You’re constantly on a roller-coaster ride of emotions, intensified by self-loathing, uncertainty and anxiety. But still, you hold on. No, I’m not talking about your last failed relationship, I’m referring to your job, the one you just won’t let go of, but should.
For months prior to leaving my job, I was petrified no one would hire me again. My ‘superiors’ filled me with so much self-doubt; I no longer saw the value in my hard work. I soon realized, professional relationships are a lot like romantic relationships, and bosses can be a lot like boyfriends. Some are worth keeping, others are worth letting go of. When these red flags start to go up, I suggest it’s time to break up with your boss.
They try to control you
Their passive-aggressive tactics have you on a tight leash. They might smile and encourage you to participate in things outside of work but secretly they’re compiling evidence to use against you to prove your lack of dedication.
Forget about going out with friends on a Friday night, speaking to other people in the same industry or supporting a cause that doesn’t directly benefit the company. Basically, if you show interest in anything but your job, you might as well hand in your resignation now. Nothing you do will ever make this insecure employer trust you.
Stop wasting your time. Look for a boss who doesn’t need constant affirmation to believe in you.
You never have time for anything else
There’s always one – or four – friends that suddenly vanish after they get into a relationship. Well, now you’re that friend, and that ‘relationship’ is the one with your job.
This boss will force you to marry your work. They will fill your schedule to the brim and give you no wiggle room to enjoy simple luxuries like a cool drink on a summer patio. ‘Sorry, I can’t make it,’ is probably the most overused phrase in your text message history.
If you find yourself constantly connected to work – so that you’re missing special celebrations, like your sister’s wedding or your best friend’s 25th birthday – it’s time to reevaluate your situation. Healthy work environments allow for balance. You don’t want to look back and realize you’ve sacrificed everything personally for everything professionally. The right employer will understand what a good work/life balance involves. Plus, if a company is doing well, they should be able to afford enough workers to accommodate them.
You always feel undervalued
You brought them lunch, picked up their laundry, filed their taxes, organized their paperwork and secured a large client; yet never receive a ‘thank you.’ What’s worse, they usually expect more out of you because you’re an all-star. Instead of rewarding you for your accomplishments, they pile on even more work, because they know you’ll find a way to do it. It kind of sounds a little like Miranda Presley in The Devil Wears Prada – and we all know how that turned out.
If there’s no room for a simple ‘thank you,’ you can forget about receiving that bonus you’ve been working so hard towards at the end of the year. Stop wasting your time proving yourself to an entitled employer. They will never admit if you’ve done something valuable because they don’t want you to know your own worth – and have to pay you for it.
They’re constantly inconsistent
One minute you’re up, the next you’re down. Relationships with endless highs and lows never settle down, and neither will this job. These bosses are easily swayed by their emotions. One second they’ve landed a major partnership and are high-fiving you to the bank, yet the next minute a marketing campaign falls flat and they’re frantically looking for someone to blame (see #5).
Dealing with this boss is exhausting. It didn’t last with your bi-polar ex-boyfriend and your tolerance for this behavior at work won’t last long either. Instead of having to check yourself into a psych ward, find a boss that’s a bit more stable.
They shift the blame to you
Remember those arguments you had with your ex because he wouldn’t stop talking to a girl he used to hook-up with? Clearly, he was the one to blame, but somehow, you always ended up apologizing. He was a skilled manipulator and so is this type of boss.
No matter what goes wrong, they will find a way to blame you – or the first worker to catch their eye. Don’t bother arguing – their status gives them the authority to spin responsibility without answering to anyone. Instead, swallow your pride and start applying to all those LinkedIn job searches you’ve saved up.
You feel expendable
If your boss has a wandering eye – like that frat-boy you dated in college – don’t waste your time wondering if they’ll change for you. Being underappreciated is one thing, but if your boss is constantly looking for someone ‘better’ to meet their unrealistic goals – from right under your nose – start packing your things.
Good bosses want to retain their employees, develop their talents and focus on their strengths – not weaknesses. If you feel like you’re the only one committed to this partnership and fear being replaced at any minute, you’re probably right. Look for a boss that values your knowledge and empowers you to do your job well. Trust me, you’ll end up being the one that finds something better.
I know break-ups can be scary. Will I regret it? What if I can’t do any better? What if no one else wants me? Don’t waste time second-guessing a job that doesn’t make you happy. Spend time with your girlfriends, down a few margarita pitchers, and soon you’ll feel confident in your newfound independence.
Once the hangover has subsided, put on some ruby red lipstick, tie your hair up in a sock bun, strap on those nude wedges (the ones you bought with your last paycheck) and start flirting with some new opportunities.
You go girl – breaking up with your horrible boss was the best thing you ever did.