Top Six Office Gripes

Jul 25th, 2010 | By | Category: abundance, aptitude, Career advice, career challenges, career choices, challenges, difficult boss, mentor, negativity, office problems, personality, persuasion, problem, success

The July – August edition of Psychology Today ( has an article on six office top gripes and how to fix them. The six topics chosen are: Procrastination; Difficult Boss; Really Difficult Boss; Projects not going well; Feeling Negative; and Working too many hours. I am not sure how they came up with the list. I know that difficult boss is one of the top career complaints, and feeling negative is a close second. Most often the two go together. In situations where you have a difficult boss it is often difficult to keep a positive attitude about your job and sometimes it even creeps into your personal life. We probably spend more time at work than anywhere else, so the workplace has a huge influence on almost every aspect of our lives.

The short answer in the article for having a really bad boss is to numb yourself to the situation until you can find relief. Although this will probably work in the short term, a long exposure to a stressful situation not only affects your attitude; it will eventually affect your health. In my experience, it is impossible to insulate your feeling from the constant bombardment of negativity from your boss. Not only does it test your self-confidence, it also affects your ability to do a good job, increasing the descending spiral of job dissatisfaction. How many times have you heard someone say they hate their job? What are the odds of succeeding at something you hate?

The quickest remedy to a difficult boss is to find another job. Easier said than done, especially in this economy. Even in large bureaucracies it is difficult to arrange a transfer to another department. In most cases, management is aware of difficult bosses, but seldom does anything to relieve the situations. There was a question on this morning on how to have your boss fired. Unfortunately unless the boss is breaking the law there is little chance of getting him fired. Perhaps it is an unwritten code, but management protects their own. I have seen several situations where difficult bosses had grievance after grievance file against them. They never got the hint that they may be doing something to contribute to the problem. In most cases if you were to sit down have a heart to heart talk with a difficult boss, they would complain about the poor quality staff they have, and it is only though their herculean efforts that the department functions. So if you can’t bail out what do you do?

Insulating your emotions from the situation is good advice, for it is very difficult to analyze and think clearly when you are emotionally upset, especially if you are angry or vengeful. There is a lot of advice on techniques to stay emotionally uninvolved, but when you are caught in the crossfire of a bad boss and negative feelings it is almost impossible to think and act rationally. Often the plan that appeals to you is the one that is most detrimental to your career. Often your co-workers, who are your competitors, try to use your situation to their advantage by inflaming the situation or getting you to say negative things they can use to make you look bad. It took me, too long to learn not to engage in office gossip or express my feelings about negative people and situations. I was lucky to find some good mentors along the way who told me to keep my mouth shut. That advice paid big dividends. Luckily my mentors had infinite patients and would listen to me gripe and complain, but nothing I said left their office. If you cannot find a mentor at work to help you through a difficult boss problem, find some who is has no connection to your job or the people you work with to confide in. Most of the time you will find your own solutions once you get all the steam and negativity out of your system. If you cannot find a mentor or a friend, leave me a comment and I will send you my e-mail address. Perhaps by writing your problem down some solutions will occur to you. I will be glad to share my experiences with you.

Until you find a solution to escaping a difficult boss, focus your attention on increasing your skill set and learning new skills. Volunteer for assignments out side your department to increase your exposure to people who may be able to help you transfer. Don’t bad mouth your difficult boss; there is a good chance it will get back to him. In addition, it makes you look like a problem employee. Above all think positive. Nothing lasts forever and the more you concentrate on getting away from a difficult boss the sooner it will be just a bad memory.

The PracticaL Mentor.

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