Happy Monday! Dreading going into work this morning! Thinking about quitting? Had it with your job?
Maybe it’s not you, maybe it’s your boss.
I’m hoping the banana gave you some comfort at least.
Tons of people decide to quit for reasons that have nothing to do with a Devil Wears Prada-esque boss. However, in some cases where your boss is the source of significant conflict over time, it’s a sign to move on. How can you tell if your stress is a sign it is time to move on?
It is never easy to move on. Adapting to change is difficult and people are programmed to crave stability. There is comfort in the familiar. So, how do you know when you need to make a break for it?
Before we point fingers, let’s take an internal look at ourselves as employees.
- Are you meeting the expectations of your job?
- Are you putting in the effort to try and do well, going above and beyond just what your job description requires of you?
- Before automatically blaming your boss for everything, as tempting as that may be, take a good solid look at your own performance and work ethic. —
You’re the best employee in the world, move mountains, work extra long hours, and make your boss look great?
Good. Let’s talk about your boss and point those fingers
It’s time to move on when:
1. Your boss does not respect boundaries.
When we talk about respecting boundaries, we are talking the whole gamut of boundaries.
This could mean sexual harassment for example if your boss is touching your boobs, that is not okay! If your boss is asking you as an employee to do illegal things and you go along with it you could become an accomplice. Call your HR dept and/or a lawyer right away.
Or this could mean calls every weekend to finish the last minute project. An occasional project on the weekend is normal. But if they are calling you every Holiday/family vacation, having you pick up their dry-cleaning, go grocery shopping for them and wash their dog (and you are not a personal assistant) then you might have boundary issues.
A great working relationship is built on trust and setting boundaries. If your boss is having trouble with boundaries repeatedly, you must address the issue openly and firmly.
Once that’s been done and nothing has changed then it is time to move on.
2. Your boss is unreasonable.
Okay, so your boss maybe doesn’t agree with some of the things you believe are important. That’s part of being an adult employee, you won’t always agree with your boss. However, if your boss is clearly displaying an unreasonable attitude time and time again and can’t be persuaded to take any other view. You might have a problem.
An example of this would be someone who has always used paper to do accounting or prefers paper/binders to using any type of cloud storage. As an employee, I would start by understanding your boss’s point of view. Maybe there’s a precedent of why they do things that way.
If even after reasoning and logically pointing out the better method, then it’s time to move on. Try another way of explaining, come up with a better plan, or compromising (half paper and half cloud?). If after trying all that, and your boss still disagrees, it’s possible that they may never be persuaded by reason.
Another example would be if you discovered how you were doing things was against the law. Bring this to your boss’s attention. If they refuse to start doing it the right way, don’t just sweep it under the rug. It may be time to bring it to your boss’s boss.
Great bosses will usually be willing to take at least some inkling of feedback from their employees. If you consistently find yourself in a position where your boss is unwilling to listen, it could be time reevaluate your position.
3. Your boss is abusive (verbally, physically, emotionally).
People get very shocked when they find out it is possible to have a verbally, physically or emotionally abusive relationship with your boss.
Physical abuse is easy to detect. At your place of employment, you should never expect any form of corporal punishment including but not limited to scratching, hitting, kicking, or have things thrown at you. Any type of this behavior should immediately be reported to HR.
Emotional and verbal abuse is a lot harder to detect and prove. However, if your boss tells you that you’re not performing up to expectations, this is not verbal abuse. If they are constantly belittling you, speaking down to you in a nonconstructive manner, yelling or screaming at you, you could be in an emotionally or verbally abusive relationship.
What do you do if your boss screams at you? Don’t overreact or antagonize your boss, stay calm and say “If you cannot discuss this in a professional matter right now, perhaps we can address it later?”
If this is a constant problem, it is time to report the bad manager to HR. HR not doing the trick, try going to your boss’s boss.
4. Your boss is not mentoring you anymore.
A good boss should serve as a guide and mentor, they should teach and help you do your job better and provide you with the resources to get better. Although not having a boss who is a mentor is not a reason to quit immediately. It’s possible especially in a young career that not having a guiding hand could impact what you do in your next job or role.
If your boss isn’t capable or is unwilling, see if they would be open to introducing you to people who can and will. Or see if you are able to seek a mentor outside of your work to help guide you.
The following scenarios may be scenarios where you may start to think about switching jobs to gain the mentorship you need:
- Your boss shows extreme favoritism impeding your career.
- Your boss consistently steals credit for your work.
- Your boss will not allow you to take on different projects.
- Your boss is checked out and doesn’t show any interest in what you are doing.
Not having a mentor at work is definitely not the worst thing on this list but the long-term effects could be critical. You need a boss who will help guide you to learn more and improve while keeping you from making the big mistakes. You don’t always have to like your boss (who does?) or even agree with them all the time, but you do have to respect them and learn from them.
5. You are consistently having disagreements with your boss.
Having disagreements with your boss about how things are done is normal but ultimately what they decide goes. If you are consistently having arguments with your boss about different things then maybe there’s a fundamental difference in how you approach your work. After a time, this type of conflict can become draining and exhausting and it may be a good time to start thinking about moving on.
One disagreement or two that can be solved in a constructive way is normal. Having constant disagreements week after week could be a problem.
So, what now?
If you are experiencing all of the above symptoms, you’ve been diagnosed with a crazy boss but that’s not the end of the world. If you think you can deal with a little crazy try some of the techniques mentioned here.
However, if you see a repeat of some or all of these behaviors it’s definitely time to think about your own sanity and move on.
But what do I know? I’m…
~Just the HR Girl