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How to cope with a difficult boss during the economy crisis

Updated on April 10, 2013

Did you know that around 60% of people are unhappy at work?

The above statistic was recently discovered in a survey conducted by The Conference Board, an independent economic and business forecasting company. It’s unfortunate that many people feel dependant on the job they have either due to financial reasons or because there is simply nothing else out there! If this sounds like you or you have lost the will to live, (I mean work) do not fear. You are not alone and you don’t have to be a prisoner in employment. Here are some easy tips to keep your cool and to make your life easier in the workplace. Your boss won’t know what’s hit them!

Determining the problem

If your manager is acting more beastly than usual, maybe there is a simple explanation for it. Are they annoyed or grouchy due to immense pressure on their shoulders? Is someone not doing their job properly? There are numerous factors involved – humans are complex creatures. Chances are they hate their job every bit as much as you do right now. Don’t take it personally. If you do, you risk putting your head on the cutting block. I should know - my boss has beheaded many in her time! I think being a dragon is part of the job description.

Generally, if you are an approachable sort of person, you can use this laid back attitude to your advantage. If people can talk to you openly about stuff, you will be able to get down to the 'nitty gritty' quicker and with much less effort. Who knows, maybe you have the solution to put things right? That would win you some kudos!

Avoid nasty confrontations

When your boss decides to reduce your contracted hours at the drop of a hat or picks on you for no apparent reason, it is more than tempting to scream at them or set fire to their office. This won’t do you any favours though, no matter how great it would feel! Instead, take a moment on your own to think things through logically and as calmly as possible. Be as rational as you can and gather all the facts you have (not rumours) and construct a solid argument before confronting your boss. Take down notes and rehearse your words with a friend (or your trusty reflection) if you really have to.

This focused approach will prove that you mean business and hopefully it will lead to a result you want. It’s no good running in there like a bull in a china shop. What will you achieve? Probably a disciplinary – not great if you need your boss as a reference for any future job you apply to.

If you are the sort of person that gets swept up in the heat of the moment, calm down at all costs. Play darts using a picture of your boss’s face – whatever it takes to let off steam first. Perhaps you could write a letter if know you will lose your cool.  Try to avoid accusations or bold remarks because written evidence can be used against you in the court…yep…some of us have learned the hard way. Gutted, huh?

Build up a great reputation

Being good at your job can win you a lot of respect at work from your colleagues and even from the general public. It’s a sad fact that some of us have to brown nose a bit to get what we want. If your boss has any ounce of sense, they will realise that your intent is for the good of the company. This team spirited attitude will also contribute to:

  • Better group morale and working relationships
  • A more pleasant atmosphere to work in
  • Greater trust between colleagues
  • More work getting done!

If your boss has little acknowledgment for the hard work you do, you probably feel like banging your head against a brick wall, right? If you work hard, your manager says nothing. If you do nothing, you get a letter; it’s a catch 22 situation. At the end of the day, does your boss want any employees left at all? If the answer is yes, then it is in the company’s best interest to keep the troops happy. Without you, they will have no job.

It doesn’t take a blind person to realise that zero motivation leads to poor performance at work. The best way to approach a situation like this is to adopt a light hearted attitude – say hey! I tried my absolute hardest today and I got this done this done and this done. Let it be known that you do work late some nights or at home – not because you have to but because you want to. Some people just aren’t very observant; therefore you need to offer them a kind reminder of your efforts

Just because some workers are lazy doesn’t mean that everyone in the company has to be branded the same. If your boss can see that you do your job properly, she will hopefully get off your back and target the people that really do need telling off.

Taking stress home with you

When you have had a hard day at work, it is tempting to take your worries to bed with you or pass on your rage to immediate family such as friends and loved ones. It won’t take long before you have arguments; something you could really really do without! Make your personal time sacred. Not many of us get enough ‘me’ time which is why we have to make the most of it when we do get the chance.

Next time you go to work, relish in the fact that you can leave it all behind in just a few hours.

Playground tactics

If you are a victim of bullying, don’t give that big shot the satisfaction of winning! Support yourself and others by joining a union or setting up a support group. There is always someone you can approach for help. Now would be a good time to check your company policies to see what the current procedure is regarding equal opportunities at your workplace etc.

If you need legal advice, Citizens Advice is always a handy port of call for any questions you have. Check out their website they have helped me several times in the past and I definitely recommend them to anybody. As far as I know, this service is only available to those in the UK. Does anybody know what the international equivalents are?? Drop us a comment below if you know and I will update my article!

Pay a visit to your local Citizens Advice branch or give them a call to discuss the issues you are having at work – they might be able to give you some useful contact numbers and advice.

For instance, if you work in the care industry and you have a genuine concern about the way management run things or the way the staff are treated, you can contact the Care Quality Commission – these are the big boys that do the inspections and govern the standards of healthcare. You don’t even have to give them your name, which is great if you want to keep your identity (and job) totally anonymous.

Keep busy

By immersing yourself in your work, you will have less time to dwell on all the bad stuff happening to you right now. You could either cave into the temptation of gossip and scandal (there is always one person at work who likes to add the cat amongst the pigeons) or you could take a different and rather refreshing approach and simply knuckle down to what you got to’ do. In fact, hanging out with people who talk too much is often the catalyst for problems in the first place. Most of what they have to say isn’t true either!

Stay on good terms

It’s certainly true that time passes quicker and more effortlessly when you get on well with your workmates. Sure, there will always be one fly in the ointment so to speak but it’s great to know that others are looking out for you in time of need; your boss included if he or she likes you. In fact, you don’t even have to really like them – it’s not as if you have to ask your boss out on a date or anything. Simply treating others as you would want to be treated will do. If they have any common decency and manners they will do the same back.

In my personal experience, becoming friends with your boss is actually more damaging for your professional reputation than if you were to act hostile towards them. Sure, your boss will like you, but everyone else in the workplace will think you are trying to get one up over them! One of my colleagues has done just that and she is paying the price ever since. It’s all about balance. Naturally, nobody would tell her to her face though. That’s the worse part really.

Look for another job

If push comes to shove and you have tried your absolute hardest to be accommodating towards your boss, yet you find yourself more unhappy than ever, ask yourself the question – is this job really worth it? If the negative aspects outweigh the positive, you are putting your health on the line and potentially destroying your personal relationships in the process. Not even the best paid job on the planet is worth justifying that kind of treatment.

On the other hand you might come to the conclusion that it is better the devil you know than the devil you don’t. Whatever your decision…have faith in your decision and stick to it.

If you have any crazy work experiences you would like to share or any comments, drop us a line below! Cheers everyone :)


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    • geek_princess profile image

      Laura 6 years ago from Haywards Heath

      No problem kimh039! Glad to be of service - happy seasons greetings to you and your family :)

    • kimh039 profile image

      Kim Harris 6 years ago

      Thanks geek_princess. some good points here.

    • geek_princess profile image

      Laura 6 years ago from Haywards Heath

      Thanks for getting in touch Joyce and for taking the trouble to vote. You are the first person to comment on my Hubs!!

      I am so glad my article is useful to you in some way. Work life can be mighty cruel to some - it just doesn't seem fair that one has to go through all that stress for nothing. Hope to cross your path soon :)

    • Joyce F profile image

      Joyce F 6 years ago from USA

      Great advice for coping with a difficult situation at work . . . especially with the economy like it is. And as you said, leaving is not always an option you may be getting something worse than you already have. Voted up and useful.