Why Having an A-Hole Boss Can Be a Good Thing

career tips for 20s, career advice, how to handle a bad boss

*Guest Post*

Getting The Job

After a slew of miscellaneous jobs post college graduation, I finally landed an exciting job in my field. I was pumped! The girl who did my interview was young, from my hometown, and seemed sweet. I would be making way more than ever before, and I would have a ton of freedom to really perfect my craft. That particular job was the only one in the department so I also got to take advantage of real-world resume-building experiences. What a great starter gig, right?

And then it all turned…

Well as the saying goes, all that glitter is not gold. Immediately after starting the job I realized I was the youngest person by about twenty years working at the company. I did not work closely with the girl who interviewed me. The coworkers there did not take kindly to a new young woman in the office with less traditional world views than what they were used to. As the months passed, the “good behavior” everyone had started out with began to dissipate.

The owner refused to read, (let alone respond to), the emails I sent, then accused me of never sending them. He insisted that any money needed for work materials was to come from my pocket. Weekly one-on-one status meetings he had said were mandatory began to become a waste of his time. I wasn't included in staff meetings and was even hired under false salary promises!

At one time my boss even chastised me saying, “Who signs your paychecks? Do as I say.” Say whaaat?? But I stayed at that job for a good while. Like a lot of young people entering the workforce, I felt obligated to cut my teeth and put in time because it's “the first job” out of school and I had to obsess over building a portfolio. After leaving that job, it took me a couple months, lots of schnauzer cuddles, and more than a few oreo milkshakes to rebuild my self-esteem and get back out into the job market. But as I began to reflect, I realized that having a less than ideal first job experience helped me more than I could have ever anticipated. Let me tell you why.

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Having an a-hole boss teaches you what you will not tolerate.

Going into my first professional job, I was naïve in my thinking that everyone had my best interests at heart. I assumed that anything said to me was correct because it was coming from an authority figure. Even though I am a confident woman, it literally did not occur to me to stand up for myself and oppose my boss. Working in an extremely bad environment, then getting out of that environment showed me that I will not accept a lack of respect for myself or my position ever again. I am a professional, an adult, and heck, a human. Common decency is not too much to ask for, and authority figure or not, no one is above giving it.

It looks good on your resume.

Hear me out. When you are interviewing for a new job, how much of the interview is spent discussing your old jobs? Like…half or more. I’m not saying spend the interview bashing your ex-boss, (definitely don’t do that), but if you can say with confidence that you have handled yourself with grace in spite of professional differences in the work place, and you have been self-sustaining with little job supervision, potential employers will be impressed. They can tell you are level headed, composed and mature. When you’ve dealt with a challenging experience as a professional youngin', you can pretty much handle anything the working world throws at you.

It makes that next job so much sweeter.

After leaving that a-hole boss, I got a new boss. What a joy a healthy working environment can be! The new management was very supportive and open to my ideas. There was even an allotted budget for my department, and my opinions were sought out and valued. Such a breath of fresh air. Sometimes it takes a low to make you really appreciate a high.

If you’re feeling discouraged about your boss or supervisor, take heart. Tons of us millennials have made it through to the other side a little wiser and a lot happier, and you will too.

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