How to Survive When Your Boss Is a Jerk

jerk boss

 

We've all worked for a jerk at least once in our lives. Some of us are working for one now, while others have managed to escape, but have all sorts of horror stories to tell. From flaunting their authority to sexual harassment to taking all the credit for the work other people do, bad bosses can really make life difficult on their employees.

Things may seem hopeless while working under the heavy hand of a horrible boss, but there are a handful of tactics that can be used to ease the pain. Call off the overpriced team of ninja assassins you just hired and try these things first. If they don't work, you can always rehire the assassins. 

Let the Little Stuff Go

When you hate your boss with a passion, every little thing he or she does or says will drive you up a wall. Small things you'd normally let go will make your skin crawl and you'll be consumed by anger every time your boss talks. If this describes the way you feel right now, it's time to take a step back and reassess your feelings. Sure, you can't stand your boss, but is your dislike of the way he or she treats you really worth the extra stress and being miserable all the time. 

Let the little stuff roll off your shoulders and try not to let it affect you. If you're grumpy all the time, the only one who's going to suffer is you and your boss and his superiors will take notice. Try to smile in the face of diversity and, in the words of every kid who's seen the Disney movie Frozen, "Let it go...Let it go!"

Take Control of the Situation

It may feel like you're powerless when an overbearing boss is making your life miserable, but there are certain things you have ultimate control over. For one, you control your emotions and have the final say in how your boss makes you feel. You also have ultimate control over what you allow your boss to do to you.

If you're working for a boss who is doing something illegal or is making you feel uncomfortable in the workplace, let him or her know how you feel. If nothing changes, take it further up the chain of command. This tactic should be saved for the big stuff like sexual harassment and blatant breaking of the rules (or the law). Upper management isn't going to want to hear how you feel like you're overworked because your boss asked you to help out on a project you think he could have finished himself, but they'll likely be very interested in hearing about a manager who's asking employees to cover up illegal activities that could get him and/or the company in deep trouble. 

Prove Your Worth

When faced with a boss who takes credit for everything you do, it may feel like you're never going to get noticed. Don't allow this to kill your desire to do good work and let it affect your production. Instead, work harder and continue doing the things you need to do to get ahead. Upper management will eventually take notice of the work you're doing and they may even realize your boss isn't living up to his end of the bargain.

I once worked for a boss who handed off all of his work to me. I did his work and my work for a couple years, while learning his job inside and out. The boss got in trouble and ended up getting fired and I sat down with management and made a great case as to why I should be hired to take over the vacant position. Management agreed and I went from being a 23-year old worker being paid minimum wage to being the boss and making three times that overnight. 

Wait It Out

This one's a tough one because you could spend years working a dead-end job under the auspices of a boss you hate. If there's a clear path for promotion for you or your boss and you're pretty sure you won't be working for him or her forever, you may be able to wait a bad boss out.

Once the boss (or you) is promoted, you'll have a new boss and things might get better. Then again, they might not...Certain companies create a culture of distrust and anger and seem to be a breeding ground for bad bosses. Make sure you know what you're in for if your boss gets promoted or you transfer to a different department. You might come to realize the boss you had previously isn't as bad as you thought. 

Do Something About It

I hear from people all the time who hate their jobs. They've often been working there for 5, 10, 15 or even 20 years or longer and have hated every minute of it. When I ask why they haven't looked for another job, I'm usually met with a blank stare or hear the excuse, "I've been there a long time. I'm comfortable there."

If you're truly comfortable at your job, stop bitching about your boss. If you hate it as much as you say you do, start looking for another job. The nice thing about looking for a job when you already have one is you have the luxury of searching until you find a good fit for your skills. If you don't think there's a good fit out there, it may be time to update your skill set. A few courses at the local community college or a trade school can work wonders. 

 

How to Deal With Failure: Making Failure Temporary

How to deal with failure

 

Unless you've allowed yourself to completely stagnate, there's a pretty good chance you're going to experience failure at some point in your life. Learning how to deal with failure and make failure temporary is the key to getting past failure and moving on to more successful endeavors. Ultimately, this is your life and you're in the driver's seat. Is a crash going to send you to the junkyard or is it going to temporarily sideline you while you rebuild and prepare for the next race?

Famous Failures

Successful people, almost to a T, will tell you they experienced failure time and time again on the road to success. Through it all, they remained focused on their ultimate goal, which is becoming successful. Check out this list of famous people who experienced failure on the road to success:

  • Henry Ford. Ford experienced multiple failure before he founded Ford Motor Company. He started multiple businesses that didn't make it before he hit it big.
  • Harland Sanders. If you don't recognize the name Harland Sanders, maybe Colonel Sanders will ring a bell. The founder of Kentucky Fried Chicken was reportedly rejected more than 1,000 times before he found a restaurant willing to try his secret blend of herbs and spices.
  • Bill Gates. Microsoft is a household name. In fact, there's a pretty good chance you're viewing this website from a computer running Microsoft Windows. If not, you've probably got at least a handful of Microsoft programs on your computer. Before striking it rich with Microsoft, Bill Gates founded a company called Traf-O-Data. Gates attempted to bring to market a computerized method of processing data from traffic counters, which are the black hoses you drive over that measure your speed and the number of cars passing through an area. This business failed and Bill Gates went on to found what's arguably the biggest company in the history of the world.
  • Akio Morita. You may not recognize the name Akio Morita, but I'm sure you recognize the Sony brand. Morita wasn't always a high-tech power player. He started off in the rice cooker industry, but sold less than 100 units due to quality issues. He cut his losses and went on to found Sony.
  • Walt Disney. The Disney empire today rakes in billions of dollars. Walt Disney wasn't always successful and experienced failure in his younger years. In fact, he was once fired by a newspaper publisher because he "lacked imagination." He went on to found a number of businesses that failed before he created Disney.
  • Abraham Lincoln. Before he became the 16th President of the United States of America, Lincoln went to war with a rank captain and found himself demoted to private upon his return from the war. He failed in numerous attempts to get elected to public office and started a handful of businesses that also failed.
  • Albert Einstein. While the name Einstein is synonymous with genius, it wasn't always that way. Einstein didn't learn to read until he was seven and his teachers and parents believed he was mentally handicapped. He was a slow bloomer and was expelled from school and denied entry to the Zurich Polytechnic School, but went on to become one of the greatest minds in the history of man.

This is just a small sampling of the famous people who have experienced failure before hitting it big. Had they of given up when they first failed, they never would have made it.

Read more: How to Deal With Failure: Making Failure Temporary

How to Impress Your Boss: The Key to Moving Up From Within

 

From the outside looking in, it often seems like certain people are on the fast-track to success. Aside from friends and family of members of management, this is rarely the case. Instead, these people have figured out the secret to moving up the corporate ladder.

In order to quickly climb the ranks at work, you've got to be able to impress your boss.

Everybody has to start somewhere and most people start at the bottom of the food chain in the office. From there, it's all about getting yourself noticed for doing all the right things. Being in the right place at the right time helps, too, but being there isn't going to matter if others in the office have positioned themselves ahead of you in the queue for promotions.

First of all, let's get the basics out of the way. You have to work hard and be competent at what you do. If you can't do these two things, you probably aren't going to get promoted, unless your boss is lazier and more incompetent than you are. Personal feelings about the boss aside, chances are your boss knows exactly what it takes to keep his bosses happy and consistently does those things. If not, there may be a position (and a chance for promotion, if you play your cards right) opening up soon.

Let's assume you're competent and a hard worker, but still keep getting passed up for promotions. What then? Here are a handful of proven ways to impress your boss and get moved up from within.

Pay Attention to the Little Details

People tend to get caught up in the big picture and forget about the little details. Bosses, on the other hand, tend to notice the little things and how they relate to the big picture.

In order to understand why the little details matter so much, it helps to look at things from the perspective of a boss. Let's say you're in charge of 25 people who are all tasked with similar jobs. All 25 of your employees are relatively competent at their job. They all work at an appropriate pace and they all turn their assignments in on time.

Read more: How to Impress Your Boss: The Key to Moving Up From Within

Work Smarter, Not Harder: How to Prioritize When Everything is a Priority

 

Ah, it's the age-old mantra at work. Work smart, not harder. I'm sure you've heard it before, but actually mastering this adage can prove to be a bit of a moving target. By actually learning to work smarter instead of harder, you can get ahead at work while making your life easier instead of harder.

Learn How to Prioritize

If your job is anything like mine, you have a lot to do in a short amount of time. Paperwork is piling up, reports are due and the boss is breathing down your neck about something he or she asked you to get done weeks ago. When you're feeling overwhelmed, it's time to take a step back to reassess the situation.

Some of the items you need to get done are obviously more time-sensitive than others. For example, when given a choice between working on a presentation my boss needs before leaving on an important business trip in two days or a report that's due in a couple weeks, it's clear which item needs to get done first.

Read more: Work Smarter, Not Harder: How to Prioritize When Everything is a Priority