Job Advice Blog

How to Handle a Great Job with a Terrible Boss

How to Handle a Great Job with a Terrible Boss

You may not always like your boss. We all know this, because we’ve all had bosses that we have not enjoyed working with. When your boss is horrible, and your job is mediocre at best, it is time to jump ship- but what do we do when we love everything about the job except for the boss? Every situation is different, but unless you’ve got a boss that is truly out to get you, I advocate for sticking it out and creating some semblance of a healthy relationship with your boss. Today we are going to look at ways to do that.

Make Sure you aren’t the Problem- We’ve all heard it time and time again- but it takes two to tango. What are you doing that could be creating tension? How do you interact with your team? Do you behave like a manager at inappropriate times? Do you ignore tasks that you are given? Do you find yourself justifying your behavior often? You may be partially responsible for your contentious relationship. If you find something- change it! Finding out that you are creating a difficult dynamic is one of the most ideal ways for this searching to go- as it means that you are have more control in creating a healthy dynamic. Search out your faults and adapt, and you may find that you can have a great relationship with your boss.

React Differently- Set boundaries, be clear about your needs, be friendly, and above all- know your role. If you are expected to pick up phone calls from your boss after business hours- explain to them that you can’t. If you need more time to complete projects- explain that. Keeping your boss in the loop instead of doing everything they ask and resenting them for it will help you in the long run. Just remember that you work under them, not vice-versa, and never step outside of the role of employee.

Search for the Positive- No one is completely unredeemable- and your boss is no exception. As you go through the week make note of all the things they do that you respect or like. Maybe they are open to giving you and others time off, maybe they are really trusting about large projects, maybe they are an excellent parent. Make note of these things and try to re-humanize your boss. They are a person, they have faults, but you almost certainly have a few things in common (or at least there are ways you can respect each other).

Remember why you Love the Job- Make note of everything that reminds you why you love your job in a week. Maybe you love the coffee in the break room, the view from your window, your co-workers, or even the projects you are working on. Every time your boss does something that really grinds your gears, refer back to this list and remind yourself why you stick it out.


Before you jump ship because of your bad captain, try these methods out. If after all this your boss is still making you miserable, you should think about other options, but don’t rush out of the office until you give this an honest shot!