When Work Becomes Torture
This Is Not Academic
It is with a flavor of amazement I share these life saving tips.
I say amazement for I never imagined I would be imprisoned in a Job with a Boss From Hell.
I appreciate there are times in life when you can't do better. When you can't escape and learn how to cope.
You develop traits which turn a horrible situation into a sit-com. Traits which make you divert from the anger and frustration that powerlessness provokes, to mirth.
The ability to survive and nearly thrive under the most pressured conditions teaches invaluable lessons.
Yes, there is a clear parallel between having a horrible boss and being in a Prison Camp and it is the same traits which allows one to survive as a P.O.W. which allows one to get through the day at a Job from Hell.
(Cut and Paste the relevant factors from this Job From Hell to suit your own circumstance.)
Survival begins with cutting down your working day.
Assume it is 8:30 to 4:30.
Arrive as late as you can without attracting attention.
This is your first mission: focus on how late you can arrive without reaction.
Once you have established that you can, (for example) arrive at 8:40, you do so.
If you can't arrive late, then start working late. That is, you are there but performing no actual function.
Once you have arrived, begin the count down, as to how early you can leave.
Let us suppose you find that you can start to close down at 4:15 and be out
of the building by 4:25.
The fact you have 'stolen' 25 minutes from the working day must be seen as a victory.
The same with lunch, how early can you go, how late can you return without problem.
Usually you can get out at 11:55 and back in at 12:10. This cuts another15 minutes off your working day.
Hence you've stolen 40 minutes. Now you go for another twenty in bathroom visits.
So your working day is not 8 hours. Your working day, (taking out a lunch hour)
drops to six.
Once you can get that leg up of working for six hours and not eight, you begin
to feel a sense of 'control'. A sense of 'victory'.
This is important for your balance.
It makes something go 'your way'.
Now let us deal with the six hours you have to work.
Take Your Time
Very often the worst bosses like to swamp you with work. They announce this is urgent then, break your train of concentration by demanding you stop to deal with something else. Your desk is a confused mass and you have no idea where you were, what you were doing.
This is deliberate.
The Boss knows you are competent and needs to tear you down.
He can do this by the Swamping.
How to Deal with Swamping?
Get a pad and as soon as he races in with instructions, start writing them down. Make him repeat, then go to read them back.
No one could recall all of the instructions he will babble, no one can balance so many files at the same time. Hence stop what you're doing and write.
This will enrage him, cause him to insult you. This is what you want. You want him to waste time berating you for you poor memory so you can say; "That's why I need to write down the instructions."
So imagine the BFH racing in at 9:03 with Project One, which has lots of complex rules and needs. You annoy him to insanity by writing down each statement he makes, before beginning. (This should waste ten minutes)
At 9:42 he orders you to begin Project Two babbling his instructions and you write them down.
Make sure he sees you writing them down. Relish his rage.
He should fling another project at you within the hour then ask about Project One.
Do not laugh.
With the stupid look on your face; "Do you want me to finish One or Start Three?"
Being asked this kind of question will put him into pause mode.
This is the most important question you have to ask.
And ask it.
Very often it is the end of project Three.
Do Not Rush.
Let me repeat;
Do not rush.
Take your time.
Just because you have nine projects on your desk doesn't mean that you are
going to do them today. Or even tomorrow.
Just do one.
Do one as if it is the only job you have.
Yes, with all the interruptions and desk loading you might start nine projects, and
The boss believes if he makes a lot of matters urgent he'll get you to work yourself
into exhaustion. this is what you don't do.
As soon as you have more than three files on your desk, work slower. Take your time. Be conscious of taking your time.
As soon as he pops up with another, put this one on hold, but notate where you are.
Have dozens of unfinished files.
You love unfinished files.
When you have a pile of unfinished work on your desk it makes no sense to give you more.
As he has no sense, he will give you more. Having 12 files on your desk, work even
slower. The more unfinished work the busier you look. Boss, seeing you so busy
will feel pleased he is oppressing you.
Even if you can type that letter in one minute make it take ten. You appear busy but are actually dawdling. Drag this work.
He will have to ask someone else to do the next batch of crap because you haven't finished job One. When he argues, look at him and say, 'which file do you want me to work on?'
Now the good thing about having lots of crap to do is that you can engage with the computer, writing articles, playing Scrabble, etc. with the open files all about the place.
Many times, as he comes you change the screen to one job, and be seen looking at another file, If he even looks at the screen, he'll see you are working on something.
You want to seem totally engaged especially just before quitting time. Seeing you so busy means he'll leave you alone. Being left alone at 4:15 is a gift. You will do nothing for these last 15 minutes of your sentence.
As the clock hits 4:25 you are packing and leaving.
In truth, you could have cleared this week's work on Wednesday but will carry it into next week. Deliberately slow down.
This is your MANTRA: The More work, the slower you work.
Hence you leave work on Tuesday with five or six unfinished files sitting there so that tomorrow there should be more 'urgent' items until your desk can't take another file.
You're busy, no question about that, you're working, but as slow as if you had no other file except the one. Nothing beats stress more than feeling in control.
Berate so wait
The worst bosses will always find something to berate you about. It could be how many times you get up to drink water. It could be your shoes.
It could be anything.
You know he is going to find something to fault so enjoy it. Listen blankly. Don't let it affect your cheerful mood. Nothing drives a miserable boss nuts more than a happy employee.
Ignore everything he says but pretend to listen as if you are gaining pearls of wisdom. Tell yourself you have gained another five free minutes....another eight free minutes....
Consider the movement of time your best friend.
You've already gotten your work day down to Six Hours.
You have already cut your work load in half.
If he wants to help you with his pointless diatribes, hey, Thanks!
Think....(Thank's Boss! You've killed another Ten minutes, meaning that I won't be
able to Start File four today as there's only 20 minutes, (that is from 4:05 to 4:25)
left in the day. Hence, I won't finish File 3 until 4:20.)
Think, but don't say.
The longer you stay in this job, the less work you do.
The slower you work.
The less time you spend working.
Disconnect from the work. It is not 'your work', and it doesn't matter.
Even if you are dealing with crucial information, even if your job deals with the most important aspects of life; do not think that you are making a change or doing anything positive.
When you have a Boss from Hell, a boss who makes your job as close to waterboarding as you want to get you focus is on YOU.
By slowing down, by spending ten minutes speaking to a client when you should
spend one, by languishing over one file when you could have done two, is the only
way you survive.
People will find you the sunlight in the office. You will find yourself remarkably pleasant and de-stressed.
All of this comes by feeling in control.
By cutting hours off your working day, by cutting down your productivity, taking time to enjoy the diversions, your job ceases to be that bad.