Ever feel this way? You’re a bright, energetic, hard-working, and easily liked young person, probably working at one of your first jobs, and you like everything about your job– almost. There’s a problem. Your boss just doesn’t get it. So how do you handle the situation.
I’ve been in this situation once or twice, and the first thing you need to do is look inward. Is your boss really a tool, or is there some other source of your frustration, and they are just an easy target? Remember, they are people too, and like the rest of us, they have feelings and failings. If they aren’t really the problem, maybe you need to examine what is the problem.
But what if they are the problem? You’ve looked at everything, and it turns out that they are the problem. Then what? First, I’m going to be brutally honest with you. If you and your boss mix badly, you will most likely lose. They have the company backing them in many cases, and you can always be labled as a bitter, malcontent. In some cases, it may be better for you to cut your losses and get out before they get you out.
If you decide that it’s worth fighting, then you need to do it right. First, approach the offensive boss, let them know that you are experiencing some frustration, and let them know that you are really interested in working things out. Don’t go in with attitude, and don’t go in angry. When you do, you will always say or do something stupid. Instead, honestly try to approach the situation trying to solve the problem, and be open to the concept that you may be the problem. You may find out that your boss is a jerk because they have to be, or that you were misunderstanding the signals they were (usually accidentally) sending. That may be enough right there. Of course, you run the risk of annoying them (which usually ends the conflict in your dismissal), but you won’t know until you try.
If you don’t solve the problem with this meeting, most companies have a mechanism in place that allows you to go to their boss. Again, and I can’t stress this enough, don’t go in pointing fingers or firing off your mouth. If you really want to solve the problem, they need to see it. This meeting is more important, because this one will dictate whether or not you will stay with the company. If things go badly, you need to start looking for work right away.
If, after all other options are exhausted, you still feel the need to move on, do it right. Leave two-week notice, and work just as hard during those two weeks as you did during the first two weeks you were hired. When you leave, shake hands with everyone (even the tool!), and thank them for giving you the opportunity to work with them. Make sure you mean it. This boss still has one card to play when your next employer calls for references. Legally, they can’t say anything bad about you, but there can be a lot of communication in what is NOT said.
Don’t be dumb, don’t steal anything, don’t curse them out, and don’t try to poison anybody else against your former boss. You might not work there anymore, and therefore aren’t dependent on them for your money, but other people are. Chalk it up as one of many, many, many, MANY learning experiences that you will come across during your career.
Have you had to deal with this situation? How did you do it? Are you a boss now and have something to add? I want to know.