Love Your Job—but Hate Your Boss?

Advice for employees who want to keep their jobs but would rather lose their managers.

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GL Hoffman
When my editor at U.S. News suggested I write on this topic, I felt as if she had just asked me to clean the garage with the Winnebago still parked inside—I can do it, but don't expect a decent job (in 250 words or less).

Yet employees are being asked to clean their garage (their job) with the Winnebago (bad boss) still inside. It's no wonder "bad boss" is cited as the No. 1 reason people quit their jobs. Doing a good job is hard enough without having such obstacles.

During these tough economic and jobless times, most of us don't have the real option of quitting when we hate our bosses. We need the job.

Here are three things anyone can do in this situation:

1. Write a journal about it. A friend of mine knew a woman dealing with this issue at her job, and his advice to her was to journal what happened whenever her boss upset her. Rereading the entries at a later, less emotional time helped her gain perspective.

2. Analyze your own self. How's your attitude, your own work habits? Can you improve the situation by doing better yourself? As a boss myself, I know I happen to like those employees who do better, more than those who don't. In other words, make your boss love your performance.

3. If you do Nos. 1 and 2, and you still hate the boss, then you have two remaining options—discuss it openly with him (first), then with HR, and/or prepare your exit strategy.

G.L. Hoffman is a serial entrepreneur and venture investor/operator/incubator/mentor. Two of his companies have traveled the entire success path from the garage to IPO. Currently, he is chairman of JobDig, and his blog can be found at WhatWouldDadSay.com or at JobDig.com.