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8 Ways to Get Motivated When You Have a Bad Boss

It seems in the wonderful world of work there’s always a trade-off. You love the location, but the commute sucks. The pay is great, but the hours are gruelling. In a perfect world you could choose your “options” like amenities that come with a new car or a newly constructed home.

Yet just because you work in less than ideal conditions, that doesn’t mean that you can’t make the most of your work day and survive the insanity. Particularly, a supervisor who works your nerves and wreaks havoc with your peace of mind.

It’s simply a matter of mind over matter. And I should know. For years I worked for a woman who seemed to have it in for me. Once I even got in hot water because I ordered stationery for the office that apparently was the wrong shade of white! Who knew that white had so many variations in hues? Go figure.

Despite my boss’s oppressive ways, and her less than lovable personality, I managed to have more seniority than my peers, and a performance record that garnered some not too shabby pay raises along the way. And you can too.

Here are eight awesome ways to get motivated when you work for a bad boss :

1. Learn the Serenity Prayer.

I kid you not. Knowing what you can change and what is beyond your control will contribute greatly to your productivity and peace of mind. For years, I pulled my hair out trying to deal with the toxic, the “taxing”, and the down right troublesome. Then I had a revelation. You can’t change other people, but you can change how you choose to react to them! Act accordingly.

2. If you can’t win them over, don’t get overwhelmed.

In other words, don’t try to even the score by working slower, or taking excessive “mental health” days, or longer lunches. It will only put you further behind in your work load, and build a case for your boss to give you the old heave-ho before you’re ready to go. As they say, “Don’t cut your nose to spite your face.”

3. Try to find something positive or redeeming about your supervisor.

Does he have a warm smile? Was he raised by wolves? Have a generous nature? A good work ethic? A killer body? Fashion taste to emulate? Good ideas? Dig deep! Oftentimes if we look hard enough we can find something that allows us to see our leaders in a more compassionate and accepting way. What have you got to lose?

4. Choose your battles wisely.

It’s not always necessary to take big stands on small issues. For instance, why spend hours defending your decision to vote for Obama, or battling with your boss over a new policy, or justifying the merits of “casual work day”? Take a chill pill. When necessary, learn to go with the flow in order to go the distance!

5. Keep your eye on the prize.

Remember your reasons for being in the workplace. It’s not to win a popularity contest, but to pay your mortgage, put your kids through college, meet your responsibilities, keep up with the Joneses, and to pursue your passion.

6. Take the high road.

In the words of Dr. Phil:

“Somebody’s gotta’ be the hero in this relationship.”

7. Keep the faith.

Whether you believe in Buddha, Allah, Jehovah or some other deity, now is the time to put your faith in to practice. In fact, studies show that folks who embrace religious beliefs and have a strong sense of faith are able to use it as an arsenal for combating everything from illnesses, to tragedies, to bad marriages, to even bad bosses. You’ll find answers and anecdotes to this increasing phenomenon at

8. Learn to laugh in the face of adversity.

A wise person once said, “Struggle is inevitable, but misery is optional.” Happiness is a choice. Choose to maintain a positive state of mind and your own state of Nirvana. (Mo)re (Jo)y is what it’s all about.

Though no individual principle above may work alone, the combination and variation of several of these practices is sure to make a difference in your efforts to make a living, regardless as to your industry, level of angst, or brand of bad boss.

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