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How to Overcome a Boss That Manipulates You Into Leaving
One of the most difficult things to deal with at work is feeling like your boss is trying to get you to resign. By resigning, you'll lose your chance at getting unemployment benefits, but quitting will likely look better to future employers than being fired. To overcome the situation, you should try to view your circumstances objectively, use diplomacy when dealing with your boss and devise an exit strategy in case you need one.
Speak with Your Boss
If you think your boss is trying to manipulate you, you could be misreading the situation. Be proactive and try to fix what's happening instead of just giving up. Have a private meeting with your boss and mention that you've noticed disagreements. Ask if you're letting him down in any way. This opens the lines of communication. If your boss responds fairly, you can try to remedy the situation by changing your strategies, work processes and reactions to better complement his personality.
If your boss is completely uncooperative or if the situation seems hopeless, then start documenting everything. Write down all your accomplishments and accolades that you get from other managers or co-workers. Document problems that arose and how you solved them. Use numbers and be objective. For example, instead of recording that you answered customer service questions quickly, write down that you answered all questions within an hour, when the department average is six hours. If you have to resign, this information will come in handy if you have an exit interview with human resources.
Create a Backup Plan
Start networking now. Talk with alumni and attend conferences, seminars and networking events for your type of work. Create business profiles on social networking sites and add contacts. Take part in community activities where you can meet other managers and company presidents. By doing all these things, you'll have a network to turn to if you have to leave, and you may be able to find a new job much faster.
Keep the Door Open
If you have to resign, don't burn your bridges. Don't badmouth your boss to colleagues or other managers. If you have an exit interview with human resources, stick to the facts and be diplomatic. Don't cry or complain about your boss or act unprofessionally. Don't post dramatic notes about your boss online for other professionals to read. If your boss is difficult, it's possible he won't last much longer at the company. You may be asked to come back if you don't burn your bridges. In addition, you'll have a much easier time in the future if you find yourself working with people who witnessed the situation.
Check the Law
Sometimes when a boss tries to manipulate you into leaving, he's actually breaking the law. Know the rules for employment discrimination and find out if your situation applies. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has a detailed list of what qualifies. For example, you can't legally be fired or disciplined because of race, gender, religion, disability or pregnancy. In addition, a boss who sexually harasses you or creates a hostile work environment is also acting illegally. If any of these circumstances are occurring, you should contact an attorney.
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With features published by media such as Business Week and Fox News, Stephanie Dube Dwilson is an accomplished writer with a law degree and a master's in science and technology journalism. She has written for law firms, public relations and marketing agencies, science and technology websites, and business magazines.