Careers Help Desk
Working hard sometimes isn’t enough.
We all face tricky challenges in our chosen career and it can be difficult to find a supportive mentor offering sound advice. Each month, we answer your questions and help you keep ahead of the game
How to deal with a short tempered boss
31 August 2010
“I recently started my first job in PR. My boss has a short temper and can be difficult to deal with. However, I love the client accounts I’m working on and am getting some great experience under my belt. How can I survive my boss’s wrath for another 12 months in order to get a decent amount of experience on my CV?”
Congratulations on your first PR role! Getting your foot in the door means you’ve got over the first hurdle, but now the hard work begins. Unfortunately it is a fact of life that at some point in your career you will have to work with people who are particularly demanding and who you may not get along with. In general, my advice would be to suck it up for now. It won’t be forever, and getting a year of solid PR experience on your CV will make you very employable in the future.
That said, there are a few things you can do to make your boss more bearable.
1. Don’t make silly mistakes. Proof read, proof read, proof read. I cannot emphasis enough how irritated bosses get with receiving releases and reports containing typos and small errors.
2. Do your bit. Make sure you do more than your fair share. Volunteer to help out and be proactive. Short tempers are often caused by stress so offer to relieve some of the pressure.
3. Take responsibility. If you make a mistake, put your hands up to it quickly and offer a solution. Denial will always make things worse.
4. Keep calm. Panic and tension breed panic and tension. Be the voice of reason and the person that everyone turns to in a crisis.
5. If all else fails – take a deep breath and count to ten.
The good thing about a difficult boss, is that you learn very quickly how not to manage other people. It’s a great lesson for the future so when your time comes to manage a team, keep in mind how you felt when your first boss ranted and raved at you and aim to be a better team leader.