Working for a Difficult Boss- What Would You Do?

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Feb 20, 2011 11:35 PM GMT
    I finally got a part time job working as a personal assistant but am only making around $10 and working 5 hours per day 4 days a week.

    The person I'm working for is nice person but I'm not sure if it's a good idea to work for him as he seems to have a Dr Jackle Mr Hyde streak. I've been given tasks that aren't very difficult in but are made difficult by an unorganized desktop and files.

    There was no training and he expects everything to be done perfectly, which I understand but I shouldn't be given high priority tasks right off the bat. I'm new and still trying to get my bearings. It's almost like The Devil Wears Prada.

    Also, I'm writing dictation down from him and he is speaking faster than I can write and making changes mid sentence- without telling me. And he's super retentive about grammar and formatting. It took me twice as long as it would if he did.

    I'm wondering if I should stick around because he kept asking why something was so difficult and it was verging on unprofessional and condescending. I don't work well under pressure and stress as that can cause a snowball effect. There's other things too but I won't go into them.

    I left there thinking people wouldn't put up with this even in this economy. Or maybe there are...? Sorry for the rant but what would you do? He told me to give him feedback but this could be a delicate and tricky situation.
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    Feb 20, 2011 11:39 PM GMT
    Keep smiling and just look for a new job. I've had a boss that really liked to micromanage. It made coming to work very unpleasant. I can tell you right now, it won't get better and you'll probably end of getting fired over something trivial.
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    Feb 20, 2011 11:41 PM GMT
    There's a great book called "Bullies, Tyrants and Impossible People" which has lots of great advice for dealing with difficult bosses.
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    Feb 20, 2011 11:46 PM GMT
    It's a learning lesson for you in more ways than one... Think it thru, don't make any rash decisions before finding employment elsewhere.
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    Feb 20, 2011 11:50 PM GMT
    xrichx saidKeep smiling and just look for a new job. I've had a boss that really liked to micromanage. It made coming to work very unpleasant. I can tell you right now, it won't get better and you'll probably end of getting fired over something trivial.


    Exactly what I'm think too seeing as I'm his personal assistant that's a very real possibility. I can see this coming up in the near future, I'm trying to get out of there before this happens because he's under stress and it's being carried over to me. I don't even know how good of a reference they will be by the time I'm out of there.

    Thankfully, I have 2 interviews this week.
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    Feb 20, 2011 11:58 PM GMT
    Don't worry about references. Your former bosses don't always have to be your work references. Although I had a shitty boss, I had plenty of co-workers and other managers that I was cool with. I usually put them down as references. And I've never had any issues during interviews.

    And don't burn any bridges. When it's time to give your 2 weeks notice, just smile and thank him for the opportunity/experience, and then get the fuck outta there as fast as you can. icon_lol.gif
  • Webster666

    Posts: 9217

    Feb 21, 2011 1:02 AM GMT
    It seems obvious that this boss and this job are not a good fit for you.
    If you can afford it, quit.
    But, keep in mind how bad the economy is and how tough jobs are to come by.
    You could aggressively look (on line) for that new job, while you're still working for the obnoxious slave driver.
    Plus, if he fires you, you can collect unemployment while you look for a new job.

    We have to work for a damn long time.
    Nobody should have to put up with being miserable.
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    Feb 21, 2011 1:20 AM GMT
    I have a boss right now who every night leaves a list of work that he could not complete an every night there a new excuse as to why he couldnt do it. I finally just exploded at the right moment with out knowing it. I went off while his boss was with in ear shot and the very next day there was not list on my desk. Im not encouraging you to go an exploded at work but may be you need to in the most professional way talk to your boss's boss.
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    Feb 21, 2011 1:21 AM GMT
    Keeping going until you find another job.
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    Feb 21, 2011 2:07 AM GMT
    The first thing you need to do, is ask yourself if your boss' expectations are truly unreasonable. When you interviewed for the position, what were the expectations that were set at that time? Were you extremely confident during your interview and basically gave him the impression you could handle it all? I hire plenty of people throughout the year and they state they sell themselves during the interview that they are top notch. But when the pressure is one, they crumble then blame others (specifically, their boss). I'm not saying you're doing this, but it's also a reality in the workplace.

    Secondly, don't be so quick to take it personally. This guy is under alot of pressure and his brain is probably going a 100mph.

    I would highly suggest you set up a one-on-one meeting with your boss and ask him how he thinks you're doing. My gut tells me you may be pleasantly surprised and he will likely be very positive. Don't be so quick to jump ship because this could really be a great learning opportunity for you.
  • HndsmKansan

    Posts: 16311

    Feb 21, 2011 2:08 AM GMT
    Interesting and happy to give you a few thoughts....

    I have 3 assistants who work part time in my office and 1 of them works about as many hours as you currently work. I'm very structured and all my assistants have weekly assignments prepared in advance. My primary office assistant knows her job well enough that my assignment preparations are not detailed, unless some reason for it or a new project is in the works.
    I expect alot from my assistants, but they are talented and dependable
    people.. my newest assistant has been with me for 3 years and Wanda, my assistant in charge of my schedule and appointments has worked for me almost 8 years.... I'm very lucky to have them and always try and treat them with the respect and consideration they deserve. Part of my success is due to my assistants. To treat you in any other way is not only unprofessional, but a disservice to the firm he runs. It really makes no sense.

    My suggestion is to decide if you feel you can tolerate the scene, if not, start looking for a different position. No reason for you to put up with somebody who doesn't appreciate your talents.
  • ZacktheMan

    Posts: 340

    Feb 21, 2011 2:10 AM GMT
    "Working for a Difficult Boss- What Would You Do?"


    I would fire myself. icon_wink.gif
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Feb 21, 2011 2:10 AM GMT
    My most difficult bosses turned out to be my best references. It all depends on what's important to you.
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    Feb 21, 2011 2:23 AM GMT
    my last supervisor was a major BITCH. in the end i resigned my position for an array of factors; one of which was because of her.
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    Feb 21, 2011 3:31 AM GMT
    I would engage him in a very frank discussion. If he's reasonably intelligent, he would welcome that. Spin the discussion in a way that would suggest to him that you're genuinely interested in improving your performance for his benefit. Remember that, in this highly competitive business environment, the bottom line issue is "what's in it for me." If you could convince your boss that you're trying to do your best to take care of HIS needs, that would be a good start.
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    Feb 21, 2011 3:37 AM GMT
    I have an angry boss. After the second time of being barked at, I waited for him to address me nicely. Then I said, I liked it when he spoke to me like that and not the other way. He got the message.

    So anyway, go find another job.
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    Feb 21, 2011 3:55 AM GMT
    you're in a no-win position . . . move on as quickly as you can . . . and take anything you can to get to a fully employed status . . . it's not so horrible to work 6-7 days a week for a while . . .
  • rebelbeard

    Posts: 558

    Feb 21, 2011 3:58 AM GMT
    If you don't need the job just quit. If you are trapped in the golden handcuffs then just do your best but look elsewhere before you do anything else.

    Im guessing he isn't the type you can address the issue with?
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    Feb 21, 2011 5:22 AM GMT
    / I could discuss it with him but it is something that would need to be done delicately. He is the type who would say he's would change but may be back to his old ways once a mistake comes into play. He also got annoyed when I told him to slow down the dictating.

    Best to find another job, this is a temp position anyway.
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    Feb 21, 2011 5:47 AM GMT
    If I were you I'd bend over...
    JUST KIDDING..
    icon_biggrin.gif
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    Feb 21, 2011 5:54 AM GMT
    jprichva saidYou're only working 20 hours a week. That's all the explanation you need when you get another job. Don't make some kind of issue, because if you play nice he'll give you a good reference. You don't have to tell him you're quitting because he's an asshole, you can just say you got full-time work.


    This is a solid advice, because you don't want the other company to think that YOU maybe having the the problem getting along with your boss rather the other way around.
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    Feb 21, 2011 5:54 AM GMT
    With the current unemployment situation, if you quit he'll have someone to fill your spot within a week. Your boss knows this. He's tough because he can be.

    It's sink or swim for you. This could be good, if the work situation is doable otherwise. If you plan on staying, stay alert and be creative.
    If your boss hands you a task you haven't done before, take notes of what he wants. When he's done, you can tell him that you have not done that before and you want to go over what he needs so that you can meet his expectations. If you make it about how you haven't dealt with this in his employment, you want to best serve what he expects. This will go a long way in building a positive rapport.
    He's dictating to you and you can't keep up. Type what you can, and also pull out your cell phone to record what he's saying. That way you can go back and fill in the parts that you missed the first time around.

    Being condescending and rude is a whole different manner. When this happens, tell him calmly that his actions/words are unprofessional and you do not appreciate being treated that way. You must assert yourself and tell him that you will not be treated that way. Do not raise your voice. Do not threaten to quit.
    If he keeps up the bad behavior then it's time to look for some new employment.

    Good luck.
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    Feb 21, 2011 6:00 AM GMT
    Try to hang on, keep daily notes of his actions and look for something else. BUT do not allow yourself to be bullied. Read my article on Workplace Bullying

    http://herndondavis.blogspot.com/2010/10/are-you-being-bullied-in-workplace.html
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    Feb 21, 2011 6:18 AM GMT
    Ehanson said/ I could discuss it with him but it is something that would need to be done delicately. He is the type who would say he's would change but may be back to his old ways once a mistake comes into play. He also got annoyed when I told him to slow down the dictating.

    Best to find another job, this is a temp position anyway.


    Discuss it with him. Seriously. Don't make assumptions about his motives or attitude towards you. You may be pleasantly surprised if you handle this like a professional adult.

    I once reported to a Senior Exec as a Business Analyst/Assistant. Everyday he would bark at me to come into his office and I would just have to take copious notes. One day, before he could start his barking, i asked him how his weekend was. He responded, "oh, it was okay", then proceeded to try and bark. I immediately said, "what did you?". He stopped, then answered. He wanted to go straight down his list of to-do's, but I stopped him again and asked if he spent that time with his wife and daughter. He stopped, closed his notepad, put his pen down, and we had a really pleasant conversation. The dynamics of professional relationship changed dramatically from then on.
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    Feb 21, 2011 6:23 AM GMT
    Well, you said "finally got a job", so I take it you have been looking for a while. Don't just throw in the towel, no matter how difficult he is, or you may financially regret it. Just start looking for a replacement job, Having a current job vs being unemployed looks more favorable to new employers.