Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Mental Health Center

Font Size

Work it Out: Dealing with a Difficult Boss

Got a toxic manager? Here's how to survive and even thrive.
By Stephanie Stephens
WebMD Magazine - Feature

You couldn't wait to get that job -- and now you can't wait to leave, thanks to your boss. It's a situation that is, unfortunately, commonplace. Nearly half of employees surveyed by the national administrative staffing firm Office Team say they've worked for an unreasonable boss.

Maybe yours is a micromanager or a bully. Or an insensitive, abusive, or just plain dysfunctional person -- supervising you in a job you had hoped might lead to more meaningful work or greater accomplishments. Believe it or not, your response to the situation may be the ticket to getting both.

Recommended Related to Mental Health

Dissociative Identity Disorder (Multiple Personality Disorder)

Dissociative identity disorder (previously known as multiple personality disorder) is thought to be an effect of severe trauma during early childhood, usually extreme, repetitive physical, sexual, or emotional abuse.

Read the Dissociative Identity Disorder (Multiple Personality Disorder) article > >

"At first, you have ‘boss love' and then you have a rude awakening," says work-life expert Tevis Rose Trower, founder of Balance Integration Corp. in New York City. She's been there herself, and says you can squeeze lemonade from that lemon of a job you can't afford to quit. But you'll need to make some changes, just as Trower once did with a problematic manager.

Learn to Adapt

"This boss held court and psychoanalyzed my life while I was pinned to the chair across her mahogany desk," Trower recalls. Instead of retreating, Trower took the high road, learning "to hold the boss in compassion" even when she monopolized Trower's time. The boss's need to talk at Trower for hours on end was her way of expressing a basic human desire, says Trower, who reluctantly broke her own hardline rule of not getting sidetracked from "mountains of work" and listened to her boss. The tactic worked, creating a path for Trower to move forward.

To cope when a difficult boss threatens to hold you back, first ask yourself honestly and objectively, "Now that I'm living this job, how do I give it permission to be exactly as it is?" If you're a "comfort-seeking" person, keep in mind that you'll never find the perfect workplace or perfect anything. "Whatever you don't tolerate will show up for you somewhere else. Patterns repeat themselves," Trower says.

For example, maybe you're so upset that you obsess over every little thing your boss does. That won't help improve your work satisfaction. "You'll live in hatred for most of your waking, even sleeping, hours," says Trower. "You don't go to your job to fall in love with everyone, but to use talents and abilities as best you can to achieve an outcome. Any goodness, smile, or camaraderie is icing on the cake." So let people be people, including your boss, knowing they won't change.

"Your real job is to make yourself as adaptable, responsive, intelligent, and skillful in as many situations as possible," Trower says, and that includes your relationship -- good, bad, or in between -- with the person who happens to be your boss.

"Then you can choose where you ultimately want to be."

Today on WebMD

Differences between feeling depressed or feeling blue.
lunar eclipse
Signs of mania and depression.
man screaming
Causes, symptoms, and therapies.
woman looking into fridge
When food controls you.
Woman standing in grass field barefoot, wind blowi
senior man eating a cake
woman reading medicine warnings
depressed young woman
man with arms on table
man cringing and covering ears

WebMD Special Sections