Hate Your Boss but Love Your Job? Here's What to Do

Getting stuck with a bad boss really stinks. The question is: Can you salvage your job in spite of it?

Maurie Backman
Maurie Backman
Apr 28, 2018 at 7:33AM
Investment Planning

Some of us are lucky enough to have great managers who support us and help us further our careers. But what if you get stuck with a bad boss who makes your life utterly miserable? If your job on a whole isn't great, the answer is simple: Dust off your resume, reach out to your various contacts, and find yourself a role that will make you much happier.

But what happens when you actually love every aspect of your job except for your boss? In that situation, the choice to leave isn't so simple, especially if you're currently enjoying a nice salary, great benefits, and the support of fantastic colleagues you can learn from. And frankly, you shouldn't let a bad boss drive you out of an otherwise good position. So rather than rush to quit, here are a few ways to cope with a terrible boss and determine whether you can learn to live with that manager.

Woman covering her face while man in suit sitting across from her points a finger her way

Image source: Getty Images.

1. Minimize your interactions

The good thing about managers is that they tend to be busy people. If yours follows that pattern, then you have a natural excuse not to interact with your boss all that frequently. Furthermore, if you are required to check in with your manager, do so by email, where you'll avoid the confrontation that might ensue from a face-to-face meeting.

2. Aim to cross-function with other teams

Just because you're assigned to a given team at work doesn't mean there's no opportunity to collaborate with others. If you can't stand your boss, try getting assigned to projects that other higher-ups in your company are managing. Working with other teams gives you access to different bosses who might agree to take you on board, especially as you grow your skills, so the more you put yourself out there, the better.

3. Focus on your daily tasks and goals

If you hate your boss but like the work you actually do, throw yourself into it. Take on new assignments that are interesting to you and concentrate on meeting the goals you set for yourself. Your boss might be a thorn in your side throughout, but if you focus your efforts on the projects you're tasked with, you might learn to ignore your manager rather than let his or her negative attitude and obnoxious comments get you down.

4. Determine whether your boss is holding you back

It's one thing to have a boss who's a miserable person with nothing nice to say. But if your manager is actually preventing you from getting promoted, scoring raises, or advancing within the company, that's not a situation you should resign yourself to. So think about the impact your boss has had on your career to date. Has he or she halted your progression, or simply been aggravating to deal with? If it's the former, and your company refuses to intervene, then there may be no choice but to start interviewing elsewhere and move on.

Having a bad boss is, in some ways, all the more frustrating when you happen to land a job you otherwise love. In some cases, you might manage to work around that awful manager and maintain your sanity in the process. But if that's not possible, or your boss is stunting your career growth, then you'll need to prepare to jump ship. It may not be ideal, but if all goes well, your next boss will be easier to deal with.