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Monday, November 26, 2012

Firing Your Narcissistic Boss

Coffee shops are the melting pot for all sorts of clientele, and recently it was a bullying boss that attracted my attention—and everyone else’s that day.
Perched in a secluded corner, sipping her lattĂ©, was this mid-20s woman, delivering edicts from her phone. She spoke so authoritatively she could be heard anywhere in the shop, let alone from within 6 yards—our proximity to each other.
“I need sales up by end of month,” “My new stock has arrived and I need to push it through,” “You need to make sure that happens,” “Don’t let morale slip,” “I need you working more overtime hours,” “I’m sorry if it doesn’t work for you; it works for the business, and that’s what you’re paid for.”
It wasn’t just the words, but the tone of the conversation would have evoked stress and anxiety in just about anyone. Many who imagine this sort of encounter can identify with something very loathsome in this, whether it’s been a personal experience or one we’ve heard of.
What we really want to do is consider how we might see justice in these situations, noting, as Christians, that we leave vengeance with God—“It is mine to avenge,” says the Lord (Romans 12:19).
What Are the Ways We Can Fire Our Narcissistic Bosses?
This is an intriguing concept, one that fires the imagination for the power in resistance—a God-ordained and God-supported resistance.
These are just some of the ways we can fire our narcissistic bosses:
1.      Make a covenant to get a better job: a better job is in the eye of the beholder, and it doesn’t need to pay more. Even the fact of freeing our minds to consider other work is a healthy allowance we give ourselves. Making a covenant to get a better job is simply about making the promise to ourselves to look at what else is on the market.
2.      Study for a new career: this is about being prepared to work toward something that improves our prospects for vocational happiness. If only we can connect with the things that really drive and inspire us; the things that have always brought us to life.
3.      Wait for the boss to fall on their sword: sometimes, particularly for the worst bosses, the organisation discovers the effect of their narcissism and moves them on, although many organisations are just as equally narcissistic.
4.      Switch off from work: we work quarter of our weekly lives. That means three quarters of our time should not be spent fretting about an enemy (though we are bound to be occasionally anxious—a suitable fix for which is prayer). There are ways we can all switch off from work; all it takes is the ingenuity to design and implement what works for us.
We may not see these things above as firing our bosses at all. Isn’t it just a case that we left or they left? But if we consider working for someone as a choice—the choice to put up with them or not—we are suddenly in the box seat of a more flexible perspective.
***
Who we work for can make working either a pleasure or a pain. The more choice we see, regarding the ability to move from unsatisfying work to more satisfying work, the better we are.
Firing the narcissistic boss is truly about mindset. Such a mindset affords us freedom, even if only within our minds, as we plan our lives forward. When we see choice we see options; and options are freedom.
© 2012 S. J. Wickham.

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