Many of us at times have had to work for a horrible boss. The boss that takes credit for every idea you come up with, the boss who is never around when you need them, the boss that thinks they know everything and especially the boss that places blame on his subordinates when things go wrong. Certain bosses can make going to work a living nightmare. In the cleared space, many times contractors have bosses that are government employees with a predetermined annoyance for contractors who are likely making more money than they are. There are so many scenarios I’m sure I haven’t covered all of them, but I hope to give some advice on how to deal with horrible boss that might make your situation a little easier to deal with.

Take Stock of Your Role

Do you really have a bad boss, or are you just a poor employee? Just for a second take a look in the mirror and decide if your horrible boss has a good reason to react the way they do. If you show up to work late, do sloppy work or cannot get along with your coworkers, it turns out you might not have a horrible boss. You may in fact be a horrible employee, in which case it is time to take stock of what you are doing to contribute to the situation. If this is the case, and you can humble yourself to the point where you see the error in your ways, pull your boss aside and try to work out your differences. Find ways you can improve and see if the situation with your “horrible boss” doesn’t just solve itself.

Don’t Let it Affect the Quality of Your Work

This is one tip that is probably the hardest of them all. When you work in a workplace that is not safe and peaceful, it can have a really negative effect on the quality of your work. You may not want to be at work, PTO usage might climb, deadlines get missed and the quality of your work suffers. If your work quality starts to suffer because you have a horrible boss, take a step back and figure out a way you can continue doing quality work while dealing with a bad boss. Is there an area of the office space that you can get away to and focus on work more? Find that space and figure out a way to remain productive. In most situations, unfortunately, we can’t change who our boss is, but we can push forward and do our best.

Set Clear Expectations and Boundaries

If your boss is the kind who is on you all day at work and when you get home and want to relax, that needs to change. In some cases, you can’t change that, but you can try. Setting boundaries and expectation about how you want to be treated is a fair thing. In today’s society it is important to set boundaries, especially where the boss is of the opposite sex. You deserve to be treated well, and in the case that your boundaries are being broken, this is grounds to go to the HR department and make a formal complaint.  Every employee should have an initial meeting with their boss when they come on board. This doesn’t always happen, but in the case where it does, ensure you let your boss know when you can and can’t be contacted. Surely you don’t want your boss thinking they can call you all weekend long or after hours. It is ok to set boundaries and expect that they are respected.

Pay Attention to What Makes them Tick

Is there a certain scenario in which your boss always flies off the handle? Avoid that situation with all your might! If you don’t know what triggers your boss and their tirades or bad attitudes, start paying closer attention and take note. If there is a way you can defuse the situation before it escalates it, do it! You might find that turning your horrible boss into an ok boss is easier than you think. Your coworkers will want to know what you know and you can help them find ways to handle the boss too.

Lastly, when you interview with a company, chances are you will meet the boss in the interview. Ask questions, try to get an idea of how they manage personnel and projects. It will save you a ton of grief and stress if you avoid taking a job with a horrible boss in the first place.

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Greg Stuart is the owner and editor of He's been a VMware vExpert every year since 2011. Greg enjoys spending time with his wife and 3 kids. He has 20 years of IT experience and currently works as an IT Consultant both in the private and public sector. Greg holds a BS in Information Technology and an MBA degree. He currently resides in Southeast Idaho. You can follow him on Twitter @vDestination, read his blog ( and listen to his podcast (