Dealing with frustrating bosses - mid-life crisis

Types of bosses that we endure

Annoying bosses cause mid life problems
Frustrating bosses cause mid-life problems

Most of the bosses in our life are decent human beings, handling them and being liked by them requires just a little bit of hard work, being wise and friendly, delivering the results, providing an acceptable level of execution whilst handling the human side of work.

Every now and then whilst going through a career one meets bosses that might make life difficult and might make you spend your time unproductively. Some of them are the top-end bosses, there are very few things you can do about them, best is to be liked by them. Occasionally one must suck up to them. Other bosses are the mid-managerial types, who have their own bosses and whom may make your life miserable but whom are ultimately easier to deal with.

Work is a major source of stress in mid life
Mid life crisis through work is common

When one comes to midlife, you are already burdened with experience and you are much less likely to meet immature and incompetent bosses. There is a massive difference of course for a manager or a boss to be pain in the butt and to be professionally robust/direct. We have to consider that those professional bosses whom seem to be a bit rough could actually be doing their job well, but it is those bosses who are incompetent and those that make others miserable should be considered as cruel and unprofessional.

Cutting down on stress, a major cause and symptom of middle life crisis should be the goal. Handling bosses is not straightforward, but there are a few things to remember.

Sometimes though it might be worth looking into oneself first to judge whether you are the problem.

1. Anal obsessive tyrant boss

Anal obsessive bosses cause stress which may lead to midlife crisis
Is your boss suffering from a midlife crisis?

This type is a very common useless boss. He or she may value efficiency above everything else, and may treat an office as a concentration camp and you as a slave. Now in terms of business, workplace is not truly a concentration camp, yet typically top end bosses and FD's care about results and not the means. Some bosses of course are visionaries they attempt to motivate and to cultivate potential of their employees, but anal obsessive tyrant boss one is likely to be a bully with a lot of repressed memories. Sometimes these bosses are perfectionists, sometimes they are incompetent morons who value quantity above quality. They are best motivated by money which compensates for their lack of social skills. These bosses themselves are quite likely to be going through midlife problems and may even be suffering from a full blown midlife crisis.

How to handle and how to get liked by this boss:

Don't take it personally. There may be an urge for an outburst but really that guy has some deep psychological problems. Diplomacy is best with these guys, although occasionally they cannot respond to aggression, but maturity is something these people lack, so show them some.

2. Useless know-nothing demagogue boss

Useless boss
Being managed by a useless boss is painful

This type is a very common boss for digital age industries, bosses that have not bothered to learn anything in the last 20 years, whom seem to struggle to differentiate between right click and left click and have no intention of ever using the scroll wheel. Lack of computer/technology knowledge is very widespread amongst those types, but not limited to only these areas. In most technology and media related industries bosses do know what they are doing, however in other areas of business they happen to exist still. Characterized by lack of any know-how, they tend to rely on their subordinates for most work, sometimes they are able to skilfully delegate their work, but regardless of this ability they do not possess the ability to understand the processes involved in work, regardless of simplicity and therefore unable to understand and reflect upon the results. This type rely only on their authority alone to manage, since they have no skills to offer or no expertise to show. They tend to be smooth talkers whose bosses like them, basically they are very good at ass-kissing games. More often than not, though, someone else in the team actually does their job and does not get paid for it or get recognized for doing so. Often these bosses are lazy.

How to handle and how to get liked by this boss:

This type of boss likes you already. You are the reason he or she is making money. Dealing with this boss is trickier, handling a guy or a girl who exploits you is all about trickery and sly on your behalf. If he/she is the MD then there is not much you can do, but if he's just a manager, get to know his or her superiors and inquire if they liked the reports you made that Ike signed and sent off. Show a great deal of knowledge and insight. Meanwhile ask the lazy manager a lot of questions and sometimes via email, if he does not respond or answer go to the superiors and present a case for where you would be able to deal with a problem directly whilst cutting out the middleman, after all you are a professional and cutting costs is a big part of business, you could be going after their job, which you can do better. Better to inquire about this boss's relationship with his superiors, perhaps they are the son-in-law of a golf buddy to one of them. Watch out.

3. Professional liar

Bosses that don't keep their promises
Is your boss honest with you?

This boss is the most likely to attempt to squeeze the life out of you in exchange for something tomorrow. Or next year. This boss is a drug dealer and he deals with the opiate for the masses which is called promises and whilst you might try your hardest, it is not easy to get out of this boss anything at all. These bosses tend to do well and they are very likely to be the talkative slithering types, charismatic but lacking substance so they are your typical politician. Promising a raise, a promotion or a bonus at the end of the year yet with no intention to deliver the promise. There may be a good reason for that, for example the business may be trying to cut costs after a bad year. Still empty promises expose liars and cheats. Politicians all lie, but in business it is much more difficult to endure for a long time because alternatives are always better. These types themselves are also likely to be going through middle life crisis, if they lie to you then they lie to themselves as well. Since so much of work is working towards something in the future, being lied to by the boss is a dreadful experience.

How to handle and how to get liked by this boss:

Get everything in writing. Inquire about the conditions under which the promise will be nullified. Double check with the upper management. Whilst working hard will get you far with a liar, it is good to be defended with a paper trail. Getting liked is a different matter altogether, a liar will try his or her best to persuade you that you are liked, whilst laughing at you when you aren't looking. Be professional but maybe it would be good idea to set up a way to get to know the person in real life so that lying would be more difficult. Note occasions when you've been lied to.

4. Sadist bosses

Sadist bosses cause misery which may lead to midlife crisis
Is your boss a sadist?

Unlike the anal compulsive obsessive tyrant, a terminator relies on intimidation, shouting and authority rather than routine and order often with the same aim of gaining maximum efficiency. He or she seems to lack the characteristics one associates with a human, in fact a sponge seems far more humane in comparison. This person lacks empathy, emotion, in fact the only things that occupy this boss's mind are: a) Money; b) Image; c) Business; d) Your misery. Not necessarily in this order. It is likely that you know nothing of the person in real life and by all means you don't want to. Good example of this kind of boss is Malcolm Tucker in the BBC production "The Thick of It".

How to handle and how to get liked by this boss:

The simple fact that you are able to smile occasionally causes a great deal of pain to this member of the Dr Evil's entourage, so be bolder and appear more evil than she or he, or appear indifferent. Keep a diary of the miseries caused by this person. They cannot tolerate weakness but are likely to respect professional indifference. Every now and then it might be a good idea to learn a few things about efficiency from these bosses. Inside jokes like referring to yourself as John Connor or Sarah Connor might keep your spirits up. Shouting should be recorded in case you want to sue later for ear drum perforation and moral distress. Don't take it personally. You could always glue laxatives/LSD to the bottom of his/her favorite coffee cup (not recommended). But overall the general advice is - get out and complain a lot.

When to quit?

Perhaps an escape from a middle life crisis through job change is a good idea
Avoid stress by changing jobs

Quitting or changing places of work is of course a challenge, but often the grass is actually greener on the other side. It is important that stressed bosses, and those displaying symptoms of stress are most likely to be under pressure themselves, so the business might be failing and you could be fired anytime yourself, or the company could go bust and you lose your job anyhow. When it comes to mid life problems - a correct course of action would be to see what is causing problems, and job dissatisfaction is likely to come top.

So perhaps it is a good time to reflect on your career and perhaps consider changing a work place or try a different career altogether.

Quitting or changing a job