There was an interesting piece in Lifehacker yesterday that summarized a number of studies on the effects a bad boss can have on your life. Among other sources, it cites a study by Université Francois Rabelais, and published in the Journal of Business and Psychology (but you can read about it in The Atlantic). The gist of that study as well as the others they mention is that the effect of having a bad boss can go way beyond the office:
The psychological climate in which you work has a lot to do with your health and happiness. Recent research has found, perhaps not surprisingly, that bad bosses can affect how your whole family relates to one another. They can also affect your physical health, raising your risk for heart disease.
The Lifehacker article goes on to discuss a number of ways in which one can deal with a bad boss including hobbies, meditation, the HR department, leaving, and others. Of interest to me is that they don’t discuss my preferred solution which is not to get yourself working for a bad boss in the first place.
As I’ve mentioned before, the very first question one should ask when discussing a new job opportunity with a recruiter is “to whom do I report?” Once you have that name, it’s on you to do every bit of research you can to find out if that person is a fantastic supervisor or Miranda Priestly, the bad boss from hell in The Devil Wears Prada. Talk to contacts at the company or people who’ve worked for/with the boss-to-be. A nice title, a nice paycheck, and other things should not cloud your thinking about the potential gig if the boss doesn’t check out.
Of course many of us have been in a situation where the boss changes – the dream for whom you went to work is promoted or leaves and working for the new boss is less preferable than sitting at home ripping out your fingernails with a pliers. Having had that happen to me on a few occasions, I took my own advice and left. Loved the company, loved my co-workers, loved my job, hated my boss. No contest. Is that always the smartest choice? Yes, as long as your perspective isn’t focused solely on money (and I get that sometimes it needs to be) as these studies show. It’s definitely not the easiest choice.
What do you think? Have you ever left a job you loved because of a bad boss?