More to Life: Your Boss is Not The Boss of You

Dr. Evil bad boss meme

Is there more to life than hating your boss? Feeling trapped under terrible leadership at work can feel like a waking nightmare. You need your job, you need the money, but your boss is a psychotic (or perhaps just incompetent) tyrant. And you feel stuck with them. Trapped in a cosmic dance of walking on eggshells and trying not to get on their bad side. 8+ hours a day, 5 days a week. At best, it’s annoying. At worst, it’s torture. But your boss is not the boss of you. Here are a few ways to keep perspective when your boss sucks to work for.

Realize that your boss’s insanity probably has nothing to do with you

I spent years working for a very unhappy, very unstable woman who loved to take out her frustrations on her employees. We were yelled at, cried at, and threatened with termination regularly. It was my first “real job.” I was young and foolish and thought this was just how bosses were, so I stayed. I needed the job. I needed to pay the bills. And more than anything, I really like what I was doing. So I kept my head down and did my best and tried to avoid her wrath. For a long time, I took the poor treatment personally. But one day, a shocking revelation changed everything: it wasn’t about me. My boss was a terrible boss, but I wasn’t a terrible employee. Her negativity was spewed out on anyone within proximity. It wasn’t personal. It didn’t reflect on my performance or worth. It was her problem, not mine.

There is more to life than your boss’s approval

Don’t get it twisted; I’m not telling you to slack off and be a bad employee. I’m telling you not to be a people-pleaser. Obvi, work hard and do your best, no matter what you do. But realize that approval and accolades from your boss (or lack thereof) have absolutely nothing to do with your worth as a human being. I bet you’ll find that your job satisfaction shoots into the stratosphere once you realize that your boss’s approval is not the ultimate goal to be achieved.

Your job is not who you are

In the words of Moana, “this is not who you are. You know who you are.” Your job is what you do. It’s not who you are. When your value and identity are completely wrapped up in your work, it’s very easy for that identity to get shaken, or even taken away. You should take pride in your work, and even enjoy it, but don’t let it define you. Your worth is inherent. It has nothing to do with your work, your performance, or what other people think of you. Once you really internalize the fact that there’s more to life, you will feel so much more free.