Lessons to Learn from Horrible Bosses

…submit yourself to your masters with all respect,
not only to those who are good and considerate, but also to those who are harsh.
For it is commendable if a man bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because he is conscious of God.
1 Peter 2:18-19

     It was ironic, right? There I stood at the movie theatre this Summer with my husband looking up at the Kiosk with a banner advertising a new movie called “Horrible Bosses”. It put me into a sweet, semi-guilt free giggle. I had just been “let go” from a five year journey with my last boss. OK, I confess. I felt the rise of my flesh and took a picture of that darn kiosk. There were banners everywhere for this upcoming release. You might think it was the best movie coming as there were innumerable posters. I don’t even remember what we actually went to see that day, so you can see the state of mind I was in. I was wounded.  I have never been “fired”  before but, I am sure most will agree, it is not a fun experience.

     Two Disclaimers: 1. I have not seen this movie, nor is this post written to encourage anyone to see this movie. The movie itself is irrelevant. It was the title of the movie that confronted my psyche that day and this is the focus of the post. 2. I have to say I have worked for some amazing bosses who were generous, patient and gracious as well as savvy business people.
*Fair warning: This post is not about these bosses.

    In honor of Horrible Bosses everywhere and especially in light of my recent experience getting the shaft, as well as for all those who have ever had experience with a Horrible Boss, I have some lessons to share which may benefit ALL parties involved. Here are some Red Flags, not to ignore when you see them, so you are not surprised when the excrement finally “hits the fan”. It will. People are who they are all the time. Maybe that’s the biggest lesson of all. There is no such thing as Personal and Professional realms. That is a secular load of garbage. Don’t buy it. When you look in the mirror you see who you are ALL THE TIME. I have hit this in another post (probably multiple posts) since my own former boss reflected on our professional “incompatibility” and decided to cut me loose.

The Boss Who Hits On You: I experienced this early in my career. Actually this never can work out for long. It goes along with dating the boss or a client. It’s a big NO. Even when you think you have a handle on it.  I noticed these incidents seemed to be more prevalent when I was younger and new in the field of fitness, before sexual harassment and the Anita Hill scandal. It has nothing to do with who you are but is reflective of the character of the one in the position of power. One of my former bosses is currently in prison for murdering his girlfriend. I can remember two things about working for him. He seemed to target young, inexperienced girls to work for him. He was extremely manipulative and an expert deceiver. If you have a boss or client who makes an inappropriate advance, best to put them in their place, fast. Or run.

The Boss Who is Impossible To Please: If you find yourself feeling inadequate and like you can never measure up to the expectation, or the expectations keep changing, be prepared for the fun (not) ride. Working for this boss is like riding a roller coaster. Be prepared for jolts, whiplash and sudden turns. One day you are their Creme De Le Creme, the next you are chopped liver. The ups and down of this relationship are like an amusement park ride gone awry. The quicker this ride ends the better. One of my former employers had their business shut down due to mismanagement.

The Boss Who Thinks That They Are God: They are a god in their own mind and ultimately they serve themselves. This is the worst kind to have because they are usually very successful and are excellent at dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s. They know how to cover their tracks as to keep up proper appearances and above all, appear professional. These bosses could be actors and actresses, they are so good at theatrics. With all false gods the theme becomes sacrifice and compromise-both at your cost. The danger with this relationship, is once you have served their purpose- they dispose of you. One of my former leaders decided one of the new staff needed to be fired and I would need to deliver the news. Not being of the same mind-set, I convinced them to allow me to work with the young trainer on the targeted areas of improvement for a season. This particular person became one of our biggest assets and a wonderful Personal Trainer.

     So, where is God in all this you ask? Oh, He has been with me all along. He has guided me on this journey and continues to. The reality is wherever we are, we bring the light of the Lord with us. Some may not like that. Some may accept it for a season and then reject it. One of my former Boss’s claimed that they had their own Gospel. I know that in the end I am accountable to Him. I know that no matter how horrible a boss I have, it is God’s will that at the time I am employed by another, I must do all as unto Him. However, when there is ethical compromise, lack of integrity or outright abuse, you can be sure that God will have me hightailed right out of that situation. He promises.

    In conclusion, it is always possible to glorify God in your work place. He cannot be unfaithful. If we seek to do His will He will guide us. In the end, we can trust him to deal with those who deal with us unjustly. We only need to trust Him.
The eyes of the Lord are everywhere, keeping watch on the wicked and good.
Proverbs 15: 3 

 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. On the contrary:
“If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”
Romans 12:18-20

As you reflect on the many (or any) bosses you may have had, can you think of any thing redeemable from your experience?
If so, please share in a comment about it and what you have learned!

Published by enthusiasticallydawn

Dawn Paoletta is the author of Journaling for Discovery and Delight. Her writing is included in several anthologies and her poems have been included in the Wickford Poetry and Art Exhibit and Books. Dawn is currently working on her next book. Inquiries at dawn.paoletta@gmail.com

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