Home FV1 Surviving And Thriving At Work: Bosses From Hell

Surviving And Thriving At Work: Bosses From Hell

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 of hell.

A dreadful 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 office atmospheres.

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 here.

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 it.

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!

Sarah McAlpine
Editor of @FV1Magazine 

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