Career Advice

My Boss Is Crazy

Ben Wheeler Posted by Ben
min read
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Over the course of my recruitment career, I have spoken with hundreds of people who are looking to leave their current employer because after a brief ‘honeymoon period’, they have realised that they either work for a lunatic, megalomaniac, sociopath, psychopath or someone they  just see as just plain crazy!  However they ‘define’ their boss, the key issue that just keeps popping up, is that they do not like working for/with them and want out – now! 

It often all starts so well, with a great working relationship for the first few months, but then it happens.  That moment when you ‘get too close to the sun’ and you get burnt. You don’t really know what you’ve done wrong or where that comment/rant/shouting came from, but it was uncalled for and in those few minutes after such an episode, you decide you won’t put up with it. Your boss is officially ‘crazy’ and you’re completely unsettled and have lost all or any respect for them. So how can you fix this relationship?  Well the truth is, in most cases, you can’t!  

Don’t get me wrong, it is definitely worth trying to improve things, but if someone displays some of that ‘crazy’ behaviour, chances are they have been doing so for years and it’s highly unlikely that they will change their ways. 

You are unlikely to change such behaviours and even more so when confronting them, yourself!  It is important to note that the ‘crazy’ that is often talked about is not a derogatory term used to describe someone with a mental illness.  It is simply used, in these cases, by people to describe the situation when they see their boss acting completely irrationally, unfairly and often quite aggressively, for no apparent reason (although there really isn’t ANY reason which would justify this type of behaviour).  

It perfectly sums up the situation when it becomes impossible to do anything which will please them. The key thing here is to avoid being in such a situation in the first place.  If it has happened to you, it is highly likely you are not the first person. In fact, the real reason you probably have the job is because the last person left for the same reason!  So before you take on a new position in hope that you’ll land one with a ‘normal’ boss, here are just a few things to consider: The Obvious

  • Why did the last person leave?  (Obviously this can often be misconstrued, but at least ask)

  • How long have most of the staff been working there?  What is the staff turnover like?

  • How long has your line manager been working there?

  • Are they open to change?

The Not So Obvious

  • External referencing - who do you know who is connected to the business such as suppliers etc. Bad reputations travel…extremely well

  • Who is your line manager accountable to?  Are they the business owner and are they accountable to just themselves?

What’s important here, is to make sure you go into your job search with a positive mindset. If you are constantly looking for the ‘inner crazy’ in your potential future boss, that’s all you are likely to see. Don’t miss out on a great opportunity because you think you may not get along with them 100% of the time. The fact is, there are people in life that we aren’t going to gel with completely and that’s okay! But that’s not to say that you need to put up with the ‘crazy ones’. Figure out what you don’t want in a boss, but be open minded at the same time. 

Different people will teach us different things in life. Chances are you may learn something useful from them. Besides, most successful people have a little bit of the ‘crazy’ anyway!