At one point or another, we’ll all
end up in a job that seems hell bent on destroying us. The misery can be all consuming and with a job
market gone to pot, finding a new position is easier said than done. Here at
FV1 Magazine we’re running a series of blogs on how to cope with the job you
loathe. First up: Bosses from the bowels
boss can ruin even the most interesting and exciting of jobs and make your workplace
feel like a war-zone. From occasional bigotry to poor management,
out-of-their-depth to angry we’ve all had one who’s made the workplace
unbearable. We’re sharing our tips on how to tolerate the most hostile of
1. Try and
rise above it
It sounds like a cop out, but it can do wonders. If you’ve
got the kind of boss who makes belittling comments, personal attacks or resorts
to screaming at you, it’s tempting to respond in kind. However, the situation
will likely escalate to unbearable proportions. Try and stay calm, professional
but assertive- bear in mind who else may hear about the incident.
If you feel you’re being bullied, contact the National Bullying Helpline for advice.
Unison have more advice and resources for bullied employees
2. Document your work
Sometimes it can feel as if your boss takes you for granted-
offering little feedback or praise for your work, or sometimes the feedback is
wholly negative. Keep a record of the work you’ve done and any feedback you get
from colleague. Even in retail jobs this can be useful- if you helped a
particularly tricky customer or helped solve a staffing issue, make a note of
That means you have some evidence to back up your work if you
get unfairly criticised-and if you manage to land a job interview elsewhere
it’s great for helping you prepare!
3. Bond with your colleagues
Sometimes the perfect antidote to a bad boss is good
colleagues. The internal politics of any workplace can be hard to manage, so
it’s best not to bond over annoyances with colleagues-as tempting as it may be.
Issues with lousy customers or terrible computer systems are a good place to
start. Dealing with a stressful work environment can feel a million times
better with someone to moan to!
4. Be pro-active
Useless bosses seem to be the most common of all- rubbish at
sorting holiday entitlement, terrible at organising rotas and a memory like a
sieve. The best way to tackle this is to follow up conversations in writing. If you've had a verbal discussion over a shift swap, a change of contracted hours
or a holiday request, send your boss an email outlining what was decided. This
may help your boss remember to follow up on your request and, if they do
forget, you can prove the conversation happened.
Do take opportunities to offer extra support to your boss if
they arise. Extra responsibilities can be a hassle, but it reflects well upon
you and puts you in good stead for any upcoming promotions or job interviews!
5. Don’t put up with abuse or harassment
Staying as professional as possible is always the preferred
option, but if your boss is crossing lines it’s important to be aware that you
have rights. Racist, homophobic and sexist remarks can constitute harassment or
discrimination. Sexual harassment in the
workplace- or anywhere for that matter- is never acceptable, and you are
protected by law against these. The company’s Human Resources department are
obliged to deal with any complaints of this nature.
Reporting your boss can be daunting and scary. My first
recommended step would be to talk to your boss first, in a one-on-one
environment as long as you feel safe to do so, presenting them with a record of
the comments they've made and when. Give them the benefit of the doubt but be
assertive. For example; “I felt that the comment you made about Muslims in last
Tuesday’s meeting was inappropriate and I found it quite offensive,” or “The
advances and comments you've made towards me have made me feel very
uncomfortable, and I’d like you to stop.” Your boss may be an arse, but hopefully not an
unreasonable one. However, if the behaviour continues, you can approach Human
Resources with the full confidence that you attempted to resolve the issue and
can’t be accused of back-stabbing.
If the company doesn't make moves to resolve the issue, you
can contact any of these organisations for further advice:
Citizen’s Advice Bureau
Unite (General Workers)
Unison (for Public Sector Workers)
National Bullying Helpline
What’s the worst boss you've ever had? How did you cope? What advice would you give to people in this
situation? Join the conversation @FV1Magazine!
Editor of @FV1Magazine