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Tamas Rev
Tamas Rev

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What can we learn from arrogant bosses?

I believe, everybody encountered an arrogant boss through her career. An arrogant boss is somebody who… Well, someone who looks like an arrogant boss to me, he might be fine for you.

Nobody is perfect, not even the managers. There are some kind of personality flaws that I can hardly tolerate while it might be fine for others. Also, there are personality flaws that I tolerate well, while others can’t handle it that well.

The fun fact is that we can even learn from this kind of bad experiences.

So, how do you know you’re working for an arrogant boss?

Arrogant people in general don’t respect your personal boundaries. They judge you. They criticize you. They make you work overtime a lot. They use language that you don’t like. And so on.

So, your boss does something that you can hardly tolerate. He is pushing your buttons a little too much. He makes your life miserable. Too bad that you didn’t foresee it during the interview process. What now?

How to deal with it?

You can try to tolerate it. I’m serious. Tolerance and self-composure are like a muscle. The more you train them, the stronger they become. You can practice how to calm yourself down in stressful situation. It’s going to be useful through your life.

You can look at your boss and try to guess what he needs from you – give it to him if you can. You can learn how to read other peoples body language.

What are the advantages?

In the previous paragraphs you already saw what you can learn in this kind of situation. I.e. you might become stronger and more resilient. But that’s not all!

You might learn how this craziness is possible within the organization. So you can level up your systemic thinking skills.

If you can get hardly anything right, then you get to decide what’s important for you. An arrogant boss is a great opportunity to get more conscious about your values. Some people want to do a good job. Some want to do god for the organization they are working for. Others need stimulating tasks. Some folks are people pleasers, and so on. So, if your boss fails to give clear priorities, then, ironically, you get to decide what’s important.

If you work on monotonous tasks, then you’ll learn how to tolerate monotony. Also, you’ll learn how to deal with that kind of tasks. Say for instance, lots of maintenance work is going to improve your problem-solving skills. Believe or not, there is a book about debugging effectively. It’s a really good one.

Do you have to work on a code base you can’t stand looking at? Come on, there’s a book about that too. Distasteful it might be, a legacy code base is a good place to enhance your analytical skills. Moreover, you’ll learn how to pin down the problem to a couple of classes. You’ll learn what to focus on. It’s an incredibly important skill.

When to stop?

Tolerance and self-composure are like a muscle. You can chronically exhaust them.

Look for signs of burnout and depression. If you’re frequently moody, tired or irritated then it’s probably getting too much.

Again, it’s about knowing your priorities. You need to know how much convenience you want to sacrifice for the sake of learning. However, when it’s getting under your skin then it’s time to move on. You should not trade your mental health for a job.

Anyway, these skills you’ve just learned at your job, they are going to pay off well – in your next position. Don’t stick to a bad job for too long.

Originally appeared at tamasrev.

Top comments (6)

gregorgonzalez profile image
Gregor Gonzalez

After 5 years dealing with my boss I feel more confident to tolerate any people or situation, but there's a limit and you don't need to tolarate everything. Step up for yourself.

I knew my boss was an ignorant and arrogant since the first interview, he said "you know about windows 8? We work with windows 12". He is a compulsive liar, he makes people confront each others, he tries to manipulate, he stole objects from office(pens, computers, anything), he will open your personal things (backpacks, etc) when you are not in the office. We confront him directly, he apologized and he recognized his errors, but he don't care and still is an asshole every day

tamasrev profile image
Tamas Rev

Some people find a way to fire you if you step up for yourself. It's an art to maintain your personal boundaries against this kind of people.

gregorgonzalez profile image
Gregor Gonzalez

Yes! He is friend of the owner.

I can't change this situation But I'm leaving to a better company =)

tamasrev profile image
Tamas Rev

Luckily, developers can easily switch jobs. However, it's recommended to stay in a job for a couple of years. Otherwise you'll get the job hopper flag.

With a job hopper flag people would think, you can talk the talk, but can't walk the walk. Nobody cares if IT is generally a crazy industry, a job hopper can go to places where they really need somebody to join. Those places are already crazy... You see, where I'm going with this?

So yeah, we must not endure an abusive workplace. Unfortunately, sometimes we have to.

vinaypai profile image
Vinay Pai • Edited

You shouldn't stick around a bad job JUST to avoid being seen as a job hopper. I can't speak for everyone, but when I see someone leaving a job they recently started, I'll ask about it, but won't hold it against them if there is a good reason. Just be sure you can express your issues clearly without sounding petty.

Of course that only works if it's a rare thing, not every job. If someone is having the same issue at every job the problem probably isn't their bosses, it's probably them.