Effective Communication

Don’t Let a Bad Boss Sink Your Career


I don’t have to tell you that your boss usually has an impact on your career.

If you are lucky, it is a positive one. About half of the professionals recently surveyed by Harris Interactive say their boss has been good for their careers. But 20 percent said that impact had been negative and that their bosses had actually hurt their careers.

Sounds about right to me.

The sad truth is that there are millions of bad bosses out there. They may have difficult personalities, or just not be good at their jobs. Even if they are pretty good at work and as people, you might just not click with them.

But there are some bosses who take an active displeasure in managing others and may even go so far as to do things—intentionally or not—that hold you back. Steal credit for your work? Yep. Criticize you in front of  others? Check. Prevent you from taking on new responsibilities? Of course.

Bosses have power and power can be abused. The question is: How do you stop these things from killing your career? You have three options: fix it, live with it, or leave it.

Let’s assume you want to fix it, or try to, before you make a move. If you’ve decided leaving your current position isn’t an option right now, and you’ve also come to the conclusion that the relationship is what it is, how do you build a protective barrier around yourself and your career? Try these strategies.

4 Ways to Handle a Bad Boss

  1. Be a Vocal Advocate for Yourself.  Your boss isn’t advocating for you so make a name for yourself. Talk up your accomplishments—loudly—and take credit where it’s rightfully deserved.
  2. Don’t Engage. If your boss seems to intentionally enjoy making you squirm or getting a rise out of you, don’t take the bait. Let little things roll off your back. Engaging will only escalate the situation while simultaneously dragging you down.
  3. Develop Strong Relationships With Other Superiors . More than likely, your direct boss isn’t the only person above you at the company. Prove to others that you’re a great person and valuable employee, no matter what your direct boss might think. In reality, many of them are probably well aware of your boss’s nasty side.
  4. Build Your Accomplishments. Focus on doing your work exceptionally well, regardless of the lack of praise and acknowledgement you get from your boss. Your accomplishments are yours to take with you. Make note of them. Use them to build an incredible portfolio and resume that will one day take you far, far away from here.

About the Author

Chrissy Scivicque is a career coach, corporate trainer and public speaker who believes work can be a nourishing part of the life experience. Her website, Eat Your Career, is devoted to this mission. Chrissy is currently a contributing career expert for U.S. News & World Report and the author of the book, The Proactive Professional: How to Stop Playing Catch Up and Start Getting Ahead at Work (and in Life!), available on Amazon.