It is something that many of us have had to deal with at some stage in our careers – the cry of “I hate my boss!”
They come in many forms – the overly critical type, the one that takes credit for your success, the manager who simply never offers praise for a job well done.
If you’re unfortunate, you’ll have been the victim of one who is all of the above.
A survey by TV Guide recently revealed The Simpson’s Mr Burns to be the worst boss on television, with foul-mouthed chef Gordon Ramsay also making the list of bad managers.
While few people are likely to have been subjected to the comedic tyranny of the cartoon character or four-letter-word tirades of the Kitchen Nightmares star, they may have been subject to behaviour which is just a few degrees lower on the scale.
Anyone who has worked for a tyrannical employer will know how difficult it is to survive the experience, let alone emerge triumphant.
Someone who has managed to have the last laugh when it comes to a bad boss is Nicky Chapman, best known for her role as a judge on reality TV shows Pop Idol and Popstars. In a recent interview with the Guardian, she spoke about her experience working as an Executive PA in the record industry.
“I could happily have continued doing that job; it opened lots of doors,” she said.
However, her first employer was not particularly supportive.
“My first boss in the music industry told me I would never last, which really knocked my confidence,” she revealed to the newspaper.
“A few years later he was asking me for a job.”
Her advice for jobseekers was: “If you have self-belief and set your sights high, you can go very far.”
A recent survey by recruitment company Sharp Consultancy found that 100 per cent of people had experienced working for a difficult boss at some point in their careers, while 88 per cent said they had left their job because of a manager.
The research also revealed that 89 per cent of workers have had a disagreement with a manager and 67 per cent have made a complaint about their boss.
Mark Wilson, managing director of Sharp Consultancy, said the statistics suggest that management style often “leaves a lot to be desired”.
So what do you do if you hate your boss?
Elly Hyde, head of training at Pitman Training in London’s High Holborn and Notting Hill and Central Manchester, said that in the case of secretarial staff, being confident in what you are doing is key.
She explained that it is important for a secretary or Executive PA to stay on top of their workload and make sure they keep track of everything they are doing so that they give their boss as few opportunities as possible to criticise.
Training can help you to achieve the confidence and skills necessary to get the better of your boss, according to Ms Hyde.
She suggested that undergoing training in Microsoft Outlook could be one way to ensure you have the skills to succeed in a difficult environment.
“If you know how to keep Outlook diaries using the proper management tools then you’re keeping track of everything, you’re diarising and informed of what you’re doing,” Ms Hyde explained.
“Then they can see that you’re organised, so if they are difficult or hard to manage, then you’ve got things documented so you can back up what you say,” she added.
Ms Hyde said that knowing what the software can do for you and how it can help you in your day-to-day job is also important for staying on top of things at work when you are under scrutiny, which is where the knowledge acquired from Microsoft Office courses comes in.
Setting up databases or producing spreadsheets, for example, can enhance organisation and efficiency.
“If you’ve got Microsoft skills you can implement something, new changes, to make your day-to-day job easier,” Ms Hyde commented.
“It’s knowing what those applications can do for you, to reduce your time on specific tasks,” she added.
Skills learned on minute taking courses can also be useful for accountability, she said.
“When you’re in a meeting, if you’re confident you can take minutes, if your boss turns around to you and says ‘no, that’s not what I said’, if you’ve got good shorthand skills you can show that they did,” Ms Hyde explained.
In addition, taking courses in communication can help to boost your knowledge and understanding of how to operate under pressure, suggesting that undertaking Pitman’s Executive PA Diploma in London or Manchester is a good way to develop these skills.