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Most people don't work a job just for the money. We try to be the very best we can whether we're a doctor treating sick children or a cashier ringing up bananas at the supermarket. That said, very few of us have the luxury of not working, so despite our best efforts, we need those jobs to pay the bills and get by. But when do the scales tip? Stress at work is common, and let's face it, lots of people dislike their bosses, but when does it become a situation that forces your hand? After a two year stint at a job I really loved and believed in, after multiple HR complaints and many near implosions, after multiple trips to the ER with stress related cardiac issues and after a weight gain of more than a hundred pounds, I found myself asking these questions. My boss didn't like me from day one, but every so often, just enough to keep me moving forward and not jumping ship, she would say something kind or nice. These didn't make up for the utter nastiness and manipulation that came from her other times, but it gave that glimmer of hope that we all cling to, that maybe, one day, it will get better. Have you ever had that experience? I think we all have at some point. As a boss and business owner now, I understand that bosses can't always be your best friend, but as human beings, we have a choice as to how we treat other people. It's hard to determine whether your boss is psycho or supportive, because often they lace one with the other. Here's how to sort it all out (and how to figure out when to get the hell out)!
Ask yourself these five questions:
1.) When are they nice?
Is it only when they need something or to string you along, or do they actually care what is going on with you?
2.) Is it all about them?
Psycho bosses, in my experience, have a big ego and make everything about them. If they immediately get quiet when the topic of conversation turns to you, then you may have a psycho boss.
3.) Do they make you feel guilty for thinking about yourself?
Sentences like "this is about your clients" or "how will that make them feel" are sometimes legitimate feedback, but psycho bosses only use them to make you shut up and do what they want.
4.) Do they undermine you with your team or customers?
Bosses are supposed to be supportive sounding boards, people that you can go to with questions that guide you to the best answer and outcome. How does that work though when they tell you one thing and then go around you and do another?
5.) Is everything your fault?
Psycho bosses have a way of making it all about you when the shit hits the fan. Big problems, complex issues, these types of things eventually come up in all jobs and are part of the learning process. There is always plenty of blame to go around, but psycho bosses have ways of always turning it around on you and skipping out on their part entirely. No matter what you do, even if it's what they tell you to do, it's always your fault.
If your boss falls into any of these, then it may be time, no matter they say, to move on. Be strong, polite and firm. Your life is more important than their ego. Be smart and plan ahead. Bide your time until you can make a move, but don't let them throw off your plans. As mean as they may be and as much as they don't like you, they will try to keep you there because they know how to get what they want from you. You are your own best advocate and don't let anyone stand in the way of you taking care of yourself!