What to do if your boss is a dick

What to do if your boss is a dick

It pains me to say it, but I’m going to anyway –  it’s rare to have a good boss in a large corporate environment.

Unfortunately people often get promoted to at least one level of incompetence, sometimes two. What do I mean by this? I mean that people get promoted based on circumstances or number of years of service rather than any competence based criteria.

Sometimes with this promotion comes the responsibility of managing others and this means that at some point in your career you will end with a boss who is a dick. Someone who doesn’t know what to do with you. Doesn’t know (or care) how to help you progress your career. Doesn’t take time to understand your skill set and your weaknesses. Hell, somedays they might not even talk to you at all.

Which leaves you in a dilemma of what to do. Do you try super hard to change them? Do you give up and do as little as possible each day? Do you get the hump and bitch and moan about it to anyone who will listen?

These are all options, but they aren’t the best choice. Trust me – I know personally it’s really not a nice place to be (from past experiences, not present), but there are some things that you can do to ease the pain and take something positive from it and a bunch of stuff you should be careful to avoid.

Here’s the things not to do (tempting as they might be):

  • Suck up to them – they love themselves enough already, they don’t need your plaudits to further enlarge the ego. Also this will only make you feel worse as you are being fake and not showing personal integrity
  • Ignore them and hope they go away – For whatever reason they got promoted and ended up being your boss, so chances are they ain’t going anywhere soon. If you try to ignore them then you are only going to increase your personal frustration as their constant presence
  • Think you can change them – working with integrity and trying to be a positive example to others is awesome. But if you do this with the intention of trying to change the way someone else behaves or the expectation that if you show them what good looks like they will become a different person you will end up disappointed. It’s not gonna happen.
  • Try to out dick the dick – if you try to play them at their own game and become arrogant, rude and uncaring, then guess what – now you are a dick too.

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Here’s the things that you could consider:

  • Set your ground rules – sit down by yourself and write down what you’re willing to accept and what you’re not. How you are prepared to be spoken to and how you’re not. It’s important that you are clear within yourself what your limits are. This will allow you to set expectations with the dick.
  • Take your foot off the gas (a little) – focus on doing what is necessary but don’t worry about going the extra mile and pushing yourself to be the best you can be. If you are not going to get any recognition or gratitude then what’s the point in busting a gut? Use the time to take the pressure off yourself and unwind a little (but only to the point where you maintain your integrity)
  • Become selfish – your boss is going to be a dick anyway, so you may as well focus on the things you enjoy, can learn from or will help other people more.
  • Share your pain – not in a gossipy type way, but in a sharing it with your friends and loved ones way. Let them know that you are grumpy about the situation and why. Help them to understand why there’s not a spring in your step and you’re being a bit more short tempered than normal.
  • Start planning for the next step – if this is only going to go one way (with you quitting), then set the wheels in motion early. Test the market place. Talk to former colleagues and recruiters. Get a sense of what’s out there and what you are worth.
  • Quit – If things are so bad that you dred going into work, you’re getting depressed or you just fundamentally disagree with the dick on well, everything, then walk. Don’t wait. Don’t flap. Be decisive and let them deal with the consequences. Life is short after all.

If you’re in this place at the moment then please take some comfort that not every boss or place of work is the same. Not every boss is a dick. Whilst common, it’s not the norm. But if your current boss is, then know that you can do better. You deserve better.

Don’t let them dominate or ruin your life. If they want to be a dick then that’s up to them, you have little control over that, but you can control what you do. You can turn it round if you want to. You can use this to your advantage. Decide what you want and become the master of your own destiny.

Good luck.

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There are 8 comments for this article
  1. abused employee at 12:00 am

    My boss is the owner of the company. I am his only full time employee. I have to go into the office 2 days a week and the other days I work from home. My boss is constantly calling me, asking me what I am doing, where am I, etc.

    He says that “he owns me” because he pays me for full time. If business is slow, he blames me and makes up different “punishments” because there isn’t enough business.

    When I tell him I don’t make enough money and need a raise, he says he wants to look at my finances so he can make me a budget, because he thinks I can’t manage my own finances.

    If I should happen to buy lunch one day instead of bring it, he asks me where I got the money from. He is totally overbearing. He tries to bully me into doing things for him that go above and beyond normal work.

    When I tell him this, he states that since he pays me for full time, he can ask me to do anything at anytime and I have to do it or he will find someone else.

    I hate him

    • Noel at 7:19 pm

      Wow – what a horror story. This is not normal behaviour. This is not acceptable behaviour. Get yourself the hell out of there. You are clearly bright, articulate and able to hold down a decent job, so you need to take action. Now. What sector do you work in and what is your role? If I can help find you something new then I will, but you also need to take ownership of getting yourself out of this situation. Don’t wait. Do it now.

    • R.l at 6:40 pm

      I hate my job because i have 6 immediate managers that constantly abuse us mentally and physically. I work for kroger i know its not a big important job like most of the people in the comments but it is a living hell. Im a cashier ive been doing this job for 12 years i have the most experience out of all my co workers and manager’s but no one listens to me. They make me work till 12am then i have to come back in the same morning at 5am to reopen my store i have to stand behind the register 8 hours im not allowed to use the restroom get a drink or sit down unless they tell me i can i get cussed out by rude people all day and if i snap and defend my self i get suspended.theres only 2 of us per shift if we are busy we dont get breaks and since the kids went back to school we have no one to bag groceries we have to do both plus bring in carts too.

  2. abused employee at 10:08 pm

    I run the veterinary practice. I have administrative, marketing and technical duties. I administer all the treatments, make all the appointments and schedule all the procedures.

    I have applied for other positions recently, but when other veterinarians hear I work for this guy it is like the plague.

    I have excellent administrative skills and feel I would be a beneficial addition to any practice, but my boss is like a black cloud over my head.

    • Noel at 1:06 pm

      Sorry to hear that. You seem to have good skills for the role, so keep looking around and I’m sure something will come up. Just stick with it and don’t give up. You deserve better treatment. Veterinary practise is not my area of expertise and I don’t have any contacts directly. Where are you based?

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