Dear Rachel,

I work for a very intimidating man who is demanding and rarely appreciative. It seems I can do no right and I hate the work environment. At the same time, my office is right near my house and it pays well so I do not really want to look for something else. Not to mention, I love the actual work that I do, I just can't stand working for my boss. Any suggestions?


Dear Overwhelmed,

Based on what you write, it seems strange that you would still even have your job if you truly can do no right. I imagine that well before you would have considered another place of employment, you would have been asked to leave. Therefore, I must conclude that it is not that you do no right, but rather that you only hear from your boss the issues that he is not happy with.

Often when people are very goal oriented and focused they don't always realize how they come across when dealing with their co-workers or employees. And sometimes a simple reminder or conversation about the issue could really help appease the tensions.

I would suggest arranging a time where you can sit and speak with your boss. It is best to do this in person, though this may be hard for you. An alternative would be writing a letter, which can also work, depending on how you feel more comfortable.

What is vital is that you explain how you are feeling and you ask what it is you could do to improve. Any boss should be impressed with an employee who wants to work harder and make changes for the better. Rather than accusing your boss of mistreating you, I would suggest taking the approach where you want to know from him what he thinks you could do to improve.

I would begin by stating how much you enjoy your line of work and your duties. Then I would continue to let him know that it seems he hasn't been satisfied with your work performance and you would like some suggestions and directives from him as to how you can do things differently.

It is possible that he will be surprised and tell you that you are doing a great job. If he does and seems genuinely satisfied with your work, explain to him that being that he has not told you that and that he has made numerous complaints to you, it was not clear. Let him know that you would appreciate knowing from him when he is satisfied, when you have done a job well. And let him know that when he has things that he is not happy with, the more detailed he can be, the more you will be able to work on changing things.

Ignoring the situation and hoping that it will go away will not make things any easier. I am hoping, for your sake, that he is simply unaware as to how he is relating to you and that he ultimately is satisfied with you as an employee. If, however, that is not the case, better to figure it out now rather than later. And ultimately, if he is not willing to change and continues to mistreat you, convenient or not as a job, it is time to find another one. Being that you spend the majority of your waking hours at work, it is vital that it be in a healthy and productive atmosphere.

As the sages teach us, "Words from the heart, enter the heart." Speak clearly and directly and hopefully your boss will see what a committed employee he has, and start to value that so that you can spend your time focused on your work and not on him.

Good luck!