1. Archive

If a boss makes you miserable

Published Oct. 6, 2005

Should you take a different job because you dislike your boss and you know she's not to be trusted?

Marjorie has worked for the same company for seven years. She's a hard worker and has always enjoyed her work. For the past three years she has supervised 10 people. She has gotten good reviews. A year ago she was assigned a new boss.

"Since my new boss has come on the scene, I've been miserable," says Marjorie. "If one of the people I supervise is five or 10 minutes late, this woman writes a memo and puts it in the person's file. What she fails to see is that people sometimes stay longer to get a project out and often work through their lunch hour.

"Frequently she tells me to tell someone else to do something. Within an hour I'll go to that person with her directive, only to learn that she's already told them.

"Twice I've walked into my office and caught her going through my papers."

At this point Marjorie is considering asking to be moved to a different department. She would no longer be a supervisor.

My advice to Marjorie: Give yourself two months to decide.

During this time think about the advantages and disadvantages of staying in this position. The very fact that you're considering asking to be transferred gives you power.

Also, check out the want ads. Try to get two or three interviews with other companies. If you don't get any offers, you'll appreciate your job more. If you get offers, again you'll feel empowered and in control. Winners are people who try to work out a situation. When it's not workable, they move on.

Helmering is a clinical psychologist.