One Major Reason Not to Hate Your Boss

According to a study done by, the # 1 reason that three-quarters of employees dislike or hate their jobs is … the boss.

If you dislike your boss because your boss has undesirable characteristics, that’s fine.

But if you dislike your boss simply because he or she is a boss, then you ought to reconsider.

The reason you have a boss is because you’re unable, or unwilling, to be self-employed at this time.

If you were self-employed, you’d answer directly to your customers. Your boss, especially in a large company, represents a buffer between you and the customers. In other words, your boss has more responsibility than you do with respect to customer satisfaction, and consequently has more to lose.

The owner (or owners) of the company have the most to lose. In the case of publicly traded companies, the stockholders are among those who have the most to lose.

It’s irrational and mistaken to hate your boss for being a boss. You could damage a potentially good relationship or contact that might serve you well down the road. Or, more short-term, you end up having a miserable day where you feel like you have a perpetual chip on your shoulder rather than embracing what you’re choosing to do in life now.

Being self-employed has its advantages, and if that’s your goal you certainly ought to aim for it. But don’t do so in the naïve belief that this will make life easy. For all the difficulties that go away with not having a boss, you will take on new hardships and responsibilities by being your own boss.

For some, self-employment is the only way to go. You answer to your customers and because you’re driven to such high standards, you don’t need a boss as a buffer or someone to hold you to higher standards. The people who suffer the most from irrational bosses are those who strive and attain high quality standards, and are treated poorly by irrational bosses despite that achievement—or perhaps because of it, due to a boss who feels threatened by the employee’s excellence.

In a dynamic and growing economy, bad bosses are rarer. This is because in a growing economy, it’s an employee’s market more than an employer’s market. In a booming and continually growing economy, bosses (and business owners) must compete to find good people.

In a sagging, stagnating or even declining economy, where unemployment is high, employees are more at the mercy of their bosses than otherwise would be the case. Employees have fewer choices about where to work, and bosses know this. There’s less incentive, even in rational bosses and employers, to treat their employees well since there are so many on unemployment or “the dole.” If you’re concerned about your own plight as an employee, or about the plight of workers/employees in general, then your passion ought to be in favor of whatever policies make employment high, rather than the policies our federal and local governments are obviously engaging in at this time. (Currently the official unemployment rate is 7-8 percent, although the real rate is higher, as millions are simply giving up on finding jobs altogether.)

Psychologically, it makes the most sense to look at yourself as self-employed whether you work for somebody else, or not. In a sense, it’s true. We’re all responsible for our careers. Nobody can make us happy unless we are the driving force behind our own economic survival and fulfillment. I have never once talked to a person with a passive attitude about his or her economic well-being and career fulfillment who’s happy. In contrast, those who consider themselves responsible for their happiness, in career as well as personal life, are always happier.

Why? Because even if they’re temporarily stuck in a bad job situation with a boss they hate, they view it as a solvable problem that they can fix, with a rational plan and some time. Those who have what psychologists call an “internal locus of control” always feel some reason for hope; those with an “external locus of control” who feel others must make them happy are bitter, resentful and depressed when stuck with a bad boss.


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