Nearly everyone has suffered this at least once in his career—the boss who makes each workday a living terror. You can find the Boss from Hell in any industry or occupation. Even the best companies slip up from time to time, allowing bullies to rise through the employment food chain to management.
If a national survey were taken to find out the reasons people change jobs, by far the number one reason for job dissatisfaction would be bad management. As a career coach, surprisingly, I’ve found that increased earning potential usually ranks far below the desire to leave a mean, unreasonable boss. If you wake up each day dreading the next eight to ten hours, your problem might be your supervisor.
You’re working for the Boss From Hell if:
- He (or she) bullies you and your coworkers with threats and temper tantrums.
- His unpredictable moods keeps the office environment constantly tense and second-guessing his next move.
- He sets unrealistic and unattainable goals.
- You live in constant fear of being fired.
Fear and intimidation never motivate employees to excel. Tyrannical supervisors create an atmosphere of distrust and isolation. If you work for someone like this, your confidence is probably not what it used to be. In fact, you are probably second-guessing your decisions on the job constantly. As long as you work for management that rules by fear, you’ll never reach your career and earning potential.
There are three steps to escape the Boss From Hell and move on to a happier, healthier work place.
- Gain perspective to think rationally about your career options.
Fear in the workplace tends to leave people thinking they have no better options than to stick it out. Such thinking is a result of loss of confidence and the inability to see beyond the present distress. One way to gain perspective and see new options is to spend some time browsing job postings. The right direction might be within another department or division of your current employer, but away from your current boss. Or it might be somewhere else altogether. If you keep an open mind, you’ll see that there are many options for you outside of your current job.
One way to get the most out of this career reconnaissance is to search for job postings based on skills rather than job titles. Do a job-skills self-analysis to identify the tasks and activities you enjoy performing on your job. Use those skills as your search terms at online job boards. You may be surprised to see that you qualify for positions you had not thought of before.
2. Take inventory of your career accomplishments and contributions.
In order to get moving toward a new position you’ll need to regain your confidence. Think about, and then write down, situations of where you:
- Came up with an idea for saving time
- Helped your team reach a production goal
- Identified cost savings opportunities
- Solved a customer problem leading to increased customer satisfaction
As you think back on your accomplishments, you’ll begin to realize the value you have added to your company. Remember, other employers have similar problems to solve. They are looking for candidates who have experience in handling difficult situations. The more specific the examples of your accomplishments are, the more marketable you will be in the job market.
3. Update your resume.
Once you have your accomplishments listed, use them to update your resume. Think of your resume as your initial marketing tool; it should announce to potential employers your ability to help them reach their bottom-line corporate goals. For example, your resume should appeal to potential employers’ desire to increase efficiency, cut costs and improve productivity. When employers see what you can do for them, they’re sure to be impressed.
Your resume should also have a clear career focus. Updating your resume doesn’t mean simply adding your current work history to your old resume format. Without a careful resume strategy, your resume will begin to resemble an old house with too many tacked on additions. Make sure your resume presents a cohesive, well-thought out, professional front.
Additionally, if your career has taken several interesting turns, you’ll want to adjust your resume toward your current focus. Take the time to refocus your resume on your current job search. Highlight the items from your career that are relevant, and minimize the things that are no longer relevant.
Once you have invested the time to gain perspective on your career options, take inventory of your accomplishments, and update your resume, you’ll be mentally and emotionally ready to seek other employment opportunities, either within or outside your current company. You don’t have to remain in an unhappy job. You do have choices. Take the steps to help yourself—you’ll be glad you did!