6 things you need to survive a psycho boss

(Almost) everyone has a story about, “this crazy-person-I-dated-once…”


The good news is that like optical illusions, once you see their game, you can’t unsee it.

It can inoculate you from dating other crazies.


Crazy bosses are similar, yet with a few key differences.


For one things, we don’t always get to choose our boss and if we do, it’s after an interview where everyone’s on their best behavior.


There is no power only justice…

said copy writer Gary Halbert.


It’s worth keeping front of mind if you have boss issues.


First thee guidelines to surving a bad boss:


1. The relationship is not equal. They have more power.


2. Your boss can influence your life a lot while you work for them. The more you care about your job and career the worse it can be for you.


3. It’s not illegal to be a bad boss. Bullying and gaslighting are common and they work and negative consequences are rare. Though that’s changing at a glacial pace.

Studies say as many as 20% of C-level execs are bona fide psychopaths.

That’s 1 in 5 folks.


Maybe that’s why the damage they inflict is underplayed and even treated as a commonplace event.


Bad bosses derail good careers and implode confidence of good, competent employees

Anecdotally, about 20% of professionals have a boss trauma negatively impacting their professional image and self-esteem as long as 10 years later.


A gifted few have a genius for managing up even in the worst scenarios.


Dr. Fauci is a recent example.


To be fair, we don’t know the emotional price Fauci paid for his experience.


And his new “boss” publicly re-validated Fauci on a global stage, which goes a long way to giving a person closure.


Unfortunately, that’s not going to happen for 99.9% of people in Bad Boss Hell.

If you have a crazy boss, move fast.


Deeper levels of hell yawn before you

It probably won’t get better.


If you wait until you can’t take it anymore, and the vast majority do, you could be in a terrible place from which to move on.


Do these three things fast to make it out with your mental health in tact and that’s not really a joke.


4. Confirm your suspicions: others don’t always volunteer details about a hell-boss experience. Many only tell close friends or their partner. Ask around, people will be forthcoming and might have perspective which can help you see things more clearly. This matters because,…


5. The first casualty is perspective: years later, you may look back and say something like … “If I’d known then what I know now, I’dve…” followed by a smart, calculated strategic move that makes 100% perfect sense in hindsight.


Remember work is about power…

Most people accept that they “work for” the boss, making it harder for even the worst boss to be wrong right off the bat.


The person with the power is given the benefit of the doubt, you aren’t.

While you take your time giving them the benefit of the doubt, check that your peace of mind isn’t running away like parolee from a pot bust.

More reality…


6. Look un-flinchingly at what’s happening. Focus on outcomes.

It’s not normal to: Feel bad at work. Feel bad about yourself because of work. Beat yourself up or allow others to. It’s not normal to cry before, during or after work. Dread is a flaming red flag.


If you dread work, something is very, very wrong.

All these are legit signs that read: “Get out. Fast.”


One client with over two decade’s tenure was closing in on a sweet retirement when their psycho boss arrived.


A great employee, well-connected across local networks, with decades of useful institutional knowledge, they didn’t have psychopath-boss management skills and they didn’t get out in time.


Alone and unsupported, this person got the gaslighting treatment, unraveled and with HR’s help, they were forced out.


This employee now faces a long arbitration to obtain the retirement they earned.


Unless laws have been broken, HR is usually toothless against internal power and sometimes not even then

Turning in the HR paperwork, an insider said to my client in conspiratorial tone…


“They always deny the first claim. You’ll have a better chance on appeal.”

Good to know.


We’re talking about a 20+ year employee’s retirement, folks. Not their last paycheck or a few weeks of vacation. Don’t play.


If you’re in a bad boss situation, get help.


And the real whackos are great at making you (and others) believe you’re the problem not them.


If this is a hill worth dying on, fight but don’t fight alone.

If it’s not that hill, swallow the bitter pill, face the hard reality that the good times are over and get out before you get hurt.



The deck is stacked against you and your mental health is on the table. No, that’s not fair but it’s also no joke.

Play it safe and protect yourself.

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