Is it worth quitting your job when you cannot get along with your boss?

Quit or Stay?

Recently I have two friends (who do not know one another) who could not get along with their immediate bosses. The condition were so bad that both of them wanted to just throw in the letter and quit.

There is only one problem…. both of them have got lots of financial commitments. Without the stability of a paycheck, they are not able to meet their living expenses, neither do they have any people whom they can fallback for financial assistance.

I spent sometime talking to them and convincing them to find the courage to stay on the job despite the challenge. Hopefully, if you are at the cross road where you are most tempted to quit, but financially is unable to do so, please read on…

It is not worth to quit just because you cannot get along with your boss

Both of my friends shared a strange similarity- initially, they got along well with their respective bosses. Somewhere along the line, misunderstanding occurs, followed by conflict. A lot of things they do got misunderstood and trouble starts.

There would come a time in our career where we would encounter the problem of not getting along with our boss or superior. Almost all people that I know experience this phrase at least once or more in their lives.

Even I have personally experienced this a number of time as I have changed many bosses over the years. Reason why I change bosses is not because I change job often, in fact after I graduated, I was at my first job for 9.5 years followed by another job for 6.5 years doing similar things. The position of my boss is considered a difficult seat as there are a lot of demands from management to be met.

What I can tell you from my experience is that… yes, it is gonna be tough. Yes, it will hurt your pride to stay on especially if your boss goes out of his way to make your life miserable.

Some things you must realize:

Do not get along with your boss

A. Unless your job performance is sub par and your work is substandard, usually the company cannot just fire you as there would be legal implication.

B. If you give in to your pride and emotions and throw the resignation letter at his face, you are giving him the satisfaction of getting what he wants. Why give him the satisfaction? It’s your ricebowl we are talking about. You are the one who are left with problems paying your bills, mortgage and car loan when you give in to your pride.

C. Take it as a trial that is meant to turn you into the greater person that you would become in future.

D. This too, shall pass. Really, trust me.

A.The company cannot just fire you

If your work standard is okay, and the only thing you are having with your boss is personality clashes, despite what your boss tries to threaten you with, the company cannot just fire you. Unless there is justification and documentation, ie you have made grave mistakes and have been given multiple warning letters.

What happens if your boss threaten to transfer you or cold storage you? So be it. Cold storage ain’t a bad thing… because you are still earning your salary for doing nothing much.

Why not? I have seen people of high position being cold storaged by Management in an effort to make them leave. Some left but guess what, some persistently stay behind. They know they could not be fired without any justification. And most companies do put up with such employees because they do not want to be bothered with the legal implication of being sued by the employee for unfair dismissal.

The only thing you need to manage is your pride and feelings of self worth. Especially if you have been an efficient worker but for some reason do not see eye to eye with the new Managing Director. At certain phrases of your life, it happens.

B. Don’t give your boss the satisfaction of making you resign

First, ask yourself honestly do your work sucks that bad? Approach co workers whom you can trust for their honest opinion. If yes, then you really need to be humble and work on improving your work.

Sometimes, bosses do not see eye to eye with their staff for certain reasons:

1. Personality clashes
Blame it on the stars or past life or whatever. It happens when some people just suddenly do not get along. But the stronger the aversion, when things turn around, the stronger would be the mutual respect.

I’ve had clashes with some of my bosses…. but eventually the misunderstanding clears out and we develop mutual respect for one another. It takes time though- the misunderstand may drag from anytime between 6 months to 2 years.

2. Instigation from other co-workers
Sigh, office politics. Maybe a colleague who you thought is your friend is actually jealous of your success and potential. She then instigates the boss and somehow successfully convinced your boss the bad stuff about you through ‘circumstantial conditions’ whereby it looked as if you are no good but it is just a misunderstanding.

In such situations, you may try to have an honest talk with your boss. But sometimes it does not work and you would still feel that your boss do not trust you. There is no other option but to give it time. The truth would prevail, and if it does not, one day, somebody else would appreciate your talent more.

And there is such thing as karma. You may think there isn’t because the time has not come yet. I would not dare to do things to break up people because when these people get it back, it would be real bad. My mother spent the last 7 years prior to her retirement working in a unit where she was often picked on and bullied by some of the clerical staff. She bear with it because she needed the money to raise us. Eventually, the staff who bullied her a lot- and he has also done lots of bad stuff to other people lost his one and only son from heart attack. This is not the only case….I have seen a few other cases before.

3. Your boss feeling threatened by your abilities and potential
If your boss climb the corporate ladder by backstabbing and stepping on others to go up, he may think that all other people are like him. He may also be afraid that one day you would replace his position. Especially if you have been constantly praised by senior management of the good job that you have.

I’ve been fortunate as I’ve met with kind bosses are more than happy to highlight my talents to Management. But I’ve also encountered those who wanted to run me down. Years ago, I was brought into a position whereby the management hinted to the team leader that they wanted me to replace her position. To be honest, the team leader is real incompetent, lazy and like to do nothing but gossip.

Honestly, I did not want her place as I have no interest to have direct reports. I just wanted to be accountable for my own work. I made it very clear to her as well as to management who tried to talk me into taking over her position. Yet, she still felt threatened.

In the end, she got me transferred out from her team. And management still insisted to promote me which I had refused. I remember the senior manager who told me, “you have no choice”. I was young and impulsive then and had this dream of travelling. So I was actually looking for an excuse to resign. I looked her straight in the eye and told her “of course I have a choice. I was just trying to do my work well. Why can’t you all let me be?”.

The next day, I submitted my resignation letter without a job. I guess my action made her feel guilty because in a way, she was the one who ‘forced’ me to resign. In the end, I think she made a recommendation to another manager who convinced me to retract my resignation and offered me something I like to do- build the information portal to benefit the staff.

So ironically I found my dream job. Whereas for the team leader who tried to kick me out, after I left, they bought another ambitious staff in to take over my place. Within a month, the team leader was kicked out from her position.

C A trial that is meant to turn you into the greater person that you would become in future.

I have been through a lot of hardship throughout my working career. Being stabbed for countless times I can remember, being sabotaged, gossip upon, given unfair appraisal especially during the beginning of my career days where I am quite timid and obedient.

With each of these experiences, I got stronger. I developed traits that helped me to cope and manage even bigger responsibilities and stress. And I learnt to forgive and move on when others have wrongly or tried to sabotage me.

But when I am in these situations, I had been angry, resentful and many times I had wanted to resign. Somehow I held on, through guidance from my teacher and advice from friends. After these experiences, something in me change.

You know, there is a AVP (Assistance Vice President) who were so angry with me because I have on a number of times tried to sabotage her projects. I had no choice, because she has this habit of launching things without proper compliance considerations which land my department and my staff in hot soup. I know it because I was the one had to rectify the past mess she caused because she managed to trick my bosses to approve certain things. When we had to clear the mess, she would casually say why didn’t we check properly before approving?

When I had to start attending meetings (because I was changing bosses that they do not have the experience), I would openly object to her work as I have my concerns. Boy, how she hated my guts. She called each of my department head over the phone to complaint about me for over an hour, trying to put me in a totally bad light in hope my boss will fire me.

One of my department heads told me that he got a call from her while he was leaving the office. He was stuck in a massive jam and reached his home only an hour later but she has still not yet finished talking about me. But later I would patch things up with the AVP, only to get into fights again when she tries to launch another project where she is landing us into hot soup again. Eventually when I resigned to be a caregiver, we parted amicably. She purposely made a trip over to my office (we are at different location), bought me some food and gave me a goodbye hug. Because we both understand that we are good staff but who is fighting for different causes.

D. This too, will pass

I noticed if it is not yet time and one resign because he/she could not deal with a situation, the same issue would come back again in the next job, often in greater intensity.

Example, suppose you resign just because you hated your boss’s guts or are not able to manage your subordinates. In your next job, you may be faced with the same situation but it gets worse because you would be in a totally new environment. I know of this because friends who have resigned shared with me their experience in their new company – they face the same situation again and again till they decide they want to stop running away and deal with it. In the process, they develop new strength and positive traits.

If you want to work on your limitations and plan your strike back, it is better done in a familiar environment, where you have working experience and knowledge to back you up. Instead of being in a totally unfamiliar territory.

I know it is not easy but when you are in the situation, know that ‘this too, shall pass’. I know it is a clinche and it is hard to believe for now. But with time, it is either you will find a better opportunity or the person who is bothering you would leave.

Meanwhile, please hang in there. Or, use this time to lay low and plan your escape such as looking for a better job or working on some side gig that can help you transition from your job.

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