What to do When You have the Boss from Hell: Quit!


When you have the boss from hell, don’t stick around hoping things will get better with perseverance. Don’t stay around hoping, by some miracle, the boss from hell will leave you alone and turn his negative attention on somebody else. Instead, find another job. You don’t deserve to put up with that garbage.

I’ve experienced the boss from hell.

We’ll call him Lucifer.

He tried to make my life [read: everyone’s life] a nightmare and he temporarily succeeded. I once worked at a dysfunctional law firm where Lucifer was a young partner notorious for preying on newbie associates (like me!), berating them, making them feel insecure about their legal abilities, and running them off.

Lucifer must not have gotten a lot of hugs from his mom when he was growing up because he was a hateful, mean-spirited person who had no life or friends outside the office. Heck, he had no friends inside the office, as his colleagues- whom he considered to be friends- routinely gossiped behind his back.

There was an instance where Lucifer called me into his office to explain a Memorandum of Law that I prepared, which he believed was pure crapola. To demonstrate how I was a “baby attorney” who was metamorphosing into an “adult attorney,” Lucifer literally got down on his hands and knees and crawled around the room like an infant.

It was the Twilight Zone.

In the three years I was an associate at this firm, I would walk around the office looking for hidden cameras, thinking I was on some crazy reality show because SURELY a professional work environment could not truly be this nutty.

It was.

I stayed at this firm way too long because I was paralyzed from the lie that I wasn’t good enough or smart enough to go anywhere else and be successful. To be honest, I think I was scared of leaving. I was scared of having to hand in my notice, go through the exit interview – which had just been improved with the help of somewhere like Qualtrics (https://www.qualtrics.com/experience-management/employee/exit-interview-survey-questions/) to answer why I wanted to leave in the first place, so they could make the necessary changes, and leaving behind those people who I actually had a bond with.

The thought of starting somewhere new and potentially having to deal with a boss like Lucifer made me anxious. Also, at the time, the economy was in shambles, major “silk-stocking” firms were experiencing historical layoffs, and I was worried that I would have to take a pay cut (and still be unhappy) somewhere else.

I was a battered work wife.

According to a 2013 article posted in the LinkedIn Influencer program, two-thirds of employees aren’t fully engaged in their careers. The number one reason for the disengagement? Their boss sucks. In other words, if you have a bad boss, you are in good company.

However, you can do something about it by taking control of your life and peacing the heck out.

It was probably the tenth time that I came home after work crying because of something horrible that Lucifer did when my husband grabbed me, looked me in the face, and said “What are you doing? Find another job. Your misery isn’t worth it.”

He was right.

I finally left the firm. Not because I had the chutzpah to leave on my own volition, but because a major client had left the firm, leaving me and several other associates and staff members with no work and no job.

Fortunately, I secured another position in a couple days, where I ended up staying for almost seven years before I went part time. It was a great work environment. Maybe this was God paying me back for the three years of hell I endured at the other firm, but it was refreshing to be at a place where I felt valued, appreciated, and respected, and the only workplace politics involve getting your work done.

When I reflect on the abuse I put up with from Lucifer, it makes me feel sickened that I’d allow someone to treat me that way. Maybe I have a different perspective because I’m older, more experienced, have kids, and a different outlook about life and myself, but I’d never let someone treat me that way again.


The bottom line?

When you have a horrible boss, it will never probably get better absent a miracle. Leave. Run out the door as fast as you can.

You will find another job.

You are good enough, you are smart enough, and you deserve better.

Cheers to that!


    14 Comments on What to do When You have the Boss from Hell: Quit!

    1. agnes
      June 5, 2016 at 8:23 am (6 years ago)

      i also worked for lucifer and gave him my all, in that state i would have given him a kidney to get his approval. i started drinking every night. i quit, he gave me a 40k payrise which showed me he actually thought i was worth it. wow. that lasted 3 months before i quit again. money didnt buy me happiness and i started my own law firm. this was 3 years ago and im now a lecturer as well. its never worth staying for lucifer. i still cant believe how awful law firms can be

    2. Amanda @Blissful Gal
      September 11, 2015 at 5:39 pm (7 years ago)

      Oh I so know what it is like to work with terrible people! It can make like so crappy because you just dread going to work. I laughed at the fact that you renamed him Lucifer (:

      • jenniferdaku
        September 14, 2015 at 12:30 pm (7 years ago)

        Thanks Amanda, glad you could relate, but sorry you had to deal with your own Lucifer!

    3. Katie @ Beyond the Clothing
      September 11, 2015 at 3:44 pm (7 years ago)

      Thank you for posting this. I hope someone that needs to see it, gets to see it. A company takes note when one department has more turnover than all the others. The job market is not bad enough to put up that kind of abuse. UGH, it drives me crazy that there are people out there like that. I’m so glad you moved on and good for hubby for encouraging you.


      • jenniferdaku
        September 14, 2015 at 12:31 pm (7 years ago)

        Thanks Katie! I agree about what you said… bad bosses actually become a huge liability for their companies because turnover is expensive. I think the only reason the firm kept this dude around is because he was a major work horse and was bringing in a lot of revenue. Hopefully, he’s grown up, and anyone reading this will see the overarching issue of leaving a bad work environment instead of hoping things will get better. They won’t!

      September 11, 2015 at 10:04 am (7 years ago)

      Yes, I think we have all had those awful bosses. Your advice is right on. Quit. As soon as you can.

    5. Kristi
      June 23, 2015 at 3:33 am (7 years ago)

      Great advice! Thanks so much for sharing with us at #HomeMattersParty. Hope you join us again next week! The door opens Friday EST.

    6. Julie
      March 4, 2015 at 3:26 am (7 years ago)

      The problem comes of course, when it’s your dream job, when you love the work and other colleagues, money is tight, people are relying on you….a million reasons to stay can make it hard but I do totally agree with you, Any situation in life that makes you feel you are not enough is one you should be actively looking to remove yourself from asap.

      • jenniferdaku
        March 4, 2015 at 8:48 pm (7 years ago)

        Thanks for the feedback, Julie. Another thing I forgot to mention in the article is that someone will never truly advance in a job where someone, like Lucifer, has it “out to get them.” Another reason to move on.

    7. Charlene
      March 2, 2015 at 12:58 pm (7 years ago)

      I worked for Lucifer’s cousin and mentor — at a church.

      • jenniferdaku
        March 2, 2015 at 8:23 pm (7 years ago)

        Oh, the irony! Thanks for sharing!

    8. jenniferdaku
      February 12, 2015 at 12:04 pm (7 years ago)

      I do remember that! Girlfriend, you had chutzpah with a capital C!

    9. Sarah
      February 11, 2015 at 9:56 pm (7 years ago)

      i worked for Lucifers evil mother for three years. I feel like my soul has still not recovered from that experience. You are so right about leaving. Wish I had the guts to do it then. I don’t know what’s wrong with people, but I do know I’ll never put myself in a position like that again!

      • jenniferdaku
        February 11, 2015 at 10:17 pm (7 years ago)

        Sarah- You can pretend you were the original girl from “The Devil Wears Prada!” I can see it!


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