Vault's Careers Blog

Career advice and job search strategies for the modern careerist

Dealing With The Devil a.ka. The Boss From Hell

with 4 comments

You’re fired!

It’s the catchphrase of everyone’s favorite boss from hell – Donald Trump.   And viewers will be hearing the familiar cry more often when Celebrity Apprentice returns to the airwaves for another season on Sunday, March 14.  While the phrase may hit a little too close to home in this economy, viewers will have no problem watching the likes of Bret Michaels or Sharon Osborne get ridiculed and tossed out of the boardroom on a weekly basis.

But in reality, Bret Michaels will go back to doing whatever Flavor Flav does these days, and Sharon Osborne will find a way to keep her husband relevant for another year or two while thousands of people actually do face a boss from hell each and every day at work.   With the economy only showing slight signs of improvement, these employees are often pushed to the breaking point with no other option available, but to grin and bear it.

In yesterday’s AM-NY, Lucy Cohen Blatter discussed tyrants in the workplace and spoke with Vicki Lynn, vice president of research and consulting at  Vicki went into great detail discussing the types of bosses people encounter on a daily basis and offered solutions on how to deal with them.

For instance, Vicki discusses the “Blunt Object”: a boss who is tough, emotionless and has no work-life balance.  According to Vicki Lynn, these bosses tend to admire those who are more creative, open and flexible. She further states that employees may offer to take on tasks these types of employers don’t like in order to help build a mutually beneficial relationship at work.

Of course, some bosses are just too much to deal with.  Dubbing them “The Cancer,” Vicki Lynn tells AM-NY that these types of bosses are screamers who are nasty, irrational, unreasonable and hard to understand. Her verdict: “Go to HR, but ensure everything you say is held in confidence. These are the people that can ruin your career. You might want to leave,” she offers.

For more on this article, visit amny.

Have an experience with a boss from hell?  Here is your chance to vent and offer advice to others in the same shoes.  Leave a comment and share your story.


4 Responses

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  1. During my younger days, I worked for a screamer at an ice cream shop. No matter how many cakes and cones you made; no matter how clean the store looked, he would find something to yell at you about. It got so bad at one point that a co-worker snapped and punctuated his tirade by throwing a rolled up napkin at him. The argument might have been affective had the rolled-up napkin not opened up in mid-air and slowly flowed to the ground between me and my boss. Now, it turned out my boss wasn’t that bad at all. I eventual discovered a mutual love for basketball and we ended up playing some ball together and discussing the Knicks on a regular basis. He became a lot easier to deal with and when I left the store, he shook my hand and allowed me to keep the dirty, putrid ice cream smelling shirt I had worn for six years. And I did – the hat, too. The moral of the story is to keep communication flowing and you will find something that will douse the flames. It’s a good practice for networking, too.


    March 3, 2010 at 4:00 pm

  2. I worked in a chocolate store with a boss who was the most anal-retentive man I’d ever met. He had a passion for Gay Men’s Chorus and telling you everything you were doing wrong even when the previous day, he may have instructed you otherwise.

    The only time we ever came close to bonding was on a strange father-son type outing. We went to a hardware store to pickup materials to decorate the store for the fall. He told me of his sordid love history and we had a laugh or two.

    When we returned to the store, though, it was business as usual. Following Jon’s final point: the moral of the story is that personality may be a coat you take off once you set foot inside the workplace.


    March 3, 2010 at 5:41 pm

  3. Yelling doesn’t do anything, but turn your employees against you. By allowing them to have the victim label, you create a combative relationship that only hurts the company. The employee no longer feels obligated to go the extra mile for a boss he can’t stand, and instead just does enough to keep his or her job. I had one boss who decided not to yell and in a calm voice tell an employee that he wasn’t mad at them – he was just “disappointed.” That will work every time. The feeling that you let someone down hurts and it actually makes the employee want to try harder next time. You’ll get more from your employees with a cool demeanor and constructive criticism.


    March 4, 2010 at 9:50 am

  4. I once had a boss that did a lot of drugs…and they made him paranoid and erratic. He always thought we were trying to take over his company. I took a leadership class which taught me how to “manage up” when he was focusing on little things (like the floor having a scuff) instead of the important work-related issues (like budgets and clients). It’s amazing how asking the simple question “How can I help RIGHT NOW?” can really focus someone on what they need to get done!


    March 4, 2010 at 10:57 am

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