It makes sense, right? Our brains are basically computers pre-programmed with 1 objective: survival. We survive by getting adults to like us when we’re little – by getting certain grades in school, approval from our parents, attention from our coaches. Then, as adults, we survive by trying to get our bosses to like us . . . or at least not hate us.
If the grownups like us, we think, we will survive.
Take Jill for example. Jill had always done well in school and knew her passion was journalism. When an older, successful man noticed her at an event and offered her a job, she thought things were finally falling into place for her.
She had been discovered.
After she started work, however, her boss, the man who discovered her, started inviting her on private lunches, where he asked her invasive questions about her romantic life. A few times he “accidentally” showed her pornographic pictures on his phone.
Jill found herself terrified about going in to work and didn’t know what to do.
All of her training told her to do what she could to make her boss like her – get the approval from the grownups and things will go well.
And who could blame her? Only a generation ago, it was legal to require women to submit to harassment to keep their jobs. Historically, we have actively expected women to give up their bodily safety to please men. Not that long ago, women were property.
But, that messed up system doesn’t work. Women having our own careers helps all of society, not just us. Companies and countries do better when women are safe and powerful participants.
What does this have to do with your boss hating you? Well, I’ll tell you.
If you are showing up with your best effort to do your job, and your boss decides to feel hate about it, that is your boss’s problem.
Your boss’s feelings are not your problem. Showing up, working hard, and taking care of yourself are your problem.
If your boss hates you, that is not necessarily a threat to your job. It only means that your boss is having a thought that is creating a feeling of hatred. If you had that thought, you would feel hate too.
If your boss hates you, that is what should be happening because it is what is happening. Arguing with reality only keeps you stuck.
It is a separate question whether your job is in danger. Sometimes, if your boss feels terrible, your job is actually safer.
Your boss’s feelings are not your responsibility.
Your job and your feelings are.
Does this idea seem complicated? I break down this and other strategies for keeping your job and ending harassment in my book Career Defense 101. To get your copy go to www.CareerDefense101.com.