Ok, I know that ‘crazy’ is the most misused word against women but sometimes we do just have a CRAZY boss to deal with. One of the biggest challenges in my career has been dealing with bosses that are unpredictable, irrational, angry and explosive. This has crossed genders. Almost all people who have come to me for coaching have been experiencing a ‘crazy’ boss. The impact is loss of confidence, feeling confused, dissatisfaction in job role and industry – leading to questioning everything career wise. Questions that came up for me at this point are:
– Am I any good at my job anymore? I used to be but now I’m not so sure.
– Do I want to stay in IT?
– Is this company the right place for me?
– How long can I put up with this stress for?
Other feelings are: not wanting to go to work, closing down and becoming perpetually exhausted. Negative thinking often took over as well further brining me down. I have seen this with friends, colleagues and coaching clients. Having a boss that regularly puts you down is a confidence crusher.
So I thought I’d put together my top strategies that I use for managing my mindset during such a stressful period and keeping my energy levels up. This has made it easier for me to move on, find a new role and get out of there.
- Tell someone about it
- Get Support
- Work out an exit plan
- Focus on what’s next
These tips could easily fall under an umbrella of stay positive but really having been through this, this is not always possible. Taking positive action will create space to take a breath and maintain your perspective. At least aim to buffer the negativity at work, so you can boost your energy enough to move on.
1. Tell Someone about it (who will believe you)
- Reaching out and validating that you’re not the crazy one is important. Find a friend, partner, family member or mentor to talk through what you are experiencing. Just being heard will make you feel better
2. Get Support
- One of my big lessons is that no woman is an island and sometimes I am not my best guru (sadly). Find a counsellor or some level of professional support to help you through it. From my experience doing this, is that the recovery period afterwards is always quicker if I’ve had this support during the traumatic event. Don’t downplay your experience. Dreading getting out of bed every day is not normal. There’s a reason you don’t want to go to work, don’t let it impact you years down the track. Dealing with it as much as possible in the now will mean less of a stress hangover once you’re in your new role.
- Now is the time to maintain or create rituals that keep you balanced. Cardio and resistance exercise is the best. Commit to doing 30 minutes everyday (yoga, weights, gym, cycling, running, ballet.)
- Add in or up your meditation practice if you can or something that helps your mental discipline (one of my friends loves running to clear her head). Work out an exit plan
4. Create an exit plan
- Write down a plan of how you are going to get yourself out of this situation. Create 2 or 3 options and start pursuing them. Get out quickly. Look for internal and external roles, network more, keep engaged in industry events.
- In the exit plan, write down what you want to be happening in your career and life in 12 months time. Frame your next step by this vision.
- Accept that you may need to move laterally and find a life raft out. This can be hard if like me, you’re super ambition. Focus on safety first and then get back to climbing that career ladder.
5. Focus on what’s next
- Focus on that 12 month goal. If you’re looking at study, start investigating options. If you want to travel, start subscribing to ticket price alerts and turn your desktop screen saver into a shrine for your dream destination. Start listening to podcasts, music, tedtalks that will keep you focussed on NEXT.
- Make NEXT your NOW.
Most of all remember, you don’t deserve crazy. It is not normal to be yelled at every day, to have your boss call you 15 times in 2 minutes at 11pm, to have your boss turn up at your front door on the weekend, to rate you down because they’re jealous of your looks, to publicly humiliate you in front of your team or threaten you in any way. It is NOT NORMAL. You deserve normal, to be liked, to look forward to work, to enjoy friendship at work, to be praised, to be rewarded and to feel appreciated.
You are WORTH it.
You are enough.