How to stay positive when your boss is crazy AF

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.

  1. Tell someone about it
  2. Get Support
  3. Exercise
  4. Work out an exit plan
  5. 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.

3. Exercise

  • 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. 
 
Good luck!

 

Extra resources and  links
Previous Blog Posts
Getting support
Information on Employee Entitlements
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Why is everyone just so critical ? Second chances and letting relationships just evolve.

How quickly do you label a colleague, direct report, peer or boss an idiot?   After one or two stuff ups, poorly chosen words or a funny facial expression?

I remember a mentor of mine once saying: “Why are aussies SO critical all the time?”

It seems like any minor problem will be taken as sufficient reason to write someone off entirely.

The most rewarding relationships are those that we invest in, when we truly get to know someone under a lot of different conditions.

In 2017, I discovered how rewarding seeing past someone’s reputation was and taking the time to develop a strong relationship could be.  But it took TIME and openness from both sides.  It meant having open conversations about things that bothered me and it meant me being open to things that bothered him.  It was worth the effort.

Is there someone you have written off?

What would happen if you tried again to build a positive relationship?

What are you missing out on by being closed off to this person?

What are the differences between boundaries and letting relationships grow organically?

Are we just too critical?

 

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Chose your own fairytale

Is this rebellious?

The future?

The now?  

I have an explosion of thoughts when I read this:

  • Why does this statement feel revolutionary in 2018?
  • Why do women need to be saved and men be our saviours?
  • Could this line ever read: “And the princess and prince lived happily ever after in their own big castle with all their own money and they took care of themselves and each other. The end.”
  • Is women’s happiness a story of being saved by a man vs saved by herself?
  • How does a man support a women who is 100% independent?
  • What if a princess wants another princess to move in with her?

I love these quotes, they are gung-ho and make me think big. They also seem to sit very much in the same story – prioritising material wealth with no mention of romantic, emotional or spiritual abundance.  Yes, we need a roof over our heads but we also need SO MUCH MORE!

Yes, we need independence but I for one want lots of love, romance and a partner in my life.

Are love and independence mutually exclusive (I hope not)?

Does a feminist re-make of fairytales exclude love?

If you could write your own fairytale in one or two sentences, what would your happily ever after story be?

My version:

And the successful business women, lived happily ever after, in her own lavish townhouse, travelled everywhere lots, loved and was loved lots, felt like she belonged all the time, had her own cleaner, and shared all her favourite stories with a gorgeous independent man who loved her just as she was, and she took care of herself and all her abundance (money, spirituality, health) and always wore fabulous clothes and red nail polish…. and just really had a great time always! The end! 🙂

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My top tip for sticking to your truth and pursuing your dreams

Unravelling shoulds and focusing on want has been a challenge I have set myself over the last 18 months. It’s been a really amazing journey and has led me to write a book and become a life coach while also increasing my satisfaction at work.

It’s also been painful because I say NO to a lot of things and sometimes other people don’t get it (the focus, the drive, the saying “NO”.)

When you have followed your dream, what has happened for you?

What is your number one tip to staying in your truth?

My own top tip is be really clear on your WHY. It really takes the pressure off an uncomfortable situation when I know this is where I need to be right now to get to where I am going. Knowing my why – helping women progress (personally, professionally and in society as a whole) helps keep me going when I have to decline another social invitation so I can work on my business, study or write a blog post. It keeps me centred.

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