Do’s and Don’ts of Dealing With a Bad Boss

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by Randall S. Hansen, Ph.D.

How do you deal with a bad boss? Read our article, Dealing With a Bad Boss, and follow these general rules and guidelines for coping with a bad or ineffective boss.

  • Do act professionally in all situations.
  • Don’t reduce your productivity, feign illness, or otherwise compromise your job.
  • Do find a mentor — within or outside the organization. Read more.
  • Don’t confront your boss in an emotionally-charged rant.
  • Do consider scheduling a meeting with your boss to discuss ways your boss could change his/her behavior.
  • Don’t go to the boss of your boss, except as a last resort.
  • Do find an outlet to vent your frustrations and anger, but don’t do it with co-workers.
  • Don’t expect your boss to change — or at least change overnight.
  • Do watch for opportunities to transfer to another department within the company.
  • Don’t simply try and block out all the bad behavior; doing so will impact your physical and mental health.
  • Do use your network to keep abreast of better opportunities outside the company. And do have your resume up-to-date and ready to send out.
  • Do evaluate your performance on the job and consider ways to improve your behavior, but don’t blame yourself for a bad boss.
  • Don’t think you are alone in having a bad boss; several studies suggest that many of us have to deal with a bad boss at one time or another in our careers.
  • Do consider keeping a journal that documents all the bad behavior of your boss.
  • Don’t sacrifice your health of self-esteem by staying in the job for the sake of a job. Do consider quitting your job — even if you don’t have a new job lined up — if continuing to work for your bad boss is likely to permanently damage your career.
  • Do continue to document all your accomplishments.

Questions about some of the terminology used in this article? Get more information (definitions and links) on key college, career, and job-search terms by going to our Job-Seeker’s Glossary of Job-Hunting Terms. Founder Dr. Randall Hansen Dr. Randall S. Hansen is founder of Quintessential Careers, one of the oldest and most comprehensive career development sites on the Web, as well CEO of He is also founder of and He is publisher of Quintessential Careers Press, including the Quintessential Careers electronic newsletter, QuintZine. Dr. Hansen is also a published author, with several books, chapters in books, and hundreds of articles. He’s often quoted in the media and conducts empowering workshops around the country. Finally, Dr. Hansen is also an educator, having taught at the college level for more than 15 years. Visit his personal Website or reach him by email at randall(at) Check out Dr. Hansen on GooglePlus.

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