Disclaimer: All characters who bear resemblances to those living or dead are probably not coincidental. Bato bato sa langit :)
Bosses come in all shapes and sizes. There are ones that encourage your mediocrity, ones that become your mentor in more ways than one, and then there are the ones who were born with the numbers 666 tattooed on their skull.
Of course, we all hope that we never encounter the latter, even outside the workplace, but alas, not all of us luck out. If your worklife were a fairy tale, this type of boss would be the wicked witch, the demented fairy godmother, the troll under the bridge. But guess what? You, the hero, will always win. This type of boss is a rite of passage–not an excuse to cop out and quit, especially if you’re doing something you love. Instead of wallowing in anger and self-pity, you might even end up being grateful–thanks to them, you have been baptized by fire, forged in iron, and sharpened by circumstance. You go, Glen Coco.
For those of you who will hopefully never encounter bosses who have the EQ of common household ferns, here are some of the most important, if not basic, things I’ve learned:
This is so basic that most people end up neglecting it: RESPECT. Respect for yourself and your position are all well and good, but respect for other people, their time, and their work, are vital not just in the workplace but in all aspects of life.
Fan ba po kayo ni Alanis? Peg nyo ba ang Ironic? No one (sane) will respect you if you expect your staff to be in the office by 8am when you come waltzing in at lunch and leave by 4pm.
Learning to stand up for yourself against authority may just be one of the hardest things you will need to learn how to do, more so standing up for other people. It’s easy to throw someone under the bus, but wouldn’t you rather be the one that pulls them out of the way?
Everyone gets lazy, but there is a right time and place for everything. It’s okay to have an off day–the trick is not to let your laziness turn into complacency. If something doesn’t get done, get it done yourself. If you end up doing it wrong, you’ll still come out smelling like roses for getting it done, period, as compared to everyone else who didn’t bother to take initiative.
This goes double for people who are in sales positions! You are put in teams for a reason. Bad managers will try to pit you against each other, even threaten to remove you from position, if you don’t do better than somebody else. Honey, the only person you should be competing with is who you were yesterday. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
Always, always, always read your contract carefully. Know exactly what your job description is. If you’re asked to perform other tasks, your knee-jerk reaction might be to agree if only to earn extra brownie points. Consider first if you can actually deliver; if you can, well and good. But don’t be afraid to tell them if you can’t, or aren’t comfortable. You’ll only be compromising the quality of your work, so focus on your strengths. If your boss gives you hell for declining, you can always nicely point out your contract and job description.
As the cliché goes, “Words, once said, are difficult to take back,” or something like that. Criticisms, reprimands, conversations, even off-hand comments made when you don’t think anyone else is listening, have the power to completely destroy an employee. A minor difference in phrasing or a kind word here or there have the power to turn a team from dissent to productivity.
People who aren’t the brightest crayons in the box tend to overcompensate–they use big words in the wrong context, make things up to impress, but most annoyingly, they will put you down to make themselves feel better about themselves. Approach these people as you would wild animals: slowly, quietly, with a hand outstretched so they can get familiar with your scent. Make your life, as well as everyone else’s, easier. It pays to keep things simple and direct.
Go forth and conquer your Goliath!