Should I Quit a Good Job Because of My Bad Boss?

Question:

While I really enjoy working at my firm, I’m not feeling so thankful about my new boss. Do you have any advice on looking for another job within the organization, or should I just cut my losses and find work elsewhere?

Answer:

Most legal professionals face challenging situations with a supervisor at least once in their career, so you are not alone. But if your job is otherwise fulfilling and you like your firm and coworkers, it may be premature to transfer to another department or look for a new employer. 

First, commit to trying to improve your relationship with the boss and really re-engage with your work. 

1. Be proactive and upfront. If you feel your new boss is unappreciative or makes unfair demands, it’s time for a sit-down conversation to clear the air. Ask for feedback on your job performance, and really listen rather than becoming defensive. At the same time, be prepared to highlight your recent accomplishments and share positive feedback from clients and colleagues. Your manager may not be aware of all your skills and how much you contribute to the firm’s success.

2. Adjust to your boss’s work style. Most issues in the workplace are the result of poor communication, and your current manager may have different preferences than your old boss. Perhaps you’re used to frequent check-in meetings, while they would rather receive detailed project updates by email. As the employee, you benefit by adapting to the new normal. Besides, you may even discover the advantages of a different form of communication.

3. Find a mentor. A good boss offers support and coaching. If yours doesn’t, it’s okay to find that elsewhere. Talk to a senior employee at your firm or another organization about the possibility of mentoring you. They can help you set career goals, resolve workplace conflicts, expand your network and much more. And if you eventually decide to seek a new position, either elsewhere in the firm or at another organization, your mentor can offer suggestions and guidance.

Of course, not every relationship has a happy ending. If you’ve made every effort to get along with the new boss but it’s just not working out, you’re probably better off seeking employment at another firm. This is especially the case if your supervisor is well liked and has allies in other departments, which could result in tension with a future boss.

Whether you stay or leave, remain courteous, professional and helpful. The last thing you want to do is to burn bridges and hurt your career. Good luck!