Tuesday, December 19, 2006

How to Escape from a Terrible Boss

by Barry Lenson

I've had some horrible bosses over the years. I bet have you have had some too. My personal life list includes a control freak, a classic bully and a "Jekyll and Hyde" lady who was my best friend one day and a screaming monster the next.

Why did I put up with these people? Because I needed a paycheck and I couldn't just walk out the door. But I finally did escape. If I did it, you can too.

Here are some strategies that can help you keep moving toward your own goals, even if your boss is a psychopath, a tyrant, or worse.

Step One: Stick to the Higher Ground

No matter how hard your boss tries to derail you, maintain an excellent attitude and a strong professional image. Never let the quality of your work slip. Other people in your organization will notice your professionalism - in fact, they will notice it even more because you have an awful boss. Just be sure to take Step Two too . . .

Step Two: Be Patient

Your boss isn't only making life miserable for you. The bad stuff he or she is throwing around is also angering company leaders, colleagues, clients, suppliers and lots of other people. If you are patient, your boss will probably get the boot a lot faster than you realize. (Unless he is the brother of the CEO, in which case you should move immediately to Step Four.) And then you will be well positioned to move up, provided that you make sure to follow Step Three . . .

Step Three: Increase Your Exposure

Don't let your boss hide your excellence. Find ways to work with people from other departments. Volunteer for interdepartmental projects and task forces. If opportunities like that are scarce in your company, start a community outreach program, a charity drive or another initiative that gets you working next to people from other divisions. When they notice how good you are, they will come looking for you when an opportunity arises in their sectors. But the most important thing to do is follow Step Four . . .

Step Four: Plan Your Escape!

Don't just fantasize about giving your boss notice and walking out the door. Even if you need that paycheck now, start making plans to chart your own life by starting a company, buying one, entering into a high-tech partnership - whatever your dream may be.

Planning your future today, aggressively, can help you keep your head on straight, even if you are laboring under a terrible boss.