When the New Boss Ruins Your Work LifeBy Therese Droste, Monster Contributing Writer
For the past few years, your work life has been grand. You like your job, colleagues and paycheck, and the company has generous health, vacation and 401k benefits. If you'd written your own ideal job description, this would be it.
Until recently, when your previous -- not to mention wonderful -- boss left. Her replacement is hell on wheels. Not only does she consistently find fault with your work, but she also makes cutting comments about your personal appearance.
Lately, you've been thinking about leaving but don't want to toss in the towel so easily. Don't -- at least not until you've tried to make the situation better.
So much about job happiness has to do with your boss. And if a beloved boss leaves, not everyone survives the change. New bosses inevitably want to put their brand on the department. If you get off on the wrong foot, however, it doesn't mean you have to leave. There are ways to smooth out a rough transition.
Meet with Your New Boss
Tell her you want to be the best worker you can, and you want to learn her style. What are the top five priorities this boss has for the department? These may be different than your old boss's priorities, so be prepared to switch gears.
Comment on Criticisms
Talk with your boss about her criticisms, but don't get defensive. Try a simple, "I sometimes feel I am not communicating well with you, or I am doing something you disapprove of. I'd appreciate some guidance on how I can provide you with the support you need so you can do your job well." If your boss has serious problems with you, they will most likely come out now.
Put the Boss at Ease
If your new boss is filling some big shoes, chances are she's nervous about it. She may use criticism to mask insecurity. So think of ways to put the new boss at ease. Are you working on a project that she needs to get up to speed on? Write a memo and outline any information you think could help her. Think of ways you could help her, not the other way around.
Get to Know Your New Boss
If possible, ask her to lunch to learn more about her. Think of it as a job interview, because that is virtually what it is. Ask her questions about her past work. Be careful about getting too personal, however. Getting too cozy too soon may lead to trouble. Not to mention that many bosses like to keep a professional veil between themselves and their employees. Listen more than you talk. If you are asked questions, answer them sincerely but carefully. Your new boss is sizing you up as well.
Check Your Attitude
When your new boss came on board, did you act defensively? Did you ever say, "We always do it this way," when she asked you to do something differently? Take the words "can't," "won't," "impossible," along with other negatives, out of your vocabulary when you are asked to do something that hasn't been done in your department before. Unless, of course, the suggestions really can't be done or are illegal.
Leaving your job is a big decision. Then again, life is too short to be miserable 40 hours a week. And you'll be unhappy if you and your new boss have distinctly different work styles and truly can't get along on the job. Just be sure to carefully consider options for making this relationship work for both of you.
Before leaving the company altogether, pay a visit to personnel and find out if there are any other positions available in the company. Remember: You're the one with the proven track record, and they'd be hard-pressed to lose you.