Job Seeker Blog - Spark Hire

How to Deal With Working for Someone You Don’t Respect

When you’re working for someone whom you have little respect for professionally, it can be difficult to enjoy your job or be motivated to do your job well. However, while you can’t always influence your employer to change their ways or their treatment of employees, you can always control your own conduct in the workplace and take certain steps to try and improve your situation.

First, be aware of your own level of professionalism. You are most responsible for your own conduct, so continue with your typical work ethic and level of professionalism. Remember, the workplace is not the appropriate space to vent your frustrations. If your boss says or does something which upsets you, wait before responding and respond in a way that cannot indict you for poor conduct or insubordination. As you assess your own manner in the workplace, ask the difficult question: am I provoking this frustrating behavior or situation in any way?  While this kind of self-assessment is difficult to do honestly, perhaps it could reveal a root cause of the issue. If you need more transparency, consult a trusted friend or mentor. Think if there are steps you can take to improve your attitude or conduct that may alter your boss’s attitude or manner towards you.

Secondly, don’t talk about the issue at work. Even if you believe your coworkers to be good friends, don’t confide in them about the situation with your boss during lunch or at the water cooler. This is unprofessional as well as dangerous to your professional reputation. It only takes a few slips of the tongue for your complaint to get back to the wrong person and then onward to your boss. Find an outlet for your frustration in a spouse, trusted friend or other adviser outside of the workplace. Someone removed from the immediate situation may also have an alternate view or valuable advice for dealing with the situation in ways you haven’t previously considered.

If necessary, consider the actions you could feasibly take to improve your situation. Depending on the issue or frustration you have with your superior, is it appropriate to approach them in a one-on-one setting, or are they more serious charges that should go through the confidentiality of human resources? Some managers or bosses may actually appreciate professional feedback from an employee for the sake of their own professional improvement and development. If the issue is more personal in nature, make sure you document specific actions or occurrences that you can present to someone with more authority.

Finally, if there is little action you can feasibly take or are reasonably comfortable taking, it may be time to reassess your current job position. If there is no room for professional growth under this current supervisor, is it possible to be transferred elsewhere in the company? Keep your network open and put some feelers out for potential openings and alternate opportunities. In the event that the situation escalates and you need to move on quickly, you won’t be blindsided or without any prospects.

Have you had to work with someone you completely disrespected? How did you make it work? Share with us in the comments section below!

IMAGE: Courtesy of Flickr by B.S. Wise

Kailyn Baum

Kailyn is a recent college graduate with degrees in English and Political Science. She is currently working in the publishing industry, where she loves the fact that she is paid to immerse herself in talking and thinking about books all day long. When she isn’t working, she enjoys reading, cooking, line-dancing, and writing short stories and poetry. Her sincerest hope for contributing to Spark Hire’s job seeker blog is to provide job seekers of all ages with the tools and sense of humor necessary to stay calm and carry on.