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The Engineer’s Guide in Checking if You Have a Terrible Boss

Do you think you have a bad boss? Here's a checklist!


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Working with and for a bad boss is one of the worst things that could happen to engineers. This experience, often depicted in many fictional movies and television series, definitely tests your character and decision making, most importantly your patience in dealing with a ridiculous higher-up.

Statistics say that working with and for a bad boss in general is common. American Psychological Association reported that 75% of American workers say that they have the worst boss which easily becomes the most stressful part of their jobs. The same survey showed that 60% of U.S. workers prefer having a new boss over a pay raise.

That is fairly understandable, because having a terrible boss is indeed detrimental. Even researchers from Harvard and Stanford say that the negative health effects created by bad bosses are as bad as what are seen in people who are exposed to significant amounts of second-hand smoke.

So what do people do with bad bosses? Either they quit or stay.

It’s surprising that 59% of the people still choose to stay with bad bosses, while 27% quit as soon as they secure a new job. Moreover, 11% of the people just resign even without a new job coming.

There are several indicators that your leader or manager belongs to the bad boss club. It is not as simple as he or she is being toxic to you – engineers have to look for these signs in particular:

He or she enjoys belittling employees. It is not healthy for a leader or a manager to be condescending with the poor performance of an engineer. A good boss points out the mistake and finds a way to correct and fix it. It is okay not to expect a feedback from your boss, but when he or she seems to be the one who just pokes fun on criticisms and blame, then that is not really the boss that you want in life.

Read more  Engineering Management 101: How NOT To Kill Your Employees


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He or she gets angry all the time. While it is okay for a boss to be temperamental at times, it is unforgiving if he or she does it every single day. When the boss is furious for reasons outside of work and lashes it out at the workplace, perhaps engineers should rethink the employment. You deserve a boss who knows how to controls his or her emotions.

He or she expects unreasonably. There are indeed bosses of who think that the employee’s life should revolve around the workplace 360 degrees. If you have that kind of boss, it’s time to leave. You need a break, damn it, and you should have time for family, hobbies, and yourself. To work overtime in most days is already unhealthy.

He or she fails to lead by example. You should expect from a boss that he or she is able to walk the talk. That is plain hypocritical for a boss to set a standard to everyone but does not live up to the expectation on his or her own. It is almost impossible to be motivated and inspired if you have that kind of boss.

To see two or more signs from this list of a bad boss’ behavior should only mean one thing: engineer, it’s time to resign. You deserve a good boss.

Source: World Economic Forum

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