If you haven’t experienced this yet, I’m almost certain you may at some point although I hope you never do.
You find a job. You like said job. You’re good at said job. But there’s just one little problem.
Or maybe it’s a big problem.
One of your co-workers is a nightmare to work with. Not just any co-worker, though. Your boss.
I’m talking about your boss.
Maybe you feel like your boss is picking on you. Maybe you feel as though your boss belittles you. Talks down to you. Has a strong dislike for you that may be edging dangerously close to the “hate” side of the spectrum. Whatever is going on, you don’t like it and it’s affecting your ability to be effective.
So what do you do?
I mean, this is a tough situation to be in. The boss is the person who has a say in whether or not you will keep said job. The boss is the person who gives you your assignments. It’s their job to tell you what to do. Then they judge what you do to determine if you are still useful. Like I said, it’s a tough situation to be in.
Like I said, it’s a tough situation to be in.
I find myself in this very position. I have a job that I enjoy quite a bit but it’s become extremely difficult for me to work and do what I need to do and what I feel must be down to ensure that everything runs smoothly. I am working under someone that I do not respect for many reasons although I continue to show her respect because, you know, I’m trying to maintain a positive work environment despite my feelings towards her. I do not feel that she is a good leader. I do not like the way she talks about people nor do I like the way she talks to people. She does not maintain some of her duties though she is quick to jump down other people’s throats for not maintaining their duties. She plays favorites and is willing to bend the rules for her favorites but yells at and about others who ask for similar rule-bending on their behalf. She is indecisive and her indecisiveness causes a lot of confusion for me.
The list goes on.
I have tried to just do as she asks so as not to disobey her but I have reached a breaking point. I cannot take this much longer. I have decided that I must do something but what do you do when your boss is the problem you’re faced with? Here’s is the approach I’ve decided to take.
1) Look at yourself- I seriously thought about what I was and was not doing that may be contributing to the problem. I feel as though I follow the directions she gives me to the best of my ability and understanding. I admit I do not always do what she asks right away but that is because I am a) trying to do too many things at once, b) forget and get to it when I remember late (result of a), or c) she changes her mind then changes it again later which delays the completion of the task. I also know how my brain works and a lot of the times I am confused by what she is asking of me. I have to constantly clarify what is being said and I even check with my co-worker to make sure we have the same understanding (although sometimes she is just as confused as I am). I am a hard worker and I am a good worker. I do not give a lot of attitude but when I am struggling, I feel that my face sometimes reflects that and my words may get a little tart but I try to keep things light and professional despite how I feel. After careful consideration, I decided I am not the problem.
2) Talk about it with someone you trust and someone who will understand– That second part is very important. I sometimes talk to people who cannot relate or do not seem to really care. That is a waste of breath and made me feel worse. I recently opened up to two of my co-workers. Though I did not want to have this conversation in the workplace, I couldn’t help it. It just flooded out. I admitted to having a problem with the boss and they sided with me because they could see what I saw and understood what I was experiencing. They encouraged me to talk about it with our higher-up (the CEO). They told me multiple times that I was valuable to the company and gave me compliments on my work ethic and attitude. (They knew something was wrong but they didn’t know the extent of it; I’ve got a mean poker face). They made me feel really good about myself and cheered me up quite a bit. After careful consideration and a reassessment of my attitude and emotional level, I decided to open up to my CEO.
3) Discuss the problem with someone who can actually do something about it- With this one, you have to tread lightly. My CEO had already called me into her office earlier this week because she didn’t like the vibe I was putting out. She was concerned because I wasn’t being myself and she just knew something was wrong. I wanted to spill everything right then and there but my head and my heart were not in the right place and I didn’t want to end up spewing profanities and badmouthing my boss. That’s not my style. I needed time to come up with a different approach so I promised her I would come back to have the conversation with her once I got myself together. I’m feeling pretty together now so I will most likely meet with her sometime next week. This concerns me for a few reasons.
A) I have been told that people have gone up against the boss before and those people are no longer with the company. I have heard that they complained to the CEO but I do not know how true that is or what approach they took. I have also heard a lot about the horrible attitudes and poor behavior those people displayed which, ultimately, left them jobless one way or another. I do not want to lose my job or my temper but if it comes down to her or me, I have to be ready and willing to walk. Another company has welcomed me through a connection, however since I am happy where I am, I would like to stay where I am. Worse case scenario, I will seek employment at the other company and maybe take on another type of work that I was trying to avoid in the first place.
B) I don’t want all my “crazy” showing. My CEO knows that I suffer from (undiagnosed) depression. This is not the first time I’ve encountered her in a fragile state. What she doesn’t know is that I’m dealing with some other things as well (although maybe she senses it). Now, I’m no clinician but I’ve been dealing with some crap just about my whole life. I’m to the point where I can pinpoint what I most likely have although I’m not interested in getting tested for anything. I’m an adult. What’s the point? Although my CEO is kind to me and very caring, I do worry about the shift in judgment that may come if all my “crazy” spills out on the floor. I have gotten to a point where I am tired of putting on a show and having to always be “on” to make other people comfortable. I am not quite to the point where I can openly admit to my “crazy” although I am making less efforts to hide some symptoms. This is a battle for another day and I do not feel like I should meld it with this one.
C) I do not want to openly say to my CEO that my boss is a “bad boss.” I try not to make statements like this but I feel very strongly that it will slip out during our conversation. I do not want to make it sound like I feel that I am better than my boss or that I can do her job better than she can. That is not my intention. I have to try very hard to focus on my problems with her and find a solution to those problems.
I haven’t had “the talk” with my CEO yet but I will. I do not want to be pushed out like so many before me but it’s not fair for anyone to allow things to continue going on at this rate. I am fed up. I am pissed off.
This needs to end and I am finally ready to deal with it. Appropriately.