Your relationships at work are extremely important to your mental health. You spend as much (if not more) time at your job than anywhere else, so getting along with your coworkers and your boss is crucial to your overall happiness. But unfortunately for some, that’s not always the case. Some of us have terrible coworkers and mean bosses, and while you can ignore the coworker that sends nothing but URGENT emails, you can’t ignore your boss.
Your boss can make an enormous impact on your professional future, and for that reason, a toxic boss cause feelings of endless anxiety, fear, and a life in which you are trapped. You can’t treat it like a toxic friend or significant other and cut ties or fight back, because you have to see them every day, and if you cross the line, you could get fired. You could look for another job and leave the situation entirely, but you shouldn’t have to abandon your chosen career path just because of the jerk in charge. So when you can’t escape your horrible boss and need tips for how to be happier at work, here’s how to deal.
1. Try not to take it personally.
It’s easier said than done, but letting rude comments slide right off you will only help your emotional state. If you're truly comfortable with who you are, and you know just how hard you work, than what could your boss really say to ruffle your feathers? Whatever the problem is, it’s their problem – not yours.
2. Remember that there’s an underlying cause for all of this.
There’s a reason this person’s behavior is so sucky. Maybe their homelife is rotten and taking it out on you is how they cope. It doesn’t make it fair or acceptable, but it could also explain a lot. Instead of wanting to cuss them out, maybe you could try to look at them through a lens of compassion.
3. Acknowledge that they’re human and not perfect.
You'd think that anyone given a management position had stellar skills in that field, as well as exemplary people skills. But this is not always the case. Everyone has personality quirks they could improve upon, and your boss is no different.
4. You can always express your feelings in a letter (that you will never send)
Let it all out on paper. Say whatever pops into your head, no matter how angry or inappropriate. This is a letter that you won’t be sending (unless you really want to get fired), so unleash the beast within. You'll feel a million times better by the time you sign your name at the end.
5. You don’t actually need them to succeed.
You might think that you cannot move up the professional ladder without their approval and support, but that’s just not true. Find ways to show the other higher ups in your company how valuable you are. You can also join professional groups outside of work, and create your own network of people who aren’t the worst. Pretty soon, you’ll be leap-frogging your terrible boss and THEY will be seeking approval from YOU.
6. Karma is real.
Mean people get what’s coming to them. Never ever forget that. When it comes to business, some people think success means erasing any semblance of humanity and making shady moves to get ahead, while also treating their subordinates like garbage. If your boss is one of them, you can take comfort in knowing that this is only going to get them so far in life. And it certainly won’t get them to the top. Think: Joffrey Lannister on Game of Thrones.
7. You'll be better off without them.
But they won’t be able to say the same about you. If you put in the effort 100% of the time, you’re never late, and you maintain a positive attitude, then they'll be the one missing out. You’ll move on from this job, you’ll forget about this person, and, most importantly, you'll land somewhere new knowing you handled a bad situation well.