I joined the corporate industry in 2006 fresh out of university, ready and excited to begin a career. I was keen to work hard, contribute to a team environment and give 100% to becoming a successful professional.
Unfortunately, throughout those years I came across several bosses who affected my motivation. When you are working with a negative person, particularly someone in a managerial role, their behaviour can affect your confidence and belief in your own abilities.
I experienced a range of negative bosses, including:
The ‘put down boss’. No matter how hard I worked and how long I spent perfecting projects, it was never good enough in their eyes.
The ‘copyright-stealing boss’. This boss pressured me to finish deadlines on time and then presented my work as their own to senior staff. Sometimes, this boss even changed the author of the document to themselves to ensure they received all the credit!
The ‘manipulative boss’. This boss had a subtle influence over the team, which caused a competitive environment as my colleagues and I constantly felt the need to seek their approval.
The ‘bitchy boss’. This boss enjoyed embarrassing me in front of other staff. Not only did they offer patronising comments about my work performance, but they also insulted what I wore and how I looked.
What I learned from working with these negative people was that their behaviour was not personal. Even though it was directed at me, the cause of such behaviour largely stemmed from their insecurities.
Despite experiences with the bosses mentioned above, I have also worked for several amazing bosses who were inspiring and encouraged me to develop my strengths. Some people are born leaders and enjoy helping their staff grow. Others are not suited to leadership.
After seven years of job hopping and emotional roller-coasters, I eventually realised my health and happiness should be my first priority and no career is worth sacrificing these. I quit the corporate industry to become a holistic health coach, and my own boss.
What I now say to my clients in similar situations is that you have to recognise and believe in your self-worth.
The following six tips can help:
- Write a list of your strengths and achievements. Allow yourself to reflect back on these and remind yourself, after a hard day in the office, what you are truly capable of.
- Acknowledge how your boss or colleague makes you feel. Think about what it’s doing to your health. Suppressing your emotions just to get on with your job will increase stress and affect your mental well-being.
- Is it worth it? Weigh up whether the job you’re in is really worth what you are going through. Are you doing what you love? Does this job make you happy (aside from the negative influence of your manager)?
- Report it. Any form of bullying or harassment should be reported to the appropriate senior staff or HR department. It is their responsibility to manage the health and safety of their employees, but your responsibility to make yourself heard.
- Confide in a friend. A problem shared is a problem halved so lift the weight from your shoulders by confiding in someone you trust.
- Seek outside guidance from an advice or careers centre. They can offer professional advice on your employment situation.