Professional Development

What to do when you love your job but hate your boss

Written by Michael Hoon

Congratulations! You are working at your dream job, doing the very thing you’ve always wanted to do in order to earn a paycheck. But wait a minute, something’s not quite right. Although you love your work and your co-workers and you’re earning a good living, there’s a monster who seems to love nothing more than making your life miserable lurking at the head office. So you love your job, but you absolutely cannot stomach your boss. Well, you’re not alone, and the good news is that there are ways to ensure the person in charge does not transform your dream job into a nightmare.

Focus on your work

If you hate your job and your boss, quitting, if possible, is a pretty simple solution. But you’re in a position that’s not just slightly better—it’s actually markedly better. You can’t stand your boss but, for now, love your job. So maybe the best way to deal with the unfortunate situation is take the focus off the hate and shift it to the love. You love what you do, so you already have a leg up on a lot of others in the workforce. Take pleasure in that work (or the coworkers, or the salary) that you so love. If your boss is really grating on you and you feel like you’re on the verge of storming out the door never to return, make a list of all the things you love about your work. Seeing that the pros outweigh the cons can help focus your energy on what is great about your job and help you to realize how small your boss is in the grand scheme of your day.

Take solace in your co-workers

If you loathe your boss, there’s a good chance you’re not the only one in the office who cringes after every meeting, email, or phone call. A good way to let off some steam is to meet up with co-workers (outside of work, please!) to dish on your boss a bit. Venting with friends who share your adverse feelings about the person in charge can really make the workday a lot more bearable. Please, just don’t let the boss (or anyone else from the office who’s not in your inner circle) catch you slinging mud with your buds.

Play the waiting game

You and your co-workers may not be the only ones who recognize that your boss is the worst. If the situation is really as terrible as you think, those above your boss may recognize their shortcomings soon as well. If you suspect the wind is blowing in that direction, wait it out and you hopefully may find yourself rewarded with a new and improved boss once the writing is on the wall.

If necessary, take action

Sometimes a boss may be contemptible for reasons more consequential than run-of-the-mill jerkiness. If your boss is making your workday hell by subjecting you to abuse or harassment motivated by racism, sexism, homophobia, or some other form of deplorable bigotry, don’t ever believe you have to take it sitting down. File an official complaint with HR. If that doesn’t work, you may have to file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or contact a discrimination attorney. And remember that sexual harassment is against the law in most states. No matter how mild or severe a creep your boss may be, there are always ways to improve your workday so you can hold onto that job you love so much.

About the author

Michael Hoon