SUMMARY POINTS

  • Bitchy bosses are difficult, rude and mean
  • Try to resolve the situation one-to-one first
  • If this fails, escalate to HR and protect yourself
Every time you see this email from your bitchy boss, your heart sinks.

“Please come to my office.”

Fuck.

Every single one of these “come to my office” emails is just a prelude to another verbal lashing about how you missed something, aren’t performing to expectations, dropped the ball or whatever other bullshit things that are pissing her off.

If this was something that only happens on rare occasions, then it’d be pretty normal. But then again, your boss is not normal by any standard.

Like a lot of super bitchy bosses, she knows her shit but is rude, demanding, overbearing, petty, and immature. Humiliating people is a daily occurrence, seemingly just for fun. If you don’t make the grade, everyone knows about it.

Then there’s the barrage of criticism, back-handed compliments, and the sly remarks.

Basically, your boss is a total bitch. Their management style is rude command and control.

You thought you’d left the bitching and bullying behind as a kid, right?

But Mean Girls is right here in the office, just in another guise.

People have quit right and left and you’re not too far off either. If you can’t find a way to save your sanity, you’re not sure you’ll have a choice. It’s toxic and stressful.

It’s beyond just managing your boss. Now, it’s more like doing anything and everything to avoid your boss.

But the situation isn’t as impossible as it may seem. You might feel like quitting is your only option but it’s not come to that - yet. You’ve got options to turn it around. 

The Difference Between Difficult And Bitchy Bosses

Shitty bosses can fall into different camps. With some bosses, you can never do anything right. But some bosses take things to the extreme and are rude, spiteful, vindictive, and mean too.

To deal with the situation, you need to understand which one you’re up against.

Difficult bosses are hard to please but they act professionally and have common courtesy. They respect others' opinions, thoughts and perspectives. They can also often be coaxed into behaving differently.

A bitchy boss is a whole other story.

They’re deliberately hostile. They go to great lengths to cause stress and anxiety.

It's not always obvious moves though. It can also be subtle and sly too.

It’s the casual jibes and put-downs that look like superficial banter. Excluding you from key meetings and withholding important details so you look incompetent. Taking credit for your work. Shutting you out. The list goes on.

Here are a few reasons why they may be acting like this. 

1) Your Boss Is Threatened By You

Their behavior may be driven by fear. Deep down, they’re scared they’re not up to the job. And anyone who seems capable and competent is in the firing line. It’s anxiety and paranoia that’s behind this one. They’re scared they’ll lose their job.

This is why some executives have huge fucking egos. They need to build themselves up and maintain a facade to stay in a position of authority. It’s especially true for some executives that are fucking clueless and don’t know their ass from their elbow.

This study from Northwestern University proves the point. Bosses who fear for their role will go out of their way to undermine and sabotage potential threats. Oftentimes, they won’t single out specific people. The whole team can be affected.

2) They Want To Make Life Difficult

For many of these bitchy bosses, they started from the bottom and had to claw their way to the top and so, they don’t want anyone else to have an easy ride.

They had to bust their ass, endure extreme stresses, defend themselves, navigate office politics and fight their way up the organization. In their view, if they didn’t have it easy, then nobody else should either.

This one is just plain spiteful.

They don’t want to see anyone succeed without a huge amount of sacrifice and effort. This kind of person would never extend a helping hand and support your growth.

3) They Have Big Hidden Issues

Another option is that they have deep-rooted psychological issues. There’s absolutely nothing you can do about this one.

There may be things going on in their personal life that you don’t know about. It could be a strained marriage, alcohol or drug addictions, financial problems, mental issues, etc. Nobody knows, including you.

And, it’s these hidden issues that could also be the main contributing causes to their endless rudeness and generally being a difficult pain in the ass person to work for.

Tips For Dealing With A Bitchy Boss

Dealing with a bitchy boss is complicated. You’re afraid that it’ll backfire and they’ll up the ante. It’s bad enough now but what if it gets even worse? Then, your office will just turn into a toxic work environment.

But the worst thing you can do is nothing. That's giving them permission to carry on being work jerks. You’ll never get a resolution if you just sit there and take the abuse.

You can’t always control their behavior or even stop it. But you can choose how YOU respond to it.

Bitchy bosses love the power trip and it’s not so fun when they don’t get the reaction they anticipated.

Here’s how to start turning the tables. 

1) Is She Out For You Personally?

First up, you need to know how widespread the problem is.

Are you the sole recipient of the bitchy vibes or does everyone get the same rude-ass treatment?

If it’s the latter, at least you know it’s not personal. The good news here is that you’ve got others to commiserate with - like your work BFF.

But if it’s just you, you’re going to have to do some soul-searching.

As much as it may hurt, you need to assess yourself here too.

Are you doing anything that might be fueling the fire?

Dig deep. You might have dropped the ball on a task or pissed them off in some way. And that may be why they’re making your life a misery. 

2) Meet With Your Boss Bitch

If it is just you that’s on the receiving end of your boss’ bitchiness, request a meeting to talk about it. They might be dealing with some personal issues and not even be aware that their behavior has such a big negative impact on you.

But even if they know exactly what they're doing, a meeting is the first step towards resolution.

Either way, don’t let your emotions get the better of you. Stay calm, cool and composed. Don’t get angry or pick a fight. You WILL lose because you’ll be playing their game that they’ve been playing for years.

You gotta come at this professionally and respectfully, from a higher level.

Explain your perspective of their behavior to you and how it impacts the critical grunt work that you’re trying to complete for them and more importantly, your morale at work.

Their behavior is unacceptable but you need to keep a dignified upper hand if you’re going to force change. 

3) Get With HR

If the meeting with your boss doesn’t change anything, you need to escalate this issue and go to HR. Otherwise, a bitchy boss can quickly derail your career path and keep you stuck in the same spot forever.

Set up some time with your HR person. Frame the discussions around personality conflict, work productivity and morale and progressing your career rather than bitching about a bitchy boss. You’ll look a ton more professional and career-minded.

But get proof that their behavior is hurting your performance (more on this later) and your work quality output for the company. 

4) Find The Cause 

You can’t find a solution if you don’t know what’s driving their behavior. This is key because without knowing what’s causing it, you’ll be less likely to come up with a fix or workaround.

There can be a ton of reasons why a boss is acting bitchy. You may have triggered it but probably not. Most bitchy bosses have deeper issues going on.

If you can’t uncover this in a one-on-one meeting, then check with other coworkers that may know more about them. You’ll need to do some detective work to learn more about what’s happening.

5) Document Every Damn Thing

You need proof of their behavior so document everything, preferably via email.

Email leaves an electronic paper trail so it's smart to use it as much as possible when you communicate with your boss. And be smart about copying and/or blind-copying others. There’s etiquette and tactics to using cc and bcc in emails.

When you’re able to get things on email, it leaves no room for doubt and backs up your case if you get HR involved. Without solid proof, you risk looking like you’re causing trouble or being petty.

When you can’t get things on email, try to have others in these stupid meetings to serve as witnesses for the inconsiderate bullshit she dishes out. Eyewitness accounts always have strong value.

Always get evidence. You never know when it’ll come in handy. 

6) Agree On Deadlines

On a similar note, always prioritize projects, tasks and requests with your boss because everything can’t be number one.

If you’ve got the details in writing, it’s a lot harder for her to get mad at you for other delays. It’ll also allow you to do more with less stress by mono-tasking not multi-tasking.

Confirm the details in an email and ask outright if that's all that's needed. If your boss tries to play games later on, you have proof you did what was requested of you.

You know exactly what this is - it’s “Cover Your Ass” (CYA) emails.

7) Build A Support Network 

If you’re not the only one being victimized, seek support from people in the same situation. Share stories with coworkers and vent. After all, venting at work is one of the best ways to manage work stress and help you get through the day.

If nothing else, you can let off steam and regain some sanity. And who knows? You might be able to help each other find a solution.

Finding and forming key alliances is another smart move.

Bitchy bosses can purposefully keep you out of the loop so you need to find other ways to get ahead. Having allies in the right places can mean you’re not held back as much as you would otherwise. They can tell you what happened in meetings your boss “forgot” to invite you to, for example.

If you ultimately decide the situation is futile and you need to move on, they can open doors too. Just remember to do favors for them too so it’s not a one-sided relationship. This is how you make real connections and bonds at work.

8) Do What Makes Your Boss Happy

Figuring out what makes your boss happy is a smart move. Within reason, of course. If you have to lose your sanity to make it happen, just forget it. It’s not worth it.

It’s like trying to satisfy Miranda Priestly, the 100% Boss Bitch from The Devil Wears Prada.

VIDEO: Miranda Priestly
YOUTUBE: Bee Tee Vee
LENGTH: 2:25
Summary points:
  • Miranda Priestly is an epic bitch boss from hell
  • Stay away from bosses like this - far away
  • Somebody call Cruella for help, quick!
The strategy here is to get clued in on their routine, habits, and likes and dislikes. The easier you can make their life, the more potential there is for her to not have such a bitchy attitude toward you.

Only a true asshole boss will still be bitchy if you’re doing whatever you can to help them, right? And that gives you leverage with HR.

9) Don’t Lose Your Shit, Stay Professional

Don’t take the insults personally, even if it’s truly directed at you.

This will be hard to believe but it’s not about you, however personal it may feel. Your boss is the one with the problem. She’s got a few screws loose up there and as a result, she’s got no emotional intelligence - zero, zilch.

When you’re about to lose your shit, do your best to keep yourself emotionally detached and don’t let them make you feel less of an individual. Let them show their true colors. Eventually, they’ll back themselves into a corner and screw up.

A big part of dealing with the shit is about knowing your worth and having confidence in yourself.

To get started on the right path, you gotta first learn how to cope with a female bully boss. Check out this 5-minute clip below. It hits the big basics.

VIDEO: How to Cope With a Female Bully Boss
YOUTUBE: Howdini
LENGTH: 5:18
Summary points:
  • Document everything to avoid finger pointing
  • Keep connections with coworkers to prevent isolation
  • Don’t be afraid to confront the behavior but don’t accuse
Remember, resist the temptation to lower yourself to their level. You’re better than that. You don’t need to play the same game. You might feel better in the short-term but fighting fire with fire can quickly work against you.

And on a side note, don’t bitch about your boss to other people. It’ll get you a reputation that won’t help your personal brand. Rise above it and stay professional.

10) Take Advantage And Learn From It

A bitchy boss is a nightmare but it’s also a golden opportunity to build your skills for free.

It’s going to sound counter-intuitive, but having to deal with a raging bitch at work can be a good thing for you. Just hear this out.

Whenever you do something that’s hard, it’s an uphill battle. But eventually, you get the hang of it. It’s like when you start working out and your muscles are sore, but over time, the soreness fades and your body adjusts.

The same principle applies here with your bitch boss and how you handle it mentally.

At first, it’s soul-crushing. But when you reframe it and see it as building new skills, it can and will improve your abilities to manage and work through tough office relationships.

If you can work around this level of bitchiness and/or build a tolerance for it, you can tackle almost anything else that life might throw at you. 

Don’t Let A Bitchy Boss Get You Down

Working for a bitchy boss sucks. You’re walking on eggshells, waiting for the next attack. It’s not always overt but you know the intention behind the actions.

It’s stressful as fuck and it’ll never get any better unless you take action.

It might seem like an impossible situation but there’s hope.

The key thing here is not to let a bitchy boss dampen your spirit. You’re awesome and as long as you stay emotionally detached from their bullshit, you can keep on being the work superstar that you are and kick ass.

Over the long run, you’ll win out because your unique mix of professional sensibilities and awesome productivity will be seen and respected by others.

And that’s far better than having a reputation for being a bitch.

Feel Better,
[Cubicle|Therapy]

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