8 reasons to tell your boss to f*** themselves

by Michelle McQuaid

Have you ever wanted to say this to a boss? With three out of every four people reporting their boss is the most stressful part of their job – turns out there’s plenty of reasons to think about saying it!

There’s even proven medical benefits to just thinking about the idea of swearing at your boss. Provided we don’t do it too frequently studies show swearing can be a great source of pain relief. Mix it with a bit of humor and it can actually jolt your brain into more creative, expansive and tolerant thinking spaces making you a much better problem solver when it comes to dealing with your bad boss.

Just try it! Think about the most difficult, ungrateful, unkind person you ever had the misfortune of working for. Now imagine confronting them and with the gentlest of tones and telling them, with the greatest respect, to go f*** themselves. I bet you’re already smiling.

Here’s the truth of the matter.

It takes most of around 22 months to free ourselves of a bad boss. During this time the constant stress and negativity of dealing with them day-after-day, week-after-week and month-after-month causes shift our brain towards anxiety or depression, it also wears down our immune system leaving us at risk of more colds, diseases, strokes and even heart attacks.

It’s not just our health that’s at risk. Not surprisingly when we’re consistently stressed and anxious we don’t perform as well at work, getting fewer pay rises and promotions. We also take our bad mood to home to the people who love as most and wind up damaging our relationships.

A bad boss should never be tolerated. It costs too much.

The good news is you aren’t helpless. The world needs better bosses so get real about what you’re putting up with and try some proven, practical ways of fighting back to create win-win outcomes for you, your boss and your organization. Check these out:

1. Your boss is making you miserable

If your boss thinks “leadership” means trying to intimidate and scare you by using menacing stares, hurling insults, yelling at the top of their longs or throwing objects at your head then you know you have a bad boss.

When your boss constantly stresses you out it fills your brain with too much cortisol which changes the way you think and feel by narrowing your focus, thinking less about others and limiting your ability to think outside the box.

Either tell your boss where to go or find some Jolts of Joy – things that put a smile on your face –to put some happy chemicals back into your brain. Try listening to a favorite song, watching a funny clip, eating lunch under a tree or calling a friend and talking about anything but your boss!

2. Your boss only gives you boring work

If your boss has no interest in what you enjoy doing and are good at – your strengths – then you need to seriously think about how much you need that pay check!

Employees who get to do what they do best each day at work are six times more engaged and their satisfaction with life triples! Given happier employees have been found to receive higher performance ratings and higher pay and enjoy more job security can you really afford to be doing work you find completely tedious day after day?

Use a free, proven tool to discover your strengths, share them with your boss and ask for a little time – even 10 minutes helps – to use these at work. If your boss isn’t interested then either do it anyway or use those words you’re longing to say!

3. Your boss is isolating you

Perhaps you’re like the legal secretary whose boss told everyone to ignore her or the waitress whose boss encouraged her colleagues to make fun of her. If your boss is ruining your relationships at work then it’s time to say enough!

Having a best friend at work has been found to make it seven times more likely you’ll be engaged in what your doing, helps you to produce higher quality work, improves your wellbeing and makes it less likely you’ll be injured on the job. When it comes to your happiness other people matter more than anything else.

Even small social interactions, like chit-chat in person, on the phone or via email, can improve your effectiveness and performance at work. So make the time to connect with other people and show some kindness and appreciation for your colleagues regardless of your boss.

4. Your work seems pointless

If you feel like you have no purpose to your work than making your boss more money then it’s time for a reality check.

Finding purpose in your work isn’t a luxury; it’s a necessity requirement for anyone who wants to get ahead. When we have a sense of meaning in our jobs a growing body of evidence has found we’re happier, more motivated, more committed and more satisfied enabling us to perform much better!

If your boss is blinded by their own success, then think of the three men found smashing bounders with iron hammers. When asked what they’re doing the first man says, “Breaking rocks.” The second man says, “Feeding my family.” The third man says, ‘Building a cathedral.” Can you re-craft the purpose of your job or is it time to tell your boss to go f*** themselves?

5. You’re not making any progress

If your boss is holding you back or has you stuck in a rut then it’s time to think about what you’re putting up with. Perhaps you’re so valuable they won’t let you move on or maybe they’re so fixated on what you still have to learn they fail to see all the things you have done.

It’s no coincidence some of the most successful people in history – Abraham Lincoln, Albert Einstein, Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, The Beatles and Michael Jordon – are the ones who failed the most. People who understand failure is inextricably linked with achievement are the ones who learn, grow and ultimately do well. Their brains literally become smarter as a result.

They learn to fail, or they fail to learn. Don’t let your boss undermine your confidence in your achievements – even your failures can have a place of pride if you can learn from them. If your boss doesn’t value your progress then tell them to go f*** themselves!

6. Your boss is a bully

Is your boss’ idea of a team building exercise involved lying a colleague on the floor, holding their head and the pouring water over their nose and mouth from a gallon jug to teach them how to fight hard for they want? Then this, or similar behavior, means you’re working for a bully!

One in five people studied for workplace bullying exhibit the same symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) found in soldiers returning from conflict situations.

Sleeplessness, anxiety attacks, feeling of helplessness, flashbacks and difficulty managing your emotions as a result of your boss are all signs that the problem with your boss is well beyond profanity. The chance of recovery from this kind of trauma is good but only with professional help. You may even find a way to turn your disorder into growth.

7. Your boss is mentally unwell

Unfortunately there’s a very small group of bosses – about five out every 100 – who suffer from psychological disorders that cause long-lasting, uncontrollable emotional disregulation. Like the boss who poured fish sauce over an employee and put rat poison in her handbag.

The symptoms of these disorders varies but the common element is the inability of these bosses to empathize with others – to feel what another person is feeling – which allows tem perpetuate their acts of cruelty.

The biggest challenge is often the boss involved has not been diagnosed and so receives no support or medication (if appropriate) to help them manage their moods and thoughts. If this is the case you can try to keep a diary of what’s happening and share this with HR, but in the long run you’re best not just swearing at this boss but leaving entirely!

8. Your boss shows you no respect

If you’ve hit the jackpot and have a boss who demands you work all hours, makes sexist remarks, steals you work or tries to hit on you then don’t just hope that it will pass.

At the end of the day we all want to be respected, valued and appreciated and when this is constantly undermined it wears us down and destroys our chances for money, success, health and happiness.

A boss who doesn’t think you’re worthy of respect will never change their mind so make your boundaries clear – swearing respectfully can help deliver a verbal slap – and start looking for a better boss who treats people decently.


Michelle McQuaid is the author of 5 Reasons To Tell Your Boss To Go F**k Themselves: How Positive Psychology Can Help You Get What You Want.


Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.

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