Escaping the Average

How to Handle a Horrible Boss

If you have been in the workforce for a long period of time there is a good chance you have had to deal with/handle a horrible boss. This is a subject really close to my heart because not only have I felt the effects of a horrible boss, but also, many of my friends have also experienced, and or still are experiencing the wrath of a horrible boss. I’m going to tell my story. If you’re not interested in that, skip down to second centered heading to see my tips on how to handle a horrible boss.  But seriously, my story is a prime example of how to handle a horrible boss. If you wanna know my story keep reading!

My Story

My sophomore year in college I got a waitressing job to help pay for tuition. It was my second job. I had high expectations to do well. That made it all the more crushing when I had my first encounter with someone who my old coworkers and customers commonly referred to as Satan in disguise. For the first week, she and I got along fairly well. I was commended the first day by the employee training me for not getting yelled at. I was told that never happens. That, however, did not last long.

Very soon her true colors came out. She began slamming things, calling group meetings and filleting all the employees together. She made snide comments about my body in front of other employees. If she couldn’t see something to yell about, she would create something. On several occasions, customers saw her yelling at me and tipped me $20 and apologized for what I was dealing with (that’s how I knew it was bad). On several other occasions, I caught her gossiping about me to other employees.

One day she changed the schedule the day before I had to work and put me to morning shift without telling me. She fired me as I walked in front of all of the employees and customers. Luckily I had a photo of the schedule posted the day before on my phone. I showed her with shaky hands and she quickly rehired me. Yet, when I asked her to set things straight with the owners she turned nasty again and threatened me if I said a word.

There’s More. . .

On another occasion, I requested a day off because my family was coming to town and we had too many people scheduled to work. She agreed to let me have off. Then the next day she told me I was crazy and couldn’t have off. So I went to work only to discover she told other employees she really did not need me and she was just making me work out of spite. On top of all of this, I walked out of work many days making less than minimum wage because there were too many people working. I finally quit after working a 7-hour shift and making only 10 dollars. My entire time working there I never saw a paycheck.

I walked out every night and cried the whole way home. I know this was a long rant/story. But hopefully, in all of this, I learned something that I can share to help you, or at least show you that you are not alone if you have a terrible boss. I know how depressed, and angry, and disappointed you can feel. My self-esteem plummeted initially. But I promise it does not have to be like that. Keep reading to find out how to handle a horrible boss.

Tips on How to Handle a Horrible Boss

Focus on the Positive

Despite all of the negative things I went through above, I realized I did not go through them in vain. I gained patience, a thicker skin, a broader outlook on people, and a desire for more. If you are in a bad situation with a bad boss, the best thing you can do is look for positive aspects within your working environment. Try to ignore the negative and focus on the positive.

Don’t shoulder the blame

My friend works as a hairdresser in a salon. She was put in a managerial position, which gave her boss more of a license to blame her for everything that went wrong. While I was working one day, I got blamed when3-year-old threw up at my table (like I could help that). Listen to me, you are not to blame when things go wrong. If you are in a similar position where your boss blames you for EVERYTHING, don’t shoulder the blame. Let it roll off. If you carry the weight and the pressure of all of the negativity on your shoulders your self-esteem WILL drop. You are not to blame for your boss’s inappropriate remarks and behavior.

Adopt a Dog

I think I say something about adopting a dog in all of my blog posts. That’s how much I think you should do it! Anyway, if you are in a position in your life where you are able to get a dog, I highly recommend it. One time I was having an extra rough week at work my boyfriend surprised me by picking me up with a puppy in the car. I named her Kuai Le (happiness in Chinese) and she brought me what her name means. Without her, I’m positive I would have crumbled beneath all the stress. Dogs are proven to be relaxing and calming. After holding a sleeping dog for 10 minutes, I promise you will feel a lot better.

Have Someone to vent to

This is a big factor in learning how to handle a horrible boss. If you are stuck in a place that buries you in negativity, find someone to talk to after you get out. Don’t bottle it all up inside.  That’s how you get sick. Call your mom, your grandma, your husband/boyfriend.  Know your support system. If you don’t have anyone to talk to, please, go to the contact page and email me. Vent to me. I am here for you!

Know Your Worth

Know your worth going in, and know your worth going out. Most importantly, know that your worth does not fluctuate on someone else’s opinion. Your worth is not determined by your boss. Your boss might think it is, but don’t let him/her fool you.  For example, I know the value that I brought to the table when I was a waitress. I know that customers specifically asked to sit in my section because they liked my service. I know the gratefulness of the elderly lady with tears in her eyes as she asked me to pray for her after the passing of her husband earlier that morning, as I happily obliged. No one could tell me I didn’t have value because I know I added value. On top of that, I know my body looks fine just the way it is.

I just listed some of the positive things I knew about myself that my boss tried to contradict. Now, you list out the positive things you bring to the table. And if your boss makes nasty comments about your service, your looks, your body, or anything else, remember your list and all the reasons those remarks aren’t true.

Don’t let there be any dirt on your name

I told myself this ALL THE TIME. Don’t do anything that will leave dirt on your name. If your boss is in the wrong don’t stoop down to join him/her. There were so many times I wanted to slam something, cuss my boss out and leave. But I knew that would put dirt on my name. I would have done something that was wrong. Now that it’s all in the past, I am SO thankful that when I look back, my boss is the one who was always the one being hateful and rude. Do yourself a favor and restrain yourself. Be the better person.

Girl walking on a bridge

Find a way out if you can

If you can find another job, then that might be the way to go. I know as a college student it was slightly easier for me because there are a trillion other waitressing jobs available. Maybe you have children and can’t afford to leave. My dad was in that situation when I was a little girl and never appreciated his circumstances until I had my first horrible boss. I appreciate my dad’s sacrifice so much more now. So if it’s any consolation, know that your children will have so much respect for you as they get older.

With that being said, if you can get out, do it. At least start looking. You never know what may pop up. Besides that, you can always do some kind of freelance work online. Start a blog, do freelance work on Fiverr, or look up some of the many ways to work from home. Check out this post that talks about embracing your gifts. If you can turn your gifts and your hobbies into your job, there is no better option.  Having a horrible boss was really what made me realize my desire to be my own boss. Out of that revelation, this blog and many other business ideas were born. If you are able, see what you can come up with as a way to make extra income.

When you leave, explain why

This is probably the most rewarding part. It feels the best. The night I quit I told the owners in person and I wrote text to my boss explaining why she wouldn’t be seeing me on my next shift. It felt really good to politely explain to her how horrible of a manager she was.  She replied “Thank You” and that is the last I hope to ever hear from her. I also made sure to explain to the owners why I was quitting. It’s funny because almost everyone who works there quits after two months. And if no one ever tells the superiors why they would never no. I implore you not to neglect the opportunity to send in a text message or even pull your boss aside when you quit and take time to explain how you feel. Don’t leave anything on the table or else you will regret it.

*As you are explaining why be sure not forget the above concept of not letting there be any dirt on your name. Having a professional demeanor will leave a lot more poignant statement.

(I’m attaching the message I sent for your convenience and to prove I’m not making up this whole story) I had to be brave and if I could be brave, I know you all can be too! Learn how to handle a horrible boss from what I did.

text message to boss 1text message to boss 2

One last thing

Finally, guys, praying can help a lot too. It brought me a lot of solace when my esteem reached an absolute low. You might not be a Christian, but being completely honest my faith helped me a lot. Because according to my faith the Creator of the world loves and values me. When my self-esteem plummeted, it was knowing how much God loved me that built my confidence back up.

Hopefully, all of this helped you out.  Remember not ALL bosses are horrible. I promise that there are some amazing, supportive bosses out there. With that being said, f you’ve had a really bad experience with a boss please share below. No one is alone in this. Share your story, and if you’re still under a bad boss, share your struggle and share how you are coping with it. If you haven’t had a bad boss, share some ideas of how you would handle a horrible boss. Above all, stay strong my friends!

Also, check out this post about apps that can make you some extra money. They definitely won’t make your rich, but having some extra spending cash for coffee is always a good thing.




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  • Reply
    Nicole Pyles
    February 7, 2018 at 6:26 pm

    What a great post and I completely agree. I haven’t had bosses as bad as yours but I’ve worked with some downright awfvl people and I like what you said 100% – don’t stoop to their level! Plus, prayer helps a lot. Giving it to God is something I’m still learning how to do.

    • Reply
      February 7, 2018 at 6:31 pm

      Thanks for commenting! Totally agree with you! Giving it to God and moving on is the only way to go. But it’s a whole lot easier said than done, unfortunately. Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply
    Ayanna @ 21FlavorsofSplendor
    February 7, 2018 at 7:47 pm

    Thank you for sharing this! So many people have been in similar situations and fell alone. As a Christian, I totally agree that prayer changes things.

    • Reply
      February 8, 2018 at 7:25 pm

      Hi Ayanna, thanks for commenting! I sure hope that if nothing else, I learned some ways to help others. 🙂

  • Reply
    February 7, 2018 at 7:57 pm

    I’ve been so fortunate to have great bosses, even in my part time/done career jobs. I’m sorry you had to go through this.

    • Reply
      February 8, 2018 at 7:27 pm

      Thanks for your support, Katie!

  • Reply
    February 7, 2018 at 9:58 pm

    I never had it quite that bad, but I have definitely worked with some really challenging bosses a couple times before. My most challenging one wasn’t awful, outside of the fact that she was very prone to letting her emotions get away from her and taking out frustration occasionally on her employees, that and she would often overbook numbers of clients, and then would blame me for it. (Even though I left her notes saying all the slots were booked for the day) I literally had days where I basically had to avoid her all the time.
    But she did pay me reasonably well for putting up for her, and I made it a whole year, which is a good run with her.

  • Reply
    February 8, 2018 at 12:32 am

    What an absolutely horrible situation to be in, but I’m glad you found some lessons to take away from the experience. Knowing your worth is still something I’m trying to get better at – as is setting stricter work/life boundaries!

  • Reply
    February 8, 2018 at 4:56 am

    Wow, this is a horrible situation to have gone through. I always try to take these tough situations as lessons learned. I also had a workplace that was made impossible by a manager. I like your tips of knowing your worth and then when quitting make it very clear why. Hopefully it will make a positive change.

  • Reply
    robin rue
    February 8, 2018 at 10:27 am

    Oh man, you have a doosey! I am so sorry – it sounds like she really had it out for you for some reason. Love your tips on how to deal with people like that.

  • Reply
    Alli Smith
    February 8, 2018 at 10:58 am

    That woman had no business being in a place of leadership. She needs a course on how to lead others. I’m glad you let the owners know the reason you quit. Prayer always works!

  • Reply
    Terri Steffes
    February 8, 2018 at 11:03 am

    In my 44 years of working I have ran into a bad boss or two. Be sure you know and understand the chain of command. The owners of the restaurant would have wanted to know your story.

    • Reply
      February 11, 2018 at 2:16 am

      Unfortunately, it was a privately owned place and the owners know 100% didn’t care. They only cared about money. 🙁 Like I said, the entire employee base was replaced about every two months. In the future, I’ll definitely be more vigilant in looking for a place with a good HR system and a good chain of command system. Definitely, thank you for your input! 44 years of experience is very valuable!

  • Reply
    February 8, 2018 at 12:32 pm

    Just walk away. People like that will get what is coming to them. What goes around comes around my mother always use to say.

    • Reply
      February 11, 2018 at 2:21 am

      Your mom gives good advice! Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply
    Amber Myers
    February 8, 2018 at 1:18 pm

    This would be tough, that’s for sure. My husband has had terrible bosses and I’ve just been there for him and allowed him to vent. We also adopted two kitties 🙂 That did help!

  • Reply
    Beth Eaton
    February 8, 2018 at 5:42 pm

    I am sorry you had to deal with this! And this is why I enjoy working for myself. I am all for women following their dreams and pursuing their passions so they aren’t tied to working for someone else!

  • Reply
    February 8, 2018 at 5:45 pm

    OMG!!! How can people be so unprofessional and mean?!!! But I loved how you overcame this terrible experience and used it as a powerful lesson. Kudos girl! RESPECT!

    • Reply
      February 11, 2018 at 2:24 am

      Thanks girl!! And I legit asked myself that every day I worked there. Glad to see there are so many people who agree that it’s unprofessional and not normal! Thanks for commenting!

  • Reply
    Melanie May
    February 8, 2018 at 6:03 pm

    I love the advice about never having dirt on your name. It is so important to rise above the horrible boss. My advice would be to live the job but like you said that’s not a realistic option for everyone.

  • Reply
    February 8, 2018 at 7:25 pm

    I needed this today! I have been struggling with this for the last year and it has really taken a toll on me professionally and personally. These are all awesome suggestions that I’ll take to heart! Thanks!

    • Reply
      February 11, 2018 at 2:23 am

      Hi, Mar. I’m so glad this helped you! It honestly does take a toll on you, and even physically. Best of luck to you overcoming your workplace problems. Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply
    February 8, 2018 at 8:01 pm

    Great article! Yes, focus on the positive and just let it roll off your shoulders when someone tries to crush you. I think having a great sounding board is very important, a trusted friend who knows you very well and can deliver honest feedback and advice too. Keeping stress pent up is certainly not worth it.

  • Reply
    Scott Hornberg
    February 8, 2018 at 8:14 pm

    Two things that always help me:

    1. Meditation
    2. Not valuing the opinion of certain people make them easier to ignore.

  • Reply
    valmg @ Mom Knows It All
    February 8, 2018 at 11:13 pm

    I’ve had more than a couple of bad bosses. I hd to grin and bear it, it was what I needed to do to keep a job I needed to take care of my family.

    • Reply
      February 11, 2018 at 2:19 am

      I totally appreciate that. That’s such an amazing sacrifice to make for your family!

  • Reply
    Carol Cassara
    February 8, 2018 at 11:15 pm

    Your experience is terrible. I cannot imagine working with a boss like that, I would have quit before it came to the gossiping. She’s really unprofessional and it’s questionable why she even became a boss in the first place. I love all your tips on how to cope.

  • Reply
    Food and Footprints
    February 8, 2018 at 11:27 pm

    That sounds like a nightmare of an experience. Glad you were able to vent to her after quitting and turned something negative into a positive. Hope you don’t have to go through something like that again!

    • Reply
      February 11, 2018 at 2:22 am

      It was. I seriously had nightmares at least twice a week of working there. I’m definitely being more character of where I’m going to plant myself next. Thanks for commenting!

  • Reply
    February 9, 2018 at 12:22 am

    We’ve all had a terrible boss before. It sounds like you handled it really well and these are great tips for others in the same situation.

  • Reply
    Mimi Green
    February 9, 2018 at 12:28 am

    I’ve had a horrible boss before and it was so stressful. It changed who I was and I didn’t like that. I had to remember that I was there to get a paycheck.

    • Reply
      February 11, 2018 at 2:17 am

      Exactly. I was just there for the money. And I hated that feeling so much. Thanks for commenting with your story!

  • Reply
    February 9, 2018 at 1:04 am

    I really liked how you added that praying and your faith helped you. It is amazing how God can use the horrible things that happen in our lives, and make them into something wonderful.

    • Reply
      February 11, 2018 at 2:18 am

      Hi Elizabeth, it’s so true though! If it weren’t for God I wouldn’t have made it! God is faithful.

  • Reply
    Ashley Newell
    February 9, 2018 at 1:40 am

    Good for you for finding the positive in such a horrible situation!

  • Reply
    Lindsay | Splendiferous Mama
    February 9, 2018 at 5:01 am

    What great advice. I think it can also apply to anyone you work with, not just your boss. Staying above reproach and making sure you stick up for yourself is such good advice!

    • Reply
      February 11, 2018 at 2:20 am

      I really like the way you worded that, “Staying above reproach”. Amen to that!

  • Reply
    February 9, 2018 at 8:16 am

    Wow, I’m so glad I’ve never had to deal with a crappy boss, but then again I haven’t worked outside of the home for a while. Sorry, you had to go through that, it’s horrible and thanks for the positive tips!

    • Reply
      February 11, 2018 at 2:13 am

      I’m so happy you never had to deal with it. I honestly pray that no one goes through what I had to. Though, I realize there are others who have gone through much worse. Thanks for commenting!

  • Reply
    February 9, 2018 at 10:47 am

    This was a great read and some good thoughtful advice.

  • Reply
    February 9, 2018 at 10:58 am

    First….I am so sorry. No one should have to endure trratme t like that in the workplace.
    Secondly, great outline and advice. I love adopt a dog, know your worth, and have someone you can vent to.

    • Reply
      February 11, 2018 at 2:12 am

      Aw, Elke, thank you so much for your support! It was definitely a hard time in my life. Thankfully, it’s understanding people like you that help balance out the world! 🙂

  • Reply
    February 9, 2018 at 11:01 am

    It’s unfortunate that you have had to experience this, but like you say, you learn from it and can grow stronger and wiser. Prayer helps me alot and of course my family and dog too 🙂

    • Reply
      February 11, 2018 at 2:10 am

      Thanks for commenting. Prayer and animals are the best stress relief methods!

  • Reply
    Chubskulit Rose
    February 9, 2018 at 11:11 am

    That’s very unprofessional of your former boss and you did the right thing to quit before he/she can fire you.

    • Reply
      February 11, 2018 at 2:10 am

      Thanks! And she couldn’t really fire me because I didn’t do anything wrong, plus I had a connection to the owner. So instead she just made it miserable until I quit, ha.

  • Reply
    Sara Welch
    February 9, 2018 at 5:07 pm

    It is very difficult to deal with a boss who actually awful. Luckily I am my own boss now.

  • Reply
    February 9, 2018 at 6:43 pm

    Ugh, that sounds like an absolute nightmare. That’s why I am so glad that I now work for myself and am my own boss.

    • Reply
      February 11, 2018 at 2:09 am

      Hi Amanda, I second that! Working for myself is the best decision I’ve made!

  • Reply
    Sandy N Vyjay
    February 10, 2018 at 5:35 am

    Horrible bosses are like an epidemic, they are there everywhere. I always wonder are they like that because they were treated that way by their own bosses, or are they born psychopaths!

    • Reply
      February 11, 2018 at 2:08 am

      Hi Sandy, I totally agree! I always wondered the same thing. I just don’t know how some people can be so incredibly cruel. They must be born that way, because after being treated like that it makes me NEVER want to treat anyone like that.

  • Reply
    Terri Beavers
    February 10, 2018 at 6:03 pm

    I was in a bad situation with a terrible boss once. I really don’t know how I survived other than lots of prayers and an open door in another office.

    • Reply
      February 11, 2018 at 2:07 am

      Hi Terri, I totally understand how you feel! Looking back I’m not sure how I survived. I’m thankful we both found ways out. Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply
    February 10, 2018 at 11:55 pm

    I’m so glad you we’re able to walk away from that situation as the bigger person. I had a horrible boss once and will never forget that experience. Thank you for all these tips. They are helpful!

    • Reply
      February 11, 2018 at 2:06 am

      Thanks for commenting, Ann! I’m sorry you had a bad experience too. Here’s to better luck in the future!

  • Reply
    February 11, 2018 at 6:35 am

    Oh my goodness, I’m so sorry you had to deal with such a shitty employer! I like the text you sent her, and I’m glad you’re not longer there! Here’s to more positivity in the future. x

  • Reply
    February 11, 2018 at 3:14 pm

    I completely agree with your take: be professional, always, and don’t stoop to their level. Take the lessons from it and go on to do better things. Have faith, no matter what. We’ve all been there, thanks for sharing your story.

  • Reply
    February 11, 2018 at 4:13 pm

    Great post girl! I was in a similar position. Once I was working in a store next to my studies and my boss loved to talk bad to us, yelling at times and blaiming us for things we never did. It was horrible and you never knew what to expect the next day. And then, once I was also in a horrible position with co-workers and bosses who were extremely controlling. I can feel ya! Now I do have a great boss, well actually a few things are changing. I am self-employed and soon I’ll have two jobs (37 hours in total) and the rest self-employed. It looks like the new boss is amazing too. I think your tips do help. What I can add: if it’s really not your fault and the boss is only blaming you, tell him/her something like” That’s what you think.” Point it out, that it’s their way to see it but it might not be the truth.

  • Reply
    Erika Ravnsborg
    February 12, 2018 at 4:53 pm

    Good on you. I have had horrible bosses too so I know exactly how you feel.

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