Is Your Boss Trying to Get You to Quit?

is your boss trying to get you to quit

Unless you’re lucky enough to work yourself, you have a boss to answer to. But what happens when you suspect your boss is trying to get you to quit? 


Not all bosses are bad.  In fact, many can really help your career. However, we have all had at least one bad boss who we simply can’t stand—and you suspect the feeling might be reciprocated. 


While mutual dislike is nothing new (we all don’t have to vibe with everybody, after all), it’s problematic when there is an imbalanced power dynamic. 


Whether they are incompetent, overly demanding, or not a match for you, it’s important to know if the situation is worth salvaging. In some cases, an acrimonious relationship might mean it is time to quit. 


What’s Up With Your Boss?

Incompetent bosses will eventually be discovered by higher-ups.


If you work for one of these, you may want to give it some time.  In fact, if you continue to get your job done, you may even put yourself in a position for promotion once this boss’s lack of skill is exposed.  Bosses with high expectations can be challenging to work for, but as long as they are fair and trustworthy, you can learn something new. 


This boss will push you to another level of performance.  Although you may feel frustration at times, being pushed out of your comfort zone, the experience could very well be one of your greatest resume builders and worth a little patience on your end.


When Something Just Doesn’t Feel Right With Your Boss

Trust your gut


What about those boss relationships where something just doesn’t feel right –you can’t put your finger on it but no matter what you try, you are not seeing the results you need to move your career forward.  


Delegated nothing but busy work? Not invited to team lunches?  Passed up for promotions?  Even though you may never understand why your boss doesn’t like you, you can tell if it’s bad enough to cut your losses and find a new opportunity – before they do it for you.


 If you have a real performance problem, your boss can usually go down a path of termination. In the case that your performance is adequate or even great, you may have a boss who just doesn’t like you. 


As a result, they may consciously or subconsciously try to create a situation where it would be easier for everyone involved if you just walked out the door.


Let’s differentiate the signs that your boss wants you to quit from your imagination working over time.


Here are 5 telltale signs your boss would be happier if you quit. 


1. Your Boss Might Be Trying to Get You to Quit if…You’re Buried in Busy Work

Your job description says one thing, but your tasks feel meaningless and repetitive.  If you notice that your colleagues, some potentially less qualified, have opportunities to complete work that adds more value, your boss might be up to something. Pay attention to your daily and weekly tasks. If it feels extremely off, compare your job description to your actual workload. 


2. Your Boss Might Be Trying to Get You to Quit if… You Receive Little to No Feedback

Not all managers are big feedback people. However, it is part of a leader’s duty to provide feedback when asked. 

Despite your efforts to ask for performance feedback, your boss seems to avoid giving it or when he or she does it’s always negative.


3. Your Boss Might Be Trying to Get You to Quit if…You’re Being Excluded, Overlooked, or Ignored

You may find out about important meetings at the last minute or after the fact and may not be included in team social gatherings.

If that weren’t insulting enough, your boss always cancels or reschedules your 1:1s or scheduled meetings. 

Whether they cancel your meetings with you at the last minute or are chronically late, you can’t seem to get the time you need to get your job done.


4. Your Boss Might Be Trying to Get You to Quit if…They Document Your Performance Conversations

Bosses who want you to quit may try to create a trail of documentation that they tried to “coach” you on your performance problems. This usually means that when they do meet with you, they make the meeting about a specific deliverable and proceed to document the conversation.

5. Your Boss Might Be Trying to Get You to Quit if…You’re Overworked

You have so much work on your plate you are forced to work late nights and weekends. This is especially frustrating when the work you’re assigned isn’t related to results that will help the business and your career.


Of course, any of these reasons alone doesn’t necessarily mean they want you to quit.  However, in combination, may be screaming for you to open your eyes and head for the door.


What to Do If You Suspect Your Boss is Trying to Get You to Quit

If you suspect your boss is trying to force you to quit your job, take a breath. It’s a very stressful experience, but there is recourse. 

Keep Meticulous Track of Evidence

First and foremost, it’s crucial to gather your evidence. Keep a record of rescheduled meetings, assignments changes, or exclusion from projects or meetings. 


Consider Discussing With a Trusted Mentor or Colleague

Feeling like your boss has “it out” for you can be an incredibly alienating experience, so you might want to find an outlet. Consider discussing your concerns with a trusted colleague or mentor. Don’t frame this as gossip but as an opportunity to get a second opinion. Maintain professionalism and avoid spreading rumors or making accusations without sufficient evidence.


Document Your Performance

Document your own performance and any outcomes it yields. Keep records of positive feedback, completed tasks, and any contributions you’ve made to the company. This documentation can be invaluable if you need to defend yourself against unjustified criticism or negative performance reviews.


Consider Addressing Your Boss

If you feel comfortable doing so, address your concerns with your boss calmly and respectfully. 


Choose a private and neutral setting for this conversation. Express your observations and ask for clarification on any changes in your workload or interactions. Sometimes, a five-minute conversation can clear up a ton of miscommunication. It’s worth a try. 


Finally, Involve Human Resources

Ultimately, if you continue to feel targeted or marginalized despite your efforts to address the situation, it may be necessary to explore other options. 


Human Resource professionals exist to help navigate tricky situations just like this one. If you have explored other options and you still feel like you’re being silently punished by your boss, look to HR for guidance.  


Your mental well-being and professional growth are paramount, and taking proactive steps to protect both is important.


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