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9 Signs Your Boss Hates You

Worried the boss has a target on your back? Here are some contempt warning signals -- and what you can do about it.

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More than a quarter of managers have an employee they'd love to see leave the firm, according to a 2013 CareerBuilder survey. That's bad news for IT pros, when a long line of job seekers stand ready to take the place of anyone who can't get along with bosses or play nicely with co-workers. But how can you tell if you're on the boss's hit list? These signs spell cause for concern. Consider your options before you address them.

1. You're being ignored. Does the boss suddenly have no time for you? Are meetings cancelled, rescheduled at the last minute, or simply forgotten? Or maybe you're getting no feedback at all. One solution is to approach the boss when s/he has a free moment and express your concerns. (Source: Salary.com.)

2. Mean comments. You're always the target of the boss's jerktastic putdowns. Of course, these venomous jeers and sneers, particularly if targeted at everyone within earshot, may simply be a sign of a horrible manager. But if you're the perennial target of this sort of verbal sadism, it's time to put a stop to it. Options include: quitting; asking the boss to stop; seeking support from HR; or (not recommended) enduring in silence. (Sources: U.S. News and Wall Street Journal.)

3. You always get the nastiest jobs. Routinely assigned menial chores? Scrubbing the toilet, schlepping coffee, making photocopies after hours? If you're not an intern or entry-level minion, menial tasks suggests the boss has a low opinion of your skills -- or s/he assumes you have nothing better to do. (Source: Working Life.)

[Are you interviewing with a bad boss? See 10 IT Job Interview Phrases To Make You Run.]

4. No promotions... ever. You've been doing the same job for a very, very long time. You've demonstrated your abilities, proven you're reliable, responsible, and smart. And yet you're routinely bypassed when new opportunities arise. What's going on? The boss may hate you, of course. Or perhaps s/he benefits by keeping you in your current job, particularly if you're very good at it. That's great for the boss, but bad for your career. It may be time to move on. (Source: Answers.com.)

5. Fewer responsibilities. Projects you once managed are now being assigned to your colleagues. New responsibilities are handed to others, too. Even worse, you're being asked to train others to do your job. What's going on? Management may be preparing to show you the door. (Source: Aol Jobs.)

6. Raise request denied! No salary bump for you, boss says. This doesn't necessarily mean that management thinks your work stinks. Budget constraints may be to blame, but a boss who values your efforts will explain why you're not getting a raise, and perhaps estimate when you will. The bad manager will ignore your request, or promise to address the topic at a later date ... that never comes. (Source: The Muse.)

7. Jealousy. Maybe you know more about the boss's job than s/he does. Or you're smatter, better looking, and have cleaner teeth. The immature manager, one lacking confidence and self-esteem, may try to compensate for these insecurities by regularly belittling subordinates' performance. How to deal? Play it cool and acknowledge the boss's skills and successes. (Source: European Business Review.)

8. The boss snoops on you. S/he regularly asks your colleagues about your office attendance or job performance, while other members of your team don't receive this scrutiny. Possible causes include micromanaging, a lack of trust, or even a case of Psycho Boss Syndrome. Again, a forthright approach is the best solution. Ask the boss how the two of you can work together better. (Source: Fortune.)

9. The Death Stare. Hey, maybe you're asking for it. Do you have a nasty habit of always saying the wrong things? Speaking before you think? Monster.com provides some solid examples of what not to say to your boss. Examples include the lazy worker's mantra: "That's not my job"; the annoyingly haughty: "That's not how we did it at my old job"; and the perennially needy: "How'd I do? How'd I do? How'd I do?"

Siding with one's abuser is never a good idea, obviously, and yet such destructive behavior may be more common that we think. Why would a maligned employee continue working with a psychotic boss? According to Softpanorama, several factors may be at play, including the victim's monetary needs (to maintain a certain lifestyle); the employee's lack of self-esteem; or even a form of blackmail (the abusive boss threatens to reveal secrets that would harm the victim).

Which warning signals did we miss? Share your boss behavior horror stories in the comments field.

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Jeff Bertolucci is a technology journalist in Los Angeles who writes mostly for Kiplinger's Personal Finance, The Saturday Evening Post, and InformationWeek. View Full Bio

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User Rank: Strategist
9/16/2014 | 6:40:09 PM
Bad Boss Horror Stories
@Jeff: These are great, and funny because they're true. I've seen pretty much all of this bad behavior perpetrated by bosses in my career, not always against me but definitely apparent in the workplace.

I don't know where this fits in the list--is there room for The Boss Who Hates Everybody? I had a boss many many years ago who was fond of yelling at people in the middle of the open floor office space. There wasn't a single person working for him who didn't fall victim to this public humiliation at one point or another. As for the advice to talk to HR, in this particular case it was an excercise in futility. This boss was well protected by the upper reaches of senior management and nobody in HR seemed to very much care about his frequent Public Displays of Verbal Abuse.

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