Code Word El Jefe: What I have learned from working for horrible bosses

Have you ever got the feeling that maybe all the sane workers quit and that is how your current boss rose to power? Or are they secretly an enemy sleeper agent sabotaging the office from the inside (see info graphic below)? Also are they eliminating anyone who figures this out? If this is the case, stop reading now and burn your phone/tablet/computer immediately.

el jefe

Yes this is straight from the CIA website, you can view their whole manual for Simple Sabotage here. And lets be honest, it does quite strike a nerve and make one begin to think, “Is my boss following these instructions?”

Fortunately, or unfortunately, it is unlikely that your boss is in fact an enemy operative. Also, when it comes down to it your boss is probably not a horrible person. That is too broad of a term. Bosses like all other people can be lacking insight into themselves, the workplace they have created, and the way they present to us. This in no way excuses or makes up for their behavior or how they make you work every weekend but it’s important to note in order to begin coping. So how can we manage the manager? How can we lower the stress in the office and stop our hair from turning gray? Here are 6 positive coping mechanisms I have found useful:

  1. It starts with you – There are so many things to be said about how difficult it can be to work with others. We come from many different backgrounds, many different ways of thinking, of speaking, and of interacting with each other. We should be able to acknowledge and have respect for those differences. But we should also know that 100% of what someone says and does has to do with them, not you. You should also ask yourself if your boss even knows whether how they treat you bothers or offends you. If not remember that we can only control how we act and not how everyone else acts. We can control how we react to a situation but not the circumstances of said situation. Take a moment and remember their horrible behavior has nothing to do with you but has everything to do with them. You choose how to react.
  2. Address the situation with the boss – As stated above, if your boss is truly offending you, speak to them about it and try to resolve the situation. They may not know they are doing it (read LACK INSIGHT). However, if they are harassing you in some way, your company has a human resources department and will have a policy to follow. Please report.
  3. Find support in your co-workers – I have had the best coworkers while working at the worst jobs. No, you don’t want an all out B**** fest everyday at lunch. But do what you can together to make the office bearable. You are with your coworkers 40 hours a week, they can be your greatest allies.
  4. Live within your means – I have tried the tactic of quitting a job in order to “show ‘em.” I however did not show them. Nor did the person they hired to replace me or the person they hired to replace the person who replaced me. However, if you live within your means it takes some of the financial stress off the daily 9 to 5. Maybe you can go part time, maybe just knowing that you could walk out if you wanted to will release some of the stress felt at work.
  5. Work LIFE balance – Work is work. Make sure it is not affecting the time you take for yourself, your family, or enjoying life. Plan fun things to do with your family or plan a whole day to sleep and watch movies! Whatever helps you de-compress. And know that work is not everything—your happiness and peace are important. In order to be at peace you will need to find a balance between work and personal life.
  6. Remember – Sometimes a job is just a job. And that is okay. We need a job to make money in order to pay the bills.

What are some tactics you have used to survive the daily work grind when your boss doesn’t seem to get it? Let me know in your comments below. In the meantime, I will just continue saying el jefe under my breath because it sounds like a swear word and because the FBI has stopped answering my calls.


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