It’s Smonday (the latter part of Sunday when you feel Monday fast approaching). You dread the fact that in a little more than 12 hours, you’ll be back at work dealing with your toxic boss.
My weekend’s over already?
I know the feeling well. Except for the most part, my weekend consisted of two weekdays since I worked in the beauty business and I was required to put in a full day both Saturday and Sunday. It didn’t really matter, though. Like you, my two days off would fly by and I’d find myself feeling sick at the thought of returning to work.
My Own Example
You see, I had a toxic boss too. Several of them, actually. Sometimes it was the business owner, other times the manager. And in some places, it was both.
Many years ago, I worked as a stylist in a full-service salon. One day, a client asked me to do a lip wax. Her normal girl had disappeared somewhere, so I agreed to help her out.
I was (and still am) a fully licensed Cosmetologist, so technically (and legally), I’m allowed to perform waxing services. I just always chose not to because it wasn’t my thing. But in this case, I went ahead with it so neither the client nor the salon would lose out. I did the job, everything went well and the client was pleased.
The manager, however, had a different opinion.
And not only that, she was beyond unprofessional with the way she handled it.
This silly bitch screamed at me from behind the front desk of the salon – right in front of the client. I’m not exaggerating either. You’d have thought I ran over her cat.
She was hateful about it.
The client felt bad, but there was nothing she could do. Humiliated, I went out back and crumbled. One of my co-workers (who I got along quite well with) saw me crying and didn’t bother approaching me to find out what was wrong. I wasn’t looking to involve anyone in the drama, but the act of kindness would have helped.
Big Problem, Little Solution
I went to the salon owner and “tattled” – and this temporarily solved the issue. What wasn’t fixed was my pride, my dignity or my faith in a workplace where it was perfectly acceptable to belittle the staff just because someone wore a badge that said “manager”.
The weird thing about this toxic boss was that when she was (only) a receptionist with no authority, she was super cool. I couldn’t believe what happened to her once she was promoted to management.
This story took place over 22 years ago and I haven’t forgotten it. You may experience similar circumstances at work – and perhaps it’s slowly killing you.
You don’t want to live this way, and I don’t want you to live this way either. So I’m going to share some thoughts about how to deal with your toxic boss is a way that’ll keep you sane (and out of jail).
Divorce Your Toxic Boss – 3 Easy Steps
1 – Get Rid of the Term “Boss”
If you use the term “boss” to describe the person you work for, I urge to stop that right now.
NO ONE IS YOUR BOSS!
You might have an employer. There most certainly is a business owner. There may also be an individual who manages the place.
But none of these people own you, so stop using phrases that make it seem that way.
When you call someone your boss, you give them complete control over your mind, your well-being and your life. You are telling yourself (especially your subconscious mind) that you are beneath the individual who signs your paychecks.
You aren’t anyone’s slave or property. You are an individual providing a service in exchange for monetary compensation. If you can learn to manage yourself properly and behave like an adult (and that’s a life skill everyone really ought to master), then you have every right to not take any crap from anyone.
If you can be an asset to yourself, your surroundings and your place of work, then it’s up to you to realize you own yourself.
You can show up to a job, contribute great work and continue to build your skills to make you an even better addition to anyone’s place of business…
But don’t fool yourself into believing you have a boss. That’s YOUR job.
Delete that word from your vocabulary and you’ll never have a toxic boss again. Yes, perhaps you’ll work for a toxic person, but by changing the way you phrase things, you’ll place yourself on an equal level as a fellow human being – and you’ll start taking yourself seriously when it comes to how others treat you.
2 – Advance Your Skills
One of the most effective ways to build credibility (especially within yourself) is to be a skilled and competent individual. Whether you work for someone else or yourself, the more tools in your toolbox, the more valuable you’ll be.
YOU are the one who needs to understand your value. If you feel you lack the skills and requirements to do a job well, you’ll succumb to the idea that someone else needs to manage you. This is when the whole “they’re above me – I’m below them” idea germinates and it’s under these circumstances that you’ll allow yourself to be bullied by a toxic boss at work.
I know it seems daunting and challenging to think about increasing your education. Going back to college can be expensive and time-consuming. But college isn’t your only option. You can learn new skills online for just about any subject.
I say, think long and hard about what you want to do with your life, what kind of workplace environment makes you tick and find out what’s necessary to achieve this. You may not be able to quit your job right away, but once you understand your worth and what steps you need to take, you’ll be in a position to stand up for yourself and become someone who has too much to offer to ever allow anyone to mistreat them.
3 – Develop Self-Respect
I’m not saying you don’t have self-respect because I don’t know you, so I can’t know that. However, I can say that the only time I allowed someone to play the role of toxic boss in my life was when I thought the idea had merit. These days, I can certainly work with and learn from others – and I’ll always respect a business owner. But no one controls me, belittles me or disrespects me (and gets away with it anyway).
Here’s what I’ve learned.
We are all students (or at least it’s helpful to be open to that idea). If we give ourselves permission to learn, we seek out guides, teachers and mentors – none of who want to own another human being.
Only someone who feels they are above you (even in the most minute ways) will try to control you. It can happen in subtle ways (like guilt or disapproval) – or they can be arrogant and obvious about it.
But if you know you’re a willing student, capable of admitting what you don’t know and what you need help with – yet you’re eager to grow, thrive and self-manage, then you’ll happily accept help and guidance, but you won’t subscribe to the idea of having a master.
Self-awareness and self-ownership create self-respect.
When you realize that you are a valuable human being with much to share, you’ll understand that no one is inherently above you (or below you), but it IS up to you to be the person you admire in others.
Learn to Master Yourself
Although it might seem otherwise, the “3 easy steps” to divorcing your toxic boss actually are easy. But they take some time – and they do require work.
I said this was easy because, in truth, it really is much easier to change yourself than it is to try to change or control others.
When you expect others to change, you create conflict and confrontation. When YOU change, you simply be who you are, accept what seems acceptable and don’t accept what isn’t.
You don’t have to have a toxic boss because you don’t have to have a boss at all. You’ll benefit from being your own boss, even if you work for someone else if you elevate your skills, your ability to self-manage and develop a healthy dose of self-respect.
Of course, it’s much easier to have genuine self-respect if you have respect for others as well. You can’t give away what you don’t have. Your job is to allow others to be who they are – but you do have the right to decide how you wish to be treated and then – be that person.
Facing Monday (and Your Toxic Boss)
Love yourself enough to know that being treated with dignity and respect is something you have a right to. If you have to stay with your job (at least for the time being), then decide you can be a peaceful warrior.
A peaceful warrior does no harm (but takes no shit).
Go through your day knowing your employer/business owner/company management (but not your boss) has every right to run their business the way they need to. But you, my newly empowered friend, will have a secret.
That secret is that you are now armed with the knowledge that you are no one’s bitch, doormat or slave. That nonsense was all in your mind. You know better now.
Yes, you may have a job, but you are well on your way to owning yourself now. Whether that means learning new skills and advancing your current career or creating a new path for yourself, you deserve to be treated with grace.
Use the anger of your current situation to ignite the drive necessary to get strong and master yourself. But don’t let that anger control you because if you do, that toxic boss of yours will not only own your finances, they’ll own YOU.
If you’re looking to learn new skills, check out Skillshare. They have over 18,000 classes available online from the comfort of your home. You can take a 2-month test drive and try any class that seems relevant to you.
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Until then…be free, be creative and live your truth.
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