Your boss might be your superior at work, but if there’s one thing I want you to know straight away, it’s that a superior position doesn’t give anyone the right to treat you poorly.
I speak from experience. When I studied at university, I had plenty of jobs where I was shouted at, disrespected, and manipulated, and while I wouldn’t wish some of my previous bosses on my worst enemy, I have learned one important lesson: I am in charge of my life.
And you are, too. If you tolerate these 8 behaviors from your boss, not only do you lack self-respect but you also deserve so much better.
1) Your boss disrespects your work-life balance
In one of my previous jobs, my boss constantly asked me to come to work on my off days.
It got to the point when I had to mute his calls and pretend I didn’t hear them because I couldn’t suffer another back-and-forth of “Can you come in for at least two hours?”.
Another boss of mine only ever sent me the rota for the following week on a Sunday evening, which meant that I couldn’t plan any outings with friends beforehand. What’s more, I wasn’t even sure if I was going to work the next day until the rota landed in my messages.
If you’re in a similar situation, I want you to know that you shouldn’t have to establish new work-life balance boundaries – your boss should be respectful of your time and energy in the first place – but sometimes, it’s precisely what you’ve got to do.
Your off days are sacred. Unpaid overtime is an atrocity. You deserve to have a life independent from your job.
As the singer-songwriter Dolly Parton once said, “Don’t get so busy making a living that you forget to make a life.”
2) Your boss takes you for granted
Your boss shouldn’t just respect your time outside of work – they should also appreciate the effort and energy you put into your day-to-day performance.
No matter what kind of job you have, you show up almost every day to perform a specific action that contributes to the economy. The least your boss can do is show their appreciation and offer some incentives from time to time.
If you work hard and your boss still takes you for granted, it means you lack self-respect purely because you don’t recognize your own worth.
Not every boss is the same. Not every job is built on the same principles. If you’re not appreciated here, you will be elsewhere.
3) Your boss micromanages you all the time
Look, you’re not a child. Some bosses tend to forget that.
Studies show that flexibility increases productivity at work. Employees who have flexible working hours work more and report higher satisfaction than those who don’t.
This is partly due to the fact that many people want to preserve their own sense of autonomy. We feel much more motivated when we have a certain amount of freedom to invest our time and effort into our careers in ways most suitable to us.
If your boss micromanages you, you might not perform at your optimal level because you feel like someone’s constantly looking over your shoulder, limiting your sense of agency.
You are an adult. You deserve to be treated as such. Remember that.
4) Your boss gaslights you
I used to have a housekeeping boss who regularly gaslit me to the point when I doubted my own reality.
When I hoovered a certain room, she would come in, find one tiny spot in the corner, point to it, and say, “You didn’t hoover this room, did you?”
When I insisted that I had, in fact, hoovered, I’d probably just missed that particular speck of dust, she called me a liar.
Yeah, it wasn’t the best. In fact, it was probably the most manipulative boss I’d ever had, and the fact that I suffered her manipulation for so long only showed how much self-respect I lacked.
If your boss twists the narrative against you all the time, undermines you, and makes you doubt your own memories… it’s a completely disrespectful and manipulative behavior on their part.
You’re not to blame.
5) Your boss spreads rumors about you
You’d think that adult workplaces aren’t like high schools, right?
That people don’t spread rumors about each other and don’t form silent alliances, right?
Unfortunately, not all adults act their age. And if you have a boss who likes to manipulate people in order to gain a sense of control, they might spread rumors about you to undermine your authority.
The manipulative boss I mentioned? She was exactly like that. She’d gossip, put people against each other, and twist everyone’s words just to cause drama.
But you’re not here to put on a theatre play. You’re here to work.
If your boss turns your workplace into a site of drama, badmouthing you behind your back, don’t forget that their behavior is completely unprofessional and wrong.
There are plenty of amazing bosses out there who will respect you and act like adults.
6) Your boss steals your ideas
Just because someone’s your boss doesn’t mean that they get to take credit for your ideas.
It’s honestly not that hard to say, “Hey, Craig came up with X and I think it’s fantastic, so let’s all try to brainstorm for a bit to take his idea to the next level.”
If your boss passes your ideas as their own, it means they don’t have the confidence and maturity to give credit where credit is due.
Not only that but it’s also a blatant display of disrespect. Don’t tolerate that kind of treatment.
If it’s possible for you to do so, have a talk with your boss or find a boss who will appreciate your efforts.
7) Your boss is verbally abusive
It goes without saying that a boss who insults you, shouts at you, and talks down to you is someone no one should have to work for.
I suffered my own share of verbal abuse before I finally switched jobs, and when I realized I’d never have to interact with my previous boss again, I felt a great deal of relief.
Even if your boss is angry, it’s not okay to shout at another human being like that, least of all in a professional setting.
Of course, physical abuse is also an absolute dealbreaker, and what’s more, it places you in a dangerously vulnerable position. If you’re in a situation of this kind, reach out for help and try to remove yourself from the situation as soon as possible.
You can find another job. Your physical and mental well-being is of the utmost importance here.
8) Your boss refuses to address your concerns
Some of the behaviors described above can be fixed if you have a talk with your boss and see them actively try to improve.
For instance, they could put in the effort to respect your work-life balance more, to show you appreciation, and to stop micromanaging you all the time.
However, some bosses struggle to change while others might even refuse to do so from the get-go.
If that’s the case, I want you to know that there are better jobs out there. When I was stuck in my housekeeping job with a manipulative boss, I didn’t think I could find anything better – partly because my boss told me so.
But I did. With every new job, my work environment got more professional and calmer, and I now have an amazing job I wouldn’t trade for the world.
You deserve so much more than a boss who doesn’t respect you.
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