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.
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!