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Advice

Judge Jay-Jay delivers her verdict on a bully boss

More FM radio diva Jay-Jay Feeney delivers her verdict on your biggest dilemmas

Bully boss

Hi Jay-Jay,
Do you have any advice for someone who loves their job but hates their boss? That's me. I work in a corporate environment and it's my first job out of university, so although I've been here for almost two years now, I'm still considered a junior.
My boss is difficult to work for. She is a power-tripper who uses her position to belittle me and make me feel inferior to everyone else. She's rude with her demands and expects things to be done her way, within an unreasonable time frame. She also asks me to do things outside of my job description, like cleaning the kitchen and going to get her lunch for her, even though I'm not her PA.
If I speak out, she tells me I have a lot to learn and that everyone started where I am. It's frustrating because I really want to continue this career. I can't just quit because I have to be here for at least three years, but I go home crying most nights because of the way she acts. Am I supposed to just suck it up?
Ella, Auckland
Hi Ella,
Sadly, this problem is too common. I hear a lot of horror stories about people in positions of management who consider it a right to become a tyrant. Surely their job is to manage things, not dictate and bully their way to payday?
I have a few suggestions for navigating this. Firstly, write down everything your boss says or does that makes you feel uncomfortable. Write dates and times too, just in case things escalate. Do you have an HR department? Can you get some guidance from them? How about your colleagues? Is there someone you can confide in to share your woes and get some support from? They would know your boss well and could let you know which of your worries are valid.
I'm guessing you don't feel comfortable enough to talk directly to your boss about this. If you can, request a private meeting and ask how you can have a more constructive working relationship. Don't blame – use "I" statements, like, "I feel belittled when…"
I also think you should focus on your own development and career growth. Find conferences, workshops or webinars that can help you gain more skills. This will be helpful when it's time to renegotiate or work somewhere new.
If you feel like your boss is actually bullying you, you have legal rights and it'd be best to get professional advice.
Good luck, Jay-Jay
A problem shared is a problem halved! Send your sticky issues to Jay-Jay – email wdaynz@aremedia.co.nz.

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