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Deborah Walker

Escaping the Boss From Hell

Three steps to a better career.

February 21, 2008
by Deborah Walker, CCMC

Do you hate your job? Do you wake up each day dreading the next eight to 10 hours?, You might be working for the boss from hell. But, you don’t have to live with extreme employment dissatisfaction. Here’s how you can take charge of your career and be happy on the job once again.

Nearly everyone has suffered this at least once in their careers — the boss who makes each workday a living terror. You can find the “Boss from Hell” in any industry or occupation. Even the best companies slip up from time to time, allowing bullies to rise through the employment food-chain to management.

Many national career surveys have determined that by far the number one reason for employee job dissatisfaction is working under bad management. Even though I’m a career coach, I’m surprised to learn how many professionals rank the desire to leave a mean, unreasonable boss ahead of increased earning potential.

You’re working for the boss from hell if:

  • They bully you and your coworkers with threats and temper tantrums.
  • Their unpredictable moods keeps the office environment constantly tense and second-guessing “their” next move.
  • They set unrealistic and unattainable goals.
  • They create an environment in which you live in constant fear of being fired.

Fear and intimidation never motivates employees to excel. Tyrannical supervisors create an atmosphere of distrust and isolation. If you work for someone like this, your confidence is probably diminished. In fact, you probably second-guess your decisions on the job constantly. As long as you work for management that rules by fear, you’ll never reach your career and earning potential.

Three Steps to Escape the Boss From Hell

  1. Gain perspective to think rationally about your career options.

    Fear in the workplace tends to leave people thinking they have no better options than to stick it out. Such thinking is a result of loss of confidence and the inability to see beyond the present distress. One way to gain perspective and see new options is to spend some time browsing job postings. The right direction might be within another department or division of your current employer, but away from your current boss. Or, it might be at another organization altogether. If you keep an open mind, you’ll see that there are many options.

    One way to get the most out of your career reconnaissance is to search for job postings based on skills rather than job titles. Try conducting a “job-skills self-analysis” to identify the tasks and activities you enjoy performing on your job. Use those skills as your search terms at online job boards. You may be surprised to see what position you qualify for.
  1. Take inventory of your career accomplishments and contributions.

    In order to get moving toward a new position, you’ll need to regain your confidence. Think about, and then write down, situations in which you:

    • Came up with an idea for saving time
    • Helped your team reach a production goal
    • Identified cost-savings opportunities
    • Solved a customer problem leading to increased customer satisfaction.
  2. As you think back on your accomplishments, you’ll begin to realize the value you have added to your company. Remember, other employers have similar problems to solve. They are looking for candidates who have experience in handling difficult situations. The more specific the examples of your accomplishments are, the more marketable you will be in the job market.

  3. Update your résumé.

    Once you have your accomplishments listed, use them to update your résumé. Think of your résumé as your initial marketing tool; it should announce to potential employers your ability to help them reach their bottom-line corporate goals. For example, your résumé should appeal to potential employers’ desire to increase efficiency, cut costs and improve productivity. When employers see what you can do for them, they’re sure to be impressed.

    Your résumé should also have a clear career focus. Updating your résumé doesn’t mean simply adding your current work history to your old résumé format. Without a careful résumé strategy, your résumé will begin to resemble an old house with too many tacked on additions. Make sure your résumé presents a cohesive, well-thought out, professional front.

    Additionally, if your career has taken several interesting turns, you’ll want to adjust your résumé toward your current focus. Take the time to refocus your résumé on your current job search. Highlight the items from your career that are relevant, and minimize the things that are no longer relevant.

Once you have invested the time to gain perspective on your career options, take inventory of your accomplishments and update your résumé. You’ll be mentally and emotionally ready to seek other employment opportunities, either within or outside your current company. You don’t have to remain in an unhappy job. You do have choices. Take the steps to help yourself — you’ll be glad you did!

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Deborah Walker, Certified Career Management Coach, is uniquely qualified to help job seekers find better employment. Her background as former executive recruiter and veteran career coach provides an insider’s perspective on résumé writing, job-search strategy and interview coaching. Learn more résumé and job-search tips available at: http://www.AlphaAdvantage.com.