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7 Tips for Dealing with a Nightmarish Boss - Office Politics

7 Tips for Dealing with a Nightmarish Boss – Office Politics

Coming soon to an office near you: a nightmarish tale of woe, power trips and mandatory Saturdays. A horrific journey through unreasonable expectations and endless TPS reports. Tread carefully, or you might find yourself face-to-face with…


Sound familiar? Do you have one of those bosses who completely changes the dynamic of the office whenever they’re around? Have you identified the sound of them entering the building and developed an almost Pavlovian sense of dread as a result?

It turns out you might not be alone. In fact, apparently bosses are four times more likely to exhibit psychopathic behavior than the average individual. If you find yourself stuck dealing with a boss straight out of a horror film, here are seven tips to make the experience a little less frightening.

Deep Breaths
The first thing to remember about a nightmarish boss is that they are, unfortunately, still the boss. No matter how badly you might want to tell them off, they’re still signing the checks. office politicsSo, for the time being at least, you’re required to be the better person and stay rational. Don’t let them ruffle you into saying or doing something that costs you your job; remember to take deep breaths, stay calm and leave the room if you have to. Whatever strategy works best for you, use it well to keep your composure.

Work Remotely
Sometimes the easiest way to deal with a bad situation is just to remove yourself from it entirely. And no, I don’t mean inexplicably running to the roof with no way to escape. If your boss is a constant terror around the office, why not work somewhere else? Luckily, with workplaces increasingly shifting away from traditional work hours and environments, working outside the office has never been easier.

Headphones Are Your Friend
As a music junkie, I never come to work without my ear buds, and Spotify is always open on my laptop. In the world of horror flicks, having headphones on and being oblivious to your surroundings is a surefire ticket to a quick, unexpected demise. However, in the working world, headphones can help mitigate some of the stress that comes from constantly listening to your nightmarish boss prowling around the office. Even if the venom isn’t directed at you, it can still be unnerving to hear. So when appropriate, drown it out with your favorite jams or relaxing tunes.

Prove Yourself (to Them)
Over time, you might find that one of your boss’s more nightmarish tendencies is always harping on some menial task or relatively unimportant part of your job that’s never done quickly or efficiently enough for their liking. It becomes their go-to point of complaint regardless of your accomplishments. However, if you make that task a priority and constantly deliver it ahead of schedule and at a high level, you can take away their complaint, effectively proving yourself to them and getting them off your back. Every great movie villain has an Achilles’ heel.

Misery Loves Company
Even if you’re convinced that your boss is some sort of psychopath, there’s always that nagging question in your mind: Is it me? Are they really that bad or am I overreacting? This is where it pays to commiserate with your coworkers. If you’re really worried that you’re the odd one out, spend some time listening to the scuttlebutt (thank you, Dwight Schrute) around the office. If your boss is as nightmarish as you think, it shouldn’t be long before you overhear some complaints. Few things are as cathartic as a nice long vent session over lunch with your team, regardless of whether the topic is your boss or a plan to survive the zombie apocalypse.

Visit HR
Sometimes the only way to survive a brush with terror is to rely on the grizzled veteran, the guy who’s “seen it all” and can lend their expertise to your plight. After all, even bosses have standards they’re expected to live up to. If you feel that your particularly nightmarish boss is going beyond the realm of jerkdom and into abusive territory, don’t be afraid to pay HR a visit. If nothing else, they will have suggestions of how to properly handle your problems. And you’ll successfully shed some light on your boss’s evil ways.

Know When Enough is Enough
Unfortunately, some bosses are simply too much to handle, and just like the horror villain, they always find a way to come back for sequel after sequel. While the situation may not always allow for it, sometimes the only solution is to cut your losses and find new employment.

I’m not going to lie to you and say your job is always going to be something you enjoy. But if you’re in a consistently upsetting, stressful and denigrating environment, you owe it to yourself to consider making a change. For every nightmarish boss out there, there’s a positive, inspirational and uplifting one waiting to give you a shot if you can earn it. Don’t be afraid to go find them!

Have you ever had a brush with the boss of your nightmares? Share your stories here, and we can help you troubleshoot the horror!