By: Ann Redus (UTSA)
Follow Ann on Twitter
I think at some point throughout your lifetime, you’ll work for one of those bosses who is just a complete asshole. You love your coworkers, your pay, and the company you work for, but your boss is keeping you from having the highest quality of life possible. Figures, right? Because things just can’t ever be easy.
First of all, I’d like to make it clear that this is not necessarily the situation I’m in, but how about we just assume that it is. So let’s say I’ve been working for a company for almost two years. I have spent more time with my coworkers over those two years than with my immediate family. I have adapted – chameleon style – to every demand asked of me, I provide excellent customer service, and I have managed to maintain a certain amount of hours each month so I can financially plan out what I can save for (summer school, books, rent, etc.) and for bills I pay (groceries, cell phone, gas, etc.). Oh yeah, and not to mention it’s all while attending school full time. Then – it happens – POOF. There goes the bulk of my part time job. To go from working 25 hours a week to 12 hours a week is a HUGE pay cut in college speak. I mean, if I get $10 an hour then that means I would get roughly $250 every week, and now a pitiful $120 a week? What a joke. I wouldn’t even be able to drive my 13 year old, gas-guzzling SUV 25 miles every other day to my job, while commuting to school, on that kind of pay check. Looks like it’s time for a bike.
So what if you feel as though this recent cut in hours is due to a person problem? As a young adult and student, I think that people my age don’t get a lot of respect or credit from their elders, especially bosses, because they’re under the assumption (and we ALL know what assuming does, right?) that all college students are lazy and good for nothing. Wrong. I’m pretty sure a lot of us work our asses off through college, especially during these times. I would rather run across the Autobahn naked than ask my parents for money. The thought of it gives me chills. So how do you handle a bad boss? There are two VERY important lessons to be learned from situations like this…
Okay, again, let’s pretend I’m in this situation, and my boss has completely wiped me off the schedule one day this week just because, and I’m just now finding out. So I can:
A. Go medieval on his ass. Storm into his office and demand an explanation that he really doesn’t owe me because, honestly, who the fuck am I to him… “The dumb, part-timer whose Dad got her this job.”
B. Call him from my desk, fuming with anger. I could then proceed to tell him that I think he has some sort of personal problem with me and that his decision to cut my hours is absolute bullshit. Or I can,
C. Take a minute to breathe, step out the office, and chill out before I have a certified freak out that will consequently lead to me getting permanently terminated, and thinking about it – I’m lucky to even have a job in this economy.
Correct answer: C
Lesson #1: Don’t action irrationally. Take a step back to think all the way through your approach before acting upon it.
Now what? My paycheck has still been slaughtered, my boss is still an asshole, and I now have more free time than I even know what to do with, and without money. Definitely an all time low. When I see him at work I want to spit, but I have options:
A. I can actually spit on him. That way he knows how I really feel about him and my coworkers can see me at my classiest. That’ll get me some respect and taken out by security FOR SURE.
B. If he wants to be a dick to me, I can be a ten times bigger bitch than he could ever fathom. Good luck getting me to do ANYTHING that is even the slightest bit outside of my job description. Chameleon? No more, my friend. Or I can,
C. Take the high road, and refuse to stoop to his level. This job isn’t worth having a HUGE gap on my resume where “WORK EXPERIENCE” would have been. All I can do is smile. I’ll make sure he can see my pearly whites AT. ALL. TIMES. So much that I hope he dreams about them.
Correct answer: C
Lesson #2: When dealing with a boss who could give two shits about you, act like that’s exactly what you want. Smile and move on. This probably isn’t the last time you’ll have a boss like this. You adapt and continue.
If done properly, these lessons can save your job from yourself in situations such as these. I am aware of my tendency to go off on people without really thinking about what I say or do before it’s too late, and creating self-awareness is especially important in the workplace. Of course, as you get into the realm of a “real job,” the lessons regarding behavior toward bad bosses will be a little different, but this is from the perspective of a part-time employee whose plan isn’t to do this job for the rest of their life.
A great friend of mine told me once that words are like toothpaste in the tube. Once you squeeze the toothpaste out of the tube you can’t get it back in again. The same goes for words; once it’s been said, you can’t take it back.