You’re positively miserable. Your boss is a walking criticism-machine, never a supportive nod or word of thanks, regardless of how long and hard you slave at your appointed tasks. Heaven forbid anything goes wrong, ever, for even an instant, because he whips out blame with lightning speed, excoriating whoever he deems responsible, which is of course, never him--always you or another of your equally miserable co-workers.
You go from complaining to your co-workers, who kvetch in sympathetic agreement, to stiff-upper-lipping it, which doesn’t work either, to finally deciding to go talk to your boss about the lack of resources, of support, and of genuine guidance that just maybe might make his blame-blasts less necessary.
You make your list. You check it twice, and then some. You confer with your co-workers on what is the best day and best time of day to approach your boss, as all the “How to Deal With a Bad Boss” books tell you to. You get ready for the “meaningful conversation” they all talk about. Deep breath. Here you go.
And OUT you go! Your boss looks at you with dead eyes and pursed lips, says nothing, but the next day a “difficult to work with” note appears in your personnel files, along with “inflated sense of self-importance” and you have a sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach that you are being set up for a perfectly lawful, completely unfair, termination.
But you don’t want to lose your job! It’s not just that it’s challenging at best to find another job in the current work marketplace, it’s that if it weren’t for your 7-Circles-of-Hell boss, you actually like your job.
As a matter of fact, you’re so convinced that you’re about to get canned, and so desperate to not let that happen, that you’re willing to try anything.
Such as listening to this very different, off-the-wall advice: become valuable to your boss. Become his ally. Make your first order of business to assure your boss’s success, which has more to do with answering his secret fears and desires than it does with doing your own job.
Oh, doing the tasks you were hired to do is important, make no mistake about it, and they must get done with excellence. But becoming valuable to your boss while you’re at it is what will make the difference between you being booted out the door, versus you achieving the success you desire.
So when your blaming-blasting boss has at it, don’t quail, shut your ears, fight back, make a restroom dash, or any other defensive maneuver. Stay calm. Listen. Locate the actual problem within the rant. Ask: “How would you like XYZ handled?” Regardless of his answer, thank him. Calmly. Go about fixing the problem as best you can, given his directives or lack thereof. Document what you do. Check in with your boss and fill him in, documentation in hand. Calmly.
It will take time, but eventually you will train your boss into seeing you as The One who helps him be successful. Which is the deepest darkest secret desire of your Finger Pointer Boss (for that is what he is), right alongside his secret fear--that he hasn’t got the goods.
Does it take effort? Certainly! Should you have to do all this just to keep your job? Maybe not, but given who your boss is, this will give you a way to not only keep your job, but become so valuable to your boss (nobody else is doing anything to help him be successful), that you will be able to ask for--and get--the resources, perks, bonuses, and whatever else you want for the success of your career.