Got A Bad Boss? How to Handle Your Career

Angry powerful mature boss scolding employees at group meeting

“I am miserable at work and have grown to hate my job. I got a new boss, and he’s a complete manic. He micromanages me, is loud, yells, and complains about the smallest, irrelevant things. I’m great at my job and have always had terrific job reviews, but this boss does not like me,” said Helen, a 58-year-old corporate lawyer when she called for career counseling. She was worried. The day-to-day strain had been piling up in a high-pressure job. During our session together, she reviewed all the reasons to stay (great company, excellent benefits) or go. Leaving won out. The misery level had gotten to the point where she decided that she needed to move on.

 There are millions of people out there who are unhappy with their jobs. Some dislike the work and are job hunting for that reason. Others feel their strengths are underused and so they want out to find a more fulfilling job. Others seek a promotion but get overlooked. For many, they want to leave because they have a lousy boss.

Do you hate your job? Are you looking for something new? Better? What if you could write a whole new life for yourself? Would you put in the effort to change? Too many people over age 50 aren’t asking themselves these questions. Too many just accept a terrible situation.

 According to the Society of Human Resource Management’s recent survey on why employees leave their jobs, they found these issues as the primary motivation for an employee to depart:

Today In: Leadership
  • 53% show disrespect for employees
  • 46% break promises
  • 42% overwork employees
  • 42% have unrealistic expectations
  • 40% play favorites
  • 37% are overly critical
  • 35% Micromanage employees
  • 34% don’t listen when the employee voices their opinion

 You and you alone are responsible for creating your future. Time to give serious thought to this life-shaping question: What exactly are you going to do with the rest of your life?  If you are unhappy, it’s time for a change.

Helen began the process by doing some of the soul searching I’d advised her to start with. Here are some critical steps to get you moving forward.

 Make a decision. Determine why a bad boss remains in the company. Are they a moneymaker? Is someone higher up protecting them? Are they there to make you quit? What do coworkers think of this manager? When the evidence is strong, and your misery level is high, you should start looking for a new job in the company or realize the best solution is to move on to another employer.

Start with honest self-assessment.  Analyze your current skill set, training level, and accomplishments to date. Write down the aspects of the work you liked and what tasks or things you disliked. Look online at and to do some new job research. Explore different career options. Investigate different employers, new fields, and industries. Go to and read reviews on new companies’ culture. Look at growth opportunities, salaries, benefits, and then determine what and where your next step should be.

 Pay attention to your transferable skills. Skills you can take and use at a new employer are called transferable skills. Review both your technical skills that are directly related to performing the job, and also your soft skills like leadership, communications, or critical thinking (to name a few) to have an accurate array of what you can offer an employer. Make a list and be thorough.

 Go after a passion. What do you love to do? What do you want to hear about? To talk about? If you love music, find a job in that industry. Remember, it’s not just musicians jobs, but others such as agents, directors, marketing and sales teams, DJs, business managers, lawyers, etc. that are a part of the exciting music world. Explore all the jobs that are related to an industry you would enjoy and find a job you be happy to do.

 Use your strengths. You have natural talents. These abilities are the things you find easy to do. Maybe it’s teaching or writing. Perhaps it’s designing, building, or helping people. List all your talents, including things that others compliment you about. Build your career path on using these strengths as it will be easier to excel. You’ll move up faster, find more exciting jobs, and be paid a higher salary if you are using your talents at work.

Don’t sabotage yourself.  Many people prevent their own success. Is your self-talk all negative? Do you say things like: “I’d never get a job like that.” or “I’m not good enough.” or “Why try; it’s too hard.” Reprogram yourself by listening to success audios. Build up your self-esteem. Avoid others who are “black cloud people;” those people who rain on your dreams and efforts. It would be best if you avoided negative dialogue – it’s poisonous to your desires and future achievements. Instead, find supporters that encourage you to reach a new professional goal.