• You don't need to rely on your MIA boss for support and direction
  • Be proactive and take advantage of other support resources around you
  • Becoming self-sufficient builds your skills, mindset and career progression
They say people quit their boss rather than their job. That’s certainly true when your boss doesn’t give a shit about you or your work.

Some bosses are just assholes but others are pretty shitty too, only in a different way.

Some bosses are absolute control freaks. Every single thing has to be signed off on. Having this kind of boss is annoying at best and extremely stressful at worst.

Your current boss is a different story.

Instead of being a control freak, things are quite the opposite. You're left to your own devices, lots of freedom but no direction or support to guide your work.

You're under no illusions here - your boss couldn't give a shit.

They’re completely disengaged from both you and your work.

To say you feel ignored and undervalued is a major understatement. You feel lost and isolated, like you're not even part of a team.

There’s a lot at stake here.

When your boss doesn’t support you, it’s hard to progress your career. Your potential goes untapped. And in a few years, there’s a good chance that you’ll be stuck in the exact same role.

A disengaged boss sets the tone for the workplace. If they don't give a shit, their attitude can spread like a virus inside the company.

The situation may seem hopeless but an unsupportive boss doesn't need to dictate what happens in your career.

Here's how to take control and stop a disengaged boss from making your work life miserable and messing up your career. 

Why Some Bosses Don’t Give A Shit About You

When your boss is super unsupportive of your work, it's easy to assume that you're the problem.

But here's the thing, most of the time, their disengagement may be coming from a variety of things, many of which aren’t directly related to you at all. In a lot of cases, there’s other stuff that’s affecting their attention that you just don’t know about.

Here are just a few examples that we’ve come across. 

Hate Their Job And/Or The Company

Bosses can hate their jobs too. When your boss hates their job or is desperate to leave the company, it drags everyone down.

Maybe their job is keeping them awake at night and they’re desperately working on their escape plan. Or they want to quit but need the money and they’re boiling over with frustration and resentment.

Either way, they’ve mentally checked out and it shows. They have to pull themselves out of bed every morning and go through the motions until it’s home time. Everything in between is just a drag.

The bottom line here?

They don’t care about the company’s success and by default, they don’t care about anyone in the company either. 

Unmotivated And Lazy

It’s not just you that they don’t care about. They’re not motivated for anything that happens at work.

A lot of this is down to laziness. They put everything on you so they don’t have to bother. You’re overworked and unappreciated, and doing some of their job as well as yours.

Being a good boss is too much trouble and requires effort, which is why there’s no direction, guidance and support, which most people want and need to be successful. 

Prefer Other More Interesting Projects

Some bosses only want to work on projects they find interesting. If yours doesn’t fit the bill, you’re on your own. It doesn’t matter if the project needed to be done yesterday or last month.

This is human nature to some extent. We’re all guilty of making something a priority when we really care about it and putting other things on the backburner when we don’t give a shit about them.

But when it happens in management, it makes for poor leadership. 

Focus On Higher Priority Projects

Here’s another harsh reality. Your projects may not be important enough for your boss to invest their time and energy in. If they have projects on their plate that are higher priority, they’ll focus on those instead. This isn’t always a reflection of how urgent the project genuinely is. It's more about how your boss is prioritizing it.

It’s hard to get shit done when your projects are so low on someone else’s priority list. Getting the information or basic support you need even to get started is painful. 

Pursue Self-Serving Interests

Some bosses are completely self-serving. They focus on their own interests, whether that’s navigating office politics or boosting their ego. It’s all about serving themselves and their ambitions.

Your career prospects aren’t even on the radar, not unless it helps your boss in some way. Their success is all that matters, even if they have to play dirty to get it. They’ll take credit for other people’s successes and shift the blame when things don’t go to plan. 

Don’t Have Enough Time

If your boss is jumping from meeting to meeting and barely has time to breathe, you’ll find it hard to stay on their radar.

A boss who is insanely busy and overworked probably doesn’t have time to care about your projects or career growth. They’re too busy putting out fires all day and keeping their own head above water.

They’re just slammed with work.

But if they can’t find time to talk about even important or urgent projects, not having enough time may not be the only reason for the lack of support. 

Personal And/Or Family Issues

Sometimes, bosses are wrapped up in personal issues that take up all their energy and focus. They may look like they’re just slacking off but a lack of focus and energy and being distracted can point to deeper problems.

Life can throw a ton of curveballs and since it’s almost impossible to keep work and personal life completely separate, it’ll likely impact their performance at work.

When the focus isn’t 100% on work, it affects everyone in the team. You’ve got more on your plate and you don’t know how long it will last for.

Relationship problems, health problems (theirs or their family’s), depression, stress, and drug or alcohol addictions are just a few of the situations that can crop up. Your boss probably won’t share the details, especially if you’re not close, so you may not know the real reason they don’t give a shit about you. 

Nearing Retirement

You might have heard water cooler gossip that your boss has bought an RV or a second home. It doesn’t always mean they’re retiring imminently but this kind of purchase can signal that it’s not too far off.

As your boss starts to think more about retirement, they can get distracted. They’re nearly at the finish line and they couldn’t give a shit anymore.

The bottom line is this - work isn’t a top priority. They don’t need to impress upper management anymore. They’re not focused on their role or yours. They’re looking ahead to the future.

Signs Your Boss Doesn’t Care About You

If your boss is openly hostile, you know where you stand. It’s very clear. But, the signs are more subtle when they just don't care.

You may have noticed some of these red flags, though.

1) You Get No Feedback 

Communication is key for a good relationship with your boss and for your work to progress but it’s in short supply when they’re disengaged.

When you’ve worked your ass off on a project, getting a bit of recognition and celebrating victories makes a big difference. But your boss barely seems to notice. No praise. No feedback. Just crickets.

With the lack of communication, you never know what's really going on. You could be single-handedly saving the company from financial destruction, and you’d never hear a word of it from your boss. At best, you’re told things are “fine.”

If you share your opinions, they’re largely ignored. Or even worse, you’re not even given an opportunity for input. This is a sure sign you’re not valued. And it sends a big sign your boss doesn’t care what you think.

A supportive boss will make sure you feel able to speak up. A great boss will go further than this and openly offer feedback on how you can grow. 

2) You Know Nothing About Each Other

Nobody really expects to be BFFs with their boss but in your case, your boss’s complete lack of interest in you as a person and employee is scary.

It’s like they don’t give a shit who you are or what your circumstances are. In fact, if another random person took over your job, they probably wouldn’t even notice.

So, what happens?

You barely acknowledge each other. You don’t make small talk. You might get a “good morning” when you first arrive but that’s it.

They know nothing about your life outside of the office. And they don’t volunteer any details about their own.

There’s no eye contact or smiles.

It's like working with a robot.

3) You Never See Them

The lack of communication often comes down to this - you barely ever see your boss in person. Yes, they may be physically sitting at their desk, but they never swing by your desk and they certainly don’t ask you to come to theirs.

Disengaged bosses often shut themselves away in their office. They're always unavailable and unresponsive when you need them, even by email. You're on your own if you run into problems.

And when you need your boss to back you up? Forget it. It’s never going to happen. 

4) They Don’t Get Involved In Your Projects

A disengaged boss is completely hands-off in a bad way. They have zero involvement or support in your projects. You’re not even sure if they know what you do half the time.

It’s frustrating and demoralizing when you’re not getting the right guidance to get projects off the ground. Having so much freedom in this case doesn’t make life easier. If anything, it makes it much harder to do a good job. You’re working blind, hoping you’re going in the right direction.

Your boss may be stretched too thin to keep your projects on their radar. Or they may be totally uninterested in them. Whatever the cause, being left to your own devices is a sure sign your boss couldn’t care less about your work. 

5) They Rarely Join Your Calls Or Meetings

Your boss is often “missing-in-action” and when you schedule a meeting or call that requires their attendance, something always pops up and they become unavailable.

So, what happens is that you either reschedule yet again or have to figure out another way to get things done without their input.

It puts the burden on you and other people. Everyone else has to pick up the slack, even though everyone already has full plates. 

6) You Don’t Get Copied Or Informed On Things

Communication is non-existent with your boss. You’re always the last to know what’s happening.

You’re left out of email exchanges or not invited to meetings. Your boss forgets to pass on information that would help you do your job. You hear important announcements from other people with no warning or clue of what’s coming.

It’s like working in a vacuum, totally disconnected from what’s going on at work. You feel shut out and isolated.

Keeping you out of the loop like this can be pure laziness. Or in other cases, it’s a passive-aggressive tactic, especially if you’ve only recently been pushed to the side. 

How To Get The Support You Need

A disengaged boss can seriously undermine your confidence, and it makes it very hard to get work done all on your own without their support.

But what do you do if your boss is completely hands-off in a disinterested kind of way?

The good news is that you don't have to continue with the way things are now. You can control how engaged you feel and get the support you need.

Here’s how to manage the situation so you can get the support you need so you and your work can shine.

1) Meet With Your Boss (If You Can)

Before you do anything else, set up a meeting with your boss. There's a chance they're living in a bubble and are completely in the dark about how their lack of engagement is affecting you.

With a truly disengaged boss, fixing the problem won't be simple. It is a great opportunity to agree on goals and projects so you know what's expected of you. You get some direction, even if the support is still lacking.

You can take another angle too. If your boss is disengaged because they feel bored, frustrated or busy in their role, they may be open to delegating the parts they hate but still need to take care of.

Taking some of these on helps you expand your skillset and instantly makes you more valuable to your boss and upper management.

2) Get Yourself A Kick-Ass Mentor

Your boss isn’t the only person who can support you at work. The chances are good that there are other group managers at your company.

The best way to go about this is via internal mentorship.

Find another senior manager, director, or executive that you get along with and ask him or her if they’d be willing to be your mentor. Getting additional guidance at work will boost your confidence and will eventually make you more visible to the right people.

Mentors offer advice and guidance. When you run into problems in your career, they can listen and help you solve them. Getting another perspective from someone who has more experience than you is invaluable.

Mentors can also act as your personal cheerleader. They recognize your potential and they'll go out of their way to support you and help you progress.

3) Get Involved In Cross-Functional Projects

Getting involved in projects outside of your team can be smart. Companies will often bring together employees from different departments to leverage their skills and experience.

Joining a cross-functional project gets you on the radar of other managers - even senior management usually keeps tabs on who participates in the projects. You get more good visibility of all the things you’re doing and it ups your personal brand at work.

What this ultimately results in is more recognition and opportunities to move up within your company or at the very least, a lateral move to another department with a boss that isn’t like a ghost. 

4) Be Your Own Cheerleader

When you're getting no support or recognition from your boss, it's up to you to inspire and motivate yourself.

One way to do this is to give yourself some recognition - self high-fives or pats on the back.

Celebrating your victories is crucial, no matter how big or small. Even the tiniest of victories can be really powerful to keep you engaged, maintain your momentum, and fuel your enthusiasm.

This is why it's so important to celebrate your small wins to stay motivated. It creates a cycle of positivity that can counteract the lack of engagement from your boss.

5) Find Your Purpose At Work

Finding your purpose at work helps you feel valued and gives you the feeling that what you do matters and makes a difference. It’s the key ingredient to making your job more fulfilling and awesomer.

When you feel a purpose for your work, how your boss behaves has much less of a negative impact on you and your work.

Understanding your purpose is a snap if your work is incredibly noble like curing cancer, feeding the poor, building houses for the homeless, etc. But what if you're not exactly changing the world when you're at work?

The answer - just focus on the things you're good at and how your work supports you and your family, contributes to a happy office environment or any other directly relatable result.

Doing things that you’re really good at creates an upward positivity spiral that will get you in the zone at work and noticed by others at your company.

Whatever you become known for, it brings greater purpose. Being called on to do tasks you enjoy means you quickly start feeling fulfilled and needed, even if your boss doesn't heap any praise on you.

But when they see the value you bring to the team, that could change too.

6) Look For Another Job Internally Or Externally

If all else fails, look for a boss who appreciates you and supports you. Any real boss would love to have employees that are enthusiastic, engaged, and excited. So, when you’ve exhausted all options, moving on may be your last option.

This is particularly true if your career progression or your wellbeing is taking a big hit because of the way your boss treats you.

You don't need to leave the company for this. A lateral move to another department or group that’s got a lot going on is a great opportunity to make significant and meaningful contributions and get kudos for it.

You can also work with a recruiter to find an outside opportunity at another company with better prospects for career advancement. You never know.

You Have The Power To Overcome This

Having a boss who doesn't give a crap about you makes work life miserable. It can also hold you back from achieving your potential, no matter how hard you work.

You deserve a boss who not only has your back, but also steps up to help you grow and prosper.

But it’s not going to happen on its own. It's time to get proactive and manage your boss and the situation.

Take action and do the things that you need to do to change things for the better - ‘cause it definitely won’t be served to you on a silver platter.

Develop a solution that works best for you. Be your own support system and get to know the people who can boost your career and support you.

You can take charge of your career path, even if your boss is “missing in action” and doesn’t exist.

You can do this - go for it.

Feel Better,

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