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Dealing With The Difficult Boss

What to do when you're undervalued at work

· Harassment,Managers,Career Success

Dear People Ops:

I'm the only designer and woman at my startup. I'm having difficulty with my boss who is both condescending and favors others' work over mine. What can I do?

First, I'm sorry. It seriously sucks when your contributions are undervalued. I feel you.

Second, without further context its hard to pinpoint the exact reason your boss is treating you this way. Perhaps:

1. You haven't demonstrated your value to your boss

Are you making yourself as valuable as possible to your employer? Are you consistent in your attendance, work, and results? Do you set goals for yourself beyond the ones your supervisor sets? Inc. has a handy tool to evaluate how valuable you are, and ways you can increase that value.

2. You're not advocating for your work enough

Advocating for yourself is a skill that you can develop. "First , in order to advocate for yourself you need to see the situation from the other players’ perspective—in the context of the organization as a whole. You should then determine what your "ask" is - frame the issues to show how, when resolved, would help your team, your manager, and the entire organization." The Muse has a quick breakdown of these steps to take which will have you standing out from the pack in no time.

3. Your boss is a bad manager

Its possible you just have a dud of a boss. Before trying to fix your bad boss, make sure you really are dealing with one. Is there a reason for her behavior, or are you being too hard on him or her? The good news, there are 3 good things you can learn from a bad boss.

3. Your boss is a horrible sexist jerk

While hopefully not the case, its possible your boss prefers your coworkers because of their gender. Huffington Post has a great breakdown on how to fight sexism at work.

Ultimately it may be a combination of any of the four above, as well as other reasons we didn't cover. Heck, you might have the same name as his childhood dog who went to "live on a farm" and its painful for him to hear.

The point is, you may never understand why your boss treats you poorly. And after you've crossed off all the reasons you can control you need to shrug your shoulders and let it go, because its not about you. And the solution is almost always the same, you should look for a place that does value you rather than spending your time trying to make someone love you who never will (woah, did this turn into a dating advice column while I wasn't looking).

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