You may not have expected to be best friends with your boss, but feeling as though they’re out to get you is a not a typical experience. In reality though, boiling your entire relationship down to “They’re out to get me” is oversimplying the issues, and ineffective at addressing them.
The idea that someone is “out to get you” is often just an excuse for behaviour we don’t understand. Even if they do have a personal dislike for you, no good boss will allow their personal feelings to cost them a good employee. So rather than wasting your time asking yourself whether or not they’re out to get you, ask yourself why they would be.
Understanding the Role
Few things will drive a wedge between your boss and you faster than a misunderstanding of your role. They hired you because they had specific needs, and if you don’t understand those needs, you’re not going to make a good impression. While different points of view are always welcome in business, different visions create a problem, and not a small one.
You could be showing up early every day, with coffee and a smile for all, work through lunch, and stay late, but if you’re not carrying out your duties, it’s inevitable that your boss will get frustrated. Clarifying what is expected of you makes it a hell of a lot easier to meet those expectations, and a hell of a lot harder to hate you.
When was the last time you emailed your boss? More importantly, when was the last time you emailed them by hitting “new” instead of “reply”? Communication is important throughout all levels of business, but while forgetting to cc the woman who sits beside you on the odd email might not be the end of the world, failing to communicate with your boss could be.
Maybe you don’t want to be a bother, or you’re just doing things the way they’re always done. Or maybe you’re not communicating because of some misguided notion that your boss is “out to get you”. Whatever the reason, all they know is that you aren’t communicating. The first problem with this is that it makes it harder for you to deliver what they’re looking for. But as it becomes a pattern, they may begin to wonder if you’re purposefully circumventing them, or if you don’t respect their opinions. Worst of all, you’ll make them look bad as they get caught off guard more and more by questions they know nothing about, all because you didn’t communicate.
You could spend weeks, even months wondering if your boss is out to get you, but whether it’s true or not, spending your time wondering if your boss is out to get you isn’t doing you any favours. Approach your boss and ask them to work with you on improving, and delivering the results they want.
If they’re happy to work with you on improving, then they’re happy to have you around. Asking for help may not be easy, but if your boss is willing to discuss your role, and keep the lines of communication open, then you’ll know they’re not out to get you. They’re out to get you the help you need.