Fighting the Forces of Evil On the Job

Fighting the Forces of Evil on the Job

I was revisiting some of my previous activity on Quora and was reminded of a scenario that (sadly) many folks find themselves in at work:

“If your boss is a jerk and wants you to follow him to bad mouth and blame others, should you follow suit?”

It’s so frustrating when a situation like this rears its ugly head. You want to focus on doing your work to the best of your ability, but it feels impossible to do so in this case. You also want to stay employed and worry that if you don’t do what the boss says, you will be out the door.

Sometimes, sinking down in the muck just seems like the easiest course of action. Should you do it?

My answer, without hesitation, is NO.

Why is it worth fighting the forces that would pull you down? Let me expand a little on the reasons that I gave on Quora.

1. Acting like him will likely mean that others will label you a jerk, as well.

I think it goes without saying that following in the footsteps of a jerk means you will, more than likely, be viewed similarly. Is that how you want to be known? How would it make you feel to know that people would be seeing you in the same light that you see your boss?

2. No job is permanent.

As I said in Quora, “You will eventually go on to have other bosses/work in other capacities.” Even if you are not anticipating any changes to your job situation, new developments within the same job and same company happen all the time. You need to be prepared for that.

When looking at your career with a long-term lens, think about the kinds of choices that will help you get to where you want to be. It’s a pretty safe assumption that treating others badly won’t lead to positive outcomes.

3. Can you trust your boss to not make you a target of his blame game?

Behavior like this isn’t built on trust and respect; therefore, you won’t have any guarantees that he may not turn against you if it suits his purpose. For example, if he comes under fire for the type of behavior he has been displaying, he won’t think twice about throwing you under the bus. It doesn’t matter that you are helping him further his agenda. You end up being the scapegoat.

I understand that working toward a better workplace culture is tiring work. “If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em,” you may be thinking. If your environment is truly a toxic pit, a better frame of mind to bring is this: “If you can’t beat ’em, leave ’em.”

Don’t make excuses for why you have to make it work; the more excuses you make, the more rooted you will be in that situation. Rather, formulate your exit strategy and leave as soon as possible! To stay will only threaten your integrity and your future.

Image courtesy of Sarah Ackerman

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