Subject: How to deal with a horrible boss

Kelly Coutrone, The Hills, Fashion iNERN

Disclaimer, this is not about one of The Intern 24/7 writer’s bosses in particular

So you have landed *the* perfect internship/job that you have wanted for so long. You poured your heart and soul in the application process, the interview and even reading countless articles online about ‘how to be the perfect intern or employee’.

But suddenly you realise that this sparkly, magical dream of a near-perfect job (or a job that is going to get you to where you want to go) has a downside. And no, we aren’t talking about the overtime you will be expected to do.

Your boss…. *Jaw’s movie soundtrack plays in the background*.

I.e. The man or woman that you ideally aspire to be like one day. The man or woman that will encourage, motivate and positively challenge you in all aspects of your work. The man or woman that may accidentally get a bit tipsy at after-work drinks and declare/slur that “you are one of the best employee’s that he/she has had in ages”.

But none of this happens for you. Instead you are met with a barrage of criticism, nit-picking comments about your work attire, zero praise and no mention of any sort of progression or promotion in your field.

 Unfortunately, this happens to many poor and unsuspecting employees’ far too often. But instead of moaning about it and willing this person to change, the only person that you can change is you. So what steps can you take to protect yourself if you find yourself in this situation?


1. Stay True to Your Goals

Remember why you wanted this internship or job in the first place. You are the only person who knows you and what you want for your career. Stay true to yourself and reward yourself for any achievement, even if your boss won’t. Celebrate your own successes.

2. Self-Care is Key

This will not be an easy time of your career and it will take its toll on both your mental and physical well-being so try and carve out time in your day to look after numero uno (you). Meditate for ten minutes in the morning, take a bubble bath after a long day, or go for a long walk in the park at lunch. All of these things will help you stay calm and be able to rationalise your boss’ cray cray behaviour.

3. Confide in a Friend

If there is someone at work that you can trust even better, or if not a pal that you can decompress with over a glass of something on a Friday night. Just be careful not to go overboard with the moaning – just try to let a friend know what you are dealing with. They may or may not be able to offer advice, but it will feel better just to know what you are not alone with your situation. Guaranteed you will not be the first person in the world to have dealt with a less than ideal boss.

 4. Reality Check

Make sure that you are not mixing up honest/constructive criticism for a bullying rhetoric. Your boss may see a load of potential in you and wants you to be the best you in your job. Re-evaluate if you are being slightly sensitive about your situation. Record the comments that they say to you on paper and imagine you are an outsider. Are they really that mean, or are they just trying to give you a bit of tough love…

5. Talk talk talk.

The best thing you can do if you are really feeling that your boss is being harsher than you would expect a boss to be is to set up a meeting. Send them an email to give him or her notice and say you would like a chat about your performance. Let your boss know that you value their feedback on your performance at work, but you only respond well to constructive feedback that is not a reflection on your personality or character.

If all else fails, it may be time to get HR involved and think about moving on to the next fabulous internship or job that will teach you many more lessons.

Remember, no experience is ever wasted.

Good luck! We’re here for you