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How to Deal with a Mean Boss

Sadly, into each life at least one mean, nasty, low-down, no-good boss must fall. When it’s your turn, you’ll want these survival tips.


  • Step 1: Limit contact Avoid contact with your boss—if you see him down the hall, duck into the nearest file room; if you spy him headed toward your cubicle, pick up the phone and pantomime that you’ll get back to him.
  • TIP: If you and the boss are the same sex, note his bathroom routine—most people have one—so you don’t have to endure awkward stall-to-stall or sink-to-sink encounters.
  • Step 2: Volunteer for work trips Maximize your time away from the office—and, therefore, him—by being the first to volunteer when it’s announced that someone needs to check up on operations in Lapland.
  • TIP: Schedule time off so that it never, ever coincides with his time off—that way you’ll get twice the break from him.
  • Step 3: Perfect your acting skills When your boss is being a jerk, remain serene and polite—even if your head is about to explode. There’s nothing that annoys a bully more than someone who won’t rise to his taunts.
  • Step 4: Make him sound like a slacker Whenever anyone is looking for him, act as if you’re trying to cover for him. Everyone will assume he’s guilty of something and feel sorry for you. Apologize for his unreliability.
  • Step 5: Keep a paper trail Keep written proof of everything you do so the boss can’t take credit for your work.
  • Step 6: Report him File an anonymous report with Personnel, citing his 'unreasonable' computer use for personal business. You won’t even be lying—if he’s like the vast majority of Americans, he wastes over two hours a day on non-work-related nonsense.
  • Step 7: Suck up to superiors Make yourself known to your boss’s superiors. Most mean bosses get their due sooner or later, and you want to be in a position to ascend the ladder—or at least not be fired.
  • FACT: According to a recent survey, 39% of bosses don’t keep their word; 37% don’t give credit where it is due; and 27% badmouth those they supervise to coworkers.

You Will Need

  • Cunning
  • Suck-up skills
  • Some little white lies

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