I Hate My Boss – What to Do Now (Our Step-By-Step Guide)

By Mike Simpson

When the first thing you think when you arrive at work is “I hate my boss,” your professional life quickly turns miserable. It may feel like you simply can’t win, and that’s heartbreaking.

Overall, 50 percent of professionals have left a job to get away from a manager.

Why does that matter?

Well, it means you aren’t alone. Bad bosses can happen in any field at any company. Plus, there’s a decent chance you’ll have one at some point.

When you need to figure out how to deal with a bad boss, you have options. You may be able to improve the existing dynamic or, if necessary, walk away with grace.

If you’re plagued with thoughts like “I hate my boss” or “My boss hates me,” here’s what you need to know.

Why Do We Hate Our Bosses?

Most people don’t hate someone without reason. Sure, sometimes a person rubs you the wrong way, and you aren’t sure why, initially. But, when that person is your manager, who you work with day after day, negative feelings are typically spurred by something.

If you’re trying to figure out how to deal with a bad boss, examine the situation closely. If you don’t get to the root cause, you can’t choose the best approach to manage the situation.

Common Reasons for Hating Your Boss

Exactly why a professional might hate their boss can vary. For 82 percent of men and 92 percent of women, playing favorites irks them to no end. Informal termination threats are another biggie, as well as discussing an employee’s poor performance in front of their team members.

Taking credit for the work of their team, a lack of field-related expertise (but acting like an expert), micromanaging, bullying, negativity… those can all cause someone to hate their boss. Additionally, managers who throw employees under the bus when something goes awry aren’t usually adored.

Any signs that your boss doesn’t respect you can also lead to some bad blood. For example, questioning your expertise without justification, always skipping over you when it’s time to staff a big project, or talking down to you when discussing topics you know well may all draw ire.

At times, a simple personality clash is to blame. Maybe your boss is boisterous and extroverted, and you tend to be more reserved and introverted. When that happens, it may seem like you’re destined not to get along.

Figuring Out Why You Hate Your Boss

As we mentioned above, there are a ton of reasons why “I hate my boss” or “My boss hates me” might be running through your brain like a freight train. If you want to move on to something better, then you need to determine why you feel the way you do.

Generally, your best bet is a bit of honest reflection. You need to look past your emotions and pinpoint examples that have shaped your perspective.

Why?

Because it’s possible there’s something else going on, for one. Instead of hating your boss, it may turn out that you hate your job. That’s a completely different situation.

So, spend some time thinking about why you hate your boss. Are they treating you a particular way? Are they taking a specific kind of action that’s getting under your skin? Is their management style not working for you, and, if so, why?

Additionally, there’s a good chance that you aren’t entirely blameless here. Yes, that’s tough to hear (and even harder to acknowledge), but it’s possible some of your choices or actions, at a minimum, didn’t help the situation. You need to really think about the role you play in this equation, too, ensuring you examine every particular factor.

A bit of reflection helps you figure out the source of the problem. Once you have that sorted, it’s easier to figure out how to move forward.

The Negative Impacts of Working for a Boss You Hate

When you hate your boss, you aren’t dealing with a simple distraction. Usually, you’re stress levels rise, and that can harm your performance. Ninety-one percent of professionals state that the quality of their work falls when they are stressed or frustrated. And that could really hurt your career.

Plus, it can damage your personal life. For 83 percent of professionals, burnout – which can happen when you hate your boss – had a negative impact on their personal relationships, too.

Finally, consistent stress can lead to depression and anxiety. In fact, some researchers have found that work-related stress can reduce your lifespan. That’s something you definitely shouldn’t ignore.

What to Do When You Hate Your Boss – A Step-by-Step Guide

Alright, if you have a solid idea of why you hate your manager, it’s time to look at how to deal with a bad boss. Here’s a step-by-step guide that can help you navigate this tricky situation:

1. Don’t Just Quit

Sure, you may daydream about giving your boss the finger and just walking away, but that doesn’t mean you should. Even if the answer to the “Should I quit my job” question is sometimes “yes,” that doesn’t mean you should do it on a whim.

Generally, walking out or spontaneously giving notice without a new job lined up should only happen if your workplace is undeniably toxic or dangerous. Why? Because you’re cutting out a source of income, and that’s something you shouldn’t do lightly. Not liking your boss isn’t usually considered a good reason in the eyes of the unemployment office, so walking out may mean having to live without any money coming in.

Plus, many bad situations can turn around. You’ll never know if that could happen with you unless you pause for a moment instead of just quitting.

2. Don’t Badmouth Your Boss

Alright, let’s run on the assumption that your manager is intolerable. Regardless of whether that’s the case, that doesn’t mean you should air your grievances to anyone outside of your closest confidantes (and maybe not even them).

First, while discussing your feelings can have some benefit, wallowing in them may not. You could get emotionally stuck, making it impossible to enjoy your life, including your personal one.

Second, badmouthing your boss is a professional no-no. If word gets out, you’re hurting your career, period.

Finally, you’re damaging your personal relationships if you make your manager the focus of every conversation. Think about it; would you want to spend your time with someone who can only talk about hating their boss? Probably not, and neither does anyone else.

3. Know You’re Not Unique

Okay, every person and situation is technically unique. What we mean here is that other people have been in your shoes. You’re not the first person to hate their boss, and you certainly won’t be the last.

Find comfort in the fact that you aren’t alone. Other people have been there, and they’ve moved on. That means you can, too.

4. Organize Your Thoughts

Before you take any action, you need to reflect on your situation and organize your thoughts. You can’t solve a problem if you don’t know precisely what it is; it’s that simple.

Along with identifying your reasons for hating your boss, identify potential solutions. For example, if being micromanaged is the issue, then consider work approaches that would give you some autonomy while ensuring your manager feels well informed and generally involved.

MIKE'S TIP: This step will also help you figure out who you should turn to when the time is right. Some kinds of conversations may need to be with your boss; others may need to be with your manager’s boss or even HR. The trick is, you won’t know where you need to go until you identify the problems and some reasonable solutions.

5. Keep Your Work Quality Up

Never, at any point, should you let your work quality decline. We get it, your motivation is likely gone, and you may feel like you can’t win, so you’re probably thinking, “What’s the point?”

Well, the point is that your current boss or company has some say in your career future. Think about it, who do people usually list for references when they try to land a new job? Past employers and managers, that’s who.

Plus, if your performance tumbles far enough, you could be making a rough situation worse, potentially harming your reputation. If it falls far enough, you may even end up fired.

6. Get Ready for the Big Talk

If your situation may be fixable, then you’re going to have a tough conversation with someone. The trick is, if you know why you feel like you do and have some solutions at the ready, this can be easier.

Take the points you want to make and craft something similar to an elevator speech. Then, have some examples you can discuss as well as an overview of the solutions you’re proposing. Complaining isn’t the way to go; you need to be solutions-oriented.

Additionally, keep an open mind. While you might think you have the perfect answer to the issue, other company leaders might have some good alternatives, too. Don’t close yourself off to the possibilities by staying flexible.

7. Get Ready for Your Job Search

If your situation can’t be fixed or it’s clear that changes you requested aren’t happening, then it might be time to hunt down a new job. Now, don’t start tossing your resume out there willy-nilly. Instead, take a moment to plan.

You’ve learned a lot about what you don’t want in a boss, so you need to use that knowledge as you seek out new opportunities. Additionally, there’s a good chance that you need to polish your resume and LinkedIn profile, reconnect with members of your network, and maybe even boost your skillset.

In the end, you want to make sure that job search success is inevitable. With planning, you can increase the odds that you’ll find something better, fast.

8. Start That Job Hunt

When you’ve updated your resume and know what kinds of positions you want to target, get that job search going. Ideally, you want to be discreet, particularly if your boss getting wind of your decision to try and leave could cause some fallout.

If you do tap your network, focus on connections you genuinely trust. Your privacy might be crucial, so skip any contacts who might not stay quiet about your actions.

9. Do Your Research

As you look for jobs, spend some real time researching the managers overseeing the roles. You want to get a gauge of what they are like, so it’s a good idea to do a bit of reasonable digging.

For example, search job review sites for posts from that department or team. Review social media pages and looks for the manager’s profile on the company website. Now, you don’t want to cross a line into stalker land, so focus on details that are publicly accessible.

10. Ask the Right Questions During Your Interview

When you’re interviewing for a new role and get a chance to ask the hiring manager some questions, try to find out more about their style, perspective, and approach. You can be straightforward and ask, “How would you describe your management style?” for example, or see if they’ll describe the team’s culture.

By asking the right questions, you can get an idea of whether they are the right manager for you. So, take advantage of that opportunity when it presents itself.

11. Leave with Dignity

When you land a new job, handle the situation professionally. Give notice and show appreciation for what the position did provide you, like the opportunity to learn and grow. That way, you’ll leave with dignity and preserve your reputation.

Putting It All Together

Ultimately, hating your boss can be brutal, but it doesn’t have to last forever. With the tips above, you can move forward. Make use of that guide and improve your situation. That way, you’ll be one your way toward something better.

Good luck!

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About The Author

Mike Simpson

Co-Founder and CEO of TheInterviewGuys.com. Mike is a job interview and career expert and the head writer at TheInterviewGuys.com. His advice and insights have been shared and featured by publications such as Forbes, Entrepreneur, CNBC and more as well as educational institutions such as the University of Michigan, Penn State, Northeastern and others. Learn more about The Interview Guys on our About Us page.