doing all the time.

    When you do something good for this kind of managers , he would do something bad in return. What I mean Is some of them would make it like he would do something good for you, so you have to be productive in return, it’s more like trading and it makes me sick, when he doesn’t know it’s a bad way.

    Trusting your employees is very important thing , and I don’t know alot of tursting supervisors while I’m under his supervision.

  67. Bad Bosses…is there any other type of Boss? Bosses are ungrateful sons of B……s!! I have now been self employed for more than 4 years and no longer have to deal with these low lifes!! My life is much better. What I was never able to understand is that the Board of Directors, Chairmen, Presidents & CEOs would always reward Bad Bosses because they would deliver a better bottom line on the Financial Budget. So the Executive Board Room personnel are just as bad as Bad Bosses.

  68. Here is a question. I work at a company and have been there about 4.5months. The current manager is simply not management material (coming straight from the boss). She has given her notice (of quitting) and is currently working her last two months. She is so miserable at work and her negativity has completely rubbed off on me and many others (2 people that started at the same time as me have quit due to hearing all the bad things she says about the boss). Perhaps the boss is a bit of an asshole and expects a lot but that is what bosses do! They appreciate hard work! I think she is simply not cut out to be a manager – she doesn’t delegate tasks, she hates making schedules and telling people what to do, etc. Anyways, so I am next in line to be manager. Two new people have started this week and I’m terrified her negativity is going to rub off on them as well plus she hates training so I am the only one giving a shit. What should I do? I need her to stay for a while as I am not ready but she is not doing her job at all, being a bitch to me, and is making me feel look kind of stupid in front of the new people. I am a positive happy person and can’t stand negativity. I have told her how I feel many times and she has emailed me to apologize recently. Help!

  69. I have a #3 boss. A co-worker and I have tried talking to him on seperate ocasions. We have both learned that talking to him about it just makes him treat us worse. On top of it all he now favors one of our other co-workers. Have hone to upper management and they refuse to do anything. So we now are going to take it to our HR department. Wish us luck.

  70. i have a #3 boss. he’s a fucking taliban.

    * old school “it manager”. all he knows about progamming is vb6 and cobol.
    * lauds us if we program in vb6 so that he can understand it. if we say to him “learn to program”, looks at you like you’re out of your mind.
    * wants “his” projects to go forward, ignoring that i already have N projects that are due to be delivered.
    * doesnt read his email, never communicates by email, does everything orally
    * totally paranoid, wants me to rewrite audit log program every x weeks
    * does never delegate.
    * keeps 3 servers in his office, so that he can watch over them instead of installing them in a rack in the server room.

  71. We recently had to cope with a #3 boss. I found this article and really found it encouraging. We did nearly every suggestion here, but alas we simply could not win the battle. In our case our #3 forced a webcam conference, singling out one employee, and actually violated personal rights of the employee and family of the employee by forcing the conference in a private area of the home. The entire “my way or the highway” attitude ended up in the employee being fired. Finally, the #3 lied to the State about it when unemployment was rightfully filed. Maybe this is a badder boss than #3? Can we make a listing of all the good bosses vs. bad out there? It sure would help out those of us tired of the bad apples. ^_^

  72. I have the worst boss you can imagine…. which makes life misarable for many people….
    Unfortuanately with today’s economic situation and bad work market, there is no place to change, so what is left?… creating own relaxation methods and put up patiently with insanity…..

    Why my boss is so hard to work for?
    He is…
    - narcissistic
    - insecure
    - immature
    - insanely jelaous of other people’s talents
    - “two faced”
    - disrespectful
    - disorganized
    - lazy
    -…..and he thinks he is always “RIGHT”..and entire world conspires against him…..

    Instead of focusing on the project, to be done in the best possible way with the benefit for the company… he focuses on eliminating smart and talented people around…
    Constant lies, spreading gossips behind everyone’s back, disrespect, mocking are normal “rules” on daily basis
    lack of professional behaviour….including revelaing financial and private issues of the company owners…
    He would rather “lead” the company to the financial ruin, than let someone talented to work on the project… so mediocricity is promoted and praised, talented people are pushed to do the worst tasks, not appropriate to their positions… effects are misarable…because company is constantly loosing it’s reputation, got many lawsuits and is not winning any new projects… I predict than in couple more months we all end up in unemployment line….
    which would be quite a happy place for me… because I am underpayed anyway….

    People, who had my position, were able to deal with him no longer than 2 years…I’ve been there for more than 3…
    How do I do it?….. I had my experience with working in preschool with 3 years olds…..I just think about my boss being on the same level as those little ones… I put my earphones with good music and do my work (fortunately I LOVE my profession)…I do my job for MYSELF and my own enjoyment of doing computer design… basically I created my own universe in that fluorescent hell….

  73. i WORK FOR MY BROTHER WHO IS SO UNAPPROACHABLKE AND HE NEVER ASK A QUESTION AND THEN LETS YOU ANSWER OR IF YOU ASK HIM A QUESTION HE ANSWERS WITH ONE I ACTUALLY CAME HOME TODAY CRYING BECAUSE I LOVE MY JOB I JUST CANT WORK WITH A BOSS WHO IS RUDE AND NASTY TO EVERYONE HE TALS TO US LIKE WE ARE STUPID
    WHAT TO DO ??>? ANY SUGGESTIONS

  74. Put yourself in your CEO’s shoes. Do you think it’s easy trying to increase your own salary while laying off and overworking/underpaying your existing employees? Do you think they like having that much power to take away your health insurance? Don’t you think they deserve an even bigger mansion? When are you going to learn that the boss is ALWAYS right and can never be wrong? where is your compassion. Getting your way all the time with everyone isn’t an easy job. Don’t you think they deserve more luxury vacations and yachts and bigger parties. Put yourself in the wealthiest 2%’s shoes for a change and wonder why everyone is getting further behind and left in their dust.

  75. I work in retail where I have 8 different bosses to deal with every day. They do not collaborate, they do not hold meetings, and they do nothing to boost morale. They are scared to death of the company’s corporate executives who really do behave like the indifferent, detached, fantastical idealists who say perfection is mandatory. So my eight bosses deliver the “do your job now or you’re fired” attitude every day every week all year all the time non-stop. It won’t end, it’s getting worse, they have quotas to meet, and their quotas are more sacred that real world customer service. And we’re also being timed on how long we get the trucks unloaded.

  76. I love these comments. I read a lot of people asking for help on how to deal with their bosses if they are not receptive to change and I came across this site: http://www.bigbadboss.com/BAD_BOSS_TIPS__ACTION.html#Choose_Your_Fight-Back_Strategy_Based_on_Patterns_of_Behavior,_Not_Incidents

    My boss is manipulative and we work for a union. Yet, she continues to harass the staff and has even had some people’s licenses revoked because of her own personal vendettas. Everyone is expected to follow her rules and guidelines, whether they are right or not. It’s just so strange to see a weak union in play with an incompetent boss.

  77. Last three years I had a boss from southern England. I did not understand his language and most of his jokes. I am an immigrant myself with some accent though not very heavy. But this was bad.

    Initially we pulled along some how. At some point, I realized that he likes attractive people only. I have a woman who is aging and repulsive works for me. She is sincere, honest and hardworking but in some very tough cases is prone to mistakes. My boss would accept nothing less than rating her as a poor performer which I did not accept. The disagreement did not resolve. I held on to my ground even at the cost of my own review.

    My boss gradually stopped involving me even in my own area of work. When I would ask him questions, he would blame it on me saying that I should have known if I had good relationship with my clients. He would in most cases not invite me for meetings and thereby not let me know the important facts. Later he would ridicule me by saying how little I knew some times with a cunning smile. He would say that my communication was poor and that was the reason why I could not gain the trust of my clients.

    I think that this man some how thought that I was either stupid or by not agreeing to some of his decisions, he thought that I was openly confronting him or I am not sure what was in his mind, clearly some very vindictive traits. If I would share any of my issues , he would quickly open a file that he had created, to log an incident or prepare a case against me. All our meetings would end up with a bitter taste in mouth.

    I was ready for the worst review and I was not surprised what I got but most of the statements were lies or were grossly exaggerated. But I knew things were going to change. These type of people do not last long. I was seeing some indications. When I joined the organization he had more than 200 people reporting to him. Over the years the number kept shrinking to less than 30 people. There were many dissidents and unhappy people out of his clutches and they were all supportive of me. Finally one day his boss called us and said that he was given marching order. His big office was gone. He was actually given 3 months to transition. With his exit my life changed. My job expanded. I started getting calls from every where and was being much well received and respected. I only pray that I would never have to deal with a boss having such a compulsive disorder.

  78. I had 4 bosses during my time in one company. The first 3 bosses thought I was great. My current boss thinks I am ineffective. I dont think I can convince him. I am therefore leaving as soon as I find another job

  79. I am not able to understand whether my boss fall in category 1 or category 3…

    I have the best co-workers who appreciate the work i do……because…i do something new every day…i try to improve their ways of working every day….
    i try to give the best support i can every time it is required…..and i go out of my way to help them…..

    in rarely rare cases…my boss appreciates me….but most of the time it is just….”i already know this” / “i know how to do it.” / “i wanted you people to figure it out.” / “it could have been even better.”….but in all the cases….my boss does not have the slightest idea what it is…!!!!

    any suggestions on how i can tackle this issue….?

  80. Well, it is always comforting to know there are people out there who know exactly how you feel. I mean all my coworkers say the company couldn’t pay them enough to work in my department for my boss, but this is the second job in a row that I have had this type of boss and I was beginning to wonder if it was me.

    Of course I began to doubt myself and my abilities, since that is what people with any sort of conscious would do. Thankfully I have a little under a decade of military experience, during which time I fell under the finest leadership this country, maybe world, has to offer. Therefor, I can say confidently that my current boss would crumble beneath the benevolence of true leadership.

    The leaders that have left a lasting impression on me and I wish to emulate, were cool under pressure almost to the point you would wonder if they preferred the chaos. They respect everyone, treat them accordingly and they never assume to know everything. They never micromanaged but never failed to give clear/concise guidance. Most of all, they always yielded to common sense solutions. KISS-Keep it simple, stupid.

    In keeping with tradition of this blog and also to vent my own frustrations I have to talk about the bipolar pyschopath I work for now. Oh, how things change.

    This particular individual is difficult to classify in any one of three categories above. This is because he has to be characterized by a more deep-seeded issue. This is the “threatened boss”. This was touched on early by a different guest but I wouldn’t say he is threatened by me in particular but more by his own inabilities.

    Follow me, here.
    Since the moment this man stepped onto the floor of our department he has never asked a question about anything, how things work, who does what or what we needed help on. He literally knew everything about everything and was and still is not afraid to tell about his extensive experience in the field. If you added up all the years of experience he has in different fields, he has been working for about 120 years. He will throw a trantum about the most insignificant problems and ignore or fail to make a decision on serious ones. Even better, I make the decisions since he won’t or he will literally ask me to do it and he be sure to take the credit for the success or throw me under the bus as quick as soon as he feels the least bit of heat from his boss.

    So what to do now? I am firm believer that there is more to life than a job and more to a job than a paycheck, however, I do like my job and the company and I am also not about to put the burden of unemployment onto my family.

    My plan is, I guess, to wait patiently for this boss to leave and cross my fingers for his job or a better mananger to take his place. I will be looking for other employment in the mean time and trying to work on my own patience for this poor excuse for a leader. I will continue to stand up for my people and my personal beliefs, but in a more controlled and tactful fassion.

    Thank you for all your entries, they were needed and I hope for the best for all of you. Hopefully the knowledge that you will never become like any of these bosses about will bring you some comfort in your trials. Good luck.

  81. Your suggestions of approach are great within an ideal world however, when your Manager is openly incompetent at every turn whereby he is almost proud to admit he really does not know what he is doing, then you have a real problem! This is further aggravated when Senior Managers agree yet dont attempt to do anything about it because they dont want to be responsible or make waves! As a result the workforce and efficiency has seriously suffered to such extent highly valued members of staff have left and of course this has a further negative impact on the smooth running of the business creating further frustration.
    The place of work I refer to is a Nursing Home (N/Som) incorporating the care of elderly and infirm. There are minimum standards overseen by CQC through infrequent inspection visits however all CQC are primarily interested in is ‘ticks in boxes’ and although the care team have pride in upholding higher standards at just above minimum wage, the Manager drawing a salery of £40k is simply dragging us down.
    NOBODY LISTENS!

  82. Is anyone else experiencing similar difficulties?
    I would be pleased to hear how you have dealt with this or are you banging your head against the wall with me?
    Thanks for your interest.

  83. what can you do about a volunteer fire chief that treats certain ones of the organization like crap?? He’s a my way or the highway and either way he couldn’t care less. Nothing’s ever good enough although you’re doing it for free.

  84. Hello “treated like crap”

    Since its Volunteer work, I would suggest to take it easy and try to mention old man (with respect — which they are craving for) some better ideas. If it does’nt works dont worry about it. Its not your whole life.

  85. Hi, I have an experience I would like to share, this is recent, as I am no longer working with this boss, and I suggest no one else work with this one either. She was the worst boss I have ever had, and I guess other employees reported too. I have to say with her it was “my way or the highway”. I tried to show her examples of what she does to me as an employee and to the other employees, and how the other employees would work better if she followed such examples. Basically, everything had to be done exactly her way, and the employees were lost without her, even I was lost without her and my work was mostly paperwork.

    It had to be done her way. We could not put any of our own free will, or anonymity into the workplace, because she would check over what we have done, and then it was never good enough, we were not lazy, in fact I think the employees there worked very hard and I think I did. I wrote an entire book for her. As that was still not good enough. Anyways, despite that she did some pretty inappropriate things and said some some things that would deem really inappropriate in any work place. In fact I think if I weren’t on a friend/business term relationship with her, I would have left long ago and filed a lawsuit for sexual harassment.

    She did not treat me fair, when I had a brain injury to my head, she expected me to come to work, and harassed me on my phone, until I was blue in the face, and finally showed up when I was not even recovered. So that is finally when I said my health and well being is more important than my bosses stupid book. And I don’t think it will make much money anyway, so I am so happy I am out of that situation. Thank God!

  86. I have really enjoyed reading the comments. I live in a small town where there is a large company I work at. My boss fits right in with your stories where he doesn’t appreciate anything. I was told to write a thesis-type paper on a particular subject. I ended up with tendonitis from all my typing and mouse doing the research and writing. I sent him the finished copy and never got a single response. It is as if it was not the answer he wanted.
    This year I have worked pretty hard and have overcome many obstacles to accomplish my goals. Our systems are not the best and it takes an experienced person to get thorugh them. Every time I have an encounter with my boss he takes the opportunity to be critical. I didn’t do this or didn’t do that or why didn’t you tell me (he never has time to talk). He is great at managing systems but whoafully poor with people.
    I feel stuck. My family and kids are here, I am high enough in the organization where finding an equivalent job is difficult, not to mention other jobs are far away. It seems there are bad bosses everywhere. Even if you changed jobs you may end up in the same position. My challenge is learning to deal with this guy and managing my emotions. Reading your comments at least helps me cope. Once my situation at home changes a bit I may be able to make a move. In the mean time I will look at it as character development.

  87. Would like some advice. My boss is not a asshole kind of guy and sometimes I think I wish he was but his problem is he is lazy truth be told if he didn’t have some big accounts he probably would have been fired already I know that because its been talked about before amongst other managers. I started using slogan for him that ” when there is drama he is right in the middle of it but when there is work to be done he’s like big foot often talked about seldom seen” recently the company was trying new tactics to better the company and from the get go he didn’t like it but was voted out on getting his way and everyone else was excited for this change. We started the new program last week and it was all going fine until this manager had to get in the middle of it he saw something he didn’t like and stirred the pot so much that they decided without vote or conversation to council the program we worked hard on trying to get in the first place this wasn’t the first time things like this has happened to sum it up it seems like everytime we come up with new and exciting things this guy finds way to complain about change the ironic thing is the owner is always preaching to improve our costumer service which means to me look for new I innovative ways to improve but with this manager it’s impossible to get better. So I have reached my breaking point on this I don’t want to work here anymore under this guy which sucks because I like the company i think it would be a way better place to work without him but that is probably never going to happen as long as he has these accounts that make me feel like im between a rock and a hard spot. so if anyone could tell me what I should do that would be great.

  88. My mother and I share the same boss, I for 4 years, she for 30 years, since she was 18.
    You would think, that someone who has worked for the same couple for over half her life, would be valued, respected, fairly treated, etc… I can’t think of worse boss to have. For 33 years, my mother has been: A shepherd, a cook, a cleaner, an organizer, a craftswoman, a decorator… has waited on hand and foot for these people, staying out till god knows what time to deliver lambs, cleaning up a function because no one else knows how and the boss wants to go to bed. For the most recent large function, she spent weeks preparing props, costumes etc… for a Halloween event, and almost every night for around 3 weeks, she was there until gone midnight, washing and fixing the same costumes. At the end of the event party, did she get a thank you? No, the chef and his assistant did. No disrespect to them, I love them and I think they are brilliant, but is it too much to ask for a simple thank you? My mother is treated like dirt, never acknowledged for her smart ideas, for everything she does. Then, suddenly, two young people are hired. One, as Events Manager, the other as Catering Manager. The Craft Events job has been taken away from her, organising and decorating catering areas, have been taken away from her. And now, her catering jobs have been taken away from her. After 33 years, she’s left with a dogsbody job, just because she doesn’t have the shiny qualifications that the new people have. It makes me sick to see her like this. Some people may think this isn’t possible – nothing I have said is untrue. This boss is a demon, she is horrible, and I hate working for her, but thankfully this is my last year, afterwards I’m into the big bad world. But for mum, she can’t get out. She knows the business will crumble once she’s gone, and as much as she wants that to happen, she can’t will herself to leave. She has no qualifications (other than something she gained today in order to keep at least one part of her job), and can’t find anything local to do if she quits (after me, there’s still 2 other kids to get through school). I have no idea what to say to her, I keep urging her to quit, but she just won’t. If anyone has any ideas on what to do, I really would greatly appreciate it.

  89. Will I work in the automotive industry and we have someone who give out the work he doesn’t like me and the boss and him is friends. There make it sam like am not making time. I had get hurt on the job and I was out for some months,

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