How To Survive Having An “Idiot” Boss

Your boss is clearly an idiot or a lunatic — so there’s no way that he’s going to help you succeed. But, for whatever reason, it doesn’t look like he’s going to be replaced anytime soon. What to do? It’s OK to vent about him at home (so long as your spouse can tolerate it), but don’t talk about him in the office.

Complaining about your boss may be understandable in some circumstances, but it does nothing to improve your situation. If your boss finds out that you are complaining about him, he’ll have a legitimate complaint. And from those who hear your complaints, you won’t get sympathy so much as piteous disdain. (As in, “If he really dislikes the guy so much, he should do something about it.”)

The most important thing to do is to continue to work hard and stay focused on what’s good for the business. Determine what that is, keep at it, and don’t worry so much about what your boss says or does. If he chastises you, defend yourself. If he does something you think is seriously incorrect, tell him so. Be frank with him, discreet with everyone else.

This approach might get you fired — but if it does, you’ll be fired from a situation and a business that is seriously damaged. More likely than getting fired, by working hard on what’s important, you will get noticed by your boss’s colleagues (and even his superiors). Chances are, before too long, you’ll get an offer for a better opportunity. When one comes up, you’ll feel guilt-free about taking it . . . if you haven’t dissed your boss too much in the meantime.

[Ed. Note.  Mark Morgan Ford was the creator of Early To Rise. In 2011, Mark retired from ETR and now writes the Palm Beach Letter. His advice, in our opinion, continues to get better and better with every essay, particularly in the controversial ones we have shared today. We encourage you to read everything you can that has been written by Mark.]