My Boss is a Jerk

November 6, 2017

My Boss is a Jerk

If the world were fair, you’d only have to work for bosses who are even handed and encourage their staff to their full potential, and are not working out any personal issues on the job. Right. Every once in a while, you get a great one. And if you do, they are gold. Hang in there as long as you can and don’t take your luck for granted.

They’re not all jerks

But for the rest of us, perfect bosses, like perfect people, are few and far between. Which doesn’t mean the rest are jerks, of course. After all, you’re not perfect either (I hope this is not news to you) and would probably not do a better job than your boss. Even if you’re sure that you would.

So, generally, I’d give your boss the benefit of the doubt, if you can. Flawed, yes. Sometimes a little petty. Or inconsiderate. Or bad-tempered. If these are not characteristics but occasional outbreaks, I’d try to treat them as one-offs and focus on whether your boss is primarily a good guy with positive intent.

But sometimes you can’t because your boss’ behavior makes it difficult to do your best work. These are the bosses I want to focus on in this series.

This post will describe types of jerk bosses. Unfortunately, they come in so many flavors that I can’t capture them all. You can get a more complete list of bad boss traits from The following posts will identify what you can do if you report to one of these types. Naturally, your boss may be a combo of any.

Disrespectful boss

This boss may be a nasty piece all around but may also be one who has a veneer of collegiality. Nevertheless, he doesn’t show up to meetings on time, isn’t concerned when his mistake causes you major work, or corrects you loudly and in public.

Underperforming boss

Your boss’ inability to sell your work to higher ups, get the extra money needed, indecisiveness and/or lack of expertise can create a boss who looks incompetent.

Passive aggressive boss

This one may take a while to catch because she is usually pleasant, seems accommodating and easy-going. But you can be blind-sided because she can also be underhanded and dissemble. You may think you’re doing fine and then find you didn’t get a crucial piece of information or even received a poor performance evaluation.

Power-tripping boss

This boss has to be front and center in everything. He uses “I” a lot and “we” not so much. He can be a control freak or just generally want everyone to bow down and worship.

Playing favorites boss

This boss may create such a strong in-group around him that you are left out in the cold. I have done a series on in-groups and out-groups but, in this case, you don’t necessarily want to be in the in-group. You’d just like to feel you’re playing on a level field.

These types of bosses can create a very negative work environment. One option is of course to look for another job but a toxic situation can create its own problem when you try to do so. In any case, the following posts are aimed at staying in the job if you can maneuver things to make it tolerable.

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