My Boss is a Jerk

January 6, 2020

My Boss is a Jerk

If the world were fair, you’d never have a jerk boss. They would all be evenhanded, encourage their staff to their full potential, and not be working out personal issues on the job. Right. Every once in a while, you get a great one. If you do, they are gold. Hang in there as long as you can and don’t take your luck for granted.

Not all are jerk bosses

But for the rest of us, perfect bosses, like perfect people, are few and far between. Which doesn’t mean the rest are jackasses, 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. Even if you’re sure that you would.

So, generally, I’d give him 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 supervisor is primarily a good guy with positive intent.

But sometimes you can’t because his behavior makes it difficult to do your best work. These are the managers 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 manager may be a combo of any.


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


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

Passive aggressive

This one may take a while to catch because he is usually pleasant, seems accommodating and easy-going. But you can be blind-sided because he 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 receive a poor performance evaluation.


He 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

This one 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 play 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.

No Comments

Comments are closed.