Your work is fulfilling, you adore your teammates, and you really can’t beat your commute time. For all intents and purposes, your job is perfect. There’s just one major problem that keeps getting in the way: You absolutely can’t stand your boss.
You and your supervisor have never seen eye-to-eye, and—of course—it’s impacting the way you feel about your job as a whole.
But, now you’re left with a real dilemma on your hands: Should you tough it out and make the best of the situation, despite the fact that you and your boss have a less-than-perfect relationship? Or, should you pack up your desk, hit the road, and find yourself some greener pastures?
Unfortunately (as I’m sure you already expected), there’s no cut and dried answer to this age-old question—it’s going to require some thought, consideration, and soul-searching on your part in order to land on the solution that’s best for you. So, to help you through that process, here are six questions to ask yourself to determine your best course of action.
1. What do you dislike about your boss?
First things first, it’s time to determine what exactly your boss does that gets under your skin. Yes, your immediate response might be, “Everything!” but you and I both know that’s not necessarily true.
Instead, try to narrow your focus to those specific things that really drive you up a wall. Does he constantly throw you under the bus or take credit for your work? Is she overly controlling and refuses to let you do anything without her breathing down your neck?
Zone in on the behaviors and traits that really make you cringe. That information is necessary for the next steps. And, if nothing else, you’ll be armed with the knowledge of specific management styles you’ll want to avoid in future positions.
2. Can these issues be resolved?
You hate your boss—that much you know. But, have you ever actually stepped outside of those loathsome feelings to determine if there’s anything you can do to patch up the situation a bit?
Perhaps you need to have a frank and honest conversation with your supervisor about how you prefer to communicate or be managed. Or, maybe—this might be a little hard to hear—you need to change some of your own behaviors (your boss isn’t that terrible for giving you a hard time about repeatedly showing up late, after all).
Rather than constantly wallowing in your own feelings of self-pity and focusing on the problems, see if there’s any way you can find possible solutions. You might be surprised at how easily some of those issues are resolved!
3. How much interaction do you currently have with your boss?
So, you’ve already tried the above route and determined there’s absolutely no fixing your problems—you just need to continue on with this tense, strained relationship.
Yes, it’s less than ideal. But, there’s another facet of the situation you’ll want to make sure to consider: How often do you actually need to interact with your boss? Do you only cross paths once in a blue moon at the occasional team meeting? Or, are you forced to work closely together day in and day out?
If your interactions are sporadic at best, it’s likely something you can cope with. But, if needing to collaborate day after day is what’s in the cards for you, it might be time to start looking elsewhere.
4. What would you miss most about your current job?
Remember, it’s your boss you dislike—not your job as a whole. That means it’s important that you don’t get so heavy-handed with the negatives and also take some time to reflect on the things that you actually do enjoy about your existing position.
What would you miss most if you actually did hit the road? Is it a particular duty or responsibility that’s on your plate? Your supportive and encouraging team?
Think of this as a classic pros and cons list—it’s a chance to do some analysis and see if those positive parts of your current job can actually outweigh that one major negative (AKA your terrible boss).
5. How would you rate your overall happiness with your current work situation?
All of the above questions sort of culminate into this one overarching look at your entire career—how happy are you?
Are you at a 0 or a 1, meaning your strained relationship with management is tainting the way you perceive your entire job? Or, would you still rate yourself at an 8—because no matter how hard your boss tries, she’s not going to make you hate everything else about your position?
No, this isn’t always the easiest question to answer. But, trying your best to put things into numbers can be particularly revealing about your next steps.
6. Do you have other options?
Speaking of next steps, they’re important. And—let’s be honest—many of us stay in cringe-worthy jobs, simply because we don’t see any other way out.
This is an important question to ask yourself before jumping ship in haste and flipping up two middle fingers in your boss’ face. Do you have any other prospects lined up? Do you have something you could move on to?
If not, it’s time to do your best to stick it out in your current position while applying elsewhere. Yes, that can be tough if you feel like you can’t stand your manager for one more second. But, when leaving a job, it’s always best to feel like you’re running toward something—rather than away from something.
Determining whether or not you should stay in a job when you absolutely hate your boss can be difficult. And, unfortunately, the situation is never black and white. So, ask yourself these six thought-provoking questions, and you’re one step closer to landing on the next step that’s right for you.