How to work effectively with a difficult boss


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    Key Books

    How to Manage Your Boss: Developing the Perfect Working Relationship

    When Smart People Work For Dumb Bosses

    The Gentle Art of Verbal Self-Defense

    Nasty People

    "I hate working with jerks. Managers who belittle and oppress one victim after another shouldn't be hired. And if people turn mean on the job, and won't change, they ought to be fired. Just about everyone I've ever met agrees with this sentiment, at least in theory."

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    Comments: [add a comment]

    User: jamesw
    Date: 7/2/2004 12:48:00 PM

    I work for a small company that has 6 employees. 5 are in the office. My boss seems more than happy to keep me as the "scapegoat", as, when anything goes awry, he comes to me and yells and tries to tell me that I've willfully and deliberately made changes to data files (it's market research). He believes that I actually go in and change numbers - just for the hell of it. He has told me once before that he thinks I'm a liar. He forgets, or he doesn't know, or he doesn't care how long I've worked for him. I've been employed here over 10 years, but that didn't stop him from elevating the status of his "pet" employee, a more recent hire who has now taken over virtually all of my duties. I even had to train the guy. Of course, if that guy makes a mistake, it's forgiven immediately and nothing is made out of it. The bosses' tactics are to get in my face and say things like "you didn't do it the way you were supposed to, did you?" "You changed things to make it look like you know what you're doing, didn't you?" and on and on...The more confused I become, the more powerful he becomes and the more hurtful his remarks. Now I get the cold shoulder from all the other employees. I used to have allies. Now I'm just ignored, except by the boss, who is ready to pounce on cue.

    User: jaany303
    Date: 8/14/2004 8:42:00 PM

    I work in a small office with 2 partners. I have been there 12 years!! The partner (I will call partner #2) I do the legal work for is the one I have some problems with. The two partners' offices are side-by-side. My desk in just outside of their offices. Problem #1 is this: When I ask partner #2a question, he turns around and goes partner #1 and partner #2 gives the answer to my question I just asked him to partner #1?? Well, partner#1 has no idea what partner #2 is talking about!! Then the boss I had asked the question to, and then partner #2 goes back into his office without finishing my discussion with me or giving me the answer I asked about...!! Problem #2: I was having a conversation with the partner #1, in the doorway of his office, partner #2 walked passed me and sat down in a chair and began a conversation with partner #1 whom I was speaking with, without as much as an "excuse me" or asking if we were finished speaking... I wrote partner #2 an email and reminded him of what he did in a nice way that I am sure what he has to say is important, just as important as other people's information is, and said that I am sure he would not like it someone did that to him....Of course, I got no reply from him, but that was ok, because at least I brought it to his attention... Any suggestions for a self-centered type boss? Thank you.

    User: iworkinhell
    Date: 9/15/2004 9:53:00 PM

    I work in a nursing home that FORCES you to take jewish holidays off if you are jewish. Your religious beliefs are irrelevant according to management. That leaves the non-jewish employees resentful of you because they have to fill in, work overtime and are told that we get paid extra anyway. That is a big fat lie: we lose pay days or forced to use up vacation time. Most of the staff is filipino and only speak their own language. Training on the job is for insiders only. You feel like an outcast no matter what. Promotions, mistake cover-ups and guaranteed overtime when you need it is for the chosen few. All this is made possible by our wonderful boss who likes to keep his seat warm and lets his lackies run the place. They work any shift, muscle out any other applicant for the job and get competitive salaries because they are not union members.Resumes that come off the fax are routinely tossed in the waste basket. The sad part is that they have taken over every hospital and medical facility. They are imported by the hundreds and sponsored for green cards. Imagine working in a place where you are sabotaged and hated just for being you and nobody does or will do anything about it. You think there is a nursing shortage in this country? Pretty soon there really will be a nursing shortage. These people are arrogant, rude,greedy, ruthless, speak poorly, treat patients with little or no patience, falcify documents and take away a vital part of nursing that made it a true calling for many and a desire to provide the best care and make a difference that is not limited to their bank accounts in the Philipines.

    User: anonymous
    Date: 6/23/2005 7:56:00 PM

    Folks, either I tend to pick work situations where dysfunction reigns supreme, or the work world truly sucks. Today I calmly told a woman who was acting out missplaced anger on me that she was vile to work with. This, after two other episodes where she tried to make me her problem. Her problem is that I would not take her abuse. Geez, how to keep these cases from interrupting my sense of professionalism? I try hard to be a kind person. I feel bad about myself when I react/confront. Any ideas for the future?

    User: anonymous
    Date: 6/25/2005 7:29:00 AM

    you are right the work world sucks i think its because most people just dont care and have no resepct may luck be with you.

    User: anonymous
    Date: 7/8/2005 12:51:00 AM

    I worked as a cashier in a retail store for 5 years. One day a customer was so nasty to me, I had tears in my eyes when he left, and I was almost crying. The next person in my line leaned forward and said something to me that I always remember when my boss says something obnoxious -- and it's something that I always tell a cashier when I'm in line after an insensitive clod is obnoxious to her -- It made me laugh back when the woman in my line first said it to me, and it still makes me smile today when I think it to myself. She said... "At least you don't have to cook him dinner tonight!"

    User: anonymous
    Date: 7/27/2005 9:09:00 PM

    Here's one from the other side. I am a boss who tries to treat others fairly. In my day I have worked with numerous individuals who do not wish to be held accountable for their actions. Rather than accept responsibility for their actions, they would rather file claims against me citing discrimination or retaliation because their reviews were less than outstanding. They will contradict themselves and try to blame others for their own inabilities. I think it's a slap in the face to those who put in an honest days work for these people to constantly try to get away with something. Please remember when you hear a co-worker gripe, there's another side to that story- one they conveniently forgot. PS - I have a horrible boss who constantly picks her nose when we're at lunch!

    User: anonymous
    Date: 7/28/2005 7:20:00 PM

    my boss is a woman who makes the entire company (300 ppl) feel like she is doing them a favor to let them work for her company- she sometimes will seem like your best friend, commenting on social activities, and then reprimand you for keeping her 7 year old occupied for 2 hours when she sends the kid to your office. she constantly contridicts herself, and speaks to you in the second person as if you were not standing there. when you try to speak your mind, always work related, she involves someone else, or changes the subject, or simply looks you right in the face, doesn't respond, and walks away - yet no one can make any administrative decisions without her approval. she is driving me cracy - is this a hostile work environment?

    User: anonymous
    Date: 8/5/2005 11:12:00 AM

    To All: Check local legislation regarding harrassment (of any sort) and empower yourselves with the law. You'll be surprised to see how fast it works on an uncooperative boss/co-worker when you know what the law is and what your rights are. No one should have to hate going to work because of one person

    User: anonymous
    Date: 8/16/2005 12:01:00 AM

    I work with people who think if it wasnt for them the company would fold up they are rude and downright mean and when they speak to you they only do it when the boss is around and if hes not they are ugly, its retail and business is severly affected we lose business every day I am not asking them to be my friend little respect these people are even mean to anything that isnt up to their expections

    User: anonymous
    Date: 1/9/2006 9:36:00 PM

    I have a boss who I'm afraid is SEVERELY threatened by me. I am a supervisor and there are only 2 people over me in my company-both women (like myself). The highest one is great, but my boss is terrrible. She will intentionally keep me out of the loop on things for fear I'll get a foothold. Corporate execs will give me an assignment, and I'll teach myself how to do it. Then, when they visit, she asks me to teach her how, so it's like she was the one handling it. Anytime I go to her for direction, she says, "You'll have to figure something out won't you." I almost quit my job today because of her. She even went on a trip, called me from a plane, had me do her powerpoint presentation (when I was first promoted to my position), and email it to her. Now, several branches use that pp and they think she did it!!

    User: anonymous
    Date: 2/8/2006 2:03:00 PM

    Unfortunately, the world, especially in some work places (I am referring to the current place where there is no team spirit, cooperation, and civility) is often cruel and unjust because there are smucks who are jealous and put down any sort of civility, professionalism, or niceties. But they get there's in the end; they are owned by the company they work for and perpetrate the abuse on everyone around them; stir up problems, and are usually miserable personally. LIVE BY THE SWORD, DIE BY THE SWORD!

    User: anonymous
    Date: 3/19/2006 3:55:00 PM

    I have a boss who is actually a very nice person. But is so totally ineffective as a leader that it is almost painful to go to to work. Favorite saying "I understand - but there is nothing I can do". It does keep us from asking for help! - there is none. If you offer a solution to an issue - it is never good enough or the timing is wrong - or it has been tried before and failed. Basically throws out any idea that one has. This person will dump on any one of us if there are any complaints about anything - verbally slash us to nothing - but then the next day be all kind as though the day before hadn't happened. I am still trying to learn to ignore it. So far not doing so well.

    User: anonymous
    Date: 9/21/2006 10:16:00 PM

    It's time you all looked for a new job, or become self-employed.

    User: anonymous
    Date: 9/26/2006 6:21:00 AM

    Self preservation is great, but think about this: if you leave your job because of the nasty person, who will he/she turn to? A thought for all co-workers who turn their backs and don't speak up when one person is victimized by a bully. You could be next....

    User: anonymous
    Date: 10/24/2007 12:11:00 AM

    My boss acts like my best friend when its just me and him, however, when other co-workers (also under him) are present he gets pretty nasty at times. I can't seem to figure it out.

    User: matildagsd
    Date: 11/5/2007 8:39:00 AM

    In addition to coworkers who turn their backs: not only could you be the next target, but you could also be harmed by a bullied person who has decided to take the situation into their own hands. We count on targets to either leave or resolve the situation peacefully, while we mind our own business, but this is at our peril. The crowd mentality that the target deserves what he gets or that its a dog-eat-dog world better evolve into something more intelligent or the violence in a crowded work force (with fewer resources for help) will only escalate. When bullying is going on, its everybody's business and it behooves us all to put a stop to it.

    User: anonymous
    Date: 11/21/2008 7:23:00 PM

    I work in a place where I am now the scapegoat. None of the other clerks there (4) will work, talk or look at me. Theres one lady that when she does speak to me, she yells at me in a nasty tone of voice. Its depressing because when I came there (6 months ago) I really tried to be nice and get along with them all, but now no one wants anything to do with me. I am not perfect but do not feel like I should be treated in this manner. I dont bother anyone, or use any bad words towards anyone. I really cant figure it out. I cant wait for the next 3 yrs to pass so I can get the heck out of there. I would bid to a new station but it might be the same old thing there to since the PO is notorious for having bad mean people that work there

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