The everyday responsibilities that come with your job can be stressful enough, but your situation can quickly become a nightmare when you’re working for an unpleasant and condescending boss. For many people, simply walking away from a toxic work environment is simply not an option. Yet, you may depend on this job for your future, your finances, or simply because there are no other options.
You may think that keeping your head down is the best course of action. After all, if you’re working for a boss with an unpredictable temper, anything you do can make things worse. However, don’t be fooled – waiting for this problem to go away only makes things more difficult in the long run.
Not only does your boss get a free pass to treat you poorly, but you also risk losing your patience over time. The longer you endure being humiliated, overworked, and tossed around, the more likely it is that you’ll lash out. Once you do, you may lose your job.
That’s why it’s so important to recognize that you simply have to act in a situation like this. Doing so calmly, methodically, and well-planned is the key. Let’s take a look at some steps you can take to deal with a difficult boss and a hostile workplace. However, please remember that there are other resources available and there are job search platforms such as Lensa that allow you to privately search for another similar position.
Target the Broader Circumstances
Unfortunately, there’s very little you can do to change your boss’s actions. Disrespectful behavior towards employees typically comes from a place of deep insecurity and self-loathing, and it’s not your responsibility to be your boss’s psychologist. You simply have to accept that their unpleasant personality is a given, and don’t waste any effort trying to get on their ‘good side’. Unfortunately, they may not have one.
Instead, focus on the broader circumstances you have tremendous control over. The goal is to limit how this behavior affects you by taking care of yourself. According to Lensa, when you hate your job there are some key steps to minimize its impact on your mental health. Here are some key examples:
- Take time to vent your feelings in a journal
- Having things to look forward to throughout your day
- Achieve a work-life balance through maintaining social circles and regular exercise
The trick is simply to make sure you’re finding and creating positivity in the rest of your life, to compensate for the negativity your boss brings to your daily routine. Finding things that build your confidence and boost your happiness gives you the means to shrug off your boss’s behavior.
When you have a job that really matters to us, it’s easy to fall into a trap: over-commitment. It’s natural to want to bend over backwards to accommodate everything and anything work-related that comes up, even in our free time.
However, even if you have a good boss, you should fight this impulse. Your downtime serves a very important purpose by letting you refuel and recharge. Allowing work to seep in is bad enough, but when your critical and demeaning boss begins to have any influence over your free time, things have gone way too far.
You have to learn how to set boundaries. Drawing lines that your workplace isn’t allowed to cross can save you from tremendous anxiety and exhaustion. For tips about how to achieve this, I recommend exploring some of the methods laid out in Jayne Hardy’s article for TED Talks.
Stand Up for Yourself the Right Way
As uncomfortable as it may seem, you may have to speak directly to your boss about this issue. If this sounds sickening, remember that talking about the problem doesn’t mean becoming emotionally vulnerable with someone you dislike. It’s a work-related issue that needs fixing and can be addressed as such. If this behavior is affecting your productivity, it’s in both of your interests for it to stop.
That said, you may need to prepare for this conversation to avoid any dangerous mishaps. It’s going to be tempting to vent your frustration, or to try to ‘win the argument’, especially if your boss doesn’t take your words well. But remember, you’re technically at the same time and there to find a solution to a problem that affects you both. Check out our article on how your tone of voice affects communication for some tips on expressing yourself best!
Don’t Be Afraid to Look For Other Jobs
If you really need this job, you may feel like you can’t even consider leaving it. However, the truth is that there’s always something else out there, and you don’t deserve to dread going to work because of someone’s behavior!
This is why having an escape plan is vital. Even though it may be tempting to quit dramatically, planning your exit over time will help ease your transition into a new job. On top of that, you can use this time to jump at other opportunities for work when they arise!
Far more importantly, having an exit strategy is good for your mental health. It’s a reminder that you’re not defined by your job or how your employer treats you! Putting things back into your own hands can put them into context, too. Good luck!
You may also like: 3 Ways to Be A Better Boss