“How to survive and excel past an abusive boss?”

Patrick Greenwood
3 min readJun 24, 2021

How do you survive in the workplace with a overly abusive boss? How to protect yourself and your career while doing what you love?

First off, you are not alone. Similar to the dolphin in the picture swimming peacefully towards the sunset, everyone in a workplace has faced similar problems.

Here is some simple physics to keep in mind:

a. Bosses are paid to be bosses, not your friend.

b. Bosses became bosses because in many cases, they were in your position at one point in their careers.

c. Realizing that they were probably rock stars during their day, they expect everyone to be like them.

d. Bosses answer to higher bosses, that in most cases, are worse than them.

e. Do some bosses become ugly and terrible because they love being like that? Probably so do.

So, knowing this, what you can do?

First thing, remember you work for the company, not them. They are your supervisor in your chain of command. The company hired you for a reason, not the boss. The boss owns the accountability of what you do, however he/she does not own you. The whole point of a boss is a delegation of accountability and responsibility from top down. As many have said, “Shit does roll out hill”.

Second, know who you are in this role. Are you good at what you do? Do you get along with your peers? Do your peers speak well of you? Do the clients appreciate you for what you do for them? In many cases, the answer to these questions in usually yes. Then, how come the boss doesn’t choose to recognize this? More often, bosses are very insecure people. They began bosses because the person above them either quit, got promoted or left the company. These “rock stars” are ambitious, driven for successful, and are willing to sell off anyone to get there, including their own workmates.

Third and most important, don't ever give the boss the reason to pick on you or fire you. You are hired for a reason, focus on that purpose. If your boss blocking you or preventing you from being successful, go to HR. Once you realize that going to HR is the last resort, you need to upfront, honest, and direct on what your boss is doing and why is their actions impacting your success. The sad news is most HR personal struggle with this internal conflict. Many times over, management will protect fellow managers first. However, the corporate climate is changing especially with so many people have other options and are willing leave with very little notice to go work somewhere else.

Finally, remember, only you know if you are doing your best at work. If you truly believe you are doing your job correctly and you are getting along with your peers, your boss is either going to back off or “take the darker” path to try get you removed. The good news, if you are good at what you do, there is always another home somewhere else that will appreciate the good person you are.

Patrick Greenwood

Patrick Greenwood, is a fictional writer, award winning podcaster, blogger, and global cyclist.