Blue cup of cappuccino with a sad face drawn with cocoa powder on its milk foam, on a blue rustic table.
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Bad boss getting you down? You’re not alone

24 Sep 2020

In a survey of those who had worked for a bad boss, people said they stayed because they needed the salary, hoped things would get better, or because they liked the job.

If you’ve ever had a bad boss, you’ll know just how difficult it can make your working day. Some of the typical traits of a bad boss can include not giving teams enough praise or recognition, showing a lack of interest in colleagues, failing to offer meaningful feedback and poor communication.

ResumeLab recently surveyed more than 1,000 people in the US who had at some point worked for a “terrible manager”. Participants shared their experiences of how long they had stayed working for a bad boss and how it made them feel at the time.

The obvious answer if you’re dealing with a tricky situation like this might be to quit your job. But this may not be possible for everyone due to personal, financial or career reasons.

Nearly half (47pc) of the survey respondents said they had stayed in the job for one to two years, while just 11pc stayed for more than five. Three-quarters said they stayed because they needed the salary, 73pc said they hoped things would get better, and 62pc said they liked the job and colleagues.

If you’re looking to resolve issues at work instead of leaving, communication is an option worth trying. More than a third (35pc) said they went to their HR department, and 52pc of those reported that it helped the situation.

However, most respondents (64pc) tried to avoid contact with their boss as much as possible and 45pc of the people who tried this said it helped. Many also cited self-care after work as a way to improve mood and wellbeing, and more than half of these (60pc) said it had the desired effect.

In total, 50pc of the people who took the survey said they had eventually made the decision to quit and 83pc of them were “very happy with their decision”.

ResumeLab infographic on the impacts of having a bad boss.

Click to enlarge. Infographic: ResumeLab

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Lisa Ardill
By Lisa Ardill

Lisa Ardill joined Silicon Republic as senior careers reporter in July 2019. She has a BA in neuroscience and a master’s degree in science communication. She is also a semi-published poet and a big fan of doggos. Lisa briefly served as Careers Editor at Silicon Republic before leaving the company in June 2021.

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